Specialist Language Courses

What is the difference between IELTS and OET?

What is the difference between IELTS and OET?

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Choosing the right exam for you...

Both IELTS (International English Language Testing System) and OET (Occupational English Test) are used to test the English language of healthcare professionals in different parts of the world.

They are chosen by regulatory bodies to ensure doctors, nurses and other professions have sufficient language skills to communicate at a high level with patients and colleagues, and so ensure safe and effective care.

Similarities

There are a number of similarities between the two tests:

  1. Each one consists of four sub-tests, one for each skill: reading, listening, writing and speaking.
  2. A test takes place on one day.
  3. There is no pass/fail, but a graded score – different institutions need test takers to achieve different scores, such as a 7 in IELTS or a B in OET. In the UK, for example, the GMC requires doctors to score B in OET with B in each paper, or IELTS 7.5 with a minimum 7.0 in each paper. The NMC requires nurses to score B in OET with B in each paper, or IELTS 7.0 with a minimum 7.0 in Reading, Listening and Speaking and 6.5 in Writing.
  4. In practice, the required scores in the two tests for professions such as nurses are for similar levels of language skill when measured on the Common European Framework of Reference, specifically a C1 or advanced level.
  5. Both tests were developed in the late 1980s and are part-owned by Cambridge Assessment English. IELTS ownership is shared with ID P and the British Council. OET ownership is shared with Boxhill Assessment.

However, that’s where the similarities end. As you will see, they are quite different tests in many ways.

Differences

1. Content

IELTS tests academic English – at least the version of IELTS used by healthcare regulatory bodies around the world. This includes the ability to write essays, follow lectures, understand academic articles and discuss a wide range of topics, from the environment to education to social trends to cultural values.

OET tests healthcare English, including the ability to communicate effectively in medical scenarios, write a referral or discharge letter, understand a patient consultation, or follow a text taken from a medical journal.

2. Versions

 IELTS offers 2 versions of the test – Academic as described, and General Training, used by organisations to test the more general language considered more appropriate for immigration or vocational purposes. The Listening and Speaking sections are the same for both. The Academic Reading and Writing is more geared to Higher Education than the General Training.

OET offers 12 versions of the test for different healthcare professions; nurses, doctors, dentists, pharmacists, optometrists, podiatrists, occupational therapists, vets, speech pathologists, dieticians, physiotherapists, and radiographers. The Reading and Listening sections are the same for both. The Speaking and Writing sections are tailored to the specific scenarios in which each profession uses English.

3. Format

IELTS has the following format:

IELTS format

OET has the following format:

ielts

4. Preparation requirements

Preparing for IELTS involves learning huge amounts of vocabulary on a wide range of academic subjects so test takers are prepared to read academic texts quickly and effectively, understand lectures and discussions, talk about abstract questions and give opinions in detail. Test takers need to learn how to write reports on a variety of data and a range of essay types. Written texts need to be at an advanced level and so include complex structures and grammar. Learning a set of key exam techniques is also crucial.

Preparing for OET involves learning a wide range of healthcare-related and profession-specific language, so test takers are able to follow, engage with and participate in a variety of clinical scenarios, as well as understand medical texts and talks. They need to be able to write a healthcare-related letter, such as a referral letter, at an advanced level. They need to acquire a range of exam techniques so they can work quickly and effectively in the test.

As a result, preparation courses for the two tests follow very different pathways and use very different materials.

5. Scoring

 IELTS is marked out of 9, with a separate score for each paper. Half marks are awarded as part of this.

OET is graded from A (best) to E, with an equivalent numerical score to show more precisely where in the grade a candidate sits.

Healthcare regulatory bodies which use both exams to test English for healthcare professions tend to specify an advanced C1 level of language, i.e. around 7 in IELTS and a B in OET.  The score equivalencies between the two tests are as follows:

OET and IELTS scores

6. Recognition

 IELTS is recognised by universities, regulatory bodies, immigration authorities and companies in many countries around the world. This includes universities in non-English speaking countries where a course may be delivered in English. There are over 1,100 test centres in over 140 countries.

OET is recognised by healthcare regulatory bodies and Higher Education healthcare educators, including those in the UK, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Dubai, Ukraine and Namibia. There are over 115 test centres in 40 countries.

7. Numbers of test takers

 Over 3 million people took IELTS in the past year, compared to the tens of thousands taking OET. This reflects the size and reach of the global Higher Education market on the one hand and the specialist nature of the OET on the other.

8. Preparation infrastructure

IELTS has a global infrastructure developed around preparing learners to take the test, including universities, specialist training organisations, private language schools, published materials, online content, and thousands of teachers and writers.

OET has a small but global preparation infrastructure, consisting of a growing number of specialist training providers and also a small but growing materials base. OET ’s Premium Preparation Provider scheme provides a framework for training organisations to undergo a rigorous accreditation process to demonstrate their ability to prepare candidates for the specialist nature of OET. SLC was the first provider to be accredited in Europe.

 

Pass your OET or IELTS with Confidence

We are Medical English, OET and IELTS preparation specialists. Our uniquely effective course design and delivery offers an unparalleled range of Medical- and exam-focused courses and tests.

Are you preparing for OET?

We offer a unique set of preparation services designed specifically for your success in the OET exam.

Are you preparing for IELTS?

Our courses will enable you to achieve a high score in the IELTS Academic English test.

Not sure what’s best for you? Then get in touch!

Specialist Language Courses (SLC) are experts in both IELTS and OET preparation. We work with thousands of candidates every year and specialise in working with healthcare professionals. Clients include many NHS Trusts and private healthcare groups in the UK.

Call or email SLC to talk about your OET and IELTS options.

 

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OET

What is the Occupational English Test (OET)

What is the Occupational English Test (OET)

OET

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The Occupational English Test (OET) is used in the UK, USA, Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand and Singapore among others to assess the Medical English skills of a wide range of international healthcare professionals, including doctors, nurses, pharmacists, dentists, vets and allied health professionals.

OET Background

The OET was established in the late 1980s and developed under contract to the Australian Government. It was designed by Professor Tim McNamara at the University of Melbourne – one of the original developers of IELTS.

Since then, it has undergone continuous assessment and review, led by the Language Testing Research Centre (LTRC) at the University of Melbourne, in order to ensure it is fit for purpose today. LTRC is an international leader in research and development in language assessment.

The test is now owned by Cambridge Boxhill Language Assessment, a joint venture between Cambridge English Language Assessment (who co-own IELTS) and Box Hill Institute, a leading vocational and higher education provider.

OET Objectives

The OET is designed specifically to assess the English language skills of international healthcare professionals wanting to work in an English-speaking environment and reflects over 30 years of research and practice.

It consists of 4 papers: Listening and Reading cover a broad range of generally applicable healthcare topics, while Speaking and Writing test the specific language used by 12 professions within healthcare.

These are:

Dentistry, Dietetics, Medicine, Nursing, Occupational Therapy, Optometry, Pharmacy, Physiotherapy, Podiatry, Radiography, Speech Pathology, Veterinary Science.

OET Test Format

There are 4 skills-based papers: Listening, Reading, Writing, Speaking.

The Listening and Reading papers are designed to assess a candidate’s ability to understand spoken and written English, based on health-related topics and tasks common to all professions. Texts range from short workplace notices and dialogues to longer articles and talks.

The Writing and Speaking papers are specific to the 12 individual healthcare professions. They are designed to reflect common tasks performed in the workplace. The writing asks candidates to write a referral letter, for example, while the Speaking asks candidates to role play a conversation in a clinical setting.

OET scores

Most healthcare regulators who recognise OET, require candidates to score C+ or B in the 4 papers to achieve the standard of English deemed sufficient to provide safe and effective care.

In the UK, for example, the General Medical Council (GMC) requires doctors to score B in all 4 papers in 1 sitting, whereas the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) requires nurses to score a B in Reading, Listening and Speaking and a C+ in Writing. The NMC also allows nurse to ‘club’ different tests taken over a 5-month period together to achieve the grades, as long as no paper was graded at under C+.

OET Recognition

The OET is recognised by regulatory healthcare bodies and councils, as well as university and Higher Education institutions, in the US, UK, Canada, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Malta, the Maldives, Philippines, Qatar, UAE, Spain, Ukraine and Namibia.

How do you take OET?

OET can be taken at test centres around the world, either on paper or on computer. In 2021, OET launched its at-home testing service, so candidates who did not have a test centre in their country could take it at home instead.

OET Free Preparation Materials

Get the latest tips and strategies from Specialist Language Courses by subscribing to our YouTube channel.

Click here to follow the OET Tips and Strategies playlist or here to follow the OET Free Live Lessons.

OET Preparation with Specialist Language Courses

SLC was the OET-accredited Premium Preparation Provider in Europe and is the leading provider of OET preparation services to the UK National Health Service.

SLC offers a wide range of OET preparation services, including self-study, tutoring, practice tests, and writing correction.

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SLC Article on IELTS for Nurses in National Health Executive Magazine

NHE article IELTS for Nurses

We’re delighted to have had an article published in the National Health Magazine focusing on how the IELTS 7.0 requirement is impacting on recruiting nurses from the EU.

Given the triggering of Article 50 and the ongoing uncertainty surrounding the status of EU workers, the impact of this challenging language requirement is harder than it would have been otherwise, further squeezing a declining supply of international nurses at a time of significant shortages across the NHS.

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New SLC IELTS Prep Course at Cambridge University Hospitals

IELTS for the NHS

SLC is delighted to be starting a new IELTS Preparation course for nurses at Cambridge University Hospitals today. CUH is renowned both in the UK and internationally, not only for its excellent care but also for its outstanding academic research work. We wish everyone the greatest of success!

For more information on our IELTS preparation courses designed specifically for nurses and doctors, using the latest in blended learning methodologies, please contact our team, visit the dedicated webpage or just pick up the phone and call us on 01273 900213.

 

SLC Publish Research Report into the Impact of IELTS 7.0 on the Recruitment of EEA-trained Nurses into the UK

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We believe that the decision taken 1 year ago by the NMC to change the English Language requirements for EEA-trained nurses registering in the UK is fundamental to this drop. This decision was that all new registrants now need to score 7.0 in the international IELTS Academic English language test.

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There are 5 levels, from beginner (A1) to advanced (C2). Each level consists of 45 hours of integrated skills work – reading, listening, writing, communication – and 15 hours of grammar support and consolidation. Learners can download the accompanying grammar app, with 100s of screens of activity, and there are free lessons based on current newspaper articles uploaded every week.

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Giving advice

Medical English Tips: Giving Advice Sensitively

Medical English Tips: Giving Advice Sensitively

Giving advice

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Get this right, and your rapport with your patient will be a powerful factor in building a successful therapeutic partnership. Get this wrong, and your relationship may never recover.

Giving Advice Sensitively

There are some occasions, when healthcare professionals have to give advice in a sensitive manner. Think of some of the times, when you have had to do this. What sorts of things were you discussing?

Perhaps:

  • misuse of illegal drugs
  • misuse of legal drugs, e.g. using someone else’s medication, increasing the dose of your own medication
  • excessive alcohol consumption or lack of knowledge about safe levels of alcohol use
  • weight issues, e.g. obesity/overweight, underweight, eating disorders
  • body image issues, e.g. dysmorphia
  • depression or bereavement
  • avoiding STIs, e.g. use of safe sex

Now, think about the language you might use in these situations. It is useful to have a ‘scale’ of language in mind, when you are giving advice sensitively. In order to be effective, you will be using several communication skills. Here are 3 very useful skills:

a) Using non-judgemental language (both verbal and non-verbal)

At times, you may be talking about subjects which you find uncomfortable, so it is important to pay attention to your own body language. Are you using gestures (e.g. crossing your arms in front of your chest) or negative body positions (e.g. leaning back or away from the other person)? Are you using judgemental phrases, e.g.

You’re going to have to make more of an effort. You need to pull yourself together now?

b) Acknowledging the patient’s situation

In order to be non-judgemental, it is often a good idea to acknowledge the difficulty the patient may have with their particular health issue, e.g.

I can see you are finding losing weight very challenging.
It looks like you are having a difficult time coming to terms with your mother’s death.

c) Empathising with the patient

It is also a good idea to empathise with the patient, before giving any advice, e.g.

I imagine that it must seem almost impossible to tackle your drug issues.
I guess it must be overwhelming to deal with your weight problem.

Giving Advice

Now, onto the giving of advice in a sensitive manner. You may find you are using phrases such as:

It would be a good idea to..
It would be helpful, if you could…
It would be useful to think about…..
Would you be willing to try….?

As you can see, these phrases are similar to the phrases used to make suggestions. In contrast, when giving advice, you might say:

You should….(reduce your fat intake, exercise more etc)
You need to…(keep an eye on your weekly alcohol intake)

In the case of sensitive advice, these phrases may appear too harsh at first. Of course, in situations where immediate lifestyle changes need to be made, strong advice may need to be given, e.g. evidence of dangerous drug habits or unsafe exposure to infections. In these cases, you may use phrases such as :

You must…
It is essential that you…
It is vital that you….

Are you a student looking for Medical English courses?

SLC’s ground-breaking online Medical English courses gives you the language you need to work, study and collaborate in an English-speaking environment.

Just click on the course and start your Medical English preparation!

FREE Medical English materials for teachers

In Specialist Language Courses we offer free lesson plans to teachers so they can have the best materials to teach their students about Medical English.

You can subscribe to our newsletter where you will receive monthly email with the latest materials that SLC offers for free.

Medical English courses for teaching

We also offer the latest in online medical English resources and materials to transform your teaching programmes and accelerate your students’ learning.

Teachers and institutions use the courses in multiple ways – as digital coursebooks, as supplementary learning, and as part of a flipped classroom approach. We can advise you how to integrate the materials to meet your objectives.

Interested in using our courses? Click here:

 

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Duolingo

Review of the Language Learning App “Duolingo”

Review of the Language Learning App “Duolingo”

Duolingo

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Review of Duolingo

In our blog, we presented the advantages and disadvantages of learning a new language via mobile apps and kicked off with a review of Babbel. This time we are taking a look at the incredibly popular Duolingo.

Duolingo has about 120 million users across the world – a large number which made me even more excited to try it and find out what their recipe for success might be.

Their strapline is “Learn a language for free. Forever.” Duolingo and all their courses are free of charge – definitely a huge bonus.

How does Duolingo work?

1.You can choose between 21 different languages:

Besides the common languages like English, French, German, Italian and Spanish you can also learn Portuguese, Dutch, Irish, Danish, Swedish, Turkish, Esperanto, Norwegian, Ukrainian, Russian, Polish, Welsh, Hebrew, Vietnamese and Hungarian.

2.It’s really simple to use:

  1. You choose between “beginner” (starts with basics) and “Not a beginner “(Placement test which evaluates your language level)
  2. Create a profile to save the progress you made
  3. Set your weekly goals: choose between casual, regular, serious, insane à 5/10/15/20 minutes per day
  4. Passing the “Checkpoint”: You can activate more lessons by finishing all the modules of one lesson or taking a test if you are already familiar with the topics.
  5. Shop: You can earn so called “lingos” and with those you can buy “powerups” e.g. Attempt to double your 5 lingots wager by maintaining a seven-day streak

Pros

Duolingo doesn’t work with pictures but with a lot of images and symbols which actually have the same effect and help to remember what you have learned.

The operation of Duolingo is very easy and you have a clear overview about the content and different options.

Phrases or vocabulary you learn are always spoken out loudly. There are also recording exercises to improve your speaking skills.

If you are unsure about a word in a translation task you can retrieve their meaning/translation.  Grammar rules are explained in mostly every task.

You are able to redo certain exercises or to strengthen the skills you already learned this helps to reinforce what you have learned.

Whole app is free of charge.

Duolingo is set up like a game (as described above). If you have reached your daily goal trumpets sound. You receive a reminder via email to complete your lessons.

Cons

There is no information in the beginning about how the whole course works.

If you want to learn a certain topic, you haven’t got any access to it unless you go through all the previous tasks.

Sometimes the language and the example sentences are unusual and would not be the kind of language you use in reality.

Conclusion

If you are a person who loses motivation very quickly, Duolingo is definitely the right choice for you. This game-like app teaches languages in a very playful and challenging way and is based on many visual as well as audio effects which are helpful to remember what you have learned. Another plus is that Duolingo varies the types of tasks and builds up every lesson in other ways which means more variety for the student. However, Duolingo can`t replace a “real” language school and especially for beginners I would recommend using Duolingo in combination with a teacher-led language course.

About the author

Jule Kirchner is a German high school graduate. She is currently working as an intern at SLC for three months. Jule loves learning languages and likes to test the various ways how to do so.

Want to improve your Medical English?

We offer a unique set of preparation services designed specifically for your success in the OET exam.

Not sure what’s best for you? Then get in touch!

Specialist Language Courses (SLC) are experts in Medical English, IELTS and OET preparation. We work with thousands of candidates every year and specialise in working with healthcare professionals. Clients include many NHS Trusts and private healthcare groups in the UK.

Call or email SLC to talk about your Medical English, OET and IELTS options.

 

Subscribe to our newsletter

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Babbel

Review of the Language Learning App “Babbel”

Review of the Language Learning App “Babbel”

Babbel

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In our blog, we presented the advantages and disadvantages of learning a new language via Mobile Apps. If you are thinking about starting a course with an app but you don’t know which app to choose you are in the right place.

One of the leading Mobile Apps for language learning is Babbel. They deliver language courses completely online, both on their website and as an app. According to “Fast Company Magazine” Babbel is the most innovative education company worldwide, the 48th most innovative company overall and in February 2016 Babbel reached one million active paying customers.

How does Babble work?

  1. You can download the App for free
  2. You can choose between 14 different languages: Besides the common languages like English, French, German, Italian and Spanish you can also learn Russian, Brazilian Portuguese, Swedish, Turkish, Polish, Dutch, Indonesian, Danish or Norwegian.
  3. Each lesson is made up of the following:
    • New vocabulary words
    • A dialogue
    • Grammar instruction
    • Review and drilling of what you’ve learned
  4. Each lesson takes about 10 to 15 minutes to complete
  5. There is a Review Manager – A bank of the vocabulary you have learned so far. It’s very effective in committing words to your long-term memory.

Pros

Babbel works with a lot of appealing pictures which help you to remember vocabulary and sentences.

Good overview of your progress, different tasks and other options.

The layout and the design is very pleasant and appealing.

All the things you learn are spoken out loud.

Beginners, middle school courses, grammar, business English, speak and listening, read and writing, country and people, extras, words and phrases.

Downloading the app is for free.

Cons

At the beginning there is no information about how the course is structured (e.g. How many questions? different tasks?).

You only have access to one section to begin with. If you want to have access to further tasks you need to subscribe – you can choose between 1,3,6 or 12 months. 10 – 5£ per month.

Some apps are set up like a game, while Babbel is set up more like traditional instruction and can become a little repetitive after a while.

Conclusion

I think if you’re a serious language learner, Babbel is great. What convinced me the most was the wide range of topics as well as the great visualisation – the use of photos really helps you to remember what you have learned. However, Babbel can’t replace a “real” language school and especially for beginners I would recommend to using Babbel in combination with a teacher-led language course. Babbel works best for beginner to elementary level learners. If you are an advanced learner, you will not find much to stimulate you as the course is based mainly on vocabulary building in simple scenarios.

About the author

Jule Kirchner is a German high school graduate. She worked as an intern at SLC for three months. Jule loves learning languages and likes to test the various ways how to do so.

Want to improve your Medical English?

We offer a unique set of preparation services designed specifically for your success in the OET exam.

Not sure what’s best for you? Then get in touch!

Specialist Language Courses (SLC) are experts in Medical English, IELTS and OET preparation. We work with thousands of candidates every year and specialise in working with healthcare professionals. Clients include many NHS Trusts and private healthcare groups in the UK.

Call or email SLC to talk about your Medical English, OET and IELTS options.

 

Subscribe to our newsletter

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Language Mobile Apps – Advantages and disadvantages of learning a new language via Mobile App

Learning languages are great – I think we can all agree with that. But if you decide to learn a new language the next question is how? Nowadays there are a lot of different ways to learn a language: online or tutored language courses – like the ones we at SLC provide, going abroad, reading loads of books and doing reading, listening and speaking tasks on your own OR perhaps what might be considered the most modern way: using an app on your mobile phone which makes language learning easy and accessible to everyone. The most attractive argument for a lot of people is that you can learn WHENever, WHEREver and WHATever you want. It`s your own decision and no one can really control your progress, although this might be – sometimes – a real problem, especially for lazy people. Have you ever thought about using such an app? But you aren`t sure yet if you should try it?

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IELTS Reading Resources

10 Useful Academic IELTS Reading Resources

10 Useful Academic IELTS Reading Resources

IELTS Reading Resources

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The IELTS exam is perhaps the most widely taken international English language test. Over 2.5 million people sit the test every year from around the world. IELTS is recognised by universities, companies, professional bodies such as the GMC and NMC, immigration authorities, and government institutions all around the world as a measure of English language ability.

The IELTS Reading paper

The reading paper of the Academic IELTS test is a tough one. You have to read 3 academic texts taken from journals, reports and articles and answer 40 questions on them in 1 hour. The texts are long – up to 2,000 words each. This means you have to develop the ability to understand the main points quickly, as well as the ability to find the answers to the questions without reading every single word.

What you need to do…

  1. Develop your vocabulary, especially of key IELTS topics such as work, education, social trends, mass media, travel and tourism, and the environment.
  2. Improve your understanding of complex English, so you can quickly follow complicated ideas and arguments. You need to see how ideas are connected together – within sentences, between sentences, and between paragraphs.
  3. Practice answering IELTS style questions so you get used to them – work on practice test papers, get tips from your teacher, or use the SLC resource library (if you’re taking a course with us)

As part, of this it’s critical to READ!!

The best practice exercise to of all is to simply read. When you get used to reading articles from newspapers and magazines, you will have fewer problems with long articles in the test itself.

Practice reading quickly for understanding, then look for specific facts and figures of interest. Make notes as you go of new words and phrases.

As a starting point, we have compiled a list of 10 useful reading resources and websites which may help you practice your reading skills at home. They cover a very wide range of topics, so are very useful for the IELTS Test.

Free texts and exercises with a focus on business and work.

Read More>>

Good for academic English and also good to keep up with current world issues.

Read More>>

Covering world politics, economics, science and technology, offering 3 articles a week for free if you sign up.

Read More>>

Excellent site about technology, health, science and the environment.

Read More>>

Covering environmental issues, culture, nature and animals. Very illustrative with a lot of amazing pictures.

Read More>>

Lots of short, easy to understand, contemporary articles drawn from the world of social media.

Read More>>

A site about science, health, ecology, biology and innovation.

Read More>>

American site focusing on history, both US and worldwide, with lots of current affairs articles too.

Read More>>

News, views and much more from the UK’s most famous media institution. All topics included – also a good site to practice listening.

Read More>>

Sometimes it’s good to expand your vocabulary by reading short stories – here are some funny ones, and there are plenty more on the website.

Read More>>

We hope these websites help you improve your reading skills for the IELTS, but let us know if you have any resources to add to this list!

Pass your IELTS with Confidence

We are IELTS preparation specialists. Our uniquely effective course design and delivery offers an unparalleled range of Medical- and exam-focused courses and tests.

Our courses will enable you to achieve a high score in the IELTS Academic English test.

Not sure what’s best for you? Then get in touch!

Specialist Language Courses (SLC) are experts in both IELTS and OET preparation. We work with thousands of candidates every year and specialise in working with healthcare professionals. Clients include many NHS Trusts and private healthcare groups in the UK.

Call or email SLC to talk about your OET and IELTS options.

 

Subscribe to our newsletter

Get updates and get the latest materials on Medical English, OET and IELTS

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Interview with Virginia Allum – author of SLC’s Online Medical English Courses PART II

Welcome to part II of the interview with Virginia Allum, head of SLC’s Medical English courses and lead Medical English consultant. In addition to being a lecturer in English for Medical Purposes, she is a Medical English teacher trainer, and a widely published writer.

In this part Virginia will discuss what the main challenges are for doctors, nurses and carers who are taking these courses. (more…)

Interview with Virginia Allum – author of SLC’s Online Medical English Courses PART I

Virginia Allum is the head of SLC’s Medical English courses and lead Medical English consultant. In addition to this, she is also a lecturer in English for Medical Purposes, a Medical English teacher trainer, and a widely published writer. Her written works include co-authoring the Cambridge English for Nursing text books, used by Medical universities around the world. She is also a practicing Registered Nurse, with years of practice in the UK and Australia.

(more…)

Are Today’s Learning and Development Professionals Creators or Curators?

There’s a lot of it about. Everywhere you look. Training. Leadership development, customer service, management, sales, business writing, team work, giving presentations, strategy, negotiation, conflict resolution, time management, communicating effectively, communicating across cultures, communicating using social media, … the list goes on. And on. (more…)

3 Unbeatable Advantages of Being Bilingual

You can never understand one language until you understand at least two.
‒Geoffrey Willans

Communication is key, and languages are important precisely for this reason, to share our thoughts and feelings with others. The majority of the world’s population is, in fact, bilingual or multilingual, and this helps bridge the cultural gaps and learn more about one another, and the world in general. To know a second language is to know more about yourself and others.

Here are 3 key advantages of being bilingual:

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The advantages of e-learning

The philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein once said “The limits of my language are the limits of my world”. This statement has been open to various interpretations for centuries, but with regards to learning, one may come to the conclusion that he is suggesting that to limit oneself to one language is to limits one’s possibilities in the world. This is to say that it is important to learn new skills, and broaden one’s horizons, and this opportunity should be available to anyone, anywhere in the world, at any time.

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GMC Doctors

GMC English Language Requirements for European Doctors

GMC English Language Requirements for European Doctors

GMC Doctors

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The GMC uses the following evidence to demonstrate that a European doctor qualifying from one of the member states of the European Economic Area (with the exception of the UK) has sufficient English language skills to practice safely and effectively in the UK.

Evidence Type 1: Academic IELTS 7.5

Doctors should have an overall score of 7.5 in the academic version of the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) from the last 2 years. As part of this, a doctor must score a minimum of 7.0 in each of the four papers: reading, writing, listening and speaking. These scores must be achieved in one sitting of the test.

This, in practice, is how most overseas doctors demonstrate their knowledge of English. The GMC may accept IELTS test scores that are more than 2 years old if a doctor can show that their English language skills have not deteriorated in that time. They may have worked in a country where English is the first language for example, or they may have taken a postgraduate course of study which has been taught and examined in English.

While IELTS is currently the only test recognised by the GMC, the organisation is open to alternatives in the future which can be shown to be reliable and appropriate tests of a doctor’s English language skills.

Evidence Type 2: A primary medical qualification (PMQ) that has been taught and examined in English.

The GMC requires the PMQ to have been taught and examined in English and to be from the last 2 years. As part of this, at least 75% of the doctor’s clinical interaction, including personal contact with patients, relatives and other healthcare professionals, must have been conducted in English

Where the PMQ is not so recent, then the GMC requires clear evidence that the doctor has extensive experience practising in English over the previous 2 years in a country where English is the first language, to include employer references.

Practice may be clinical, teaching, management or research-based. The GMC will take into account whether this is continuous or periodic, and ensure that the practice uses the knowledge, skills, attitudes and competences gained in a medicine degree and any further study.

Evidence Type 3: an alternative language test for registration with a medical regulatory authority in a country where the first and native language is English

The GMC will explore which test was used and what requirements were met. If the test pass is over 2 years old, then the GMC may ask for evidence that demonstrates the doctor’s experience of practising for the preceding two years, as outlined above in evidence type 2.

Evidence Type 4: An offer of employment from a UK healthcare organisation

The GMC requires written confirmation from the UK healthcare organisation that an offer of employment has been made, and that the healthcare organisation must be a designated body. The GMC may also ask for evidence of a doctor’s English language skills along the lines outlined above in Evidence Types 1, 2 and 3.

As part of this process, the GMC requires the appointing clinician to complete an English language reference form detailing the applicant’s skills in reading, writing, listening and speaking, and how these were assessed during the recruitment process. The appointing clinician must then get confirmation from the Responsible Officer for the employing organisation that they endorse the recruitment processes the employer has in place to ensure that the applicant has the necessary knowledge of English to practise safely in the UK.

Evidence Types, 2,3 and 4 do not apply where a doctor has taken the IELTS test and failed to achieve the scores stated in Evidence Type 1.

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