Language skills

The person specifications state: 'All candidates must have demonstrable skills in written and spoken English adequate to enable effective communication about medical topics with patients and colleagues'

Confirmed via GMC registration

As GMC registration is a mandatory requirement for all applicants to have gained prior to advertised post start date, and this requires proof of English language skills, there is no need to provide any evidence of this area.

The interview will include an assessment of your communication skills but, this aside, there will be no assessment of English language other than your new employer, should you be successful, checking you have successfully gained GMC registration.

The academic International English Language Testing System (IELTS) is a commonly-accepted system of testing English language skills accepted by a range of organisations.

IELTS scoring

The IELTS assesses candidates on four areas of language skills, awarding a mark for each, as well as an overall mark. To use IELTS as evidence of your English language skills, you must achieve the minimum marks below:

  • Overall - 7.5*

  • Speaking - 7.0

  • Listening - 7.0

  • Reading - 7.0

  • Writing - 7.0

Scores achieved in one single sitting

It may seem an obvious point, but to confirm: to use IELTS, these scores must have been met/exceeded in one single sitting of the test.

Completed within two years of application

Only tests which have been sat at some point within the 24 months preceding ST3 applications can be accepted.


On your application: under the 'Language skills' section of the eligibility page, select 'No' to English undergraduate training, 'Yes' to IELTS', and then give your test scores and the date on which the test was taken.

At interview: none.

If you have not undertaken undergraduate medical training in English, nor met the necessary requirements of the IELTS test, there are alternative methods you can use to demonstrate your English language skills:

UK NHS Experience

Should you have over two years' experience working in UK NHS post(s), this will usually be sufficient for your application to meet this criterion at the longlisting stage; although in some cases the region assessing your application may require additional information at this stage. However, as your communications skills will be assessed as part of the ST3 interview this does not commonly happen.

Should you fall within this category, the action required of you will be:

On your application: select the relevant options within the eligibility page 'language skills' section; the employment page will also need to reflect your experience.

At interview: your communication skills will be assessed throughout the interview.

Supervisor's testimony

An often-acceptable alternative to IELTS is the provision of written testimony from a supervisor. Essentially, all this needs to be is a letter from a clinician who has supervised your work/training, and can attest to your English language skills.

Please note that in most cases you will not need to provide a letter but need to be able to do so if requested.

If required, the letter should include information about who the supervisor is, how/where/when they have supervised you, how they could be contacted if necessary, and their indication that your English skills are suitable for you to progress to a UK ST3 post.

Please note - provision of a letter does not automatically mean you will be adjudged to meet this requirement. Your communications skills will be assessed subsequently as part of the ST3 interview.

To use this option, provide the following information:

On your application: select the relevant options under the 'Language skills' section of the eligibility page, giving details as appropriate. You may be asked to provide the letter after application but this is not routinely the case and there is no need to supply the letter unless specifically requested.

At interview: you do not need to bring a supervisor's testimony to interview unless specifically requested. Your communication skills will be assessed implicitly throughout the interview.

Occupational English Test (OET)

The Occupational English Test (OET) is an acceptable form of evidence to demonstrate the required level of skill in written and spoken English for IMT, provided it meets the  standards required by the GMC .

Please be aware that this is not included as an option in the application form, and so candidates with this qualification will need to include it under the 'other' category, and explain that they have passed the OET in the space provided. 


In the event none of the above are applicable to your situation, you will have opportunity to state how you meet the criterion.

To do this, within the 'Language skills' section of the eligibility page on the application form, select 'No' to the top four questions (assuming this is applicable in each case), and this will see a textbox appear under the 'Other' heading.

Here you can explain your situation (within 50 words); this will then be assessed by the region assessing your application, who may then request evidence or additional information from you before determining whether your application can progress.