All About IELTS Exam Eligibility -  The Complete Guide

All About IELTS Exam Eligibility - The Complete Guide

Updated on 18 January, 2022

Mrinal Mandal

Study Abroad Expert

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There are no strict IELTS exam eligibility criteria that have been fixed by IDP, the organizing body of IELTS, and British Council for the test takers. IELTS (International English Language Testing System) is a crucial English language proficiency test for aspirants willing to study abroad in English-speaking countries. Since the teaching medium in most colleges in English-speaking countries is English only, therefore, it becomes necessary for candidates to meet the eligibility for IELTS exam and demonstrate their language proficiency while being assessed on four parameters, namely, Writing, Reading, Speaking and Listening.


Formats of the IELTS exam:

Before understanding more about the eligibility criteria for IELTS examination, let us know about the two formats in which the language proficiency test can be taken. The two formats are–IELTS General Training and IELTS Academic. The latter is for those willing to pursue higher studies in a foreign nation while the former is tailored for those candidates who wish to pursue secondary education or get more work experience abroad. It is also applicable for migrating to key global nations like Australia, the UK, Canada, and New Zealand.  

Minimum IELTS score needed by leading universities:

The IELTS exam eligibility has got nothing to do with admission-related guidelines as set by foreign universities. Every university will have its own different regulations and guidelines for admissions. Candidates are expected to meet other general requirements before admission as well. Most leading institutions will require at least 7.0 as the total score. They also require a section or band score of at least 6.5 in all the four sections individually.


Eligibility criteria for IELTS examination- Minimum age limit:

The only eligibility for the IELTS exam in India and across the globe is that a candidate needs to be at least 16 years. 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.

Eligibility for IELTS Exam in India- Test pattern:

The syllabus is divided into four sections, namely Reading, Listening, Writing and Speaking. The total test duration is 2 hours and 45 minutes.

  •       Listening- The overall section length is 30 minutes, and the candidates have to answer 40 questions in all.
  •       Reading- The overall time for this section is 30 minutes and it encompasses 40 questions.
  •       Writing- The test for this section is conducted in 60 minutes and includes two questions.  Under this section, the aspirants have to write short essays of 250 words (minimum). They are given a diagram, table, or data that they have to explain.
  •       Speaking- The total sectional length hovers between 11-14 minutes and aspirants also have to go through face-to-face interviews. This section also tracks whether aspirants have the ability to effectively communicate in the nation where they have applied to study.

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Frequently Asked Questions about IELTS Exam Eligibility

Q. Can IELTS exam applications be submitted after Class 12?

Yes, you can attempt the examination after Class 12.

Q. Are Class 12 marks vital for IELTS?

There are no minimum percentage criteria that have been set to take the IELTS exam.

Q. Is any minimum passing score needed for IELTS?

No minimum score is needed for clearing 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.

Q. 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.  

Q. What is the IELTS age limit?

There are no age-related guidelines. Anybody can take the test although the minimum age is 16 years.

Q. 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 or about two days after the test date or even seven days before the exam date.

Q. 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 5 days from the test date will ensure a refund post some deductions. 

Q. Which section should you attempt first?

A candidate has to attempt the Listening test first, followed by the Reading and Writing sections.  

Q. Can I prepare for the examination at home?

Those looking to prepare at home may refer to the Preparation Guide which has vital tips, strategies, and sample papers.

Q. Which is the best coaching center for IELTS?

Find out the best options in your city after doing your homework or research online.

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