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A guide to English language requirements at UK universities

Although requirements may differ depending on the university and course you’re applying for, here’s a guide to some of the basic English language requirements at UK universities.

 

Most UK universities will list as part of their entry requirements the basic English language requirements you’ll need to meet to apply for their courses. They’ll also specify any English language requirements for specific courses on their course pages.

 

Depending on the course you’re applying for, you’ll need to prove you meet the English language requirements for your chosen course through a variety of tests. These language requirements typically include a minimum overall score in each test, in addition to minimum scores in writing, reading, listening and speaking skills.

 

The most common English language tests UK universities will ask you to take to prove you meet their English language requirements include:

 

International English Language Testing System (IELTS)

 

The IELTS is renowned as the most common international standardised test of English language proficiency for non-native English language speakers.

 

The test scores students on a scale of 1 to 9 based on their level of English language proficiency. Scores range from non-user (band score 1) through to expert (band score 9).

 

The IELTS tests 4 key language skills:

 

  1. Writing
  2. Reading
  3. Listening
  4. Speaking

 

Once you’ve finished your IELTS test, you’ll get a score in each of these 4 areas, as well as an overall score (on a scale of 0-120).

 

To take the IELTS test, you’ll need to book a test at your local test centre. The test takes around 2 hours and 45 minutes to complete.

 

You can find out more about the IELTS test and book a test online.

 

Pearson Test of English Academic (PTE Academic)

 

The PTE Academic is one of the most recent English language tests released. The test is most commonly given to students who want to study with UK universities at undergraduate, postgraduate or MBA level.

 

PTE Academic labels itself as “the most unbiased English test”, since it uses Artificial Intelligence instead of people to grade students’ test results.

 

Like the IELTS, the PTE Academic also covers 4 key language skills:

 

  1. Writing
  2. Reading
  3. Listening
  4. Speaking

 

The test includes 20 different question formats, ranging from multiple choice questions through to essay questions.

 

The test aims to test your real-life English skills. You’ll hear a range of accents when you take the test, including British, American and non-native English. This tries to prepare you for the types of accents you’ll come across in your everyday life.

 

Your PTE Academic Score Report will include your overall score (on a scale of 10-90 points), communicative skills scores (each scored on a scale of 10-90 points) and enabling skills scores (each scored on a scale of 10-90 points).

 

You’ll need to take the PTE Academic test in person at a secure Pearson test centre. The test takes about 3 hours to complete.

 

You can find out more about the PTE Academic test and book a test online.

 

Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL)

 

The TOEFL is another popular standardised English language test for non-native speakers who want to speak and understand English at university level.

 

Similar to the IELTS and PTE Academic tests, the TOEFL also tests your English language skills in 4 key areas:

 

  1. Writing
  2. Reading
  3. Listening
  4. Speaking

 

Once you’ve finished your TOEFL, you’ll be scored in each of these 4 areas. You’ll also get an overall score (on a scale of 0-120).

 

To take the TOEFL, you’ll need to book a test at your local test centre.

 

You can find out more about the TOEFL and book a test online.

 

The University of Hull Online offers a range of online masters courses from a leading UK university. Contact our team of course advisers who can guide you through the English language requirements for your chosen masters degree.

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