International students are required to do the International English Language Test or IELTES before applying for Universities. There are 1.000 IELTS test locations worldwide so you can either do it in your own country or once you are in the UK.

All British universities accept IELTS results. As long as you have reached the score required by your university. Remember, your IELTS test should be no more than two years old or it will not be accepted.

General IELTS requirement for different levels of study:

  • There is no need for have completed IELTS for a short English course.
  • Some universities require you to do a foundation year, usually the score requirement is 4.0 in each element.
  • When starting an undergraduate course the minimum requirement is 5.5 or 6.0 in each element depending of your university.
  • For postgraduate degree the minimum IELTS score is 6.0 or 6.5 in each element.

Below is a list of a selection of the most known universities in the UK and their score requirements for undergraduate students.


University of Oxford 7.0
University of Cambridge 7.0
Imperial College London 6.0
University College London 5.5
London School of Economics and Political Science 7.0
King’s College London 6.0
University of Bristol 6.0
University of Manchester 5.5
University of Glasgow 6.5
University of Sheffield 5.5
Queen Mary University of London 5.5
University of Southampton 6.5
University of Exeter 6.5
University of Leeds 6.0
University of Birmingham 6.0
University of St Andrews 7.0
University of Nottingham 7.0
University of Sussex 6.0
Lancaster University 4.0
University of Leicester 6.0
Cardiff University 6.5
Newcastle University 6.5
IELTS Test University Requirements

Now that you know the score requirements, you are ready to start gaining an idea of the IELTS test format.

First of all, bear in mind that the IELTS tests your abilities in listening, reading, writing and speaking. Remember that if you are applying for university you will need to do the IELTS academic NOT the general training.

The listening, reading and writing are all done the same day. The speaking one it can be completed up to a week before or after the other test. Make sure you don’t make any other commitments on the day of the exam as in some cases it can last all day long.

The Listening Test

The test consists of 30 minutes of listening to four different records of native speakers, in the mean time you will need to answer 40 questions, with each question worth 1 mark.

  • The first conversation is about an everyday social event between two people.
  • The second conversation is, again, a social conversation.
  • The third conversation can involve up to four people and is set in an educational context.
  • The last record is on an academic subject.

The reason for the listening test is to see the candidate ability to understand the main information and the ability to follow the development of ideas.

The Reading Test

This test aims to test a wide range of reading skills. You will have to answer 40 questions in 60 minutes.

The exam is composed of three long texts taken from either books, journals, magazines or newspapers. The reason for the reading test is that students about to start a University course are likely to need these skills throughout their studies.

The Writing Test

The writing test consists of two tasks and you will have 60 minutes to complete both.

  • Task one: You will have to describe, summarise or explain a graph, table, chart or diagram. You will need to write 150 words.
  • Task two: You will have to write 250 words in essay format about a point of view, argument or a problem.

The Speaking Test

The speaking test will take you about 11 to 14 minutes to complete and is divided into three sections.

  • To start with, the examiner will ask you questions about yourself, your family and your interests.
  • The examiner will hand you a card which asks you to talk about a topic and give you a one minute for you to prepare your answer and two minutes to perform. Afterwards, the examiner will ask you a couple of questions about the same topic.
  • The examiner will ask you further questions about the topic in part two, giving you the opportunity to discuss more about the subject.