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Is There an IELTS Exam Age Limit?

is there an IELTS exam age limit?

Are you old enough to take the IELTS? Or are you too old to take the IELTS? Never fear–I’ve dug up the facts on the IELTS exam age limit.

Is 16 the Minimum IELTS Exam Age Limit?

If you Google “IELTS exam age limit,” a lot of the top results seem to say that you can’t take the IELTS if you’re under 16. This is wrong, wrong, WRONG! But I don’t mean to be too harsh on the people that say this. The supposed 16 age limit is a pretty common misconception, actually.

So why do people think you can’t take the IELTS under the age of 16? Where does this weird idea come from? Well, the truth is, it’s not such a weird idea. And it’s not far from the truth. The official makers of the IELTS do recommend against taking the IELTS if you’re younger than 16. But they absolutely do allow younger test-takers to register for the test without restriction.

Don’t believe me? Let’s look at the IELTS minimum age policy, right from one of their own official websites. According to the official terms and conditions for IELTS test registration:

  • IELTS is made available worldwide to all persons, regardless of age, gender, race, nationality or religion but it is not recommended to persons under 16 years of age.

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Why does the IELTS recommend against taking the test before you’re 16?

So, if you’re under 16 and are thinking of taking the IELTS, should you worry? Why do the test-makers say this is usually a bad idea?

One of the biggest reasons is that IELTS scores expire after two years. So how is that a problem for younger test-takers? Well, the main reason people take the IELTS is to get into university or get a skilled migration visa to an English-speaking country. Generally, people don’t start uni or go overseas for work unless they’re at least 18.

With some simple math, you can see the problem. For any test-taker under the age of 16, IELTS scores will almost certainly be expired by the time they start university or go abroad for work.

If you’re under the age of 16, is there any reason to take the IELTS?

Absolutely! Some high school foreign exchange programs, bilingual high schools, and international schools ask for IELTS scores. In addition, some countries like to see IELTS scores even for younger immigrants. Canada, for example, will consider IELTS scores for international migrants as young as 14.

And of course, if you’re one of those ambitious and talented students who start high school at 17 or younger, it makes sense to take the IELTS before your sixteenth birthday.

Are you ever too old to take the IELTS?

The IELTS has no rules for maximum age and doesn’t even recommend a maximum age. Just as you’re never too old to have fun, you’re never too old to take the IELTS. (This is an especially apt comparison, as I’ve actually tutored elderly pensioners who are studying English and taking the IELTS just for fun!)

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22 Responses to Is There an IELTS Exam Age Limit?

  1. Sejal das May 26, 2017 at 8:27 am #

    I am 15th years of age so what can I do

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert May 27, 2017 at 2:05 am #

      Hi Sejal,

      As we mention in the post, you can take the IELTS! Now, whether or not to prepare for the IELTS or another English exam will depend on your personal situation and academic goals. If you want to study in an English-speaking country, I recommend researching different schools/programs to find out more about which exam or exams are required or recommended. 🙂

      I hope this helps, at least a little!

  2. Prajina Gauli June 2, 2017 at 4:49 am #

    i am 14 years old so can i apply ??? 🙂

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert June 2, 2017 at 11:04 am #

      Yes, you can sign up for and take the IELTS 🙂

  3. Bhumita July 24, 2017 at 3:59 am #

    my sister want go abroad for further study but her age is only 15 years. so she is eligible for IELTS test?

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert July 31, 2017 at 5:29 pm #

      Hi Bhumita,

      According to the IELTS makers themselves, “IELTS is made available worldwide to all persons, regardless of age, gender, race, nationality or religion but it is not recommended to persons under 16 years of age.” So your sister absolutely can take it. 🙂

  4. Chetan patel July 31, 2017 at 5:04 am #

    Hi
    I am 32 year old so what can i do. May i give ielts examination.

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert July 31, 2017 at 5:25 pm #

      Hi Chetan,

      Yes, of course you can take the IELTS! Just make sure you are adequately prepared for the exam (both content and format) and you can ace it. 🙂

  5. sandeep kumar August 14, 2017 at 1:32 am #

    My age is 25 . I can take admission in academic ielts

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert August 14, 2017 at 10:51 am #

      Yes! 🙂

  6. Bhupinder singh September 5, 2017 at 6:33 am #

    My mom is 47 yrs old.Can she apply for ielts?

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert September 7, 2017 at 10:13 am #

      She definitely can! You’re never too old for the IELTS. According to the official rules, at least. 😉

  7. Eva September 6, 2017 at 12:59 pm #

    Hi i’m french , i’m 15 years old it’s young and i’m interested by the IELTS exam but i don’t know How can i have lessons ? Where i can find the program ? And if it’s really accessible?

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert September 7, 2017 at 10:08 am #

      You’re 15 years old and already starting to study for the IELTS? Wow! With that much advance preparation, you’ve got a good chance of scoring well!

      IELTS lessons are available through many sources. Magoosh IELTS offers video lessons. You may also be able to get face-to-face tutoring or IELTS classes where you live. To look at those options, I recommend talking to your high school English teacher or guidance counselor. Those people should be able to give you some advice on where to find local IELTS instruction.

      IELTS tutoring is also very accessible online. Offhand, I can recommend IELTS-UK. They’re a private IELTS tutoring service that offers IELTS prep over webcam. The directors of IELTS-UK are bilingual and speak French as well as English, which should be helpful in your case. But there are many other online IELTS tutors and schools out there too. So feel free to search the web and “shop around.”

  8. gwiyomi September 9, 2017 at 9:56 pm #

    I’m 17 and my aunt plans to bring me to Australia to study and work. Should i take the ielts?

    • David Recine
      David Recine September 10, 2017 at 6:46 pm #

      I would say so. You’re very close to the age where you can get an Australian work visa or start at an Australian university, so now is a good time to take the test. Or perhaps take the testS. I’m using plural here, because Australia requires the IELTS Academic test for university, but wants to see an IELTS General Training test score for immigration. If you’re not sure whether you want to work or study, taking both exams will keep your options open.

  9. Govil monga September 10, 2017 at 7:31 am #

    Hey! Can I apply for IELTS exam, my age is just 12 years.

    • David Recine
      David Recine September 10, 2017 at 6:43 pm #

      What ambitious young student you are! You certainly can take the IELTS at age 12. However, if you do this, you’d probably only be able to use the experience for practice. IELTS scores expire after two years. It’s probably more than two years before you could start at an international high school. And it’s definitely going to be more than two years before you could enter an overseas university or immigrate to an English-language country for a job. So if you take the IELTS now, your scores will probably expire before you can actually use them.

      Again though, experiencing a real IELTS could be good practice, and you’re certainly allowed to take the test, even if you’re only 12 right now.

  10. Sharon Benny October 24, 2017 at 4:58 am #

    I’m 17 years old…..
    Can I write IELTS ?

    • David Recine
      David Recine October 24, 2017 at 11:59 am #

      Absolutely. Not only that, but you’re at a very good age to take the IELTS. You’ll be old enough for university or overseas employment by next year. It can be good to start trying for a qualifying IELTS score now!

  11. Ali November 14, 2017 at 1:54 am #

    I am inter pass(12tg class) can i apply for IELTS

    • David Recine
      David Recine November 15, 2017 at 11:39 am #

      You absolutely can take the IELTS. While the IELTS is available to all age groups, you’re at an especially good time in your life for taking the exam. 🙂


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