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APR 15/2019

What is the IELTS Exam?

Author Template - Simona Bertolo

If you’re a doctor, nurse or an allied health professional looking to further your medical career in an English speaking country, you’ll need to have a good grasp of the English language. One of the ways to prove this is by taking an IELTS exam.

What does IELTS stand for?

IELTS stands for the International English Language Testing System.

What is IELTS?

The IELTS exam is the most widely used test of the English language. On average, the test is taken over three million times every year. It is recognised by universities, companies, professional bodies, immigration authorities, and government institutions all around the world as a measure of English Language ability.

IELTS tests can be taken up to four times a month in over 120 countries.

IELTS stamp

IELTS exam format

There are two different types of IELTS exam:

1. The academic module 

The IELTS academic module is designed for students who wish to study in English speaking universities at either degree level or postgraduate masters or PhD level. It is also taken by those wishing to work in specific professions, such as medicine or dentistry.

2. The general training module 

The IELTS general training module is for those hoping to migrate to the UK, Australia, New Zealand or Canada. It can also be taken by those hoping to study in an English speaking country below degree level.

Doctors and nurses moving to the UK will need to take the academic module.

For both IELTS modules, there are four parts, each one focusing on a specific skill: reading, writing, listening and speaking. The reading and writing sections are different for the two modules, whereas the listening and speaking sections are the same.

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IELTS scores

There is no pass or fail for the IELTS exam. Instead, you receive a band score between 1 and 9. This may include a half-point, such as 6.5 for example. 

Doctors need to achieve an IELTS score of 7.5 overall. Nurses must score at least 7.0 in their reading, listening and speaking, and a score of 6.5 in writing.

IELTS exam

How long does it take to get IELTS results?

IELTS results can be received online and in paper form. You will receive your results online five to seven days after taking the IELTS exam. You will receive your results in paper form 13 days after you take the test.

Find out more

Are you a doctor, nurse or allied health professional looking for help and support with your IELTS test? If so, contact our team via email and one of our dedicated consultants will get in touch with you.

Find out how to improve your IELTS score for reading, speaking, writing and listening:

IELTS was created by and is jointly owned by the British Council, the University of Cambridge ESOL Examinations, and IDP: IELTS Australia.

*This post was originally published on 22/04/2016 and has since been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.

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