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Can You Substitute Your English Grade In School With IELTS?

Say you’re thinking of applying to study at a university in the UK, Australia, and the US.

Now, after some Googling, you’ll come to realize that universities in most English-speaking countries require international students to prove their English proficiency by taking a language exam.

Now, the most popular and well-known English language test out there is the IELTS Test, but you might be wondering:

Can you get placed in a university without taking an IELTS test? What’s the difference between TOEFL vs IELTS? And What’s an ITEP test?

In this guide, we answer all these questions, and more!

for Universities in the UK

There are several UK universities that do not require their candidates to submit their IELTS score, including the University of Warwick and University of Bristol.


For other universities, whether the IELTS test is required varies. Generally speaking, universities may waive the IELTs requirement for candidates who went to schools taught in English, provided that their school results are satisfactory.

That said, note that:

1. The university may still interview you to assess your English proficiency

2. You’ll still have to take an approved language test to gain a Tier 4 Visa to study in the UK

For Universities in Australia

To apply for a student visa in Australia, you may sit for any one of these 5 language exams:

  • International English Language Testing System (IELTS)
  • Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) internet-based test (the paper-based test is accepted as well, but only from limited countries.)
  • Cambridge English: Advanced (CAE)
  • Pearson Test of English (PTE) Academic
  • Occupational English Test (OET).

To successfully get your visa, you’ll need your IELTS results to be 5.5, at the very minimum.

idp-ielt-band-scoreHowever, note that not all universities accept 5.5 IELTS scores. While the exact requirements vary based on the university and course, most courses require a minimum of 6.0 to 6.5 IELTS scores.

To err on the side of caution, we’d say you should aim to hit 6.5 or higher for your test results. If you’re sitting for the test anyway, might as well study hard and impress the universities that you want to apply to!

For Universities in New Zealand

For those who want to study in a tertiary institution in New Zealand, you’ll need to produce an IELTS score of 5.0 and above to get your student visa.

As for entry to universities, however, many universities accept academic qualifications completed in a country where English is the main language (this includes A-level certificates).

Alternative English tests that are also recognized in New Zealand include Certificate in English for Academic Study (CertEAS), GIE, TOEFL, Cambridge English Advanced (CAE) or the Pearson Test of English.


Again, the exact grade you’ll need to get is dependent on your university and course of choice. For instance, if you want to enroll in the prestigious Auckland University of Technology (AUT), you’ll have to score a 6.5 overall (with 7* in Writing, and 6.0 or higher in all other bands). 

Your first step to studying overseas is booking your IELTS test…

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