Do I have IELTS Exam Eligibility?

“What if they don’t let me take the IELTS?” some anxious students ask me. That’s a great question. Yikes! What if you don’t have IELTS exam eligibility?

In this post, we’ll look at how IELTS exam eligibility works. But first — trust me — it’s much more important to consider whether you actually should take the IELTS. Whether they’ll actually “let” you should be a secondary concern.

You may want to take the IELTS if….

  • The IELTS is specifically required for a university, job position,, or employment visa you’re applying for.
  • There aren’t any alternatives to the IELTS requirement that you prefer. (IELTS vs. TOEFL, IELTS vs. Eiken, IELTS vs. BULATS, etc….)
  • Your IELTS score will be less than two years old when you finally submit it to a school, employer, or immigration office.
  • You’re old enough to handle the late secondary school/early university academic content on the IELTS.
  • You are strong enough in English to have a good chance at the score you need.

You probably shouldn’t take the IELTS if….

  • You don’t actually need it for anything specific. (If you just want a certificate that proves your English ability, there are countless other options, many of which are cheaper and less time-consuming than IELTS prep.)
  • The school, employer, or immigration programme you’re applying to require a different English proficiency measure than the IELTS.
  • Alternative exams or assessments are available to you and you think you might get better marks on one of the IELTS alternatives.
  • You’re still in middle school or have been out of middle school for just a year or two. (This makes it hard to do well with some of the IELTS’s more advanced content, even if your English skills are otherwise good.)
  • Your level of English is on the low side right now. (The IELTS is designed for intermediate and advanced English users. If you have low-intermediate or beginner English ability, you should focus on your general language skills first, before you prep for the exam.)

“OK, OK, but do I actually have IELTS exam eligibility?”

By now, some of you are getting impatient. “Answer my original question already, David!” you may be thinking. Fair enough, here’s my answer:

Yes. You are eligible to take the IELTS.

“But you don’t even know my situation,” you may think. “How can you know I’m eligible?”

I know you’re eligible to sit the IELTS because everybody has IELTS Exam eligibility. There are no restrictions on taking the IELTS. The makers of the test recommend that you don’t take the IELTS if you are under 16 (see my post on the IELTS exam age limit). But that’s not a strict rule. You can take the IELTS at any age. You can also take the IELTS no matter which country you’re from. The level of English you have doesn’t matter either.

Similarly, there are no restrictions for native language. In fact, even native English speakers can take the IELTS… and sometimes we do! IELTS tutors often take the exam because their employer asks them to or because they simply want to experience their students’ exam firsthand.

So no matter who you are, you can take the IELTS. That’s why the real question is “should you?” Hopefully, those two checklists at the opening of my post will help you decide.

By the way, improve your IELTS score with Magoosh!

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  • David Recine

    David is a Test Prep Expert for Magoosh TOEFL and IELTS. Additionally, he's helped students with TOEIC, PET, FCE, BULATS, Eiken, SAT, ACT, GRE, and GMAT. David has a BS from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire and an MA from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls. His work at Magoosh has been cited in many scholarly articles, his Master's Thesis is featured on the Reading with Pictures website, and he's presented at the WITESOL (link to PDF) and NAFSA conferences. David has taught K-12 ESL in South Korea as well as undergraduate English and MBA-level business English at American universities. He has also trained English teachers in America, Italy, and Peru. Come join David and the Magoosh team on Youtube, Facebook, and Instagram, or connect with him via LinkedIn!

16 Responses to Do I have IELTS Exam Eligibility?

  1. Archana Muniya January 24, 2018 at 2:40 am #

    Hello sir,
    This is Archana Muniya from india;
    My question is that if there is a student who is currently in second year of graduation and he has total 4 kt in his first year of graduation and the 1kt is clear but the other 3 kt comes again, so he is eligible for giving ietls exam?

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert January 24, 2018 at 7:17 pm #

      Hi Archana,

      I’m afraid I’m not really sure what you mean when you say “kt” here–can you explain it to me? I’m not very familiar with terms in the Indian education system 🙂

      Regardless, however, EVERYONE is eligible to take the IELTS. There are no requirements for it. The better question is whether the student needs to take the IELTS and when he should take it 🙂

  2. Pooja February 11, 2019 at 2:10 am #

    hey, I am graduated in Bachelors of computer application, however, my aggregate marks in graduation is below 50% . Am i eligible for the IELTS exam??? And if not, am
    I eligible to appear for this exam on basis of 12th marks???

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert February 12, 2019 at 7:49 pm #

      Hi Pooja!

      By “marks” do you mean grades? 🙂 If so, your grades have nothing to do with your eligibility to take the IELTS.

      Everyone is eligible to take the IELTS. There are no “marks” or “grades” requirements for it. The better question is whether the student needs to take the IELTS and when he should take it 🙂

      Hope this helps!

  3. Nikki.R May 18, 2019 at 3:50 pm #

    Hey, I’m gonna enter my 2nd year in BA this year and have been planning to apply for abroad colleges for my masters…. when is the suitable time for me to take my IELTS? I’ve still got 2 years to finish my Bachelors… very confused….
    Thanks for the other informations though…

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert May 19, 2019 at 12:48 pm #

      Hi Nikki!

      It’s hard to say exactly when you should take the IELTS, because of the fact that different schools and programs have varying application deadlines. I’d recommend researching the programs you’re interested in to see when their deadlines are.

      Once you know the application deadlines, then you should aim to take your tests at least a month before these deadlines (and at least 2 months if you want to leave room for a retake!). Scores take about 10-15 days to arrive at universities after you take the test.

    • Eloisa faye November 24, 2019 at 8:13 am #

      I want to try taking IELTS exam but I’m undergraduate, is it ok for me to take the exam?

      • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
        Magoosh Test Prep Expert February 2, 2020 at 5:15 pm #

        Hi Eloisa,

        You can take the IELTS at any time, but keep in mind that the score is only valid for 2 years. You should be sure to have a plan so that your IELTS results are valid when you need them!

  4. Santosh verma November 30, 2019 at 8:02 am #

    Sir… I’m second year student of B. Com. I wanna get this exam however I’m confuse since my friends told me whether your graduation isn’t complete. Am I eligible or not for getting this exam Sir? ??

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert December 20, 2019 at 12:52 pm #

      Hi Santosh,

      I’m not sure if I understand your question. Magoosh is a test preparation company; we help students prepare for the IETLS, but do not administer or create the IELTS. If you give me more information about what you are asking, I may be able to help more.

  5. Neha April 11, 2020 at 2:01 am #

    I have done my 12th in 2011 and MBA in 2016.
    Can i give IELTS Exam.I lost my doc of Graduation.
    Can i give that.

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert February 18, 2021 at 7:42 pm #

      Hi Neha,

      Yes, everyone is eligible to take the IELTS exam. 🙂

  6. Amila June 11, 2020 at 9:17 am #

    I’m Amila, 43 years old and married, have 2 kids, can I do IELTS exam and migrate to Australia or New Zealand?

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert July 24, 2020 at 12:31 pm #

      Our expertise is in test prep, not immigration rules/laws. I recommend that you contact an immigration attorney or look up the requirements on the government website. The IELTS can be used as part of your visa application for some countries. Good luck!

  7. Kriti January 28, 2021 at 12:44 am #

    I am 28 years old working as a customer support engineer in India.
    I wish to migrate to Australia for work and immigration.
    But I have dropped out of my bachelor’s degree so I have only secondary education with an additional diploma.
    Can I give IELTS?

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert February 12, 2021 at 12:49 pm #

      Hi Kriti, there is no educational requirement for the IELTS. Yes, you are eligible to take it 🙂

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