What if I fail my English Language Test?

  • April 10, 2020

English Language Tests are hard, it is common for overseas doctors to fail on the first or second attempt.

You have just got the results and sadly, you didn’t get the target score of 7.5 average for IELTS or four B’s for OET. What do you do? First things first, we would recommend a short outburst, a quintessentially polite British rant about how things are not fair, and then pick yourself up, and plan!

Unlike other tests in education where you only get one chance to pass, the same is not true for English Language Tests like IELTS and OET. That said, this doesn’t mean that you don’t have to worry about preparing, this could waste your time, and more importantly, your money! Another re-sit will cost you.

Don’t forget, learning a new language is challenging, complex and takes time. Just because you didn’t get the results the first time, if you are organised, patient and increase your practical work you will get there! 

Learn from your mistakes

Initially, it is only natural to be disappointed because you didn’t pass. This is normal, so take your time to process the results and give yourself an opportunity to clear your head ready to determine what went wrong, and do something about it. 

A lot of IMGs don’t get the required marks on the first go, some take a long time to get there, so don’t worry, you are not alone. The main thing to remember, is that it is very important to know where you went wrong, and how to improve. 

Here are a few steps to help you if you don’t get the results you wanted: 

1. Review your score in each area. 

Identify the area where you struggled the most. Did you pass all areas except one? Or did you get the desired results in two areas, and fail the others? This tells you which area to focus on, where you may need further training or practice. 

2. Count the marks

How far off was your score from passing? This is vital for you to establish which parts of the test to focus on so you can gain points in these areas for your resit. Think about the areas you struggled in, or left blank. Take your time to review and then practice these areas of the test and watch your score go up! 

3. Expand your horizons

Using each English language skill in practice is essential to helping you get the desired outcome in each test. If you failed in one or two areas, then turn your focus on these and get practical! 

Simply put, speak, listen, read & write more! Don’t forget to keep it interesting. See our top tips for learning at home to help you be more engaged in applying your learning on a daily basis. 

4. Consider working with an accredited tutor

As an International Brand dedicated to helping international doctors to register with the GMC and find work in the NHS - we have lots of partnerships in place with trusted companies in many areas. One of these key areas is English Language Testing and IMG Connect works closely with a company called Specialist Language Courses. You can take a look at their website here.

Specialist Language courses work very professionally and are the UK's leading provider of online courses and tutoring. They are also one of the few accredited providers of OET and have provided consultation and guidance to the GMC on English language testing. 

Success rates are 70% + for those who sign for their tutoring and you can receive a discount if introduced by IMG Connect.

Register with IMG Connect to request your discount on English Language Courses or get in touch with one of our IMG Consultants to discuss.

4. Get rid of the nerves

Most international doctors will have found speaking with the examiner daunting and nerve wracking. This is natural, called test anxiety. Which probably means that you will not have spoken as fluently as you could. What can you do? Try speaking English with someone you don’t usually speak with, or even better somebody you don’t know, in a situation you don’t usually find yourself. Being able to speak fluently, under pressure, whilst sounding natural, is one of the most important criteria of the test. This will ease your anxiety. 

5. Plan for the next test

Some IMGs might wonder why they should make a plan, it takes time and some think that it might not be necessary. In fact, a good study plan will save you time, help you pace out your learning, cover more topics and keep you organised. As you will know what areas you need to focus on, it will help you to check you are covering all the areas of weakness, and keep track of improvements. Try to include daily and weekly targets. 

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