NMC investigate if controversial IELTS English test is too hard

Student at work

The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) is to carry out an investigation to see if the controversial IELTS exam is too hard.

NMC council papers reveal that the nursing regulator will be “gathering data and evidence” to investigate if the standards for English language testing are too difficult for applicants and need to change.

The International English Language Testing System (IELTS) exam has been used by the NMC since 2007 for nurses and midwives from outside the European Union (EU) butiIn 2016 the it was rolled out to all applicants who did not train in the UK.

Recruitment agencies and nursing leaders have consistently warned the exam is too complex is causing delays in overseas recruitment and with a reduction in UK nursing applicants staff are needed to fill backfill gaps.

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Reports say that it is currently taking applicants between eight and twelve months to pass the exam with the majority of applicants needing more than one attempt.