IELTS Band Requirements For UK Universities 2022

Are you applying to UK universities and need to take the IELTS? Our guide has all you need to know, with our table of IELTS requirements for entry to the top 50 UK universities, charts of IELTS Academic band scores, and a comparison of IELTS and equivalent scores.

ielts band requirements

Table of Contents

About IELTS

The International English Language Testing System, more commonly known as IELTS, is an English proficiency test that may be used for entry to UK universities. If you’re looking to study or work in the UK, you are required to take a Secure English Language Test (SELT) as part of your visa requirements and IELTS is one of these options.

There are three or four sittings for IELTS per month. This means that it’s possible to sit for the test on any given week. However, IELTS is very popular so it’s recommended that you register a few weeks before you intend to sit for the test, especially in the months leading up to the UK university application deadlines.

Once you have taken the tests, your results will come in the form of component or section scores and an overall band score. If you’re unhappy with your results, you can retake the IELTS – there are no limits for this, though you will have to pay the full fee each time you resit the test. IELTS scores are valid for two years.

How To Take the IELTS in Malaysia?

There are a few places where you may sit for the IELTS. You may take the test at any branch of a British Council office, such as those in Kuala Lumpur and Mutiara Damansara. You could book a spot for the test in person at these branches (you can find their contact page here) or you could also make a booking online here. Alternatively, you could contact us here and we can register you for the test.

For entry to UK universities, you may need to take the IELTS UKVI Academic test. As English proficiency is a UK visa requirement, the IELTS UKVI Academic test shows your results along with some necessary information to show that you have sat for the test at an official test centre approved by the UK Home Office. As of 2022, the IELTS UKVI Academic test costs RM 895 to sit for.

Once you have sat for all IELTS tests, your results will be available on the 13th day after your written test. Your test scores will be valid for two years and it needs to be current at the time of application to UK universities.

IELTS Test Format

The IELTS is available in two formats – a paper-based test and a computer-delivered test. These have to be taken in an official test centre, such as a British Council office.

There are also two types of IELTS tests for English: IELTS Academic and IELTS General Training. The IELTS Academic tests are designed for those pursuing tertiary education while the IELTS General Training paper is adequate for other purposes. According to IELTS, roughly 80% of test-takers sit for IELTS Academic.

The test has four sections:

  1. Listening – 40 questions, 30+10 minutes
  2. Speaking – three-part interview, 15 minutes 
  3. Academic Reading – 40 questions, 60 minutes
  4. Academic Writing – two tasks, 60 minutes

IELTS Band Requirements for the Top 50 UK Universities

UK RankingUniversityMinimum IELTS Band Requirement
1University of Oxford7.0
2University of Cambridge7.5
3London School of Economics and Political Science7.0
4University of St Andrews7.0
5Imperial College London7.0
6Durham University6.5-7.0
7Loughborough University6.5
8UCL (University College London)6.5-7.0
9University of Warwick6.5
10University of Bath6.5
11Lancaster University6.5
12University of Edinburgh6.5
13University of Manchester6.5
13University of Exeter6.5
15University of Southampton6.0-7.0
16University of Glasgow6.5
17University of Bristol6.5-7.0
18University of York6.5
19University of Birmingham6.5
20University of Leeds6.0
21King's College London6.5-7.0
22University of East Anglia UEA6.0-6.5
23Heriot-Watt University6.0
24University of Nottingham6.5
25Cardiff University6.5
26University of Sheffield6.0
27University of Essex6.0
28University of Dundee6.0
29Swansea University6.0
30University of Liverpool6.0-6.5
30University of Strathclyde6.5
32Royal Holloway, University of London6.5
33Harper Adams University6.0
34Queen's University Belfast6.5
35University of Surrey6.5
36University of Reading7.0
37Newcastle University6.5
38University of Stirling6.0-7.0
38University of Aberdeen6.0
40University of Leicester6.0-6.5
41Queen Mary University of London6.0-6.5
41University of Sussex6.0-7.0
43University of the Arts London6.0
44Ulster University6.0
45Nottingham Trent University6.5
46University of Lincoln6.0-7.0
47Aston University, Birmingham6.0-6.5
48SOAS University of London6.5
49Northumbria University, Newcastle6.0
50University of Kent6.5

The band requirements shown in this table are the overall IELTS Academic score required for most undergraduate programmes at the university. Certain subjects such as English require an advanced level of proficiency in English, which may reflect in a higher IELTS requirement. Top universities also tend to have higher IELTS requirements. 

IELTS and Equivalent Scores

The chart below compares band scores for IELTS with a number of other tests such as TOEFL, A-Levels, IB, and Pearson.

ielts toefl comparison

Band Score for IELTS

Listening (Academic)

The chart below shows the IELTS band scores for the number of correctly answered questions in the IELTS Academic listening test.

ielts-listening-band-scores

Reading (Academic)

The chart below shows the IELTS band scores for the number of correctly answered questions in the IELTS Academic reading test.

ielts reading band scores

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the minimum IELTS score that UK universities require?

Most courses in UK universities will require 5.5-6.5 overall at the IELTS. Some courses such as English and Medicine tend to have higher IELTS requirements.

What is considered a high IELTS score?

Many UK universities consider 8.0 overall at the IELTS to be an advanced level of English. 

What is the period of validity for an IELTS score?

An IELTS score is valid for two years. UK universities will require your IELTS score to be valid at the time of application.

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