IELTS, or the International English Language Testing System, is a standardised test designed to determine English language proficiency in non-native English speakers. English proficiency is required to obtain a UK Student Visa and nearly all UK universities require applicants to present an IELTS result as part of the application process. There are, however, a few exceptions to this rule.

How to Study in the UK Without IELTS

The need for international students to prove English proficiency is established by UK immigration. As such, universities have very little say in the matter and simply add the IELTS to their list of requirements. But while the IELTS is considered the default measure of English proficiency, it is not the only one and there are some universities that will accept alternative methods of proving English proficiency.

IELTS alternatives include being able to prove that you previously had success studying in a school where all courses were offered only in English. In other cases universities may accept IGCSE or an International Baccalaureate diploma as proof of English proficiency. MOI (Medium of Instruction) certificates may also be accepted.

The following are some of the UK universities where international students can study without IELTS.

  • Birmingham City University
  • Coventry University
  • University of Portsmouth
  • University for the Creative Arts
  • UWE Bristol
  • Staffordshire University
  • London South Bank University
  • University of Greenwich
  • Bournemouth University
  • University of Gloucestershire
  • Middlesex University London
  • University of Hertfordshire

Three More Ways to Avoid the IELTS

It is important to keep in mind that IELTS is not specifically required by UK immigration if you want to obtain a Student Visa. IELTS is just a reliable measuring stick everyone can agree on and so is widely adopted by most universities and will, of course, be accepted by immigration as well. That said, if you can manage to prove proficiency using another measure a fair number of universities will accept that.

In addition to the IELTS alternatives laid out above you may also be able to prove your English proficiency to a UK university by:

1. Proving that your high school English scores were consistently above 60%.

2. Proving, (as mentioned above) that you studied in an English-only school and received high marks.

3. Finally, you may be accepted into certain UK universities if you can convince them to interview you live online via Skype or Zoom. If they are impressed by what they hear they may waive the IELTS requirement.

To learn more about IELTS alternatives get in touch with the team at Student Connect.

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