IELTS Exam Eligibility - Check Minimum Age Limit, Qualification & Score

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Shilpa Saxena
Updated on Oct 03, 2022 7:57 PM IST

The International English Language Testing System (IELTS) is a standardised test conducted to check the language proficiency of study abroad aspirants who wish to take admitted to foreign universities or work/receive professional training in a number of English-speaking countries. 

Knowing the IELTS eligibility criteria is among the most searched thing about the exam by study abroad aspirants. IDP, the conducting body for the IELTS exam in India, have not set any minimum eligibility criteria for the exam. 

Having said that, each university has its own set of admission requirements including a specific IELTS score that candidates must meet in order to get admission in their course of choice. 

IELTS Eligibility Criteria 2022

For those looking to apply for the IELTS examination, here are some of the key highlights of the IELTS eligibility criteria:

  • The official exam administrator has not defined any academic eligibility for the IELTS exam, thus, allowing all aspirants to attempt the test. Nevertheless, candidates will be required to choose between appearing for the IELTS Academic or IELTS General Training tests, depending on the purpose of their visit to an English-speaking country.

  • With regard to the number of attempts, candidates are allowed to IELTS multiple times in a year, provided they register and pay for each of the tests, every time they wish to take one.

  • Needless to say, being an English language proficiency test, candidates must be proficient in the different aspects of the language, i.e. reading, writing, listening and speaking. 

  • Applicants are required to present a valid passport to appear for the IELTS exam this year.

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IELTS Age Limit Criteria

IELTS can be attempted by any candidate worldwide regardless of their nationality, gender, race, religion or age. There is no upper age limit to appear in the test. However, it is not recommended to be taken by any person under the age of 16 years at the time of the test.

Eligibility for IELTS Academic and IELTS General

As previously said, IELTS can be taken by anyone, regardless of age, gender, colour, nationality, or religion; however, the IELTS test is not suggested for people under the age of 16. The type of IELTS exam you must take will differ depending on your purpose of travel/goal:

Purpose of Travel/Goal

The Version of IELTS Eligible

To enrol in an academic program in a country where English is the medium of instruction and communication

IELTS Academic

For work/work-related training or to relocate to an English-speaking nation

IELTS General Training

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Minimum IELTS Score Required by Top Universities

Now that you are all familiar with the IELTS eligibility criteria for this year, let us quickly tell you about the minimum test score that aspirants need to seek admission into top universities in countries like Australia, Canada, the UK, the USA, New Zealand and more. 

Having said that, each university has its own set of requirements as well as its own set of admissions guidelines. Furthermore, each university has various IELTS eligibility standards that candidates must meet in order to be admitted. In addition, candidates must meet the additional eligibility standards established by the university or educational organization where they intend to enrol.

Before acceptance, candidates must also meet some general prerequisites, commonly course-related. Among the commonly accepted eligibility for IELTS, most prestigious colleges will require a minimum band score of at least 6.0. Moreover, the eligibility for the test will also highlight the sectional band score requirement, which often is 5.5 or higher. It should be noted that the minimum band score requirement at each university for each course will be defined individually by the respective departments offering the course.

IELTS Special Requirements

In a bid to accommodate as many students and facilitate the dreams of all aspirants, IELTS IDP India offers accommodations and facilities to candidates needing special requirements. Candidates meeting the specific IELTS eligibility for applicants with special requirements must fall under the following categories:

  • People with visual impairment

  • People with learning difficulties

  • People with hearing impairment

  • People with particular medical conditions

As stated above, the candidates falling under the above-mentioned categories will be able to receive special arrangements at the IELTS test centres. However, candidates are required to inform the authorities and provide relevant medical documents backing their claims for special requirements at the test centres. The authorities will scrutinise the documents and accept or reject the request for special arrangements.

IELTS Indicator (Online Home Test) Requirements

‘IELTS Indicator’ is the new online IELTS test format that can be taken at home by all applicants. It was introduced due to the COVID-19 pandemic in a bid to bring some relief to students applying for admissions abroad, especially if they are not able to take the in-person IELTS test. 

Applicable for candidates from India, those interested in taking the test will be required to meet the eligibility for IELTS Indicator test, as has been outlined below:

  • Candidates must have a laptop or desktop computer.

  • The space or room where candidates will be attempting the test must be quiet and comfortable to avoid interruption during the test.

  • Candidates must ensure that their internet connection must be reliable.

  • The candidate must have good-quality headphones.

  • The laptop or the desktop must also include a webcam, which should be properly functional.

  • For the purpose of the test, candidates must instal Zoom applications to appear for the test.

  • Candidates must also download and install the Safe Exam Browser (SEB). 

Why Should You Take IELTS Indicator Test? 

There are many reasons why students should choose the IELTS indicator test, some of which have been mentioned below:

  • Those meeting the eligibility for IELTS Indicator test will be able to use the test scores for admissions to higher education institutions. Currently, universities and colleges have agreed to accept students presenting Indicator test scores as valid proof of English proficiency.

  • Much like the other tests, the IELTS Indicator test allows candidates the opportunity to analyse their abilities in the four parameters of the English language, including Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking.

  • With the help of this provision, candidates will now be able to attempt their IELTS tests from the comfort of their homes at any corner of the world. With limited seating and a limited number of test centres available across the globe, the IELTS Indicator test opens up more opportunities for aspirants to take the test without much hassle.

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FAQs on IELTS Eligibility

What is the minimum age required to appear for the IELTS exam?

The minimum age required to appear for IELTS is 16 years. While candidates as young as 16 years old can attempt the tests, institutions accepting the test scores will have predefined the age limit for different application purposes, i.e. admission or immigration. Candidates under the age of 18 will be required to present a consent form from their parents or guardians to take the test.

How many times can I take the IELTS?

As per exam policies, candidates can take the IELTS exam as many times as they wish to take. However, it should be noted that every time they wish to attempt the test, they will have to register and pay for the test. Therefore, it is advisable to be well prepared for the test and attempt only after you are confident in your skills to ace the test.

Is there any educational qualification required to appear for the IELTS exam?

No, there is no educational qualification required to appear for the IELTS. However, depending upon the degree a student intends to get and the reason for visiting a foreign country, one must select between taking the IELTS Academic and the IELTS General Training or whether they wish to appear for computer-delivered test, paper-based IELTS test or IELTS Indicator (online).

What is the age limit to appear for the IELTS exam?

The administrators of the IELTS exam recommend the exam is for everyone above the age of 16. There is no age limit to appear for the IELTS examination enforced by British Council, IDP: IELTS Australia and Cambridge Assessment English. The IELTS examination is available to all applicants regardless of their age, gender, race, or country, however, candidates under the age of 16 are not encouraged.

Can a candidate with a visual impairment attempt the IELTS?

Yes, a candidate with a visual impairment can attempt IELTS. If you are blind, partially sighted, or have vision impairments, IELTS officials may assist you to take the IELTS. It may take up to six weeks for any special arrangements to be made for you. So, you should apply for such a requirement through your IELTS test centre as soon as possible.

Can a candidate with a hearing impairment appear for IELTS?

Yes, a candidate with a hearing impairment can appear for the IELTS exam. Such candidates are included under special requirements and special facilities are available for them at the IELTS test centres. Hearing-impaired people communicate in IELTS Reading using sign language.

Are there any university-specific eligibility criteria to appear for IELTS?

No, there are no university-specific eligibility criteria for candidates to appear for IELTS. For admissions, each university has its own set of prerequisites and guidelines. Furthermore, each university has its own set of IELTS Eligibility Criteria that applicants must meet in order to be considered for admission. Candidates must also meet the university's or educational institute's other qualifying conditions.

Is there an IELTS academic requirement?

No, there is no academic requirement for taking the IELTS exams. You can take any type of IELTS regardless of your overall grade point average (GPA) in 12th or equivalent. It is the test that is necessary to demonstrate your English competence in order to gain admission to a foreign university.

Which is more difficult, IELTS Academic or IELTS General?

The IELTS Academic exam examines a student's preparedness for academic English study or training. If you are migrating to an English-speaking nation, such as Australia, Canada, New Zealand, or the United Kingdom, you will have to take the IELTS General Training exam. However, IELTS Academic is known to be more difficult than the General Training version.

What percentage in Bachelors is necessary for IELTS?

There are no rules regarding the necessity of a candidate's age or percentage obtained in Bachelors. Anyone, regardless of age, gender, ethnicity, nationality, or religion, is welcome to take the exam. However, it is not suggested for people under the age of 16. There is no such percentage criterion for appearing in the IELTS Exam.

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