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IELTS Clubbing Approved for UK Nursing Registration

The Nursing and Midwifery Council amended its English language test requirements for applicants to the register who trained outside the UK, in order to make it more “flexible”.

Nursing Midwifery Council( NMC) UK has announced it’s changing its International English Language Testing System – known as IELTS – requirements for overseas nurses and midwives from both within the European economic area and beyond.

It will increase flexibility for applicants while ensuring that the appropriate standard of English language is still achieved. The latest change shows the NMC has responded to concerns from nurses and employers that the difficulty of the test was proving a barrier to recruitment at a time of nurse staffing shortages.

Under the previous system, applicants were required to achieve the IELTS Academic Test at level 7 in reading, writing, speaking and listening in a single sitting.Under the new protocols, the NMC still requires applicants to achieve level 7 in all areas, but this can now be achieved over two sittings of the tests.Both tests must be within six months of each other and no single score must be below 6.5 in any of the areas across both tests.

The move follows concerns being raised in an NMC consultation last year that the test was too difficult at the level being proposed, and might deter some overseas nurses and midwives from working in the UK.Passing the test at level 7 was only introduced as a requirement by the NMC in January for European nurses that could not provide other evidence demonstrating their English language skills.Nurses from outside the EU were already required to pass the IELTS test with a minimum score of 7.0.

The New IELTS scores required from nurses and midwives trained outside EU/EEA(Overseas)

You must complete the academic version of the IELTS test and achieve:

  • at least 7.0 in the listening and reading sections

  • at least 7.0 in the writing and speaking sections, and

  • at least 7.0 (out of a possible 9) overall.

Applicants may provide two IELTS test certificates to meet the above requirements, but must not have scored below 6.5 in any categories, in either of the test sittings.

The two test sittings must be taken within six months of each other to be considered. NMC will not accept applicants who score lower than this standard.

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