Requirements for ECFMG Certification for 2021 Match

English Language Proficiency Assessment


Applicants pursuing one of the five pathways for ECFMG Certification in order to participate in the 2021 Match are required to perform satisfactorily on an English language proficiency assessment. All pathway applicants, regardless of citizenship, native language, or medical school language of instruction, must satisfy this requirement.

ECFMG will accept the Occupational English Test (OET) Medicine to satisfy the English language proficiency requirement. OET Medicine is designed specifically for physicians, in consultation with physicians. The test assesses the health care-specific English language competency of physicians. It emphasizes the type of language physicians will need to communicate effectively in a clinical setting with peers and patients, including the ability to show empathy and to break down complex medical terminology and procedures into simpler language.

To meet ECFMG’s requirement, applicants must attain a minimum score of 350 (Grade B) on each of the four measured components of OET Medicine: Listening, Reading, Writing, and Speaking.

The minimum score of 350 (Grade B) on each of the four measured components must be achieved in one test administration. Applicants who do not attain the minimum score on one or more of the measured components must retake all OET components (Listening, Reading, Writing, and Speaking) and achieve the minimum score on all components in a single test administration to meet ECFMG’s English language proficiency requirement.

There is no limit on the number of times you can retake the test, subject to scheduling availability.

Please note: Applicants who have a passing performance on the Step 2 Clinical Skills (CS) component of the United States Medical Licensing Examination® (USMLE®) that is valid for ECFMG Certification and/or are certified by ECFMG are ineligible for the pathways and do not need to take OET Medicine.

Pathway applicants who took OET Medicine on or after July 1, 2018 and attained the minimum passing score on each of the four components do not need to retake OET Medicine. These applicants will need to inform ECFMG that they have taken OET Medicine previously and allow ECFMG to access their scores.

Timing Your OET Medicine Test

You must take OET Medicine on or before the last scheduled test date in 2020. Visit the OET website for the latest information on available test dates.

In order for you to participate in the 2021 Match, ECFMG must determine the outcome of your pathway application, including your performance on OET Medicine; determine your overall eligibility for the 2021 Match, including verifying your passing performance on USMLE Step 1 and Step 2 Clinical Knowledge (CK); then report your eligibility status to the National Resident Matching Program® (NRMP®) by the NRMP Rank Order List Certification deadline. ECFMG will not determine the outcome of your pathway application until all required supporting documentation and/or verification(s) have been received. Therefore, the time needed to complete the processing of your application is contingent upon receipt of all supporting documentation and verifications, including your passing OET Medicine scores. ECFMG must receive all supporting documentation and verifications by January 31, 2021. Please plan the timing of your OET Medicine test accordingly.

Applying for OET Medicine

For general information about OET for ECFMG applicants, please visit the ECFMG information page on the OET website.

Testing Locations

OET Medicine is offered throughout the world and continues to expand its network of test centers. The latest information on available testing locations and remote testing is available on OET’s website. Please note that, at this time, OET@Home will be available by invitation only, prioritizing individuals who are in locations where it is extremely difficult if not impossible to attend a test venue or who have been deferred longest due to COVID-19.

Please note that ECFMG is monitoring closely the demand for OET Medicine testing slots by applicants pursuing the pathways and is communicating regularly with OET regarding the needs of ECFMG applicants.

Test Preparation

OET has a wide range of official resources you can use to prepare for the test. These include:

Each of these resources is developed by OET experts and available in OET’s Preparation Portal.

If you would like to take a preparation course or classes, OET recommends only those provided by official OET Preparation Providers.

Release of Test Results

OET Medicine results will be released to you typically 14 business days after you take the test. Please allow eight additional business days for your results to be added by ECFMG to your submitted pathway application and available to you in the ECFMG pathways application portal. Please be sure you give OET your consent to release the results to ECFMG through the application process and be sure you provide ECFMG with your OET Candidate ID# when submitting your pathway application to avoid any delays.

Important Note on Score Delays and Score Re-marking

There are factors that may delay the availability of your OET scores in your pathways application, including the following:

If you do not attain the minimum score of 350 (Grade B) on each of the four measured components of OET Medicine (Listening, Reading, Writing, and Speaking) and you request a score re-mark, this will delay your results by several additional weeks. Based on this timeline, if you take OET Medicine on certain test dates in December, and you request a score re-mark, your OET results may not be available to ECFMG in time for ECFMG to determine the outcome of your pathways application, and you may be ineligible to participate in the 2021 Match. ECFMG must receive your OET Medicine results by January 31, 2021. See the test results schedule for detailed information.

For more information on OET Medicine, please refer to the English Language Proficiency Assessment section on the Frequently Asked Questions page.

The preceding information is current as of February 4, 2021 and is subject to change. Please visit the ECFMG website frequently for updates regarding these requirements.