what is the passing score of ielts and oet exams?, register as a doctor with the gmc, occupational English test, international english language testing system, ielts, oet

What is the passing score of IELTS and OET exams?

By Keith Pilkington

In locations where it’s permitted and safe to do so, IELTS testing is going ahead, with additional precautions in place to help protect the health of test takers and staff.

The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) has announced it will now accept results from the Occupational English Test (OET) on the computer at test venues and OET@Home, the OET’S new computer-based English language test, which can be taken from home. For more information, visit www.nmc.org.uk

If you’re moving to the UK on a tier 1 or tier 2 visa for a healthcare job, you will need to take a language test, to ensure you have the right level of English. This will enable you to register with the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC), or the General Medical Council (GMC) and take the Professional and Linguistic Assessments Board (PLAB) tests.

So, what English language tests are out there, and what scores do you need to pass?

There are two exam options (both assess reading, listening, writing, and speaking skills, and are marked on a grading system):


The International English Language Testing System (IELTS) is one of the world’s most popular English language proficiency exams. We have previously answered questions such as ‘how long is IELTS valid? ’, ‘what do I need to bring to my IELTS exam?’, ‘can I prepare for IELTS at home?’ and ‘how much time do you need to prepare for IELTS?

To register as a doctor with the 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 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.


The Occupational English Test (OET) is a well-respected international English language test for healthcare professionals. It can accurately assess a person’s ability to communicate in an English-speaking workplace and has been developed specifically to reflect tasks for 12 healthcare professions, including nursing, medicine and radiography.

To pass the OET exam, you’ll need to achieve a minimum of Grade B, or a point score of 350 across all test areas.

For more information about overseas worker requirements, read our collection of blogs.