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Knowledge of English - PLAB candidates

To book your place to take PLAB you must, among other things, show us you have the necessary knowledge of English.


IELTS is an English Language test administered by the British Council, IDP Education Australia and Cambridge ESOL. It is run in over 100 countries. You can find out more on the IELTS website at

For us to accept your IELTS certificate, it must meet our criteria.

Your IELTS certificate is valid for two years. Your certificate must be valid on the day you sit PLAB Part 1.

If you have obtained the required scores in the academic version of the IELTS test over two years ago, you may be able to prove to us that you have maintained your English language skills.

You can do this by submitting your original IELTS certificate showing that you got the required scores and one of the following:

  • Evidence that you have successfully completed a postgraduate course of study, where all elements of the course of study, including clinical activities, were taught and examined solely in English, within the past two years.
  • A reference from an employer or your tutor or lecturer on a postgraduate course of study from a country where English is the first or native language. The reference must cover at least three months full time employment or study within the last two years. Download the reference form (pdf)

If you supply a reference we will keep this for our records.

Please note that achievement of IELTS for the purpose of applying for registration with the GMC may not be acceptable evidence of your English language skills for the purpose of obtaining a UK Visa. We recommend you visit the UK Visa and Immigration website to check their requirements.

Primary medical qualification taught and examined in English

You may also be able to show us you have the necessary knowledge of English if your primary medical qualification has been taught and examined in English. In this case you would need to send:

  • A written statement confirming if you have ever taken the academic IELTS test
  • An original letter or certificate from the institution where you qualified that confirms:
    a. all of the course, including clinical activities, were taught and examined solely in English
    b. at least 75% of any clinical interaction, including personal contact with patients, their families and other healthcare professionals, which took place as part of the course of study, was conducted in English
    c. the date you sat your final examination.

See the list of universities from which we will not accept English language evidence.

If you sat your final examination over 24 months ago you will also need to send:

We can only accept original documents. Please send your evidence to:

General Medical Council
Registration Support Team (AEL)
3 Hardman Street
M3 3AW

English language evidence when you apply for registration with a licence to practise

We review and update our English language requirements regularly. The English language evidence you provide for PLAB may not be acceptable or sufficient for the grant of registration. When you apply for registration with a licence after passing PLAB, we will tell you what evidence you need to give us to demonstrate your knowledge of English.