October 25, 2022

The IELTS Exams Score for Nurses in the USA

The IELTS Exams Score for Nurses in the USA

IELTS is one of those high-profile tests that tend to intimidate people a bit. Perhaps it's not the difficulty of the test itself, but the impact it can have on the test taker's personal life that causes the most unrest.

IELTS stands for the International English Language Testing System. This exam is designed to help you study, work, or move to a country where English is the native language. These countries include the US, Canada, Australia, the UK, and New Zealand. The IELTS has four sections: listening, reading, writing, and speaking.

If you seek work in the US or another English-speaking country, having a deep understanding of the language is extremely beneficial. Not only does this help with daily tasks, but it will also give you more job opportunities and help you integrate into the community of your choice. Whether you’re an international student, nurse, or specialized worker, you’ll need to take and pass this exam and ensure the organization you are part of accepts your IELTS score.

The IELTS is offered in two different forms, general and academic IELTS. The general IELTS focuses on practical and everyday English language training, while the academic test focuses more on professional topics often suited to an academic environment.  If you are an international nurse who speaks a foreign language and wants to work in the US, you’ll need to pass the academic IELTS before obtaining a visa and starting your career. 

To better understand the IELTS passing score for the USA, let’s look at how the scoring is completed. 

What is The Minimum Score Required to Pass?

The IELTS passing score for the USA is 6.5 overall. At this level, you will be eligible for a US visa. 

So what does a 6.5 overall IELTS score mean? Let’s break down the IELTS band score system: 

  • 9, Expert User- If you score a 9 on the IELTS, you demonstrate a complete command of the language. Your English language abilities are appropriate, accurate, and fluent.
  • 8, Very Good User - If you score an 8, you have almost a full command of the English language. This is except for occasional inaccuracies.
  • 7, Good User - This score represents a speaker who has operational command of English but has occasional misunderstandings and inaccuracies. Even so, this score means you can handle complex language and detail.
  • 6, Competent User - A score of 6 means you have an effective command of the language with some inappropriate usage and inaccuracies. At this level, you can understand fairly complex language. 
  • 5, Modest User - This score means you have partial command of English and can grasp overall meaning in most situations. However, this score means you are still making frequent mistakes.
  • 4, Limited User - At this level, you have basic competence in English but face frequent confusion in conversation.
  • 3, Extremely Limited User - A score of 3 represents a speaker with only a very general understanding of the language. 
  • 2, Intermittent User - This score means you have great difficulty understanding spoken and written English.
  • 1, Non-User - This score means you only understand a few words of English and cannot use the language.

A score of 6.5 places you between a competent user and a good user of the English language. This is the minimum IELTS score you need if you are looking to obtain a work or USA student visa in the US. You’ll gain a deeper understanding of English language proficiency and complex conversation as you work or study in the country.

Is It Important to Know the IELTS Test Format?

Understanding the IELTS test format is a great way for non-native English speakers to prepare for the exam. This test is broken up into four sections that cover listening, reading, writing, and speaking:

  • Listening - The listening section involves listening to different conversations and monologues to test comprehension. 
  • Reading - The reading portion of the test will provide you with longer passages to read and then answer questions about to see how well you understand the material.
  • Writing - You’ll be required to write an essay and a report for the IELTS academic test. The essay may require you to argue your opinion or present an idea, while the report will challenge you to interpret a graph or study and explain what it conveys.
  • Speaking - The speaking portion of the IELTS will prompt you to answer questions that will get more difficult as the test continues.

Depending on the test form you take (computer or paper based), the outline and length of these sections may vary slightly. It’s important to practice for all four of these sections to give yourself the best chance at achieving an IELTS passing score for the USA.

Where Can I Book and Take the IELTS Exam?

If you are ready to take this English proficiency test, you can book it on the IELTS website or visit the nearest International Development Plan (IDP) office to book in-person. When it comes time to take the test, you can either visit a certified IELTS test center near you or opt to take the exam online. IELTS Online is a new way to take the exam that will be rolled out in 2022.

If you are an international nurse and need assistance booking an IELTS exam, Health Carousel International can help. Contact your most recent assigned representative to get the assistance you need.

Where Can I Find Practice Questions?

If you’re looking for some practice questions to help prepare for the IELTS test, you can find sample test questions online at www.ielts.org. You can also check out bookstores near you and look for academic testing books that can give you practice exercises. Regularly practicing and studying for this exam is a great way to give yourself the best possible chance at earning an IELTS passing score for the USA!

Nervous about the IELTS? Here are three facts that should make you feel more confident as a future test-taker:

  1. 75% of Academic IELTS test-takers who take the exam as a registered nurse score an overall band score of 6.5 or higher. (That's the overall band score needed to qualify for a U.S. VisaScreen.) Compare this to the combined pass rate for the NCLEX exam (less than 50%) and IELTS seems a whole lot easier.
  2. The overall band score for Filipinos is even better. A whopping 82% of these candidates scored a 6.5 or higher.
  3. Speaking is not the most challenging test section for Filipino nurses. This is a common misconception. In fact, Filipino RN test takers average 6.8 on Speaking, but only 6.3 on Writing. However, U.S. VisaScreen standards do require a band score of 7 on Speaking. (So in effect Writing and Speaking are tied for the most difficult sections. We'll call this one a draw.)

More interesting IELTS stats can be explored at https://www.ielts.org/en-us/for-researchers/test-statistics.* If you already passed NCLEX and signed our contract, we can assist you with IELTS, the TOEFL exam, and more. Please contact your most current signed HCI representative for more details. If you're seeking a company that provides a wealth of assistance in passing the IELTS, please take the time to register with Health Carousel International.

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