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Why Indian/Filipino Nurses struggle to pass IELTS Academic Exam/OET ?

India and the Philippines are the two Asian countries which supply the most nurses to the developed world which has a higher percentage of the ageing population. To be a nurse in the UK, Nurse applicants need to provide proof of two key things: relevant qualifications ( Bachelor's Degree in Nursing /GNM ) and at least one year of experience, and good English language skills. In India, English is often used as a second language but for purposes of communication regional languages dominate the workplace settings. Similarly, in the Philippines, Tagalog is the first language spoken by the majority of health professionals locally. Even though most qualified Asian professionals are multilingual and some speak with an accent which cannot be understood by the majority of native speakers in the UK. The hospitals in the UK are very well aware of this situation and have made policies in this regard. Therefore, if nurses are not trained in a native English-speaking country they’ll need to either pass the IELTS or the Occupational English Test (OET) with satisfactory scores in listening, reading, writing and speaking.


Nurses wishing to work in the UK are advised to take the IELTS Academic Exam and score Band 7 in the Listening, speaking and Reading sections with a writing score of Band 6.5. Alternatively, the nurses must secure at least a B grade in listening, reading and speaking, with at least a C+ in writing if they appear for the Occupational English Test ( OET)


There may be several reasons why Indian nurses might struggle to pass the IELTS Academic exam. Here are some possible factors:

  1. Language proficiency: The IELTS Academic exam is designed to test the language proficiency of non-native English speakers, and many Indian nurses may not have had access to high-quality English language instruction during their schooling. This can lead to gaps in their language skills that make it difficult to achieve the required score on the exam.

  2. Lack of familiarity with the exam format: The IELTS Academic exam has a unique format that may be unfamiliar to many Indian nurses. For example, the speaking section involves a face-to-face interview with an examiner, which can be intimidating for some test-takers. Additionally, the reading and writing sections require a high level of familiarity with academic English, which may be a challenge for those who have not had experience with this type of language use.

  3. Test-taking skills: Some Indian nurses may struggle with the exam due to test-taking skills, such as time management, understanding complex instructions, or managing test anxiety. These skills can be developed with practice, but many test-takers may not have had access to adequate test preparation resources.

  4. Limited access to English-language resources: Finally, some Indian nurses may not have access to the same resources and support that other test-takers have, such as high-quality study materials, English-language tutors, or practice exams. This can make it difficult to prepare for the exam and achieve a high score.

It's worth noting that many Indian nurses successfully pass the IELTS Academic exam and go on to work as healthcare professionals in English-speaking countries. With dedication and the right support, it is possible to achieve the required score on the exam.

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