What IELTS band score do I need?
All you need to know about IELTS entry scores.

IELTS entry scores are the minimum scores you need to be eligible for migration to a country, admission to an educational institute, and even working for an employer overseas. They are to prove your English language skill for a new country you have chosen to live, study or work in, and make sure you can comfortably communicate with native people. But who sets them and based on which criteria?!

This article will look at how IELTS entry scores are set and what scores you need to be eligible for entry to your dream country or university.

How are IELTS entry scores set?

IELTS is the gold standard for English language testing, recognized by more than 11,000 organizations worldwide in a wide range of sectors. Still, when it comes to setting IELTS entry scores, each country has its immigration laws, each university has its unique criteria, and each particular employer has its conditions. They try to make sure applicants can effortlessly live in their new country, pass courses or perform well in their new workplace by having the required language proficiency.

The IELTS band score requirement for each purpose is different and depends on how fluent you need to be in each specific situation. Sometimes there are even certain requirements for the minimum score in each one of the modules of the IELTS exam (Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking), based on each visa category.

When it comes to education, the program you want to enrol in will define what IELTS entry score is needed. For example, a band score of 7.5 will be required in a linguistically demanding academic course such as advanced English literature, and even a band score of 7 will probably be acceptable, but any lower band score will need further English study. On the other hand, the same band score of 7 will be required for a linguistically less demanding academic course such as accountancy, and 6.5 will probably be acceptable, but 6 will need further English study.

Linguistically demanding training courses will set the same requirement for a band score of 6.5, probably accept 6 and ask for more English study for any lower band score. In contrast, linguistically less demanding training courses will set 6 as required and 5.5 as probably acceptable.

For immigration purposes, IELTS entry scores depend on the visa category you choose as the language demand is different for a skilled worker than for someone seeking family migration. Even industrial benchmarks are considered, but it is the prerogative of each employer. Certainly, a physician who deals with both the scientific community and ordinary patients has different language requirements than a hairdresser.

As you can see, setting IELTS entry scores depends on criteria dictated by the type of program or industry you apply for, and individual organizations and authorities do it.

What IELTS entry scores do you need?

Although UK, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand accept IELTS as their only English language proficiency test, for IELTS entry scores setting, each country has their own set of rules.

For university admissions, things are different due to the demands of each program or university ranking. For example, the University of Oxford in the UK has an IELTS entry score of 7.0 for undergraduate study but 7.5 for postgraduate degrees. In comparison, the University of Cambridge accepts band scores of 7.0 for both undergraduate and doctoral programs. London School of Economics applies the same rules as Oxford, but University College London and the University of Edinburgh take an easier stand by accepting 6.5 for both UG and PG studies. However, the University of Manchester widens the gap between UG and PG by accepting 6.0 and 7.5, respectively.

Canada has chosen a different approach by setting a 6.5 score for most universities such as the University of Toronto, the University of British Columbia and Université de Montréal.

For Australian National University, the score is 6.5, as is in the University of Sydney and Queensland University of Technology. At the same time, the University of Canberra and the University of Wollongong have a minimum of 6.0.

New Zealand sets more conditions for entry to educational institutes such as the University of Auckland, requiring an overall score of 6.0 for undergraduate programs with no band score of less than 5.5. For postgraduate programs, it has a minimum of 6.5 overall and 6.0 per section. However, the University of Otago sets 6.0 for both overall and per band of undergraduate programs, but for postgraduate programs, applicants should have a minimum of 6.5 overall scores and 6.0 per band.

The United States also accepts IELTS as proof of English proficiency in over 3,400 institutions. Top universities ask for above 7 band scores, and lower-ranking schools accept 6.5 as the entry scores.

Regarding immigration, the rules of IELTS entry scores are different since you usually get points based on your overall band score. The higher your score, the more points you get. You might even get bonus points at specific scores. For example, Canada gives you 4 bonus points if English is your second language and your overall is higher than 5, with reading and writing being no less than 4. But Australia doesn’t allocate points to scores of 6 and lower! New Zealand has a minimum of 6.5 while the UK has a range of 4-7 for immigration points.

Generally speaking, the IELTS entry score you need is different for each university and specific visa category, but the expectation is high anyway!

Closing Words

IELTS entry scores are set by individual organizations such as immigration authorities, universities or employers according to the demands for English proficiency in each country, educational program or workplace so the applicants can succeed in their new path in life.

But the good news is that you can undoubtedly achieve your required entry score by well preparing for your IELTS exam. Taking IELTS mock tests, which are the exact replica of the actual IELTS exam and come with analytical reports from certified IELTS examiners, is a proven way that helps you get the entry score you need on your first try.

How close are you to the IELTS entry score that you need?
Take an online IELTS mock test to find out.

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