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New English language test requirements for nurses

The NMC is amending the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) requirements for nurses and midwives registering from overseas and within the European Economic Area.

Under the previous system, applicants had to achieve the IELTS Academic Test Band 7 in reading, writing, speaking and listening in a single sitting. Band 7 in all areas will still be required, but this can now be achieved over two sittings of the tests, providing that the tests are taken within six months of each other. In addition, no single score must be below 6.5 in any of the areas across both tests.

It is hoped that these changes will increase flexibility for applicants while ensuring the appropriate standard of English language is still achieved.   

“IELTS Level 7 provides us and the public with assurance that nurses and midwives applying to join the register from outside the UK meet the appropriate standard of English language required to work in the UK,” NMC Chief Executive and Registrar Jackie Smith said.

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