This page contains information on the level of English language skills which ST3 applicants will require, along with guidance on the various methods of demonstrating achievement of this.

The ST3 person specifications state: 'All candidates must have demonstrable skills in written and spoken English adequate to enable effective communication about medical topics with patients and colleagues'


Undergraduate medical training completed in English

If your undergraduate medical training was undertaken in English, providing evidence is quite straightforward.

In this case, information should be provided as below:

On your application : under 'language skills' on the eligibility page, answer 'yes' to undergraduate training taken in English.

At interview : provide evidence of your undergraduate medical training (which you will be required to do anyway).


Undergraduate medical training not completed in English

If your undergraduate medical training was not completed in English, you will need to provide evidence of your English language skills.

Information on how to demonstrate this can be found on the following pages.


The academic International English Language Testing System (IELTS) is a commonly-accepted system of testing English language skills accepted by a range of organisations.

IELTS scoring

The IELTS assesses candidates on four areas of language skills, awarding a mark for each, as well as an overall mark. To use IELTS as evidence of your English language skills, you must achieve the minimum marks below:

  • Overall - 7.5*

  • Speaking - 7.0

  • Listening - 7.0

  • Reading - 7.0

  • Writing - 7.0

Scores achieved in one single sitting

It may seem an obvious point, but to confirm: to use IELTS, these scores must have been met/exceeded in one single sitting of the test.

Completed within two years of application

Only tests which have been sat at some point within the 24 months preceding ST3 applications can be accepted.

Using IELTS

On your application: under the 'Language skills' section of the eligibility page, select 'No' to English undergraduate training, 'Yes' to IELTS', and then give your test scores and the date on which the test was taken.

At interview: you should provide the original, hard copy of any evidence above, alongside your passport.

If you have not undertaken undergraduate medical training in English, nor met the necessary requirements of the IELTS test, there are alternative methods you can use to demonstrate your English language skills:

UK NHS Experience

Should you have over two years' experience working in UK NHS post(s), this will usually be sufficient for your application to meet this criterion at the long-listing stage; although in some cases the region assessing your application may requires additional information at this stage. However, as your communications skills will be assessed as part of the ST3 interview this does not commonly happen.

Should you fall within this category, the action required of you will be:

On your application: select the relevant options within the eligibility page 'language skills' section; the employment page will also need to reflect your experience.

At interview: your communication skills will be assessed throughout the interview.

Supervisor's testimony

An often-acceptable alternative to IELTS is the provision of written testimony from a supervisor. Essentially, all this needs to be is a letter from a clinician who has supervised your work/training, and can attest to your English language skills.

The letter should include information about who the supervisor is, how/where/when they have supervised you, how they could be contacted if necessary, and their indication that your English skills are suitable for you to progress to a UK ST3 post.

Please note - provision of a letter does not automatically mean you will be adjudged to meet this requirement. Your communications skills will be assessed subsequently as part of the ST3 interview.

To use this option, provide the following information:

On your application: select the relevant options under the 'Language skills' section of the eligibility page, giving details as appropriate. You may be asked to provide the letter after application but this is not routinely the case and there is no need to supply ther letter until interview unless specifically requested.

At interview: you should provide the original, hard copy of this testimony, alongside your passport and any other suitable information; also, your communication skills will be assessed implicitly throughout the interview.

Other

In the event none of the above are applicable to your situation, you will have opportunity to state how you meet the criterion.

To do this, within the 'Language skills' section of the eligibility page on the application form, select 'No' to the top four questions (assuming this is applicable in each case), and this will see a textbox appear under the 'Other' heading.

Here you can explain your situation (within 50 words); this will then be assessed by the region assessing your application, who may then request evidence or additional information from you before determining whether your application can progress.