Is IELTS required to study in the UK?

Jul 19, 2021

A frequently asked question from international students who want to study in the UK is, “Is IELTS mandatory to study in the UK?” The short answer is No. There are many alternatives that are accepted. In this blog, we share all the possible options to study in the UK without IELTS.

As English is the national language in the UK, many universities and colleges require prospective international students to submit their IELTS (or another English proficiency test) scores as a part of the admission process.

Why exactly? IELTS is a standardised English proficiency test to assess the student’s ability to thrive academically in an institution where courses are taught in English.

English Language requirements for a student visa

Fo the most up to date information on the English requirements to obtain a student visa, visit the UK government site.

When applying for a student visa to study in the UK, you must prove your knowledge of the English language.

You can prove your knowledge of English by:

  • Passing a Secure English Language Test (SELT) from an approved provider.
  • Having a GCSE, A level, Scottish National Qualification level 4 or 5, Scottish Higher or Advanced Higher in English, gained through study at a UK school that you began when you were under 18.

Approved SELT providers

Conduct research to identify the test that is best for you.

How to get admission to UK universities without IELTS?

If English is not your first language, Universities may require evidence to confirm your English language proficiency. It is vital that you look at the English requirements for the universities that you would like to apply to. Furthermore, be sure to look at the English requirements for each course as this may differ across universities. Also, some universities state that a language test score must have been obtained within a certain timeframe of sending your university application,

1: The university’s discretion

Some universities state: that if you do not meet the English language proficiency requirements that are stated, but believe that you can demonstrate the requisite proficiency, the University may, at its discretion, consider your application.

2: The Interview Route

Some universities conduct an online or personal interview to assess the English language abilities of the candidate rather than the IELTS score. Before going with the interview option, verify the university admission options. If the online interview is one of the choices and you are confident enough, you may wish to consider it.

3: Other language proficiency tests

Of course, IELTS is the most popular standardized test. Similar to IELTS, UK universities accept tests like TOEFL, PTE Academic, and Cambridge English Proficiency (CPE), and Duolingo English Test. So, taking any one of these tests and securing a good score can let you study in the UK without IELTS.

But before proceeding with taking the exam, check the university website for the list of tests they will accept.

4: Coming from and/or having a bachelors degree from a majority English speaking country

If you are a national of one of the following countries (or have a bachelor’s degree or higher from one of these countries) you may be exempt from submitting further evidence of English language proficiency:

  • Antigua and Barbuda
  • Australia
  • the Bahamas
  • Barbados
  • Belize
  • Dominica
  • Grenada
  • Guyana
  • Ireland
  • Jamaica
  • Malta
  • New Zealand
  • St Kitts and Nevis
  • St Lucia
  • St Vincent and the Grenadines
  • Trinidad and Tobago
  • UK
  • USA

5: Attending pre-session courses at UK universities

Especially for international students, UK universities offer a pre-session course for the English language to ease out the transition to foreign Education and UK classroom culture. This option is best for candidates who are not confident enough in their communication skills because all the above options need good communication skills to get through.

Summarizing all the above points, it is clear that IELTS is not mandatory to study in the UK. Breaking the myth – without IELTS, one may get admission in not-so-good colleges, we are presenting some top universities offering education to International Students without IELTS.

To study in the UK, after getting admission to any UK university, applying for a student visa is the next step. We know, your next question would be, “Can I get a UK Study visa without IELTS?” No worries. You can get a UK Study visa without an IETLS score also.

How to get UK Study Visa without IELTS score?

The process of getting a UK study visa without IELTS is just the same as the general procedure, except few documents need to be submitted. They are,

  • Admission acceptance letter from the university in the UK
  • A letter attested by the university stating that you are eligible to apply for UK Study Visa without IELTS.

For a UK Study visa, instead of IELTS, a Secure English Language test is also an option to consider.  

A note of Conclusion:

It has cleared that IELTS is not mandatory to study in the UK. And we know studying abroad is a life-altering step in any student’s career. If you are worried about your IELTS score and doubtful about your admission, never pause your dreams. The UK universities allow the students with many more options. 

Plan, prepare and perform. All the Best!

Author Bio: 

Sri Lakshmi is a content curator at Global Tree who has ample experience in writing on overseas education and immigration. She has been recognized as one of the 100 Lionesses driving positive change for women in India by the VR oneness foundation.

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