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Can I take the IELTS test online?

By Keith Pilkington

​The International English Language Testing System (IELTS) is one of the world’s most popular English language proficiency tests. It prepares you for work in the UK and measures your listening, writing, speaking and reading abilities for the English language, whilst also assessing your general communication skills.

To register as a doctor with the General Medical Council (GMC) you must complete and pass the IELTS Academic, achieving a score of at least:

  • 7.0 within the listening and reading sections

  • 7.0 within the writing and speaking sections

This must equate to an overall score of 7.5 (out of a possible 9).

If you trained as a nurse in a non-native English-speaking country, the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) requires evidence of an IELTS score of at least 7.0 in all areas and a recent pre-registration nursing qualification that was taught and examined in English.

Previously, the only way to sit an IELTS test was to do so in an IELTS centre.

However, to minimise disruption to people who are ready to take their IELTS tests during the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic, the body has introduced IELTS Indicator, an English language test that people can take online to help keep their education goals on track. The Indicator will assess a person’s English language skills in a timed, online test from the comfort of their own home. To ensure that the test focuses on real-life conversation skills, students will conduct their speaking test face-to-face with a trained IELTS examiner via video call.

IELTS Indicator content has been developed using the same high-quality standards as for all IELTS tests, and has the same format and timing as the in-person version, also marked by official IELTS examiners. It’s available in selected locations.

Update on online language tests

The NMC has decided that it’s not able to accept the IELTS indicator test at this time. This is because the security measures for the indicator test are not comparable to those in place for the face-to-face test and do not meet the standards we require for registration.

Learn more about the IELTS Indicator, or alternatively, get in touch with Keith Pilkington, our Head of Operations (International) for more information about IELTS testing.