How good does your English need to be to get into a UK university?

How good does your English need to be to get into a UK university?

This article was written by the Great British Mag editorial team on 16 July 2020.

If you want to study in the UK and English isn’t your first language you will need to prove it is at a level where you can fully understand your lectures, produce written work of a high standard and communicate confidently. This article will help you understand what level of English will be required for you to secure your Tier 4 visa and  study at a UK university.

What level of English do I need?

Your ability to speak, write and understand English will depend on what level of study you want to pursue. For example, to study at undergraduate level you will need an IELTS score of between 5.0 to 7.5. However, if you want to study a foundation course you will need between 4.0 and 4.5. 

How do I prove my level of English?

To prove you have the level of English required for your chosen course you will need to pass an English language exam. There are many types of exams available so check with the university and course of your choice which one they accept.

Some of the most popular exams are IELTS, TOEFL, PTE Academic and Cambridge English Advanced. And the most common one for students to take if they want to study at undergraduate or postgraduate level is IELTS.

How can I prepare for the English language test?

First research which English exam you will need to take to get onto your chosen course then look at the exam providers website. There you will be able to get information about what the exam will include, where and when you can take it in your home country, amongst other things.

Preparation like all exams is necessary, so here are some tips on how to ace the English language exam to get onto your chosen course at a UK university.

  • Familiarise yourself with the requirements of the exam by finding test papers online and completing them within the time you will be given in the exam. Practice makes perfect after all!
  • Practice with others by joining social media groups. It will be more fun and who knows you could meet people on the same study path as you and make new friends
  • Practice your everyday written and spoken English by watching Youtube video’s, TV programmes, listening to podcasts and reading British Newspapers, magazines and books.
  • Find a language buddy.  It is safe to say that someone will want to learn your mother tongue and in exchange they can teach you English and more about the UK culture and regional accents.
  • If you are trying to improve your spoken English, then find Youtube videos of  native English speakers teaching British English and repeat what they say. One idea could be to record yourself so you can hear what you sound like

Should I take a preparation course?

If you are worried you won’t meet entry requirement, there are IELTS centres and language schools around the world that offer IELTS preparation courses. The advantage of doing this is that you will be taught by a professional who can help you better understand how to pass the exam. You will also meet people who are also preparing to take the exam and are potentially looking to move to the UK and maybe even to the same university of your choice.

These preparation courses do cost money so if you are on a tight budget and are disciplined enough to teach yourself there are plenty of free resources available online.

You might also want to read

How to apply to a UK university

The costs involved in studying the UK

10 ways to improve your English