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English Exams for the Visa Screen and CGFNS 2023 - Conversation with Mukul Bakhshi

Hello everyone and welcome to Connetics onwards and upwards show. We are pleased you're here and glad you're joining us for another edition Shouldn't have our web show. My name is Holly Musselwhite, I'm the Clinical Nurse Educator for Connetics USA and we are a company of under the AMN healthcare. So I see already we have some folks saying hello on the chat and we hope you'll add your name and where you're watching from so Ervin, thanks for being here today. And Clements Hello, good day. Our topic for today show is a check in. Because it's been one year since CGFNS, integrated new English exams for visa screen. And so we want to see how it's going and what else is on the horizon. We've got a great lineup of guests from one from excuse me, CGFNS, and to English exam review, company representatives will be here to share some insights with you as well. So our show is going to take place in two parts. And we hope you'll pose any questions that you have in the chat. We'll try and get those answered throughout the course of our show. Today, we want to take a little bit of time to kind of explore with you what are some of the important things that need to happen when you're getting ready to come to the US and one of those is English. But we also want to talk about the opportunities that exist throughout the United States with Connetics USA nursing recruiting agency and our hospital partners. O’Grady Peyton, our sister company with AMN so O'Grady Peyton is our staffing international staffing arm. And if you look, I think we're going to pull up a map and show you throughout the US where we have partner hospitals and facilities. So if you look at that, I'm trying to find a state that we don't have something in between Connetics, and O'Grady, Peyton, we can meet the interests of pretty much any location that you have out there. So amazing opportunities, and we look forward to helping you find the best match for what you're looking for here. So please, you can go and apply with us to And we'll put that link in there as well. So you are more than welcome to reach out to us and let us know what you're interested in. And we will work on finding you a match. 

I would like to also remind you that while I see some more people saying hello in the comments, just don't forget questions that you have are probably questions that other people have. And maybe they're a little afraid, but you're brave. And so you're going to put those questions in the chat so that we can maybe help give you answers to some of the burning things that are in your mind about English or how to complete your visa screen process and get further along in preparing to come to the US. Next up I want to introduce our guests. So we have three guests with us today. Mukul is joining us. Hi Mukul. Holly, how are you? Hi there and I see Ervin from Niners and Scott from Swoosh. So thank you all for being with us today. It's great to see you. And like I said earlier, we're going to have a show in two parts. So I'm gonna let you all introduce yourselves now. And then we'll get moving into the first part of our of our show. So Mukul, we'll start with you.


Hi, everyone. I'm Mukul Bakhshi. I am chief global affairs officer at CGFNS. I'm also the Director of the Alliance for Ethical International Recruitment practices, which is the division of CGFNS that ensures that foreign educated health professionals are treated fairly when they come to the US. Thanks. Thanks Mukul. We're glad you joined us today. Thank you so much. It's been a year since I've seen you I think so it's a good time to check in. Scott, if you'll introduce yourself next. That would be great. Thanks, Holly.


Hello everyone. My name is Scott and I'm the Managing Director of Swoosh English and where are we at IELTS and PTE exam preparation partner of Connetics USA. I've been an English language teacher focusing on English exam specialisms for about nine years now. And it's a pleasure having you guys here today to ask your questions about English. The CGF announcement happened one year ago. 

Thank you, Scott. And last but not least Ervin. Can you introduce yourself hello everyone.

This is Ervin Temporal from 9.0 Niner Philippines allow me first to ask for an apology because here in the Philippines we're currently experiencing typhoon and my internet connection now is not that stable. But fortunately I am still able to connect even if I'm here in the provinces. I have classes here tomorrow. We have been working with Connetics for quite some time. But here in the Philippines I've been teaching English since 2006. So I have devoted half of my life to English examinations since most of our interviewees are nurses. We're planning to go to the United States of America. Hopefully we this discussion will be able to share with you what we think are the pros and cons one year after the CGFNS has accepted other English examinations apart from IELTS and I'm so glad to be part of this show. Thank you Connetics. Thank you Ervin. So right now we're going to move into part one of our show with Michael. And we're going to be talking about some of the CGFNS. 

Review of the year and how it's gone. And what's on the horizon. And Scott and Ervin, we're gonna have you as part of part two of our session today. So we'll see you back here in a little bit. Thank you so much. And everybody, if you want to take a moment, like I said earlier, put your questions in the chat. We'll start with those that are related to the CGFNS process, and Mukul will be a great resource to answer some of those questions. So while we're waiting for them to put some questions in there, let's start with some questions. That that may help kind of set the stage because we have people who may be in the middle of the process people who are at the beginning of the process. So can you Mukul give us just a little synopsis of what is CGFNS? Yeah, great question, Holly. So for those of you who are not familiar, CGFNS is the organization that does credential evaluation for nurses and other Internationally Educated healthcare professionals who are coming to the US. And so we do that for two purposes. So one is for the visa screen process for immigration. We also do that for licensure. Through the CS program that we have, in both cases, either for immigration or relationship, we're looking at your credentials, including your transcripts, your licenses, a test of nursing knowledge, like the NCLEX with a qualifying exam. And of course, we're going to talk a lot about today, which is the qualifying exam. I also mentioned in the intro, one of the divisions of CGFNS that I'm also served as the director of is the Alliance for ethical international recruitment practices, which is the division that ensures that nurses and other health professionals coming to the US are treated fairly by their recruiters. And, of course, I'm proud to say that both Connetics and O'Grady Peyton our long standing certified firms who are committed to abiding by our code of ethical recruitment. 

Thanks, Mukul. That's very helpful. And I see a couple comments in the chat. I'm gonna jump to those really quick. So Alyssa says we have great guests, you included VIPs today, Arielle is joining us from Belize and Ruby, from Kenya and Clement is signing in from India. So we have great international representatives here to fill up watching from India. And Osama has a comment here. I've applied to CGFNS the report is out. But I'm still waiting for the board to reply to me ATT but it didn't contact me yet. It's been 1.5 months. You're with the Texas Board and signing on from Lebanon. Okay, so, um, you know, it's not really a licensure show, but I'm going to take a second anyway. So that means you, you, you got your CGFNS professional report issued for the state of Texas sounds like you're getting ready to take your NCLEX. So my next question would be Did you register with the with Pearson Vue? And did you did you message the board and let them know that they should have your report and see whether they've had a chance to review it yet and confirm that you're eligible? So those two things that registration with Pearson Vue and that eligibility receipt from Texas are sort of two important milestones that I would expect to see happening for you pretty soon being that it's been a month and a half? Yeah, I would expect you might have heard something, but maybe just a good idea to check in with them and see if they got your report and they've had a chance to review it or maybe they're a little behind. Sometimes it doesn't. It's not a perfect science as to how quickly you'll get a response.  

So yeah, for what it's worth. Good point Tali, exactly your advice exactly what I would say soy milk. Well, what is the relationship between CGFNS and ELPs? Yep. Good question, Holly. So, as I mentioned earlier, the, we're looking at a bunch of different criteria to determine whether your experience education is comparable to that of a domestically trained nurse or other healthcare professional. And so we do that by looking at licenses, educational transcripts, a test of nursing knowledge, for example, and English language proficiency. So generally speaking, unless you're coming from certain exempt countries, you're required to prove English language proficiency either for a visa screen, which we're gonna talk a lot about today, or also by many state boards of nursing for licensure purposes. And so we use those exams that we're gonna talk about, including IELTS and TOEFL and OET and all those tests to assess the comparability of your English language proficiency to ensure that you meet the standards. All right. So that's actually a good segue into the next question that I have, which is what we talked that a year ago, there were some changes that were made to CGFNS. So it's probably a good idea to give a little overview of what those changes were and why they were a very positive thing for international nurses and other international health care professionals who were looking to meet those requirements. Maybe make it a little easier. Can you explain what the changes were? Yeah, absolutely. So what we did last year, is we accepted additional tests for the visa screening process last August.  

So prior to that, since the visa screening process was created, essentially, depending on the profession, you had a couple choices, either TOEFL the Test of English and foreign language, IELTS, and TOEFL, which is a smaller test. Starting last year after the federal government, specifically the Health Resources Services Administration, which is part of the Department of Health and Human Services, established additional tests that were authorized or the federal purposes and those included Cambridge, Michigan, OET and Pearson. And so in August, we started accepting those for visa screen. And by the end of last year, we also accept them for state licensure purposes. And so those tests are all now permissible for both for any program that we accept, depending on whether the state is also willing to accept those scores. And so you kind of answered one of the other questions I had, which was why so basically, if it's accepted at the federal level, then it makes sense that you guys have to now implement a process so that you can review those along with the other credentials you're looking at. And make sure that nurses and other health care professionals in this group are meeting that standard at a professional level. Some nurses still don't realize that what may be acceptable for visa screen, and what's acceptable for the state where they want to work may be two different things. So you mentioned that now when nurses have CES reviews, that if a board accepts a certain English exam that you have that list you gave us that you can add that to the evaluation now. Yes.  

So what is the best way for a nurse to know whether their board requirement for English is going to match what they're planning to do for their visa screen? Yeah, that's a great point, Holly, and it makes it really important to know what your ultimate state you want to be licensed in. So a bunch of tests, of course, now were accepted at the federal level, but only some of those tests are accepted in many states. So you can't assume that just because it's accepted for federal purposes, it will be accepted for state purposes. And then even if the states accept all the same test, the scores could vary. So you know, for certain scores, you know, there might be a higher request for certain sections or speaking or things of that sort. So it's really important that you know, as upfront as possible, what the test requirements are, or the licensure requirements for your state, sometimes you don't know where you're going to be going. And so in that case, you should potentially prepare to take multiple tests, or to take tests that are kind of valid in more places. 

So actually, that leads to maybe we can put up the visual now that shows some of the tests and what's accepted in different states. So we have a few maps to share with the group that's watching with us today. So if you take a look, here, you'll see IELTS which is a very commonly accepted exam throughout the United States, probably one of the most well known. And so where you see blue highlights, that's telling you that there are different or higher requirements for the Test Scoring, than what would be required for visa screen. So that's what Mukul was, speaking about just a minute ago is you need to if you know what state you're going to you want to research, is there any difference between the scores that they require, and the scores that you might have to achieve for your visa screen, because there are some differences. If you don't know where you're going? You know, then you want to consider that maybe there's an exam that has a lot more acceptability across the United States as well. We'll see here. This is the map for PTE. So you can see the gray states actually indicate where Pete where English is not required for you to get at least a single state license. And then which states except PTE, and so we've got one state in there. Oh, we get this a lot to Maryland. So Maryland is in the process of implementing some new exams that they're going to accept. But at this current time, we have no information that they're ready to roll just yet. So that's kind of like what happened with CGFNS. There's an approval process that happens. And then there's a period of time that it takes to actually go into implementation of reviewing those things, and making sure that the reviewers are trained to properly look at the information so that when those reports are produced, they meet the standards that they're supposed to. 

Yeah, so I'm just going to jump back into the comments for a section for a minute. I see. Let's see. As real said, Belize is an English speaking country. So I was educated in English and all my documents are in English, I speak only English, do I still need to take the English exam? In order to get my visa screen? That's a great question. And yes, the answer is you do are required to take that English language proficiency exam, there's only a select group of countries that are exempt from English. In many countries where you speak English or educated in English, you still are required to take an English language proficiency exam. So I know that can be challenging and frustrating, I guess the only kind of benefit is for native speakers, these exams tend to be quite easy. So that could at least to be a little bit of solace, and for the extra step involved. So what are the requirements to be able to take these exams? Is there anything that they need to do beforehand? So there's no requirement to actually take the exam, it's not like, you know, for example, for the NCLEX exam where you need to get an authorization to test, pretty much anyone can sign up, I think, just from my perspective, if you're going in, it's helpful to have preparation to make sure that you do as well as possible on these tests, because going in cold can be challenging, even if you're a pretty experienced with the English language. But having support and doing some practice can be very helpful. 

So what if a nurse took like the OET or the PTE in the past? Would it still be valid and meet requirements? Is there a timeline concern? Yes, Holly. So we generally accept test with a two year validity. So you want to make sure you have taken the test relatively recently to in order to be used for both visa screen and for the CES program. Okay, got it. And I have heard, I'm sure some of the nurses on have heard that there may be some exam score changes. So can you tell us are there any like that we should plan for? Or can you help us understand why there would be changes? Yeah, great question. So I think changes are likely in the next few months. You know, a lot of this is trial and error. We, of course, accepted the test last year, and seeing the traction of the different tests, I think there have been some concerns. I've heard from many different stakeholder groups, that these passing scores for different tests aren't aligned properly, or concordance is the kind of the technical term for that. So we're in conversations with HERSA, which is, as I mentioned, the division of the Department of Health and Human Services in the US government that is responsible for English language proficiency for visa screen, about looking at those scores and making both short term adjustments and then maybe doing a full study to make longer term adjustments as well.  

So really, the goal, of course, have the English language proficiency requirements, like all these requirements, that seem like kind of burdens when you're going through this process is to ensure patient safety ultimately, and English language proficiency is a piece of that. So we are certainly on record, as you know, believing that these scores do need to be exhausted. And so I would expect I mean, we're not imminent will of course, give notice and things of that sort, but I would expect there will be changes in the future. Okay, thanks for the heads up. It's obviously another reason why if you're debating when to do the sooner, the better in certain circumstances, so you can achieve what you need to. But I think that's a really good point. Oh, cool. So in my role as a clinical nurse educator, I see all the time the impact of English proficiency in the workplace. And this is not a perfect science. So passing an English exam does not mean it makes it extremely easy to go to work and understand all there is but this is kind of the baseline you want to be at. So if you're achieving some of these requirements, and yet you're seeing sometimes an increase in the score requirements, understand that that's from listening to what's going on in our current clinical environment as well as other areas that may be impacted by this and professionals need to consider if you know someone comes to the culture and country where you live and work, would we be able to function if we didn't know how to communicate with our patients and our colleagues? And the answer is no, it's not safe. So in the interests of patient safety, that trumps everything else. So once you pass this exam, you still have to keep those skills sharp. But that's also why in a lot of places, the timeline is important so that that two year timeline that you mentioned to be considered sort of current English scores, that is also relevant because we want to make sure I think, as  as a health care community that we are having nurses who come in who still have those skills, somewhat fresh enough that it transit helps them transition into the clinical setting.  

Absolutely. And, Holly, to add to that, I think you're absolutely right, that the English proficiency is a baseline. And this is why it can be very helpful to work with an alliance certified recruiter like Connetics or OGP. Because a lot of what you do is the kind of additional onboarding and integration because not just about passing an English unit test is learning the skills to be integrated well and effectively into the workplace. So we are here as a partner from the beginning through to the arrival and all and you know, helping them to make it and have some survival skills for that transition. So we value the partnerships that we have with various organizations like CGFNS, who are committed to the same thing. So Mukul, the CES process, you mentioned earlier that each state has different requirements, may accept different tests and have different score requirements and things like that. Is that available and visible on CGFNS? His website, as well as the board? Or should they be looking at the Board's website for that? And for CGFNS? For some other information? Yeah, great question. So I would say certainly look at the board websites for English, we do have that information as well. But the difference is some states don't require their scores be sent to CGFNS as part of the CES process, they get the scores directly from the nurse. So I think, you know, there's some variance there where you want to understand that, but a lot of that information is included on our website.  

So I would say go to the website, and understand the overall process. And if you have questions about English, you can either go right to the State Board website, or of course, of course, you can contact us as well. The other thing I would add is that there's been a lot of changes with state processes. Once CGFNS started accepting the scores earlier this year, I said last year before, but it was really early this year that we accepted them for state purposes. You saw many, many more state starts to accept these additional tests. And so we're seeing, you know, many states month by month be added in to the process and states that have approved the process have gone through the rulemaking. So I think there's this is an area that's NCLEX. And so you want to be up to date as more tests are being accepted. Yes, yeah, we see that with I think, as states become aware of what's out there, and that it's valid and acceptable at the federal level, it kind of makes it them feel a little more comfortable, I think with maybe accepting it in their jurisdiction. So I want to jump for just a second back to the comments here. And I see we've had some more folks. So Lee Annelle is watching from the UK. It looks like maybe Lenell knows Ervin so they were able to say hello, and Gabriel says hello to you, Mukul. Let's see James Curia, from Kenya, interested in some CNA vacancies and Rohana has a it looks like maybe a question and a comment. So I've applied for CGFNS visa screen today. It shows I am already certified, but I did not send them yet my Philippine license verification, is it really possible? Or I have to contact them regarding this matter? For clarification? 

Yeah, I generally we will need a validation before we issue a certificate if I don't know if there's a way you can, you can send me all the message and that we could connect and I could get your information and do it that way. But if not feel free to perfect if you can give me that information, I can take a look for you or have I my team do that. But generally, you would need a license verification as part of that process. The only exception is that we might have had if we have the documents there for another reason. For example, for CES report that you did in the past or our certification program. We're trying to make things quicker and more seamless. We made a lot of improvements in that way. So we would automatically pull that now. Whereas in the past, you'd have had to separate the two separately. So I'll take a look in your personal case and see what's going on. Thank you so much. Appreciate that. And also good questions. So if something seems a little odd, it's always a good idea. had to double check and make sure you're understanding the process with the team there. Um, give them a little bit of time to reply to you. So it's not an instantaneous thing, but they will get back with you. That's a good kind of note, though, because I know for some of you who've been in the process earlier recognize that last year, we had kind of very, very long wait times, it was very hard to get in. To talk to us, that issue has been entirely resolved, and most 95% of people are getting in, within five minutes to our phone lines, we're responding to emails within a couple days versus a couple of weeks, and our hours of operation for phone is doubled.  

So you should be able to get your questions answered pretty quickly at this point. So would you say then it's best to call if that type of question comes up? Or is there a way to like message through the system? Yeah, both and whatever is easier for you. So certainly, the phone is kind of the standard model. But we also have, if you're, if you already have an account through the portal, the CGFNS, pick portal, you can send a message and contact us that way. And you'll get a response within a couple of days. In terms of some of the additions we're adding is we're looking to omni channel and things like chat and other functions. We have a chat right now that's available to recruiters, we're trying to expand that out to others. So I think in the next few months, you'll find more and more ways to be able to communicate with us and get your answers to your questions very quickly. Awesome. So we have actually a few more questions. 

Thor says, Will CGFNS accept Visa debit card for payment for visa screen? Yes, we do accept any Visa, MasterCard or Discover card, both debit and credit cards are acceptable. Awesome. Let's see. And Anne says I just recently passed the NCLEX. And I have no idea when to start my CGFNS application do I started after I signed with an employer? Or can I start as soon as now. You can start as soon as now. Really, you can start the process. Whenever you want. You don't need someone to do that. I will say you know it might be worth looking and talking to an employer depending on your situation, and happy to talk more specifically for individual circumstances. But you know, I think often, recruiters like Atticus and Grady Paden are kind of facilitating the entire process. So obviously going to be screwed doesn't hurt. But in terms of some of the assistance in that process, you can get that if you are signed with an employer to think about, so you can have a partner in the process. And some of those questions about when and how and all of that kind of stuff are maybe a little easier to be answered when you when you've got someone who you does this all the time? Yeah, yeah, that's always nice. So we're under question says, when to pay the visa screen, all the requirements must be completed before paying question mark. So all the application must be complete. Before paying we want to, there's some reasons for that we're trying not to collect money upfront, when there might be challenges or where you're not, might not be eligible in many cases. So you really are filling out a full application with all the information, and then you're paying. But there's still some time to get all the documents and other kinds of components of the application there. Yeah, that's good. So just in case, there's something that is not going to go well, they haven't put me forward and then you end up having to tell them, you got a lot more work on first. Okay. So let's see, I'm gonna go back. 

We're kind of hitting the midpoint. So just a couple questions Mukul. When you look at this change, and everything, are there any tips or suggestions that you have for nurses, to help them avoid some of the pitfalls that you might have seen since these new exams have come on board? Is there any advice? Yeah, I think like everything else in this process as a whole is, is do a bit of homework, and understand what your options are upfront, I think the biggest there are a couple kind of picky pieces. One is preparation upfront, making sure you know what you're walking into. And so doing the preparation for the touch of your choice, figuring out what the test of your choice should be. Those are all things to do up front. The second thing I would say is about which we talked about in this discussion, and you just being here is kind of part of that is knowing where what scores are valid for what purposes, right? You know, when we had a couple tests, it was much easier to understand that now there's multiple tests, and each test might have different components and scores, and different acceptability. So knowing to the best extent that you can, where you're going, or picking a test that is kind of valid as many places as possible. Those can all help you avoid having to take another exam later. 

Right makes really good sense. Can I throw in two other just kind of random things I wanted to alert this audience to so we're talking about English um, one of the things I'm starting to look at is remote proctoring which so I this is not affecting you at a time in your journey soon. But we're starting to study you know whether remote proctoring essentially taking a test at home with security provisions in case would be something we'd except for English language in the future. So that's one thing. And the other is for your visa screen, which is what we've been talking about Connetics and others who were kind of aligned certified and other firms have been part of a pilot now. So right now, we're still sending certificates out to you in the mail that you bring to your embassy. 

We're already starting to send digital certificates. So you'll save that part of the process and be able to download a certificate from our your Connetics portal, they can print out and bring to the embassy and they can they can scan it to validate it. So some exciting developments in the technology front. Yeah, that's really awesome. I think that's what a lot of us have been looking forward to is how to, you know, it feels like we've been saying paper free for a couple of decades now in healthcare. And I'm sure you've probably heard the same thing in your neck of the woods, but it's, it's hardly ever paid for. So it's exciting to see some of those changes on the horizon. And I think that it also saves on time. So when we're talking about waiting for mail to arrive somewhere and whether it was tracked and all of that kind of stuff. That's really cool. Um, what about like time? What's a reasonable time that someone should expect if they do mail something to CGFNS? What are we kind of looking at right now, in terms of when it might be sort of acknowledged and be put into their account as having been received? Once it's hit the mailroom? Absolutely. Great question. This answer would be very different if our asking a year ago when he asked me. 

So, you know, last year, I would say a few weeks now, I'd say it's a couple of weeks. So within two to three weeks, it should be posted to your account so much quicker turnaround. And I know that sounds like a long time, you think we just get the mail and receive it, but we receive 6000 pieces of mail a day. So there's kind of a major process there to get everything open, scanned and uploaded to the system. Thank you Mukul. So um, I think there's, there's a couple of comments here about different states. So someone says, Utah now accepts PTE. So we'll certainly look at that and update our map, we always verify with the boards, that that has happened as an effective change. So in other words, sometimes boards say that they've voted and approved to adopt a certain exam. However, implementation may occur very quickly, or it may take them a little bit of time, depending on what their process is. A Colorado I off the top of my head. Listen, guys, I can't memorize all this stuff. So I always have to look at my maps, we can put the maps back on just for a second. So the OET map. If you can pull that up for us, we'll show that one. And then the PTE map, I think we should probably show again as well. All right. So again, that's why sometimes having partners like Connetics, and O'Grady Peyton, and other organizations that are out there for you to work with are able to look at sort of all of the pieces of the puzzle and try to put it together on behalf of the healthcare professionals that we're working with. So cool. Is there any last thoughts you'd like to share before we jumped to part two of our session today? No, I just want to thank you, Holly, for the invitation to join. And to everyone out there. I know this process can seem really challenging. There are a lot of pieces in it. But as long as it's kind of what the goal is of your career journey, having partners like Connetics, doing your research, reaching out to CGFNS, if you have questions can help make the process a little bit easier. Thank you. Awesome. Thank you so much. We'll see you I'm sure in the future. And we really appreciate all you shared today. Thanks so much. Of course. Thank you. Take care. All right, so we're on to part two, this time is flying. We need to bring Scott and Ervin back in we're going to ask them some questions as well. Welcome back, guys. Thanks for waiting. 

All right. So Ervin, you still look like you got a good connection there. I'm impressed. Hopefully, he's going to see like this until the end of our session. Okay. That's what we're hoping for. Um, so we're going to talk a little bit, I think, just an overview. Um, so I think I'll kind of go with these questions, sort of every other one. I'll switch back and forth between the two of you. I know you have probably great wisdom and I'm going to learn something because English exams are not my area of expertise either. So can Ervin can you give us sort of a general overview of the IELTS the PTE and the OET exams. Okay, for the longest time it was just IELTS and that was accepted by CGFNS and then last year Exactly a year ago, that was when other English examinations were accepted for visa screening purposes. Now, I else, as I usually say, is a test of anything under the sun. Like any topic of general interest, were asked for OET it focuses more on healthcare related topics, say for instance, in listening, you're likely going to hear a conversation between a healthcare practitioner and a patient. Now, instead of talking about the usual travel plans, or itinerary of friends, in OET, what they usually talk about is the condition of the patient. And this is the reason why some healthcare professionals feel that OET is more relatable for them. Now, when we go to IELTS reading some of the passages talk about any topic of general interest, say for instance, tourism in Vietnam or the children's literature in London. But for OET the topics focus on what nurses are likely to encounter in the hospital setting, say for instance, they are going to read a passage regarding vasectomy or one passage talks about AstraZeneca. What's interesting, though, are the writing and speaking portions because in IELTS, it's casual conversation, basically, it's anything under the sun. But for OET it's more of a role play between the interlocutor and the test taker. The test taker the test taker plays the role of the profession, say for instance, if the test taker is a nurse, then the nurse then that's the role that the candidate is going to play in the examination. Where as an interlocutor is usually a patient or a relative of the patient.  

Now, for writing in IELTS, you have to write two tasks. But in OET, it's just one task and your opinion does not matter in OET because what you're going to write is something related to the case notes. Now, moving on to PTE this is an examination which is not really intended for people who prefer to take the examination on paper, it's purely computer delivered at the same time for PTE. You're not going to talk to a human being and like for IELTS and OET because in PTE you just talk to the computer. So basically, that's more of an overview of the similarities and differences of the three English exams. Hmm. All right, so thank you. That was like an awesome summary. I really appreciate all the quick comparison and contrast there. Scott, when we were talking to Mukul and he was mentioning additional English exams. You know, we don't see much of the others. So we see IELTS some TOEFL PTE is gaining in popularity OET, but the TOEFL sorry, the TOEFL the me the Cambridge. What are your thoughts on those other exams and them being brought into you know, being one of the more accepted or they've become accepted through the past year? Do you see many people interested in those or is there a reason why they might not be? So really good question. Actually, I think the reason why these three exams the three I talk about being IELTS, or OET and PTE being the three most accepted exams at this point is because they're all clearly very different deserve and spoke about the IELTS exam has been the world's leading English language exam across many purposes with TOEFL obviously clipping on its heels in certain regions for certain purposes.  

It was a clear winner in that regard because of its accessibility. For example, the occupational English test govt exam is differentiated because it is purely an English exam, even for health care, Professional Speaking, Listening, Reading and Writing in healthcare contexts. So there's a nice little edge for that exam. And the Pearson Test of English to PTE academic exam is a is a purely computer administered and proctored exam. So there are three distinct differences. The other exams, the TOEFL exam, etc, are somewhat similar to the others and have purposes. I know from my discussions with contracts with those exams in the industry, that there are going to be introductions, at least for those exams to come more prevalence. So we're just going to wait and see, when it comes to choosing the English exam for you. It's really just about picking the exam that you think is best for you. And your purpose is that you're able to of course, access a test center either on a computer or on paper, that you're able to familiarize the form of the exam that works best for you and engage in appropriate preparation to make your process as simple as possible. But it really is a space to watch as it evolves. 

All right, those are all good points. And I think that segues nicely into talking about what it's like one year from the changes that happen. So Ervin, in your experience, have you seen nurses taking advantage of taking some of these alternate exams now that they're acceptable. What's been the trend that you've seen? And then Scott asked the same question for you. What I've noticed is people think that  easier just because the band score covenants for PTE are not the same for the band score covenants off aisles in a wiki. That's why earlier, it's more of a relief when I heard Mukul talk about the possible changes of CGFNS. Such that for IELTS, the record band score and speaking is seven, for all at the record band score is B or 350. And that's exactly the requirement. That's the same equivalent of isles, but for PTE, it's 50. So if we're going to look at the equivalency, isn't it the equivalent of seven in isles and be in OET is a 70 instead of 50? In PTE. So I'm like what I've said, I'm interested in the past in the announcement of possible changes of CGFNS if they want to have the same barometer the same yardstick for authentic English examinations. So does that mean maybe that's sort of the word on the street and why some people might be more interested in PTE is because they're thinking it could be easier, Scott? Yes, that's certainly one reason in that the PTE passing scoring requirements are currently lower. So therefore, ergo, it is easier to pass because of the requirements being not universal, but that is likely going to change much develop upon that as well to the perception that PTE might be easier, and might be a psychological aspect in that candidates feel more comfortable doing a test on a computer with no human interaction, because one pretty intimidating aspect of an exam, especially with speaking is having to speak to a live interlocutor. Whether it's doing a three stage interview process for the IELTS speaking exam, or going through an OET speaking roleplay, it can be quite intimidating for a candidate. So that's why they might opt for that the use of your approach, you kind of think about how the world's going these days, we're doing everything online, we don't want to pick up a phone and even put in a food order.  

For example, let's use an app. And I think that psychology is also starting to occur with the English language fields, as well. There might be a few other aspects as well. But I think that those two are the most important are the not the universal scoring requirements being the same, and also the psychology of speaking to a computer versus speaking to someone in the speaking exam, as well as the other aspects of testing that the Pearson Test is different to IELTS and that we do. So in the comments, I'm seeing a couple things I want to address, I'm not going to read each individual one. But just in general, if you're wondering what a state accepts, or what kind of scores there are, I'm going to give you a little personal tip, it's always best to verify with the state board that they are currently actively accepting an exam, looking on certain websites can get a little bit confusing and sometimes even inaccurate, having experienced that myself having been contacted by a state board, about one website saying they accept that their board accepted it. But when you go to the Board website, and it doesn't say it there and you verify. So I think you have to be careful. I think you also have to be sensitive to something we talked about when Mukul was on wishes, there are changes coming, there are states all the time that are voting or preparing to vote or preparing to enact changes to accept different exams and different scores maybe from what they currently accept. And every board has their own process for how that works. So if you're uncertain, I recommend you always look at the board's websites first. If you still think, Hey, I've heard something or seeing something somewhere else, especially if it happens to be an exam website itself, like the PT E or the OE T or whatever. Take that website, if you don't see it matching up with the board's information and be like, hey, is this Is this accurate? Who's out of date? 

Because otherwise, you can you can get set up to have a little bit of a problem. So this screenshot actually comes from CGFNS. And they're showing for the visa screen, what they expect for you to pass to meet your visa skimps visa screen requirements. Remember, those are federal requirements. So you always want to double check what the state requirements are. And for IELTS for nurses who are the predominant participants in these discussions, nurses need to get an overall IELTS score of 6.5 and a speaking score of seven. So let's see. I want to go back to some of the other things we wanted to talk about on our sort of discussion today, which is sometimes nurses have already taken an exam. And maybe they didn't get the score that they need to maybe it was IELTS because that's kind of the traditional one. And now they're going to have to take another exam. Do you? Tell me whether if they've taken IELTS before and then they are looking at maybe trying a different exam. What are your thoughts on that? And what have you seen is good bad? Maybe doesn't make a difference? I don't know. Okay, since I live in the Philippines, I'd like to talk about the situation in the Philippines. So as you can see is in the Philippines is offered in 32. That's three two key cities nationwide, for OET more than 12 locations nationwide. But for OET only two locations nationwide, one in Metro Manila, and the other one is in Metro City. So say for instance, we have a candidate from the northern part of the Philippines who unfortunately was not able to get the required band score for IELTS. instead of considering a retake for IELTS, that person might want to take OET.  

Why? Because OET is available in the northern part of Arizona, unless that person would like to travel all the way to the Capitol, like you're writing for about 12 hours for 14 hours just to take Ed it's totally up to the candidate. Now, a large group of island where I'm from is Mindanao. But in Mindanao only as and only the examinations are available. So should we move from Mindanao decided to take PTE, they still have to fly to Manila or Cebu. So in this case, Scott mentioned earlier that we have to look at accessibility, because it's not as if these three examinations are readily available everywhere. So my personal suggestion for the candidate, they need to check first, which English examination is available in their locality, so that they don't have to spend unnecessarily for hotel airfare and other expenses just because they want to take an examination, which is not available in their area. Hmm, that's great advice, Ervin. And I think the other thing I'll add to that, because I weighed more into the licensure piece is remember that if you're all gung ho about a test, like, you know, one of these alternate ones, that you want to double check and make sure that where you're planning to go, in terms of the state is also going to accept you don't want to have to take multiple exams to achieve what maybe one exam may achieve. So just kind of balanced that process there. Scott, are there particular sections of PTE that you find are more challenging for nurses? And if so, what do you recommend they do to get over those. 

Usually, when it comes to most English exams, writing is typically the most difficult aspect. Usually, most candidates will go slightly lower in writing than they would in the other skills of speaking, listening and reading. And it's really a lot to do with how we actually use language as a whole, we typically write less than we speak, listen, and we read. So this isn't just for the PT exam. But for IELTS and all OET as well is to really focus a lot of your prep time on all aspects of writing. But when it comes to PTE, in particular, writing an essay of 200 plus words in 20 minutes is very, very challenging to a candidate. So please put your emphasis into practicing that aspect of your writing. Don't rely on a templated approach as well, please don't learn how to write effectively under timed conditions to satisfy the scoring criteria. But also, don't look at just taking these exams to simply pass an exam, I want you to aim your English language ability higher. So that can actually translate into the workplace when you move to the USA. And above. As well as that there's some pretty tricky, technically challenging speaking components of the PTE exam, retail lecture and describe image being too as well. So really, when you're doing your own prep, everyone's going to differ. So you're going to quickly realize what your strengths and weaknesses are and it is a tailored approach need to take to English exam passing but I will look out for those three parts of the Pearson PT exam, retell lecture, describe image and write essay. But please apply that to all aspects of any of the three exams of IELTS or PTE and PTE. All right, very good advice. And Irvin kind of a similar question for you regarding the OET, are there certain sections of the OET that are more difficult for nurses? And if so, what should they do to overcome those? 

This is what I've noticed, all gained popularity in 2015 as an alternative to IELTS so for most people, they thought that OET is penicillin that it's going to cure all of the dilemmas of nurses preparing for English examination. is when we do not understand. There are people who find odd or even more challenging as compared to IELTS reading. So teaching English examinations in the 16 years, this is what I've noticed, if a candidate is having a difficulty in writing, then I would rather go for it, or I would rather than the candidate must take, OET. But if the candidate usually finds reading the more challenging subjects, if reading is the weakness of the candidate, then I would remember I would remind the candidate to take IELTS instead. So for PTE, I usually recommend this one to the introverts who don't want to talk to a human being and for people who prefer to take the examination on computer. All right and understood. I can you know, I think sometimes when it comes to test, I work with index prep as well. So when it comes to the stress involved, if you can find something that's going to lower your stress level, whatever that is, you're obviously we advise you to gravitate towards that if practical for you to do so. Okay, so Scott, what do you think would be the best way to prepare for the PTE exam overall? Like, how long should they study? And you know, should they work with a study program? Should they be buying some resource online? What are your thoughts on that? 

Good question, I am going to take this question at the end of PTE and also apply it more generally. But there is a as I say, that misconception of the PTE exam is easier. And as discussed, it's partly because the scoring requirements are lower. But PTE IELTS OET regardless of what exam you are taking, preparation and appropriate preparation is key. The English exam, there's no doubt about that across most overseas healthcare professionals, well as non healthcare professionals living overseas that the English exam is the most difficult part of the process that has statistically the highest amount of failures. That's the bad news. The good news is, is that this can largely be avoided. And the reason why it can't be avoided is because there are still too many candidates worldwide, who do not place emphasis on the English exam components of their overseas move, and don't put the same emphasis on preparation, or these exams as they would be others. But because the scores are so low, then you should. So really, when it comes to taking any of the exams, the first thing that you should do is not book the exam, and then prepare, especially don't book the exam for two to four weeks time, which we see is very, very common here at swoosh, English, instead, reverse that order, prepare first and only take the exam when you are ready. The analogy I like to throw in is like, here in the UK and Ireland. For example, when we're learning how to drive a car, take our driving tests, we don't just jump in a car driving around the wrong thing. All right, I think I can drive a car, I'm gonna go take the test and pass, we will fit, right.  

So please don't approach taking a driving test the same way like that as candidates often are taken their English exam. So prepare first only book when you are ready. And you will know you are ready. Whenever you're getting expert instruction and feedback from a really good program. And really good teachers, aka you're doing the test numerous times. But I'm getting that passing score, but not just relying on the practice tests as well. But you're actually going through a program that's developing your English skills across these exams, you're putting them into application, you're making use of that feedback in the application. And then applying that to the next series of learning that you're doing. You're doing sorry, it's called the learning cycle. So please, please, like how much time it takes for you to prepare for your English exam appropriately. So I see in the comments, and I just kind of want to highlight this that solution Niners both participate in the Connetics, college offerings for free classes on English language testing. So OET PTE prep classes are coming on a regular basis through the Connetics college every Monday. And so please take a look at those classes. It's great information. And maybe if you're still at a loss as to which one to take, the more you learn, the better choice you're able to make. If you're still stumped. So I Scott, your advice about preparation before booking I love you know makes perfect sense to me. But is there any other Ervin Is there any other thing that we should consider in addition to that, regarding when to take it so are there any other pieces of advice you might give? Besides Hey, please be ready. When you book 

So here are the Philippines, what I usually noticed is that people pass the examination after two to three months of preparation when the fast. Learners can make it in less than one month. But there are people who work in the hospital for like two shifts in a day for six days in a week, there are those who cannot devote much time for their review. So these are the people who usually prepare for English exams for more than four months. Now, going back to the question, when is the best time to register for the examination, I think they have to wait for the go signal from their coach. Because there are some people who take examinations just because there's a PTE discount code or there is an IELTS discount. No, that's not that must not be the primary reason why you should schedule yourself for the examination, you have to wait until such time you already and don't think of the discount or the voucher, because at the end of the date, you're able to save what 1000 pesos or 25 or 20 US dollars, and then you spend another $200, just because you did not make it on your first attempt. So never registered for the examination without getting a go signal from your one on one coach. And this is exactly the reason why we are so thankful that Connectix is sponsoring the English, the English review and English exam of the nurses and the applicants with swash at 9.0 Niner. Because we are here to give accurate feedback to the candidates. What's so dangerous is when people just watch videos on YouTube. And then there is no feedback or there is no interaction. So we always emphasize the importance of live lectures and one on one coaching sessions because our goal is for the candidates to pass on their first and last attend. If this is not their first attempt, we must do everything in our capacity to make this the last examination of the candidate or the applicant. 

And I have to say sometimes, even though nurses have passed these exams, as time elapses, you know those skills might be lost a little bit. So what are some ways that you might recommend that they keep their English skills relevant and current while they're waiting to come to the US and start working here? Scott? Good question. So first and foremost, as I said earlier, the first mindset that I would take to take in this exam is don't just prepare to pass the exam don't have an arbitrary reason for doing so. Try to actually utilize the language skills that you picked up in your exam preparation, and go above and beyond that, because it will serve you better in your career. But like anything that we're doing in life, we're always growing, we're always learning we're never stopping to do so. So just passing your IELTS your OET or your PTE will not be the end of your English, your English journey. Whenever you move to the US, you will be more than likely fully immersed in the English language. So that'll be a great way for you to truly get your skills up to native English speaker level. But until you're actually there in the US in your role and immersing yourself in the English language in the USA, you should be of course keeping your skills sharp. So whenever you're speaking to someone, it could be someone on your ward and your clinic a friend. If they can also speak English, then try and speak English and don't rely simply on your, on your, on your mother tongue when you're doing these conversations, keep your speaking skills sharp by practice practicing as much as you can. When it comes to listening and reading. I'm a big proponent of whenever I do read, I also listen.  

So I download an audio book and read the book at the same time. So I'm listening and reading. That's a great way to save time for one. So just engage in the mediums that you enjoy the most listening, it could be audiobooks, it could be lectures, TikTok's, podcasts, find something that you enjoy, and listen to it in English to make the process as exciting as possible. Likewise, the same for reading journals, books, articles, news, whatever you want to read, enjoy the process of doing so when it comes to writing. And one great thing that you can actually do when it comes to writing to make it personal is to write a journal in English every day write down your thoughts, your feelings, how you're doing, etc. In your mind, could be a good way if we prepare mentally for your big move to the US eventually and just keep your writing skills sharp. It doesn't have to be IELTS OET or PTE can just be general fun writing. So rule of thumb is until you're there enjoy the process of keeping your skills sharp and apply as much as you can. That's wonderful advice. Scott, thanks so much for that. So Irvin one last piece of advice, and then we're going to talk really quickly about the shows that are coming up. So last thoughts for today. As Scott mentioned, preparing for English examination is not the end. In fact, it's going to be a long waiting time for you to get to the United States like some people have to wait for eight months, the others even up to two years. So what I usually tell the candidates if English is not your first language, you need to think in English talk in English writing English whenever, wherever until such time that communicating in English becomes as natural as breathing. And for most people, I usually do not recommend that they keep on watching short videos on say, for instance, they talk or they watch Kdrama, which is relatively popular here in Asia. That's because there is no such thing as a Korean topic in English examination. So I would rather that they stick to English shows, watch CNN, watch BBC listen to English speakers talking on podcasts until such time that they arrive in America. So that eventually when the time by the time that the earlier they're already comfortable in the language and the they won't go out of place. That's awesome advice. Thank you both. I do have a question which I want to pop up a visual for just a minute. So we had someone asking about whether the OET is available for medical technologists like lab professionals. So would you mind just pulling up the OET? 

English test from CGFNS? We have the visual that shows the different professions? There we are. Thank you. So you can see the score requirements and you know the different professions that do have those exams acceptable for visa screen. All right. Thank you, everyone who watched with us today. I'll also have the next upcoming shows including our so our onwards and upwards shows are every Friday at 7am. Pacific Standard Time. At September 8, we are going to talk about understanding your job offer. So we will demystify that for you. On the 15th. We're going to be doing immigration Q&A. I'm sure there's going to be a lot of relevant important information discussed there. And then on September 22, we have our next stateside show where we're going to be going to be talking about the Great Lakes states. And I think you'll find that very interesting information. If you're still thinking about where do you want to go, the more you know, the better decision you can make for what's going to meet the interest that you have. And then on the 12, I look forward to seeing you again because we're going to talk about overcoming challenges and working with different patient care roles within healthcare here in the US. So I'm really excited. We already have some great guests lined up to share their knowledge and experience and I hope we'll see you back there. Remember the Connetics College shows, as I mentioned earlier every Monday at 6am Pacific Standard Time. And we have NCLEX classes on the first and third Monday. And on the second fourth, we have our English exam, experts coming in and sharing for PTE the second Monday and IELTS on the fourth Monday. So we really appreciate the partnerships that we have with our experts in these areas. And we hope that you will attend these sessions as well and experience the benefit. Thanks again to Scott and Ervin and Mukul for being with us today and sharing your expertise. We really appreciate it and we hope you have a good long weekend coming up. Well, in the States. We have a holiday on Monday. So we'll be enjoying that. And in the meantime, onwards and upwards. Bye everybody.