What is the IELTS eligibility criteria 2022 - 2023?

Updated on: Dec 2, 2022

About the IELTS exam

IELTS (International English Language Test System) is a standardised test to assess your English proficiency. 

The test is designed to assess the linguistic ability of a non-native English language speaker. You may need to take this test if you plan to study, work or migrate to the USA, UK, Canada, New Zealand, Ireland, and Australia.

IELTS exam and versions

The IELTS is conducted by the IDP, British Council, and Cambridge Assessment English.

There are two versions of the test. If you are travelling for academic purposes, you will be taking IELTS academic. But if you are planning to migrate for a job, you will be required to take the General Training test.

The eligibility criteria for both versions are the same.

Trip purposeIELTS version
Study abroadIELTS academic
Work or migrateIELTS general training

IELTS Eligibility criteria

There are no strict requirements to take IELTS. But here’s a listing of a few essential eligibility criteria that you must meet.

Minimum age16 
PassportValid and non-expired for application validation
Major purpose
  1. To study in countries UK/USA/Canada/Australia/New Zealand
  2. To migrate and settle or work in UK/USA/Canada/Australia/New Zealand
  3. For medical training in Australia/UK/USA

What is the Minimum Age for taking the IELTS test?

The minimum age to take IELTS is 16. There is no maximum age limit.

Countries that take the IELTS exam as an eligibility criterion

The following countries consider taking IELTS as one of the requirements to pursue education or seek a job there:

  • UK
  • USA
  • Canada 
  • New Zealand 
  • Ireland
  • Australia

Minimum IELTS Score required by the top universities

Here’s how much the top global universities have set the bar for IELTS scores.

UniversityMinimum IELTS score for undergradMinimum IELTS score for postgrad
Massachusetts Institute of Technology7.07.0
University of Oxford7.07.5
Stanford University7.07.0
University of Cambridge7.07.0
Harvard University7.07.0
California Institute of Technology7.07.0
Imperial College London7.07.0
University College London6.56.5
University of Chicago7.07.0
University of Pennsylvania7.07.0
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IELTS Eligibility in the UK

Most top universities in the UK require at least an English proficiency test as an entry requirement. And the IELTS score is valid for two years. Here’s a list of leading UK universities that require an IELTS score.

University Minimum IELTS score 
University of Edinburgh5.5
The University of Manchester5.5
King’s College London6.5
London School of Economics and Political Science7.0
University of Bristol6.0

Also, there are a few UK universities that don't require IELTS. Know about them here.

IELTS Eligibility in the USA

To study in the USA, you need to have a minimum of 5.5 as your IELTS score, valid for two years. The number varies depending on the university you are applying to. Here are a few top US universities that require IELTS (Also, know about a few that don't require the exam).

UniversityMinimum IELTS score 
University of California, Berkeley6.5
University of California, Los Angeles7
Yale University7
Columbia University7.5
Princeton University7.0

IELTS Eligibility in Canada

To get a Canadian visa, the eligible CLB (Canadian Language Benchmark) score is 7, equivalent to an IELTS score of 6. Again, the IELTS eligibility score varies according to each university and is valid for two years. Here are some of the top Canadian institutes that require IELTS. But did you know that some top Canadian universities don't require one?

UniversityMinimum IELTS score 
University of Toronto6.5
McGill University6.5
University of British Columbia6.5
Universite de Montreal6.5
University of Alberta6.5

IELTS Eligibility in New Zealand

To get a New Zealand visa, you’ll need at least 5.5 as your IELTS score. Here is a list of top New Zealand universities that require IELTS. Here too, some leading universities won't consider this a mandatory option!

UniversityMinimum IELTS score 
University of Auckland6.0
University of Otago6.0
Victoria University of Wellington6.5
University of Canterbury6.5
University of Waikato6.5

IELTS eligibility in Australia

Your IELTS score is valid for two years in the country. Applicants should have a minimum band score of 6.0 to study in the top-ranked universities of Australia. Here's a list of top Australian universities that require IELTS.

UniversityMinimum IELTS score 
Australian National University6.5
University of Sydney6.5
University of Melbourne6.5
University of New South Wales6.0
University of Queensland6.5

Eligibility for the IELTS test in India- Exam pattern

The duration to take the IELTS test is 2 hours and 45 minutes. You'll be completing four sections in this time: listening, reading, writing, and speaking.

Here's a breakdown of what each section holds

Listening: The section encompasses 40 questions, and you'll have 30 minutes to complete the section.

Reading: The duration of this section is 60 minutes. You'll be given three general texts about the issues you may face as an undergrad or postgrad student. You'll have to attempt 40 questions relevant to these texts.

Writing: This is a data interpretation section where you'll be asked to write a short essay of 250 words in the provided 60 minutes.

Speaking: This is a face-to-face interview section. In the given 11-14 minutes, you'll be assessed for your communication skills and language fluency.

FAQs regarding the eligibility criteria for the IELTS test

Can I go to Canada without IELTS?

Yes, many Canadian universities offer admissions without the need for IELTS. Also, you can opt to take alternate tests like TOEFL, Duolingo English Test, and PTE.

Are there any pass marks for the IELTS exam?

There are no pass marks for IELTS. But the marks are evaluated on a 9-band scale.

Can I get a scholarship with an IELTS score?

Yes! You can obtain various scholarships using your IELTS score. You can apply for scholarships offered by the British Council if studying in the UK. 

Is 6.5 a good score in IELTS?

Yes, a score of 6.5 out of 9 is considered competent and matches the entry requirements of many top global universities! Here's an article that may help you ace the ielts test and score high!

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