Interested in obtaining NMC registration. Need IELTS tips.

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    I'm currently an RN in the US, interested in obtaining registration through the NMC in order to move to the UK within the next year or so. I've been in touch with Continental Travel Nurse and received A LOT of information. It looks like the first step to registering with the NMC would be to study for and pass the IELTS exam.
    Since English is my first and only language I figured this wouldn't be too difficult, however, the recruiter from Continental informed me that it is actually quite difficult to pass. I was just wondering if anyone had any advice on how long I should take to prepare, and what would be the best to study. I have the sample questions from the IELTS site, as well as some practice questions from another site dedicated to help with the IELTS test. Should I buy any additional books or online programs to study from? Any advice would be appreciated. THANKS!
  2. 6 Comments so far...

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    I'm in the same boat as you, and just took IELTS in January. It's not as bad as they make it out to be, but I did find the writing section to be a bit more challenging than I expected, even as a native speaker. This was mainly due to the length of the two essays required, and the fact that they require a (to me) surprising amount of analysis and conclusion-drawing. It took me the full time allotted to finish and I only got an 8 on the section (a little embarrassing). I don't think extra studying or review will be necessary, though; I certainly didn't do any.
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    IELTs seem to be very easy for the native English speakers. However, from personal experience, I've met few examinees who were native English speaking and not passed the IELTS first and second time while there were non-english speaking who get a high mark at the first seating. In the writing section, it was more of writing organisations, methinks, rather than whether one was from an English speaking background or not.

    I'd say that for native English speakers, a score of 8 in writing is very good enough with first seating, and, I would say that a score of 8 and below in speaking would be something like "ugggh"!
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    I didn't study at all, English was my first language, and I got a 8 for listening (zoned out a little during it), 9 for reading, 7 for writing (a little miffed), and 8.5 for speaking--which I didn't understand at all. The only thing I can think of is that I felt like I was on a game show needing to answer the questions correctly even though it was really just to assess my speaking abilities. I think I started to babble a bit when I somehow got on to how the Soviet Union and communism caused tourist trade to diminish during the 1970s...

    I was surprised about the writing because it did require a bit of detailed analysis without much time to do it; I can't imagine doing it if English was my second language...even after 4 years of German in high school and taking the AP exam, I would fail it miserably.

    But to those with college degrees, it shouldn't be too much of a trouble because most nursing schools required you to write quite a few papers of analysis, not to mention clinical write-ups. My piece of advice is to be precise, especially during the listening portion. I have trouble concentrating on speakers on audio, so that was more difficult for me.
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    I took the IELTS back in May, also as part of my NMC application. I think I gave myself about 3 weeks to prepare before taking it. I had the same warnings from Travel Continental & took them for their word.

    My advice is this-

    Learn the format of the exam & go to your local library & take out a few IELTS books with practice tests & CDs (for the listening test, will help get you used to accents & the process of the test). A girl I work with did the IELTS for the same reasons & she had a study guide at work, I briefed through it & was pained. The IELTS, for me, is the type of exam that you have to learn how to take, despite your mother tongue being English. At the language school where I took it, there were months & months of IELTS exam preparation courses offered for ESL students.

    All components, reading, writing, listening, oral, was all timed by the examiner in the room & you could not go over the set time for each section. The oral conversation was recorded but very simple. Like the person said above, I have ZERO clue how ESL students passed all the sections, when I was using up all my time & felt the pressure, moreso for the writing & reading sections (one of the readings was about "Business Innovations" kill me! I ran out of time)

    Because I ran out of time on the readings & wasn't sure about my answers in the 3rd reading section, I thought I had failed. I had to leave a few questions unanswered (when I should have at least guessed). Anyway, as you know, if you fail one section (less than 7 out of 9) you have to retake all sections on another date, fork over the $300 etc etc etc.

    I ended up JUST passing with exactly 7/9 for reading, oral 9/9, writing 8.5/9, listening 8.5/9

    I was very relieved...
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    Jbo604, thanks again, your posts have been helpful. Congrats on passing the test! When you say you studied 3 weeks in advance..how many hours/days per week did you commit? I'm taking the test January 21st. Trying to have a plan in order ahead of time since I don't know how much free time I'll have during the weeks leading up to the test.
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    Sarena33 -

    if you get some study guides for the IELTS, basically all I did were practice tests. And only the Academic practice tests (because there is a "General" level as well, but for the NMC, they require you take & pass the Academic version). It was good because it got me in the mindset to expect how the day of testing would go. I didn't study every night because I was also working 12 hour shifts, but on my days off I would do the listening component, a reading component & then the next night maybe read what they want from the "written" components & practice writing those out in the essay forms they look for. The guides will give you tips on what they look for in every section you're expected to pass, how both essays have to be a certain number of words per essay, and so on, then I'd try to do each section in the time they allowed on testing day.

    The oral part is the only thing I didn't prepare for. I did read the kind of things they'd ask of you, basically they don't want you to reply in short form, like "yes" or "no", they want you to elaborate on whatever they ask of you, whatever topic they give you so they can hear your spoken English & understanding of what they ask. No prob if your mother tongue is English.


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