IELTS Eligibility Criteria 2023 - Minimum Age Limit, Qualification & Score

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Cyril Zachariah
Updated on Mar 02, 2023 2:07 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 to their course of choice. 

IELTS Eligibility Criteria 2023

For those planning to take the IELTS exam, here are some important facts about IELTS eligibility criteria:

  • The official test administrator of the IELTS exam, IDP India has not mentioned any academic eligibility criteria. The test can be attempted by anyone who chooses to take it. Nevertheless, candidates have to select the test type, that is, IELTS Academic or IELTS General Training depending on the purpose of their stay abroad.

  • There is no restriction to the number of attempts. Candidates have to register and pay the IELTS exam fee every time they wish to take the test.

  • Needless to say, the candidate must have sound knowledge of all the aspects of the English language including reading, writing, listening and speaking.

  • They also need to have a valid passport to appear for the test.

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

With a clearer understanding of the IELTS eligibility criteria, all aspirants should find out the minimum score requirements in order to enrol at any one the top universities abroad. Moreover, since these test scores are required for visa processes in English-speaking countries, it is also crucial to understand the minimum requirements for countries like Australia, the US, the UK, Canada and other countries.

While each university abroad holds the authority to determine the minimum IELTS eligibility requirements, the criteria remain more or less similar. In other words, universities will determine the minimum scores usually between 5-7 bands, depending on the demand and difficulty level of the course, among other factors. Candidates are required to meet the minimum IELTS score requirements along with other course eligibility criteria to be selected for admission.

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

The conducting body of IELTS is aware of all its prospective test-takers and takes into consideration the challenges that some candidates may face in attempting the test. Therefore, to address these challenges, there are specific IELTS eligibility criteria allowing applicants with special requirements to easily take the test as well.

In other words, IELTS IDP offers a number of accommodations and facilities for candidates requiring special arrangements, including those with permanent or temporary disabilities. Listed below are the different candidate categories under which select candidates can apply for special accommodations and facilities to make their testing experience easier and more accessible.

  • People with visual impairment

  • People with learning difficulties

  • People with hearing impairment

  • People with particular medical conditions

These candidates can request various special facilities, such as extra exam time, scriber, reader, writer, arrangement of special equipment like a wheelchair, isolated examination environment, etc. 

In order to become a beneficiary of these facilities, candidates are required to inform the authorities and provide relevant medical documents backing their claims for special requirements at the IELTS test centres. The authorities will scrutinise the documents and on the basis of their evaluation accept or reject the request for special arrangements. The request needs to be filed well in advance so that IDP can decide upon the request, and if approved can direct the respective test centre to make applicable 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

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

No, there is no educational qualification required to appear for the IELTS exam. The IELTS exam is a language proficiency exam and not an entrance test for university courses and hence no minimum qualification is required. However, in order to use the IELTS TRF successfully for either education or job purpose you need to satisfy the requirements of the institutions to which you are applying.

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

There is no age limit to appear for the IELTS examalthough there is a lower age limit to appear in the IELTS exam. Candidates need to be at least 16 years of age to register and appear for the exam. The IELTS score validity is two years which makes it impossible to apply any limit on the number of attempts as well. IELTS testing authorities are well equipped to support even physically challenged candidates.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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