Explore Courses

IELTS Exam Eligibility for 2024: Age, Education, and Other Key Factors

Updated on 23 June, 2024

Pragya Sharma

Pragya Sharma

Sr. Content Editor

What is the eligibility for IELTS, the most popular English proficiency exam? Whenever you read about IELTS, your mind may wander around this question. Is it difficult to sit for the IELTS exam? Can anyone take the IELTS test? Well, the answer to your question is that there are no strict IELTS exam eligibility criteria that have been fixed by IDP, the organizing body of IELTS, for the test takers.

Since the teaching medium in most universities and colleges in English-speaking countries is English only, therefore, it becomes necessary for candidates to know and meet the eligibility for the IELTS exam and demonstrate their language proficiency. 

Keep reading to know the different IELTS eligibility criteria and the minimum IELTS scores accepted at top universities in leading countries. 

Who Can Take IELTS Exam

The IELTS exam is internationally renowned and caters to a diverse range of test takers worldwide. Anyone above 16 years of age, eligible, and who wishes to visit or migrate to English-speaking nations or wants to assess their English proficiency skills can take the IELTS exam. 

While it is commonly associated with non-native English speakers, native English speakers may also be required to take the IELTS for various reasons, such as university admission, migration, or career advancement in English-speaking countries.

More than 11,500 organizations across more than 140 countries, including governments, professional associations, universities, colleges, and schools, accept the IELTS test, underscoring its credibility and importance.

Formats of IELTS Exam

Before understanding more about the eligibility criteria for the IELTS examination, let us know about the different IELTS formats. Each IELTS exam type is intended for a specific set of candidates. The primary IELTS forms are: 

  • IELTS Academic

The Academic test is typically chosen by those who plan to pursue higher education abroad in an English-speaking nation or careers in professions like nursing or accountancy. Focusing on academic language and tasks, it evaluates various language skills, including Speaking, Writing, Reading, and Listening.

  • IELTS General Training

Mostly, individuals who want to enroll in non-academic training programs or intend to move to an English-speaking nation for work or immigration purposes take this test. It evaluates speaking, listening, reading, and writing skills, focusing on native language. 

  • IELTS for UKVI

Those wishing to apply for a UK visa should take this particular test. It satisfies the linguistic requirements for UK visa applications and is recognized by UK Visas and Immigration as proof of English language competency.

  • IELTS Life Skills

This exam is intended for people who must demonstrate their English language proficiency to obtain a UK visa, particularly for family and settlement pathways. There are two assessment levels for speaking and listening: A1 for the family route and B1 for the settlement path.

Eligibility Criteria for IELTS Examination: Minimum Age Limit

The only eligibility for the IELTS exam in India and globally is that a candidate must be at least 16 years old. 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.

Download E-Books for IELTS Preparation

ielts sample essays

Educational Background for IELTS

The IELTS exam does not evaluate candidates based on their previous academic performance, such as their high school or graduation scores. Instead, it focuses solely on assessing proficiency in speaking, listening, reading, and writing in English. This makes IELTS distinct from academic qualifications, as it is a targeted assessment of English language skills.

However, many universities offer an alternative route for admission based on a candidate’s performance in English during their 10th and 12th grades. These institutions may accept students who have secured a minimum percentage (depending on the university) in English during their 12th grade, allowing them to bypass the IELTS requirement. This policy can benefit those who have shown strong English skills during school.

Frequency of Taking IELTS Exam

The IELTS exam is highly accessible, with test dates available 48 times a year. Each test center offers the exam up to four times a month, accommodating students’ varying requirements. 

Specifically, the IELTS Academic test is conducted four times a month, while the IELTS General Training test is available twice a month. The exam is held every Saturday, which ensures consistent availability for test takers.

Applicants are not restricted in how many times they can take the IELTS exam. Hence, you can take the IELTS exam as many times as you want. This flexibility allows you to retake the test as needed to achieve your desired scores. 

The widespread availability and frequency of the test meet the different needs of students, professionals, and migrants.

Download IELTS Preparation Guide For Free

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.

Minimum IELTS Score Needed by Leading Universities

The IELTS exam eligibility has nothing to do with admission-related guidelines set by foreign universities. It is their individual call. Hence, every university will have its own regulations and minimum IELTS score for admissions.

Most leading institutions require at least 7.0 as an overall score, with a section or band score of at least 6.5 in all four sections individually.
You must remember that IELTS band scores are not the same for every country or university. As discussed earlier, they will differ for all. Let’s take a look at IELTS minimum score requirements at top universities in different countries.

IELTS Eligibility-USA

University Name

IELTS Band Score

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

7.0 (Recommended: 7.5)

California Institute of Technology

7.0 (with minimum 7 band in each section)

Harvard University

7.5 (with minimum score of 7.5 band in individual section)

Princeton University

No minimum score requirement

Yale University


IELTS Eligibility-Canada

University Name

IELTS Band Score

University of Toronto

6.5 (with no individual band below 6.0)

University of Alberta

7.0 (with minimum 6.0 in each section)

McGill University 

6.5 (with minimum 6.0 in each section)

University of British Columbia

6.5(with minimum 6.0 in each section)

IELTS Eligibility-UK

University Name

IELTS Band Score

University College London

6.5 (and a minimum of 6.0 in each component)

University of Edinburgh

6.5 (with 5.5 in each component); 7.0 with 6.0 in each component for Business degree programs

University of Oxford

7.5 (with minimum 7.0 band per component)

University of Cambridge

7.0 (with not less than 7.0 in speaking, listening and writing, and 6.5 in reading)

Imperial College London

7.0 (with minimum 6.5 band in each component)

IELTS Eligibility- Australia

University Name

IELTS Band Score

University of Melbourne

6.5 (with no section score less than 6.0)

University of Sydney

6.5 with no band below 6.0

University of New South Wales

6.5 with no band below 6.0

University of South Wales

6.0 with at least 5.5 in each band or equivalent

University of Queensland

6.5 with 6.0 in all sub-bands or equivalent

IELTS Exam in India: Test Pattern

The IELTS syllabus is divided into four sections, namely Reading, Listening, Writing and Speaking. The total test duration is 2 hours and 45 minutes. You must pay attention to note the IELTS syllabus and carefully go through the section-wise exam pattern before you start the preparation.

Download IELTS Sample Papers

Reading sample test
Writing sample test
Ielts sample paper1


The IELTS test is an essential first step if you wish to study abroad, work, or immigrate to an English-speaking nation. Over 11,500 companies worldwide accept IELTS, which offers a flexible and accessible way to demonstrate English competence without rigorous eligibility requirements.

The test is available often and can be retaken as needed, so candidates have many chances to achieve their desired results. So, what are you waiting for? Hop on to the preparation part and embark on a journey toward your preferred study abroad destination.


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?

No.There is no minimum percentage criteria set for taking the IELTS exam.

Is any minimum passing score needed for IELTS?

No minimum score is needed to clear the 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, 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 five days from the test date will ensure a refund after some deductions. 

Which section should you attempt first?

A candidate must first attempt the Listening test, 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 IELTS Preparation Guide, which has vital tips, strategies, and sample papers. You can also read blogs or watch videos to explore numerous insights and tips on how to prepare for IELTS at home.

Which is the best coaching center for IELTS?

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

What is the minimum educational qualification for the IELTS Exam?

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

Learn More About IELTS

Check Eligibility for IELTS

Check your eligibility and learn more about the IELTS exam

Check Eligibility for IELTS

Get Free IELTS Consultation

Want to get a free consultation on the IELTS exam? Fill the form.

Get Free IELTS Consultation

Talk to Our Counselor Today

Talk to our counsellor & clear your doubts about the IELTS exam

Talk to Our Counselor Today

Pragya Sharma

Sr. Content Editor

Pragya Sharma is a content developer and marketer with 6.5+ years of experience in the education industry. She started her career as a social media copywriter for NIELIT, Ministry of Electronics & IT, and has now scaled up as a 360-degree content professional well-versed with the intricacies of digital marketing and different forms of content used to drive and hook the target audience. She is also a co-author of 2 stories in an anthology based on the theme- women empowerment.

See More

Refer Your Friend & Earn upto ₹15000

Help your friend upgrade to a Global Career and earn rewards together.


Editor's Pick






Other Countries


The above tips are the Author's experiences. upGrad does not guarantee scores or admissions.