Last Updated: February 08, 2021
Study in UK - English Tests requirements (IELTS/TOEFL)
Want to study in the UK but couldn't make it to the IELTS? Don't worry, it cannot stop you from studying in the UK. It is so that more and more universities are allowing admissions without an IELTS score, although it is recommended and preferred for a better education experience, all over.
What is IELTS?
IELTS stands for International English Language Testing System. It is a test that is conducted in over 140 countries and accepted and recognized by more than 10,000 colleges and universities.
IELTS scoring is point-based. It ranges from 0 to 9, with an interval of 0.5 units. A well-rounded score is 6.5 overall, with no less than 6.0 in every element. The elements of IELTS would be reading, writing, listening, and understanding that would be individually scored
There are other options than IELTS
IELTS is not the only English requirement test you can submit. It is one of the top 2 most preferable and reliable scores, the second-best being TOEFL. If you have not been able to clear IELTS, you could go for a TOEFL and score better, which would not hinder your admission process at all.
What if I am unable to clear IELTS and TOEFL?
Don't stress about it. There are many more options available for the universities allowing admissions to the various courses they offer without the compulsion of taking an IELTS test. So now there is no excuse that can keep you from achieving your desired level of education.
Most colleges in the UK have their own English requirement exam which you can give and meet their desired requirements. Furthermore, except for college English requirements, maximum colleges in the UK have a plethora of choices that you can choose from. It could be a GRE/GMAT test, a Cambridge language test, or something else. The basis for requirements is endless, as long as you qualify for it.
Since IELTS is the first preference for a lot of colleges and universities, people tend to divert towards it more than any other English language test. But, even without a good IELTS score, it is possible for you to take admission into the top 5 universities of the UK.
Remember, every university on the list below (and otherwise) accepts IELTS. The list below describes what the universities accept other than IELTS.
1. University of Cambridge
On the prestigious 1st rank, we have the University of Cambridge, with a long withstanding history. The University of Cambridge is on top of almost all lists when it comes to different areas of study, as well as leading in contributing to world-level research, no matter the field of research.
The cut-off for English requirements at Cambridge is one of the highest, with a requirement of IELTS at an overall score of 7.5, with no less than 7.0 in all subjects. It is understandable if a student doesn't score as high as 7.0 overall score for IELTS, hence Cambridge has other options for providing a satisfactory English language score. They are as such:
Note: The scores mentioned above are just the minimum scores accepted by Cambridge. Meaning that you will be considered for admission at Cambridge with these scores, but a place in your desired course is not guaranteed with them.
- TOEFL Internet-Based Test (IBT): acceptable with an overall score of 110, with a score of 25 or more in every subject.
- Cambridge English (C2 Proficiency): only accepted if the overall score is of 200, with no less than 185 in every area.
- Cambridge English (C1 Advanced): acceptable with a score of 195 overall, with no less than a score of 185 in every area.
- Singapore Integrated Programme (SIP): this option might be accepted by the University of Cambridge, if you meet their satisfaction level of proficiency in English.
2. University of Oxford
With being at number 2, we have the University of Oxford. Oxford is infamous for its amazing courses and faculty, as well as an impressive alumni list, but it the most notorious for being extremely competitive - something that the university prides itself in.
Since they accept only the best of the best, their academic needs are always sky-high, which is no different for their English language requirements. Scores have been divided into two categories - standard level scores and higher-level scores. For IELTS, Oxfords' standard level score is 7.0 overall, with no less than 6.5 in every skill, and the higher level score is 7.5 overall, with no less than 7.0 in every skill.
Needless to say, again, the scores are quite high. Hence, the alternatives for IELTS scores are as such:
- TOEFL: At the standard level, a score of 100 overall, with a minimum of 25 in every skill and at a higher level, a score of 110 overall, with no less than 25 in every skill.
- Cambridge Certificate of Advanced English (CAE): A standard level score of 185 with no less than 176 per component and at a higher level score of 191 overall, with no less than 185 in every component.
- Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English (CPE): At a standard level, a score of 185 overall, with no less than 176 per element and at a higher level, a score of 191 overall, with no less than 185 in every element.
- English Language GCSE: A grade of 6 or B is acceptable
- International Baccalaureate Standard Level (SL): acceptable score of 5 in English
- European Baccalaureate: a score of 70% in the English language
3. Imperial College London
At the 3rd rank, Imperial College London is no less competitive than the first two universities. Their acceptance rate is surely higher than most universities while providing the very best education and opportunities to students who are accepted by Imperial. Even though academically, Imperial tends to be quite competitive, such is not the case for their English language requirements.
For the IELTS score, Imperial accepts an overall score of 6.5 with no less than 6.0 in every skill (standard score) or a score of overall 7.0 with no less than 6.5 in every skill (higher level).
As for other acceptable scores right after IELTS, they are as such:
- TOEFL (iBT): a standard overall score of 92, with no less than 20 in every category and a higher overall score of 100, with no less than 22 in every category.
- Occupational English Test: A standard grade of C+ in all categories and a higher grade of B in all categories.
- LanguageCert International ESOL: At standard level an ESOL B2 Test with a grade of High pass and at a higher level an ESOL of C1 or C2 test with a grade of Pass
- PTE Academic: a standard overall score of 62, with no less than 56 in every category and a higher overall score of 69, with no less than 62 in every category.
- Duolingo Test: At a standard level, Imperial accepts an overall score of 115, with no less than 105 in every element. At a higher level, they accept an overall score of 125, with no less than 115 in every element.
4. London School of Economics and Political Science
Who hasn't heard of LSE, it is tooted as one of the best economics school in the world, and it lives up to the hype. LSE has extremely demanding courses, which directly means that their English requirements are quite demanding as well. It is so that the student is able to keep up with the course content throughout their course duration.
The IELTS score required for LSE is 7.0 overall, with no less than 6.5 in every element. Needless to say, LSE also accepts the following alternatives.
- Trinity ISE (revised test): accepted grades are of Level III, with merit in every element.
- TOEFL: An overall score of 100, with no less than 25 in every element.
- Cambridge English Scale: An overall score of 185, with no less than 176 in every element.
- Pearson Test of English (Academic) (PTEA): A total score of 69, with no less than 62 in every element.
- LSE Language Centre Presessional program (5 or 10 weeks): An overall score of 70, with no less than a score of 65 in every element.
5. University of St. Andrews
On the 5th position of this list, the University of St. Andrews is another world-famous university with an exceptional record of students as well faculty. It is leading in various research fields and takes pride in its diversity of students.
In general, St. Andrews keeps an IELTS score of 7.0 overall, with no less than 6.5 in every element. But the English requirement at St. Andrews differs from other universities in the way that they have a different score range for different courses. Below you will find a general overview of the scores accepted by St. Andrews, for more detailed information you can head to their website.
Other English language tests accepted by St. Andrews:
- TOEFL IBT: An overall score of 94, with no less than 24 in every element.
- PTE Academic: A total score of 65, with no less than 58 in every element.
- LanguageCert International ESOL C1: An acceptable grade of Pass
- Cambridge: A total score of 185, with no less than 176 in every section.
- Trinity Integrated Skills in English (ISE) III: An acceptable grade of Pass
If I belong to a country that has English as its primary language, do I still need to meet the requirements?
Most probably, no. Colleges in the UK understand that there is no need for English speaking country students to show evidence about their level of English. But, they would require you to show proof regarding your education (high school or undergraduate) being conducted in only
with the medium of the English language.