All About IELTS Exam Eligibility - The Complete Guide

Updated on 08 February, 2024

upGrad Abroad Team

upGrad Abroad Team

upGrad abroad Editorial Team

There are no strict IELTS exam eligibility criteria that have been fixed by IDP, the organizing body of IELTS, and British Council for the test takers. IELTS is a crucial English language proficiency test for aspirants willing to study abroad in English-speaking countries. Since the teaching medium in most colleges in English-speaking countries is English only, therefore, it becomes necessary for candidates to meet the eligibility for IELTS exam and demonstrate their language proficiency while being assessed on four parameters, namely, Writing, Reading, Speaking and Listening.

Formats of IELTS Exam

Before understanding more about the eligibility criteria for IELTS examination, let us know about the two formats in which the language proficiency test can be taken. The two formats are–IELTS General Training and IELTS Academic. The latter is for those willing to pursue higher studies in a foreign nation while the former is tailored for those candidates who wish to pursue secondary education or get more work experience abroad. It is also applicable for migrating to key global nations like Australia, the UK, Canada, and New Zealand.  

Minimum IELTS Score Needed by Leading Universities

The IELTS exam eligibility has got nothing to do with admission-related guidelines as set by foreign universities. Every university will have its own different regulations and guidelines for admissions. Candidates are expected to meet other general requirements before admission as well. Most leading institutions will require at least 7.0 as the total score. They also require a section or band score of at least 6.5 in all four sections individually.

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Eligibility Criteria for IELTS Examination- Minimum Age Limit:

The only eligibility for the IELTS exam in India and across the globe is that a candidate needs to be at least 16 years. Anybody aged 16 or above can take this examination, irrespective of their gender, nationality, or background. Exceptions are only made when a school needs the IELTS scores for admission purposes. There is no upper age limit fixed by the conducting bodies.

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Eligibility for IELTS Exam in India- Test Pattern:

The syllabus is divided into four sections, namely Reading, Listening, Writing and Speaking. The total test duration is 2 hours and 45 minutes.

IELTS band scores are not standard for every country and university that you applied for. Below mentioned are the country and related IELTS band scores:

IELTS Eligibility-USA

University NameIELTS Band Score
Massachusetts Institute of Technology7
California Institute of Technology7
Harvard University6.5-7
Princeton University7
Yale University7

IELTS Eligibility-Canada

University NameIELTS Band Score
University of Toronto6.5
University of Alberta6.5
McGill University 6.5
University of British Columbia6.5

IELTS Eligibility-UK

University NameIELTS Band Score
University College London5.5-6
University of Edinburgh5.5
University of Oxford7.5 (with minimum 7.0 band per component)
University of Cambridge7
Imperial College London7 (with minimum 6.5 band in each component)

IELTS Eligibility- Australia

University NameIELTS Band Score
University of Melbourne6.5 (with no section score less than 6.0)
University of Sydney6.5 with no band below 6.0
University of New South Wales6.5 with no band below 6.0
University of South Wales6.0 with at least 5.5 in each band or equivalent
University of Queensland6.5 with 6.0 in all sub-bands or equivalent


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Get to know about the latest updates on the IELTS Exam, Eligibility, Preparation Tips, Test procedure,  Exam Pattern, Syllabus, Registration Process, Important Exam Dates, and much more!! This guide is a one-stop solution for every IELTS Aspirant who aims to crack the exam with an impressive band score.

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Frequently Asked Questions about IELTS Exam Eligibility

Can IELTS exam applications be submitted after Class 12?

Yes, you can attempt the examination after Class 12.

Are Class 12 marks vital for IELTS?

There are no minimum percentage criteria that have been set to take the IELTS exam.

Is any minimum passing score needed for IELTS?

No minimum score is needed for clearing IELTS. The results are calculated on the 1-9 band. 0 is the band for those not attempting the test and the band score of 9 denotes an expert user.

Are watches permitted during the examination?

Aspirants cannot wear watches at the testing center. There are clocks at the center and so candidates don’t need a wristwatch.  

What is the IELTS age limit?

There are no age-related guidelines. Anybody can take the test although the minimum age is 16 years.

Can the test be taken in a single day?

The Writing, Reading, and Listening sections are all attempted together and on the same day. The Speaking test may be held on the day of the test or about two days after the test date or even seven days before the exam date.

What should be done if the aspirant falls sick?

Not attempting the examination on the scheduled date means losing the application charge that was prepaid. Providing medical certificates within 5 days from the test date will ensure a refund post some deductions. 

Which section should you attempt first?

A candidate has to attempt the Listening test first, followed by the Reading and Writing sections.  

Can I prepare for the examination at home?

Those looking to prepare at home may refer to the Preparation Guide which has vital tips, strategies, and sample papers.

Which is the best coaching center for IELTS?

This may vary from city to city. You can find out the best options in your city after doing your homework or research online.

What is the minimum educational qualification for IELTS Exam?

There is no specific educational qualification. IELTS does not have any specific educational requirements. It is open to individuals of all educational backgrounds, regardless of whether they have completed high school, college, or university.

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upGrad Abroad Team

upGrad abroad Editorial Team

We are a dedicated team of study-abroad experts, ensuring intensive research and comprehensive information in each of our blogs. With every piece written, we aim at simplifying the overseas education process for all. Our diverse experience as journalists, content writers, editors, content strategists, and marketers helps create the most relevant and authentic blogs for our readers.

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