Stand-alone Eligibility FAQs

English Language Proficiency

How do I provide evidence of English language proficiency?

All applicants to any Foundation Programme must have demonstrable skills in listening, reading, writing and speaking in English that enable effective communication about medical topics with patients and colleagues, as set out in the GMC’s Good Medical Practice (2013).

There are four acceptable forms of evidence of English Language Proficiency:

Proof that your primary medical qualification was undertaken solely in English, with all examinations undertaken solely in English, and that at least 75% of contact with patients undertaken as part of the qualification, was undertaken in English. NB: This is a GMC requirement and is evaluated by the GMC. Please see the GMC website for a list of institutions from which the GMC will not accept evidence of English language proficiency – and for detailed descriptions of the format in which the evidence must be provided.

OR a valid academic IELTS certificate with a minimum score of 7.5 in each domain (speaking, listening, reading and writing). NB: IELTS is valid for 2 years and the above scores must be achieved in one sitting.

OR a valid ‘Statement of Results’ from the OET with a minimum score of 400 in each domain (listening, reading, writing and speaking). NB: OET is valid for 2 years and the above scores must be achieved in one sitting. We do not accept OET results which are graded with a letter only, e.g. ‘Grade B’.

OR proof that you have completed a minimum of 3 months paid employment as a doctor in the NHS. A consultant testimony should be provided as evidence of this. Consultant testimonies will be accepted for work in both general practice and hospital settings. This evidence will not be accepted if it relates to employment on an ad hoc locum basis.

Can I use the OET as proof of my English Language Proficiency?

Yes, you can now use the OET as proof of English Language Proficiency. We require a valid ‘Statement of Results’ from the OET with a minimum score of 400 in each domain (listening, reading, writing and speaking). NB: OET is valid for 2 years and the above scores must be achieved in one sitting. We do not accept OET results which are graded with a letter only, e.g. ‘Grade B’.

What is the IELTS?

The International English Language Testing System (IELTS) measures the English Language Proficiency of people who want to study or work in a country where English is used as a language of communication.

For more information please visit the IELTS website.

What is the OET?

The Occupational English Test (OET) measures the English Language Proficiency of people who want to work as healthcare professionals in a country where English is used as a language of communication.

For more information please visit the OET website.

When do I need to provide evidence of satisfactory English Proficiency?

At the time of application and by the application deadline. You will be asked to provide this information as part of the online application form.

Can I provide evidence of employment in the NHS instead of completing IELTS or OET?

Yes. You will need to provide proof that you have completed a minimum of 3 months paid employment as a doctor in the NHS. A consultant testimony should be provided as evidence of this. Consultant testimonies will be accepted for work in both general practice and hospital settings. This evidence will not be accepted if it relates to employment on an ad hoc locum basis. For the relevant information and forms concerning the consultant testimony, please see the F2 Stand-alone Applicant Guidance.

I am unlikely to receive my IELTS or OET certificate until after the application deadline. What can I do?

You should provide the details of your Test Report Form (TRF) number as part of your application form. The UKFPO will verify your TRF number with the online provider.

How long are IELTS and OET certificates valid for?

IELTS and OET certificates must be dated no earlier than two years prior to the start of the programme to which you are applying (please see the applicant handbook for the exact date, which will alter each year).


My overall IELTS score is 7.5 but I have scored less than 7.5 in one or more of the individual domains (speaking, listening, reading and writing). Can my IELTS score be accepted?

No. The requirement is for an IELTS score of 7.5 in each domain, achieved in one sitting of the exam.

My overall OET score is 400 but I have scored less than 400 in one or more of the individual domains (speaking, listening, reading and writing). Can my OET score be accepted?

No. The requirement is for an OET score of 400 in each domain, achieved in one sitting of the exam.

I have achieved the required score in the academic IELTS / OET, and done so in one sitting, but it has taken more than one attempt. Is my certificate still acceptable?

You do not have to attain the required score on your first attempt.

You do need to attain the required score in each domain (speaking, listening, reading and writing), and to do so in one sitting, but the successful sitting does not have to be your first sitting.

This applies equally to the academic IELTS and the OET.


Registration with the General Medical Council (GMC)

How can I check which registration I am eligible for?

We would advise you to use the GMC’s online applicant registration tool to identify the correct application for you and provide you guidance on the steps you need to take. Please click here to use the tool.

Do I need to have full registration and a licence to practice with the GMC at the time of application?

No. Applicants must hold full registration and a licence to practice by the start of the programme.

What is PLAB?

The Professional and Linguistic Assessments Board test, or the PLAB test, helps us to make sure doctors who qualified abroad have the right knowledge and skills to practice medicine in the UK. There are two parts to the PLAB test.

Do I need to take PLAB?

If you graduated from a medical school outside of the UK, European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland, you’ll probably need to take the PLAB test. The PLAB test will check that you know and can do the same as a doctor starting the second year of their Foundation Programme training in the UK. Further information can be found on the GMC’s website here.

What does the PLAB test involve?

There are two parts to the test. Part 1 is a written multiple-choice exam, with 180 single best answer questions. Part 2 is a practical objective structured clinical exam, known as an OSCE. You’ll need to pass both parts before you can apply for registration with a licence to practice medicine in the UK.

What is PLAB 1?

PLAB 1 is a written exam made up of 180 multiple choice questions which you must answer within three hours. Each starts with a short scenario followed by a question. You need to choose the right answer out of the five possible answers given. You can sit part 1 in a number of countries, as well as in the UK. Have a look at the available locations and dates when you log in to GMC Online.

What is PLAB 2?

PLAB 2 is an objective structured clinical exam. It’s made up of 18 scenarios, each lasting eight minutes and aims to reflect real life settings including a mock consultation or an acute ward. Part 2 tests run throughout the year at the clinical assessment centre.


Previous Experience

I have previously completed foundation training. Am I eligible to apply?

Applicants who have successfully completed the F2 year and have received a Foundation Achievement of Competency Document (FACD) / Foundation Programme Certificate of Competence (FPCC) are not eligible to apply for stand-alone posts.