What is a language for specific purposes exam?

A language for specific purposes (LSP) is not another language, but the use of the same language within a specific, professional communication context. The Medical English language is used to solve problems health care providers may encounter in their professional daily activities (e.g. preparing and reading scientific publications, or other medical and research documents in English; preparing and reading medical records, technical specifications, official letters in English; and communicating with foreign patients in English).

Is it possible to start foreign language learning by learning a language for specific purposes?

It is possible, but not advisable. Empirical research suggests that learning a language for specific purposes following the study of the basics of the target foreign language is significantly more effective than the other way around. It is important to note that learning a language for specific purposes does not only mean learning a specialized set of vocabulary, but tackling all the language issues that may arise while practicing the given profession. It involves both the use of the foreign language and the language for specific purposes which should not, and cannot be separated from one another. In the course of learning a language for specific purposes, the subject specific vocabulary, discourses and genres and the grammatical rules should be mastered.

If I speak a foreign language fluently, do I still have to be familiar with the specific technical terms?

You do not have to, but it is highly advisable. Anyone who is fluent in a foreign language will easily learn the subject specific rules and vocabulary of the language for specific purposes. This can be achieved by studying in specific language classes. The majority of the medical students sign up for Medical English classes, which prepare them for the medical language exam, as well.