• April 10, 2020

We have put together the most common FAQs asked by IMGs.

IELTS can be challenging and, without proper preparation, it is not uncommon for doctors to fail at their first attempt, so we will answer the following important questions: 


What is the IELTS? 

IELTS is the International English Language Testing System which tests English language skills worldwide. 

The exam tests your ability in reading, writing, speaking and listening

Do I need to sit an English Language Test?

Yes, IELTS is chosen by different regulatory bodies to ensure that doctors and other healthcare professionals have the correct level of English to communicate at a high level with patients and colleagues, so as to provide safe and effective care. 

Does the GMC accept IELTS? 

Yes, as part of the GMC registration, the GMC require all doctors to demonstrate their level of English making them eligible to receive a license to practice in the UK, subsequently practicing medicine safely. 

IELTS is one of two options accepted by the GMC, the other being OET 

What score do I need? 

For the GMC to accept your IELTS certificate you must achieve an overall score of 7.5 across all four areas, with no less than a 7.0 in in each testing area. 

Can I use my IELTS to support my Visa application? 

Yes, the pass score for a Tier 2 General Visa is 4.0 overall, and in each of the four skills. This does not change the requirements for GMC Registration, see above. 

IELTS Academic UKVI is acceptable for both GMC and Tier 2 Visa applications, and for this reason can be an attractive route towards registration. 

Not only will this save on fees, but also will ensure that only one test is taken. 

Which version should I take? Academic, Academic UKVI or General? 

You should take the Academic UKVI version; 

IELTS Academic will only satisfy the GMC, but IELTS UKVI will satisfy both GMC registration and your visa application. 

Can I take the IELTS test a few times and combine my score? 

No, you must achieve your results in one sitting, and this must be your most recent sitting of the test. 

What is the test format? 

IELTS has four parts:

  • Listening (30 minutes)
  • Reading (60 minutes)
  • Writing (60 minutes) 
  • Speaking (11–14 minutes)

The total test time is 2 hours and 45 minutes. 

Where can I sit the exam? 

IELTS is currently offered in over 120 countries, with more than 500 centres available. 

When can I take IELTS?

IELTS is available on 48 fixed dates a year – up to four times a month, depending on your locality. 

Should I sit the paper or electronic version? 

It is up to you, but your choice will change the venues that are open to you, check the IELTS website for more information on booking a test.

The paper-based test requires you to sit at a desk with the question papers and answer sheets for the reading, listening and writing tests. 

The computer-based test requires you to sit the reading, listening and writing tests in front of a computer with the questions presented on the screen. 

Can I cancel my application?

If you cancel your application more than 5 weeks before the test date, you will receive a refund minus an administration charge. If you cancel within 5 weeks of the test date, you will be charged the full fee unless you have a medical reason. 

Is the IELTS test completed in one day?

This depends on your test centre. The listening, reading and writing components of the test are always completed one after the other, with no break. The speaking test may be taken up to 7 days either before or after the test date. Check with your test centre for more details.

When will I receive my results? 

The test report will be posted to you 13 days after your test date. Some test centres also provide SMS alerts and an Online Results Service, check with your centre for more information. 

Keep your Test Report Form in a secure place as you only receive one copy and you will need it later! 

If I don’t pass, can I re-sit? 

You can sit the test as many times as necessary. 

However, this will cost you more money, so at IMG Connect we advise that you prepare as best you can for every test. If you don’t pass the test, then do additional study before taking the test again. 

Do I need to take a study course? 

No, you don’t need to take a course. However, it is highly advisable to attend a course, and/or language classes. 

Most IMGs advise that they improved by attending specific IELTS courses, and this also helps you to get used to the test format and timings.


Should I study?

Yes, we strongly recommend that you start preparing for the exams as far in advance as you possibly can. 

Establish your level of English, and work out what areas of weakness you will need to focus on. Set goals for yourself, and plan a revision timetable.

Where can I find study materials?

To prepare for the tests, there are lots of online resources and practice materials available. A good start is the IELTS and British Council websites. 

You can also find practice papers online.

We also recommend joining an IMG Community to share ideas and questions with doctors also taking the tests. 

Don’t forget! You must select the Academic UKVI version of the test, this is the only version accepted to support your GMC and Visa applications. 

IMG Jobs 

Search and find live NHS doctor jobs in the UK

IMG Resources

Read more useful articles on finding an NHS trust doctor job, pay scales & doctor’s salary in the UK, relocation and much more!  

Get in Touch

Get in touch using the buttons above (and below) to discuss doctor job opportunities in the NHS, including discussions regarding a typical doctor salary in the UK and the most suitable hospital locations for you.


Search Vacancies

Ask a question

Check your salary

error: Content is protected !!