Exams to Study in the UK for International Students

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    Bhavya Rawal

    Study Abroad Expert

    Whether for specific courses or to meet language proficiency requirements set by the UK government, international students who wish to study in the UK may have to give certain tests specific.

    Scores of tests like IELTS, TOEFL and PTE are very important for students coming from non-English speaking countries. Additionally, standardized tests like GMAT, GRE, UKCAT, etc are an integral part of graduate or undergraduate admissions to specific courses.

    Language Tests to Study in UK

    The UK Home Office sets a minimum requirement of B2 level English language proficiency to get into UK universities. You can appear for tests like IELTS, ISE, TOEFL and PTE scores, that remain valid for two years, as a proof of your language proficiency.

    The minimum ELP score requirement for popular UK universities is listed below:

    Institution IELTS Requirement (Bachelors) IELTS Requirement (Masters) PTE Requirements
    University of Oxford 7.0 7.0 N/A
    University of Cambridge 7.0 7.0 N/A
    Imperial College London 6.0 6.0 62-69
    University College London 5.5 5.5 62/75
    London School of Economics and Political Science 7.0 7.0 69
    University of Edinburgh 6.5 6.5 N/A
    King's College London 6.0 6.0 N/A
    University of Manchester 5.5 5.5 43-74
    University of Glasgow 6.5 6.5 68
    University of Warwick 5.5 5.5 62
    Durham University 6.5 6.5 62
    University of Bristol 6.0 6.0 60-64

    Having discussed the minimum requirements, let us dive into the details of these exams required to study in the UK.

    IELTS (International English Language Testing System)

    IELTS is the preferred English Language proficiency test for most institutions in the UK, and costs INR 14,000 to take. The minimum overall IELTS score required for a Tier 4 student visa to the UK is 4.0 - 5.5.

    However, different institutions set cut-offs that a prospective student has to meet and is generally higher than the visa requirement. The University of Oxford, Cambridge, etc. ask for an IELTS score of 7.0-7.5 but the average cut-off is 6.0. English proficiency requirements also vary for different courses.

    TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language)

    Though some UK universities prefer IELTS over TOEFL, many universities do accept TOEFL as an alternative to IELTS. You can submit TOEFL scores to obtain a Tier 4 visa. The test costs around INR 13,617 for Indian students.

    For universities accepting TOEFL iBT as a valid English language test, the UK Home Office sets the following requirements for immigration purposes:

    • Total: 72
    • Reading: 18
    • Listening: 17
    • Writing: 17
    • Speaking: 20

    Top universities ask for a TOEFL score of 100 - 110 on 120, but some lesser-known universities have cut-offs as low as 70.

    PTE (Pearson Test of English) Academic

    Nearly 98% of UK universities accept PTE Academic scores. The Tier 4 visa requires a score in the range of 43 - 59, but specific institutions and programs may require higher scores. The test will cost you around INR 13,300.

    Cambridge English Language Assessments

    Cambridge English Language Assessment tests do not have an expiration date, but some institutions do not consider them valid after two years.

    The minimum cut-off is generally set as grade A,B or C. The tests are of many levels, and cost INR 6,000-7,000, but any of the following are usually taken for Tier 4 visas:

    • B2 First (FCE)
    • C1 Advanced (CAE)
    • C2 Proficiency (CPE)

    Most universities in the UK accept Cambridge test scores, but for institutions the requirement will be either CAE or CPE, depending on your course.

    ISE (Integrated Skills in English)

    ISE exams are offered by Trinity College London, and are accepted for visa purposes, as long as it is a B2 level or above. Depending on your institution and program, you may need to pass ISE II, ISE III, or ISE IV.

    Admission Tests to Study in UK

    Certain courses require specific admission tests for you to be eligible. Some of the most popular areas of study in UK for Indian nationals are business, mathematics, law and medicine. Some of the popular exams to study in UK are detailed below.

    GRE (Graduate Record Examination)

    A number of institutions accept GRE scores, but for the most part it is not a requirement, but only a recommendation.

    The GRE General Test is typically done by students applying to MBA or JD programs, but the GRE Subject Tests can be taken by those applying to programs in science, literature, maths, etc.

    An overall score of 150 is good enough. It costs INR 15,678 to write, so make sure you actually need it before registering.

    GMAT (Graduate Management Admission Test)

    Many business schools in the UK require a GMAT score for admission to graduate-level courses, but the minimum score varies from program to program. Nearly 200 UK institutes accept GMAT scores. The cost of the test is INR 18,300.

    MAT (Mathematics Admissions Test)

    MAT is a standardized paper-based mathematics test administered jointly by Cambridge and Oxford Universities. It is required by some universities for admission to undergraduate (and in some cases graduate) programs in mathematics, especially at Imperial College of London and University of Warwick.

    STEP (Sixth Term Examination Paper)

    STEP is another mathematics examination that consists of two papers - STEP 2 and STEP 3 - and candidates are advised to sit for either one or both papers after checking with their respective universities. University of Cambridge and University of Warwick are the two main institutions where this test score is required.

    Test of Mathematics for University Admissions in UK

    Some of the prominent institutions that require this score are

    This test is conducted by the University of Cambridge and is meant for students applying to undergraduate courses in mathematics.

    LNAT (Law National Aptitude Test)

    LNAT is an admission test that costs around INR 6,967, meant for undergraduate programs in law that is required to be taken by applicants to

    It is only an aptitude test that checks general skills and candidates need not have prior knowledge of law.

    CLT (Cambridge Law Test)

    The Cambridge Law Test is to be taken if you are called for an interview at a college under the University of Cambridge for a program in law, and you will not be required to register or pay any fees for the test.

    BMAT (BioMedical Admissions Test)

    BMAT is an admissions test for programs in Medicine, Biomedical Science and Dentistry. The UK universities that ask for BMAT are:

    Candidates can, upon the announcement of results, choose which colleges to send them to. On a scale of 1 to 9, 5.0 - 6.0 is considered a good score by most schools. The test costs around INR 8,853, but there is an option of reimbursement for students who have difficulty affording it. The validity of the test score expires after the completion of the year in which the test is taken.

    GAMSAT (Graduate Medical School Admissions Test)

    Initially used in Australia, GAMSAT has been used as an admissions test to UK medical schools since 2000, for students applying to courses in medicine. The following institutions use GAMSAT scores:

    On an average, 61 - 66 is a good GAMSAT score, though some schools may have higher cutoffs. The test will cost you INR 26,675.

    HPAT Ulster (Health Professions Admission Test)

    HPAT is an admissions test for students applying to Allied Health Professional programs at Ulster University, that is, for the following courses:

    • BSc Hons Dietetics
    • BSc Hons Occupational Therapy
    • BSc Hons Physiotherapy
    • BSc Hons Diagnostic Radiography and Imaging
    • BSc Hons Radiotherapy and Oncology
    • BSc Hons Speech & Language Therapy

    Students must apply through UCAS as well, and may only receive the offer from a university where they qualify the set score requirements. It will cost INR 13,138 to sit for the exam.

    UKCAT (UK Clinical Aptitude Test)

    UKCAT or UCAT in the UK is another admissions test for students to medical and dental degree programs. The exam costs INR 11,446. After your results are announced, the universities in the UCAT Consortium, which you have applied to through UCAS, will be notified.

    It is definitely not easy to get admission to UK universities and programs of your liking, especially with the eligibility requirements set by the Home Office and the different institutions. Universities in the UK try to make the admission process as easy as possible for foreign students but oftentimes it may get confusing. Therefore, prospective students are advised to decide exactly which tests they should write by consulting the preferred university’s official page.