Study in the United Kingdom without IELTS

16 May 2017
Bellerbys IELTS students in class

Do I need IELTS to study in the UK? 

The International English Language Testing System (IELTS) is probably the most common test international students take to prove their language level in order to be accepted on to courses in the UK and apply for a UK student visa. However, it is not the only test you can take to successfully study abroad.

When I first came to the UK to study A Levels, I did not have an IELTS certificate. I had studied English for about five years at my high school but I never took any formal or official examination in English. So I did not know what my level of English was, or if it was sufficient to study A levels in the UK. fortunately, Bellerbys College was able to help me.

Bellerbys will send you a Pre Arrival English Test which you can complete at home (under exam conditions, of course!). Based on this test they can tell you if your English level is sufficient for your chosen course. If it is, you can join your course and take the IELTS exam during your time in the UK. If it is not good enough, you can still come to the UK to follow an English Language Preparation programme before starting your academic programme.

I want to study at a British university - what are my options?

Your options depend on your current English language level. UK universities will want to see some proof of your language ability and they are most familiar with the IELTS. As a general rule, successful completion of high school level of English will not be considered as proof of English language competency because the standards for high school leaving exams vary greatly between different countries. The only time the requirement to provide an IELTS score will be waived is if most of your schooling has been completed in English, or in a country where the majority language spoken is English.

If that does not apply to you, you will have to take an English language test before you can apply for a UK study visa to go to a British university. But do not worry, you do not have to do this until after you have your university offer. In general, the offer will be conditional upon your achieving a certain grade in one of the standardised English Language tests.

If, for example, your English level is not very high there are many courses in the UK designed to help you improve your English language. And there are no requirements to have undertaken standardised testing before attending them.

You can also come to Bellerbys College to study without having taken IELTS if you pass the Pre-Arrival English Test that I mentioned earlier. The friendly Bellerbys teachers will guide you through your options and tell you if you need to take IELTS, based on your past education and experiences.

In general:

  •  students from the EU are exempt from SELT (Secure English Language Test) and can take the Bellerbys College Pre Arrival English Test
  •  students under 18 from inside or outside EU can take Bellerbys College Pre Arrival English Test
  •  students over 18 from outside the EU require IELTs.

To sum up, you have the option to come and study English language in the UK without actually taking IELTS or any other standardised English test.

However, if you were not brought up in a country where the majority language is English, or if you did not attend an English speaking high school for the majority of your education, sooner or later you will need to take an English language test if you want to attend a university in the UK.

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