Considering a medical career move to Ireland? Alongside with getting IMC registered, another decision you have to make is whether you do the IELTS or the OET exam.

Confused? Let’s make things a bit simpler for you.

There are two exam options which you can choose from, IELTS (International English Language Testing System) or OET (Occupational English Test). Both of these tests will assess the below areas and you will be marked on a grading system.

  • Reading
  • Listening
  • Writing
  • Speaking

IELTS – A current Academic IELTS Certificate (dated within the last two years) with an overall band score of 7.0 and a minimum score of 6.5 in each module is the score accepted.

OET – You will need to achieve a minimum of grade B or a point score of 350.

So what’s the difference?

There are 2 versions of the IELTS, ‘General Training’ and ‘Academic’. The ‘Academic’ version is required for medical professionals wanting to practice in the Republic of Ireland. The content is however not medicine-specific and in practice covers a range of topics.

When we compare to the OET, there are 12 different versions that have been designed for different medical professionals. The reading and listening exams are for all professions and the writing and speaking exams are profession specific.

What this essentially means is that the OET would test your ability to communicate medical scenarios and relay specific medical information during a consultation or writing up a medical letter.

Which one should you do?

Well, neither exam is easier than the other, both IELTS and OET show that you have an advanced level of English. You may find that the OET due to it being more healthcare orientated it might be easier to understand. It may be easier though for you to find a centre that delivers IELTS close to where you live right now.  For that reason we generally recommend completing the Academic IELTS when starting your registration with the Irish Medical Council.