The International English Language Testing System (IELTS) is a government-approved test of proficiency in the English language. It is intended for non-native speakers who wish to study  in the United Kingdom. Universities use the results of this test to not only match international students with the English language entry requirements of the courses that they offer but, also to ensure that the student applicant will be able to cope with the level of English that is required to study an Undergraduate or Postgraduate degree in the United Kingdom.

There are three different types of IELTS test:

IELTS ACADEMIC: for those who wish to study an undergraduate or postgraduate degree.

IELTS GENERAL TRAINING- for those who want to move to the United Kingdom or for those who want to study below degree level.

IELTS Life Skills-  for those that want to improve their English speaking and listening skills in support of their UKVI application for ‘family of a settled person’ visa.

For UK applicants, students only need to take the Academic exam, which consists of 4 papers:

Listening – 30 minutes

Reading – 60 minutes

Writing – 60 minutes

Speaking – 11-14 minutes

The IELTS Test results are also used to support UKVI Tier 4 Student Visa applications.

The following is a brief comparison of the English language requirements for Foundation courses, Bachelor degrees and Master degrees.


IELTS 4.5 – 5.5


IELTS 6.0 – 6.5


IELTS 6.5 – 7.0