Is it possible to study in the UK without IELTS?


4 August 2020 • 5 min read

Exams are inevitable battles in our educational journey. One of them that all international students will be familiar with, is  the language assessment test - IELTS. 

What is IELTS

International English Language Testing System (IELTS) is a standardised language assessment test used by universities around the world to assess the language skills of their prospective international students. This test consists of four sections - reading, writing, listening and speaking. After taking the three-hour test students will get an aggregate score on all their basic English language skills.

English speaking nations like the UK assess your language skills through such exams during the application phase. However, this is not always the case. 

When you don’t need IELTS to study in the UK

  • English was the primary medium of instruction in your school

‘English-medium’ schools are pretty common nowadays in India. If you have attended an English medium school or university, you can show that as proof for your English proficiency. Many UK universities accept this based on your scores in your final years in the English medium schools.

  • Your university considers your X and XII English marks to assess your language skills.

Many Universities in the UK also consider your class X and class XII English subject marks to assess your language proficiency. Make sure that you have at least 70% in final exams to be considered by primary universities in the UK. 

  • Your university conducts its own interviews to assess your language skills.

Most universities have online interviews as part of their admission process. Some universities use these online sessions to analyse your English language skillsIn that case, IELTS scores will be unnecessary. 

  • Taking other language assessment tests:

IELTS is definitely the most popular and widely accepted English assessment test in the UK. But there are many others gaining weightage nowadays. You can alternately opt to take TOEFL, Trinity College London Integrated Skills in English (ISE), PTE Academic, Cambridge English: Proficiency (CPE) and the Duolingo English test. Universities will mention the tests that they accept in the requirements section of their website. Check your intended university’s site before taking any test.

  • Doing a pre-sessional English Course:

In all of the above, you need to have good English communication skills; otherwise, there is a high chance for rejection. There is no need to be dejected as IELTS tests can be avoided even if you are not proficient enough in the English language. You can opt for pre-sessional courses. 

Most universities offer pre-sessional courses without IELTS as an option for international students to adapt to the new educational system. In these courses, you will gain the required language skills along with the needed classroom skills. You will also have a smooth transition to the foreign education system. Check your university website to find out if they offer foundation or pre-sessional courses. You can also reach to overseas education advisors for more details. If you are not confident about your English language skills, this option is your best bet. 

Tier 4 study visa in the UK without IELTS:

English language proficiency is one of the requirements asked by the immigration office for processing your Tier 4 study visa. There is an alternative if you choose to study in a university that waives IELTS. Instead of submitting your IELTS scores you need to submit a document from the university stating that you are eligible to apply for a Visa.

Here are some popular universities that accept students for their foundational, undergraduate and postgraduate courses without IELTS:

  1. The University of Warwick.
  2. Birmingham City University.
  3. The University of Bristol.
  4. London Southbank University.
  5. Northumbria University.
  6. The University of Bolton.
  7. The University of Northampton.
  8. The University of Plymouth.
  9. Portsmouth University.
  10. Aston University.


There you have it. You can avoid sitting through yet another exam (IELTS) before you go abroad to study! If you need any more information about the admission process, the universities and studying in the UK feel free to book a free virtual consultation with one of our educational consultants online!

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Hi, I'm Cassandra! I write a lot of content for Edvoy as well a lot of other things.

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