Study in New Zealand without IELTS

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Students thinking of applying for further studies in New Zealand, there’s some good news for you. You can now do so without sitting for the IELTS!

There are, however, certain conditions you’d have to fulfill to be able to give the IELTS a miss.

The New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA) has put in place certain exemptions to IELTS by non-university tertiary education providers for international students whose first language is not English.

As of now these exemptions are confined to Category 1 institutes that have their own ways of determining the proficiency in English of international students. The results of these tests, however, should be at par with those of the IELTS. Meaning, the testing procedures of these institutes should be of a quality as good as the international ones such as the IELTS.

Category 2 onwards all institutes are required to make IELTS scores admission criteria for students whose first language isn’t English.

The Process for IELTS Exemption in New Zealand

IELTS

As already mentioned, only Category 1 institutes can waive off IELTS scores for international students. If you are applying to a Category 1 institute and don’t have an IELTS score on you, you should begin by checking what the institute’s website says about proceeding without an IELTS score.

The exact criteria for acceptance of applications without IELTS scores will differ from institute to institute but in general may include the following:

Proof that your education was carried out in English medium

Having studied in English medium all your academic life makes it very likely that your English language proficiency is good and this may stand you in good stead with Category 1 institutes if you don’t have an IELTS score to present.

Proof that you studied in English medium between Classes VIIIth and XIIth

It’s ideal to have studied in English language throughout your school years if you want an IELTS waiver, but if that is not the case the second best is to have attended high school and higher secondary school in English medium. That comes down to five years of English medium study — from class VIIIth to XIIth.

Undergo the institute’s own assessment

Category 1 institutes are required to assess international students’ proficiency in English language via their own tests. This could happen in person, electronically, or on the phone. If you convince your institute that you have a good understanding and command over the English language, they will likely waive the IELTS for you.

Documents Needed to Gain Exemption from IELTS

In order to get an IELTS waiver you will have to convince your prospective Category 1 institute of your English medium background (as stated above), besides fulfilling their assessment criteria.

The documents needed for this are as follows:

  • Your mark sheets from your entire schooling years, clearly stating your medium of instruction to be English, if you have stated in your application that all your schooling was done in English.
  • Your mark sheets for five years, from class VIIIth to class XIIth, stating your medium of instruction to be English, if you have stated in your application that you studied in an English medium school at the time. (Note: Only submitting mark sheets for classes VIIIth and XIIth will not do; you will need to submit mark sheets for all the five years in question.)
  • A certificate from your school(s) confirming you studied with them for the duration stated and attended exams at the time mentioned in the mark sheets.

Will a Lack of IELTS Score Cause Visa Problems?

You need to understand that the whole point of IELTS is to determine your English language proficiency, and that sitting for that test will be ultimately for your own good.

Agreed that as per new updates in the NZQA’s policies certain institutes can waive off the requirement for an IELTS score, but the fact remains that you will still be expected to demonstrate your English language proficiency (even if in some other way).

While the New Zealand visa authorities are well aware of the IELTS exemptions for certain institutes, you will still be expected to convey to them your proficiency in the English language. If you don’t, they may ask you to come over for an interview so that they are able to assess first-hand how good your English is. If they are satisfied with your interview, a lack of IELTS score should not cause any visa problems for you.

What If You Are Not Confident about Your English?

This is the main problem, isn’t it?

For those of you who are confident about your English language skills, we suggest not to worry. But those who aren’t as confident, they should consider taking English classes and/or actively working on improving their command over the language before applying for studies abroad. Ultimately, good English skills will help you in many ways when you are abroad, whether in your studies, in socialisation, or later on in employment. So this is one skill that is definitely worth your time to work on, and the sooner you start the better it will be for you.

About Shahina Khan

Shahina Khan has more than 16 years of experience in higher education consultancy. She is recipient of multiple awards and renowned expert for international education, visa and culture. Ms. Khan continually explores new study destinations for Indian & South Asian students, and works on promotional strategies with a number of trusted institutions of higher education in various countries.

16 thoughts on “Study in New Zealand without IELTS

  1. Pls, advise me. passed Bachlors in Civil Engineering and working about 6 years. i want to forther study but i have no ielts score. how can i get study visa in Newzealand.

  2. i had completed my b.tech and ielts 5 band i want do masters in new Zealand kindy guide me
    is there any possible to get visa and admission in university WITH OR WITHOUT IELTS

  3. I have done b.sc hotel management and I am planning to further education in new Zealand. can get a study visa without ielts.

  4. Hello Mam
    I just would like to know that Is the NEW ZEALAND TERTIARY COLLEGE comes in the category 1 or not ? And if not can i proceed for pg diploma in education with overall 5.5 bands ?

  5. I have studied in Kenya.I completed my O’level (I.G.C.S.E).Then I came to India and did Diploma Mechanical Engineering , I went back to Kenya and worked for one year , again came back to India to complete my Degree , now am in 6th Sem and I want to study in Canada or New Zealand .Please guide me what should I do to get visa.

  6. I want to get higher education degree from abroad. Now i am working a buying house as a merchandiser. And also i have no IELTS. Please advise accordingly.

    1. Need complete academic details to guide you further. IELTS can be waived off depends upon College criteria, Medium of study in school and your academics.

  7. i am dheeraj gunwant,i did graduation in animation and now a days i think to join media college of newzealand.could you plz help me bt i dn’t have ielts score.

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