OET News – NMC to accept OET Writing C+

DECEMBER 2019 : In case you haven’t heard already, I am delighted to inform you that the UK’s Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) has announced that it will amend its OET Writing requirement to a grade C+, alongside a minimum B grade in the Listening, Reading and Speaking sub-tests.

As you may be aware, many nurses have struggled to achieve a grade B in Writing, despite showing themselves to be capable of providing safe and effective care in an English-speaking environment.

The change will come into effect from 28 January 2020. OET results achieved during the previous two years that meet the new requirements will also be accepted.

Latest news on NMC decision to possibly lower the OET writing score to C+ to bring it into line with the IELTS writing grade requirement

NOVEMBER 2019 : The NMC announced they are considering lowering the OET writing grade required to bring it in line with the change to the IELTS writing in November 2018. Here is the article you can see on the NMC website at this URL : https://www.nmc.org.uk/news/news-and-updates/statement-on-proposed-changes-to-readmission-and-english-language-requirements

We will wait to see if this is approved, but if it is it will have a significant impact on nurses who have taken the OET exam and achieved B grades in listening, reading and speaking but only a C+ in writing. Presumably there will be a retrospective application of the new writing score so many people who have taken the OET test in the past can apply for their PIN.

NMC’s Statement on proposed changes to readmission and English language requirements – November 2019

Released Wednesday 20 November 2019 for approval by the NMC governing council on Wednesday 27 November 2019, are a number of proposed changes to our readmission process and English language requirements.

These proposed evidence-based changes will help to streamline the process both for those wanting to return to practice and for those seeking to join our register for the first time.

Changes to English language requirements

One of the changes we’re asking Council to approve is to our English language requirements. We’re proposing to remove the five year limit on using nursing and midwifery qualifications taught in English, as evidence of a person’s English language skills.

We’re also requesting that Council amend the required score for the written section of the Occupational English Test (OET) so that it aligns with the change we made at the end of 2018 to the score of the written section of the International English Language Testing System (IELTS).

Emma Broadbent, Director for Registration and Revalidation for the NMC, said: “These common sense changes are in line with the NMC’s commitment to better, safer care and will continue to ensure that only those nurses, midwives and nursing associates with the right skills, knowledge and command of English are able to join and re-join our register.”

These changes will go to the NMC Council for approval on 27 November 2019.

Background information

More information on the proposed changes can be found in the Council papers.

Following an extensive evidence gathering and analysis exercise with OET, we have agreed that the OET writing domain score requirement will change from a B (350-440) to a C+ (300-340). This will bring it in line with our requirement for IELTS test takers, which is an overall score of 7, but with a minimum 6.5 in the writing domain as of this year.

NMC lowering IELTS grade for writing – November 2018

From November 2018 the NMC is accepting a lower score in writing for IELTS. Here’s what they say on their website : Changes to our English language requirements: From Wednesday 5 December, we’ll accept an IELTS certificate that confirms you scored a minimum of 6.5 in writing alongside a minimum of 7.0 in reading, listening and speaking, so long as you achieved the minimum overall score of 7.0. Our Council agreed this change at their meeting on Wednesday 28 November.

Currently the OET requirement is still four “B”s however we think there must be pressure to reduce the writing element to “C+” which is the equivalent of IELTS 6.5