To go abroad, passing the Nursing Licensure Exam is only one of the many steps that you need to accomplish. Or let me try to rephrase it, “this is only the first, of many exams that you have to pass”, and one of which is IELTS.

IELTS (International English Language Testing System) is a common requirement which is accepted by more than 9,000 organizations over 145 countries and this includes health care institutions. This English Certification is not only limited for working abroad but also when immigrating other country. It serves as an evaluating tool that gauge the competency of an individual in using the language.

What is the PASSING SCORE?

The passing score for this exam depends on the requirement of the institution. This imply that some institution or country may only require as low as Band Score of 5 or high as Band Score of 7, or sometimes 8. But, instead of pondering on the passing score, it would be best if we aim at the highest Band Score in order to confidently say that we can pass the exam.

How can we PASS THE EXAM?

            “It is easier said than done”. That is true! But there is no harm in trying. The only secret in passing the exam is trying harder, and practicing better. And how do we manifest this in the real world?

Here are the tips on how we can improve our listening, speaking, and writing skills for IELTS:

1. Simple

They say that “Less talk, less mistake”, which makes sense, but the profound side of making your answers simple is increasing the chances of making an easy to explain sentences. A simple answer could be as short as 2 to 3 sentences.

You might asked me, “Really a 2-3 sentence answer is fine?”

Well, yeah! This is because your interviewer would not base their grade on the length of your answer, but more on its structure, coherence, and complexity.

Here is an example:

Interviewer: Describe your hometown.

You: I live in Chicago. It is situated in the northeastern part of Illinois, just on Lake Michigan’s southwestern shores. My hometown is known for its towering skyscrapers.   

Here is another:


You: I live in Makati. It’s a known as the financial center of the country for it has been a home to several multinational corporations.

Here is another:

Interviewer: What do you do?

You: I work as an operating nurse in a tertiary hospital. We usually have 12 hour-shift which is not only limited to assisting surgeons, but also with preparation of instruments. In addition, we also monitor the patient’s condition in the recovery room.    

2. Coherence

I just mentioned previously, that your sentence need to demarcate coherence for this will give sense to you answers. To do this, you must make a pattern, and below is an example.

“Direct answer. Explanation. Additional explanation / conclusion”

“What does this pattern means?” In constructing your answer, your first sentence should be your direct answer. This will help you to clearly state your stance about the question. Then your second sentence will be the explanation to your direct answer, while the 3rd sentence (you make have more than 3 sentences if you wish) could either be another explanation or could be conclusion for your answer. This still sticks on the idea of simplicity while satisfying clarity of what you are trying to imply.

3. Stick to one answer, idea, or side.

When a question asked you to choose between two sides or explain if a certain thought is advantageous or disadvantageous, remember to choose only one. WHY? Simply because it will allow you to better explain your answer and refrain from stuttering. Aside from this, you won’t fall short of explanation since you are just focus on one thing.

Remember: Make things as simple as you could, and you will be able to do that when choosing only one answer. However, if you insist to still explain both side, make sure that you explain everything first at one perspective prior going to the next. 

4. There is no Right or Wrong Answer, IELTS is about Proper Answer.

Unlike Nursing Licensure Exams, we have to choose one among the options, and the answers for this questions are consistently the same for many years. Example, when asked, “Which among these is the top priority?”

  1. Airway
  2. Breathing
  3. Circulation
  4. Infection

…of course, the answer is airway. This answer has been consistently the right answer for this question, as well as those with similar implication. For IELTS, since most questions (particularly in Writing and Speaking Exams) are answered based on your personal information and opinions, its correctness will be gauged on the structure of your sentences and your delivery (which also entails pronunciation of words). Therefore, you should not be so worried asking your friends, who previously took the exam, about their answers because yours will be different.

5. Talk in English as FREQUENT as YOU COULD!

The best way to gauge your readiness for this exam is thru actually practicing it. This simply means that you must eat, drink, breath, and even fart (if possible) ENGLISH. If you have budget, an English Tutor would be a good way to practice. You may have free talk with them or focus on the sample IELTS exams available online. Your tutor can jot down your opportunities and explain how you can further improve it. Their rate is usually per hour basis. There are also Review Centers that could help you hone your communications skills. However, if your budget is a bit constraint, it may necessitate you to be more resourceful. Reading or watching English movies are not enough. You need to really create thoughts and deliver it in English, and one way is joining forums. This can help you work on your writing skills. You may also simply download writing exams online. Then ask a friend (whom you know writes wells and know how to proofread) or even your previous teacher, to quickly check on your work and provide comments. Another is joining chat group, especially those in Canada, United States, and Europe (Britain). This might appear weird or funny to you, but if you’ll come to think of it, it will really force you to speak in English. But, if you really find this absurd, try implementing EOP (English On Policy) at home. At least, you won’t feel uneasy talking in English since you’ll be talking with your family members. Then again, this does not guarantee that your sentences will be free from grammar lapses, unless at least one in the family speaks well and corrects you when opportunities are committed.

Passing IELTS exam is not easy but it is doable. There are only three things you have to always remember, make your answers SIMPLE, CLEAR, AND be CONFIDENT. No need to make flowery words or provide scientific explanation, because the interviewer just need to hear the clarity and sense of your answers.