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    Exams to Study in New Zealand for International Students

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    Bhavya Rawal

    Study Abroad Expert


    New Zealand is globally recognized as one of the best places to live in, and students in particular prefer to migrate to the country to pursue their higher education. To study in New Zealand, one needs to meet the criteria set by both the government and the specific universities. Luckily there are not many tests required in terms of subject aptitude, but English language proficiency is one thing you cannot compromise on.

    English Language Tests

    New Zealand’s official language is English, and hence almost all higher education institutions conduct programs with English as the medium of instruction. If you are not a native English speaker, you will need to take a proficiency test to certify that you have the necessary skills in the language. This certification is required not just during university applications, but also to get a student visa to New Zealand.

    University IELTS Score TOEFL iBT Score PTE Score
    UG PG UG PG UG PG
    University of Auckland 6.0 6.5 80 90 50 58
    University of Otago 6.0 6.5 80 95 58 64
    University of Canterbury 6.0 6.5 80 90 50 58
    Victoria University of Wellington 6.0 6.5 80 90 50 58
    University of Waikato 6.0 6.5 80 90 50 58

    The language level required varies on the type of visa you are applying for and the institution you are joining. If you have dependents along with you who do not meet the criteria, you have the option of paying for ESOL tuitions.

    IELTS (International English Language Testing System)

    One of the go-to options for proof of English language proficiency is IELTS. If you are taking admission in New Zealand universities, you will need to sit the IELTS Academic exam, which consists of Reading, Writing, Listening, and Speaking sections, for INR 14,000. On an average, academic institutions require a band of 6.0 that is not older than two years. Immigration New Zealand normally asks for an IELTS score of 6.5.

    TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language)

    A close second to IELTS in terms of popularity, TOEFL is also a proof of English skills accepted by New Zealand universities. Most students prefer taking the TOEFL iBT over the PBT or CBT, which are different modes of the exam.

    The test costs INR 13,518 to sit the exam, that contains the four sections of Reading, Writing, Listening, and Speaking. Universities ask for an overall score of around 80-90, which must not be older than two years. TOEFL scores (except for the iBT Home Edition) are accepted for visa purposes as well, and the cutoff is 79 overall.

    PTE (Pearson Test of English)

    PTE Academic test is one of the most convenient proficiency tests, with the three parts - Speaking & Writing, Reading, and Listening - being done within three hours on a computer at a recognized test centre.

    You can access the results within 48 hours of giving the exam, and the results can be sent to as many institutions as you like without paying more than the standard exam fee of INR 13,000. Universities in New Zealand ask for a score of 50-58, while the requirement for a visa is 58.

    OET (Occupational English Test)

    Candidates who are looking to enrol in one of the following healthcare courses like MBBS and Nursing in New Zealand may benefit from taking OET:

    • Dentistry
    • Dietetics
    • Medicine
    • Nursing
    • Occupational Therapy
    • Optometry
    • Pharmacy
    • Physiotherapy
    • Podiatry
    • Radiography
    • Speech Pathology
    • Veterinary Science

    The exam tests you specifically on English language skills required at the workplace for healthcare professionals. The exam fee is INR 33,162, and you can use the results for visa purposes with the cutoff being a Grade B in all sections, as it is for most colleges as well.

    Subject Specific Assessments

    Undergraduate and graduate students may need to give certain tests, along with their academic transcripts, as proof of their ability in a particular subject. These are not applicable across all fields of study, and are mostly needed by students enrolling into business and medicine programs.

    GRE (Graduate Record Examination)

    Students who wish to apply to science colleges in New Zealand may have to supply their GRE scores to the university of choice. The GRE Subject Test you take will depend on which course you want to do, of which some of the common streams are biology, chemistry, physics, psychology, and mathematics. Students who are joining courses in business or law can opt for the GRE General Test. The exam fee is INR 15,562.

    GMAT (Graduate Management Aptitude Test)

    In order to do an MBA in New Zealand, or any other graduate-level management course, it is recommended that the candidate take GMAT. Although it is not mandatory, many top business colleges in New Zealand give preference to candidates who have sat this exam. On an average, these business schools ask for a GMAT score of 550. However, keep in mind that the exam fee is INR 18,300, so if you are on a tight budget you may choose to apply to universities where this test is not required.

    UCAT ANZ (University Clinical Aptitude Test for Australia and New Zealand)

    UCAT is an entrance exam meant for students applying to programs in medical, dental, and clinical science. It is a computer-based test administered by Pearson VUE for a fee of INR 21,475. The test results will be automatically passed on to the New Zealand universities who are part of the UCAT Consortium, which are:

    • University of Auckland
    • University of Otago

    Please note that the ANZ consortium includes other universities which are Australian, so giving this single test makes you eligible to apply in Australian universities as well. The scores will be obtained before the deadlines of most colleges, and will remain valid only for one year from the date of giving the exam.

    New Zealand and Australia are two countries that often work in close collaboration, and this is no different in the education sector. Many tests taken for New Zealand can also be used for studying in Australia. That being said, although New Zealand has fewer universities than its neighbour (there are only 8 state-funded universities in New Zealand), the academic institutions are of top quality and hence expect the same standards from their prospective students.