Specialist Language Courses
IELTS Preparation for the NHS

International nurses are vital to a sustainable and effective NHS. There are approximately 25,000 nursing vacancies and insufficient numbers of UK nurses to fill them. It is no surprise that patients are welcomed by nurses from all over the world when in hospital – from southern and eastern Europe to the Philippines and India.

However, the decision of the NMC to require all international nurses to score 7.0 in all 4 papers of the Academic IELTS English language test has potentially created a significant slowdown to this much-needed international recruitment.

Since the decision came into effect in early 2016, SLC has been working closely with NHS Trusts, private hospitals, care home groups and their recruitment partners to coach their candidates to both pass IELTS at the required level and to ensure their communicative skills ensure safe and effective practice.

We have created programmes for nurses from both EU and non-EU markets, such as the Philippines and India. The programmes are designed specifically to map to recruitment processes, taking the different language learning needs and profiles of nurses into account, and creating fast and effective roadmaps to exam success.

How Long will it take my staff to achieve IELTS 7.0?

To move up 1 band takes approximately 200 hours of study, IELTS 7.0 is equivalent to C1 on the Common European Framework.

How do the Scores Correlate to English Level?

Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR)


7.0 and 7.5 are within the advanced level C1 band. At C1, you can:

  • Understand a wide range of demanding, longer texts and recognise implicit meaning.
  • Express ideas fluently and spontaneously without much obvious searching for expressions.
  • Use language flexibly and effectively for social, academic and professional purposes.
  • Produce clear, well-structured, detailed text on the complex subjects, showing controlled use of organisational patterns, connectors and cohesive devices.

7.0 is at the lower end of C1. According to IELTS, scoring 7.0 demonstrates the candidate ‘has operational command of the language, though with occasional inaccuracies, inappropriateness and misunderstandings in some situations. Generally handles complex language well and understands detailed reasoning’.

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