IELTS Eligibility: Age and Minimum Requirements

IELTS is a requirement for all individuals planning to move abroad. The people might be moving either for work-related purposes or further studies. The test is taken for those countries where English is the primary language for communication, and the tests are administered at different centers across the globe. IELTS is recognized by the universities, government agencies, and immigration authorities of the UK, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the USA.

IELTS is a language proficiency exam taken by candidates who want to study abroad in English-speaking countries.

In addition, IELTS is usually a requirement for those students whose first language is not English. Therefore, it is essential to know IELTS eligibility, including age and minimum requirements. We’ll discuss that in detail in this article.

What is IELTS?

IELTS (International English Language Testing System) test is an English assessment exam intended to assess the language capability of the appearing candidates. They need to continue studies or work in countries where English is the primary way of interaction. The IELTS exam pattern tests these four basic skills as mentioned on the IELTS website.

The four basic skills are reading, speaking, listening, writing. Hence, the IELTS test is split into four distinct test sections: 

To appear for the exam, candidates must meet the eligibility criteria. Details regarding the eligibility criteria are covered in this article.

Which IELTS Route to Take?

The version of the IELTS exam you are planning to take differs based on your purpose of IELTS: 

The table stated below discusses which version of IELTS to attempt for what purpose. 

IELTS Test VersionPurpose/Goal of Taking the specific IELTS Format
IELTS AcademicTo enroll in an academic program where English is the focal language of interaction
IELTS General TrainingFor work/ work-related training or migration

What is the IELTS Eligibility Criteria?

Eligibility criteria is a set of conditions that allow you to appear for the test if you complete all the needed requirements.

Who Sets the Eligibility Criteria?

British Council, IDP, IELTS Australia, and University of Cambridge ESOL Examinations (Cambridge ESOL) are the institutions that conduct the exam, have set no solid criteria for the appearing candidates. 

Eligibility Criteria for IELTS:

IELTS Eligibility CriteriaDescription
Age LimitThe minimum age of the candidate must be 16.
Availability of documentsValid, non-expired passport.
Minimum ScoresIt varies from one organization to another. 

Score-Based Eligibility Criteria:

Before applying to a university, it is a must that candidates should check the accepted IELTS score as it varies around the globe. However, the average band score range is within 6.0 to 7.5 out of a scale of 9. The data given below indicates that educational institutes prefer candidates to score more than 7.

Suppose the appearing candidate needs admission into a Bachelor’s Degree course. In that case, they will be required to have completed a senior secondary education, which must be equal to the higher education in the foreign country they are applying to. The second requirement is the IELTS score as per the university/country.

If the student is taking admission into a Postgraduate course, they must have completed the four-year Bachelor’s degree. They will also be needed to have the English test score where the IELTS score can be used.

Suppose you appear for the Doctorate course. In that case, you need to have a valid Master’s degree from a recognized university, an English test score (IELTS can be taken as the English language test), and proof of work experience. 

1. Eligibility for Canada:

English is the medium of instruction in Canada, and therefore, the universities prefer students with a higher band score. It must be kept in mind that the scores for education and immigration purposes are different. The minimum score required for IELTS Academic is 6.5, and for IELTS General, it is 6.

2. Eligibility for the USA:

The USA is one of the most remarkable nations known for its stable economy and higher GDP. Every year, several people immigrate to the USA. To study at famous universities, candidates need to score a minimum of 7 bands in IELTS Academic. 

3. Eligibility for the UK:

To get any kind of UK visa, the IELTS exam is a must. Some visa types require a different score than the others, but the minimum academic score needed is 7 out of 9.

4. Eligibility for Australia:

IELTS score for undergraduate and postgraduate varies from 6 to 6.5, respectively. However, for immigration and PR purposes, Australia follows its point-based allocation system.

5. Eligibility for New Zealand: 

For skilled employees, the preferred IELTS score is at least 6.5 in any module. It differs widely in the Entrepreneur and Business category from 4 to 5 out of 9.

Country Minimum Score
IELTS Academic
Minimum Score
IELTS General Training
New Zealand56.5

Are there any Unique Exceptions for the IELTS Exam?

Applicants can likewise take IELTS tests with special needs. Students under this criteria are permitted to take the exam under fair opportunities for all the appearing individuals who want to continue their profession or studies. People in this category include:

  • People with difficulties in learning
  • People with impaired hearing
  • People with impaired vision
  • People with specific medical conditions

Those who are classified into this category are allowed to request and receive special arrangements at the test centers, as mentioned on the IELTS official website. It must be notified to the examining authority in your county at least three to four months before your test. 

1. Difficulties in Learning:

The test center will first get complete information on your disability and see if they can arrange the necessary equipment for you. If they cannot do this, they will find the nearest test center that can facilitate you. For this, you will be required to give the examining body a full report regarding your learning difficulty. It is preferred to be written by a qualified psychologist. 

2. Hearing Impairment:

In the IELTS Listening module, you must read the questions, listen to the audio track and answer the given questions. In case of hearing difficulties, candidates can use a hearing aid or a wireless system. However, you must inform your test center at least three months before your exam date. 

The test center will also provide headphones or special amplification equipment to hear the recording, and the examiner will control the recording.

A lip-reading version will also be provided, and it will act as a substitute for the audio used in the exam. Make sure to do a lot of sample practices for this. In case of any severe speaking/ hearing difficulties where you cannot make use of the arrangements aforementioned, you will be exempted from taking the listening and speaking modules. The scoring for these components will be based on the score of the other sections of the test.

3. Visual Impairment:

If you are suffering from any visual difficulty, you will be allowed to have a reader that will read out your questions. An important thing to note here is that the reader will not in any situation explain the question. You can use the following types of equipment if your nearest test center has them:

  • Handheld magnifiers
  • Screen magnification software
  • Screen reader software
  • Refreshable Braille displays.

You’ll be provided with a Braille note taker or a Braille keyboard (mechanical or electrical) if you are partially sighted or cannot see completely. 

4. Medical Conditions:

If you are going through any medical condition, you can submit a full report to the examining authority in your country six weeks before your test. Hence, they can easily arrange equipment. You can request extra time or breaks as per your medical condition. 

Candidates will be allowed to write answers using a word processor, but you cannot use any thesaurus, grammar, or spellcheck. On the other hand, you will not be allowed to have someone read your question paper.

What are IELTS Indicator Requirements?

IELTS Indicator is the new online test by the examining body IELTS that can be taken quickly at home if you have all the requirements. It was introduced to those applicants in a country/state where the test has been suspended due to Covid-19. 

If you have all the below requirements, then you can take this test:

  1. A good computer or laptop.
  2. A comfortable and quiet space. Noise can interrupt the speaking/ listening tests. 
  3. A solid and reliable internet connection.
  4. Good quality headphones and speakers.
  5. A webcam, preferably attached with the desktop or laptop. 

Should you Opt for the IELTS Indicator Test?

There are several reasons why you should opt for the IELTS Indicator test, some of them mentioned below:

  • It can be used for application purposes. Since some states could not take the in-person IELTS, universities and institutes are accepting the IELTS Indicator test score.
  • It allows the students to assess their capability in English listening, speaking, reading, and writing.
  • This test can be taken from the comfort of home if you have all the requirements.
  • Due to the pandemic, some countries are more unsafe than others. Taking this test which is available at home, is a safer and easier option.

Additional FAQs on Eligibility and Requirements

Can I Apply for The IELTS Exam After the 12th Standard?

Since candidates take the IELTS exam for studying abroad, it is possible to apply for the IELTS exam after the 12th standard.

Most students travel to foreign countries for higher education in the universities, so it is crucial for the students planning to move abroad to take the IELTS exam after the 12th standard if they are from a non-English speaking country. 

Are 12th Marks Important for Taking the IELTS?

There are no percentage criteria required to appear for the IELTS. The IELTS can be taken irrespective of the 12th percentage or equivalent score.

The IELTS exam does not ask for your school, college, or university examination record, nor the IELTS result is based on those marks. Hence, the 12th marks are not important for taking the IELTS exam.

What Is the Minimum Qualification for IELTS?

There is no requirement for the educational qualification for the IELTS, whether you are appearing for the General or Academic module.

However, since the IELTS exam is usually taken for higher students, most take it after their 12th standard. You can also opt for it after your bachelor’s or masters. 

What Is the Minimum Age Requirement for Taking the IELTS Exam?

There is no solid rule about the age limit; however, candidates under 16 are advised against taking the test. This is because the candidates under 16 are in school, and they cannot opt for the IELTS exam as they have to finish their high school first. 

Which Month Is Best for The IELTS Exam?

The best time to take the IELTS is in December, April, and August. The components ‘ topics tend to change after these months, i.e., January, May, and September.

To be specific, IELTS Speaking topics are updated in January, May, and September. By this time, candidates are aware of the potential exam topics. 

What Is the Passing Score for The IELTS Exam?

First of all, there is no passing score in IELTS. Each university and country has a different requirement for the IELTS exam.

If you are applying for higher education, you will have to check the minimum acceptance criteria with the university you are applying for. As for immigration and traveling purposes, each country has a different requirement, as mentioned in the table given above. 

How Many Times Can I Take the IELTS Exam?

The IELTS test can be taken as many times as you want. For each time you appear for the test, you will be needed to re-register and pay the respective registration fee.

Therefore, it is advised to prepare thoroughly for the test to avoid paying the examination fees.

Also, several free resources and guidelines are available on the internet and the IELTS official website that you can utilize for exam preparation.