Is There an IELTS Exam Age Limit?

The International English Language Testing System popularly referred to as IELTS, is a world-renowned, widely accepted English language test. It is the first choice for most VISA applicants who wish to study or settle in an English-speaking country. When we say most applicants, there is a slight question niggling at the back of our heads, “Is there a minimum or maximum age limit for taking the IELTS?”

According to the official IELTS website, and I am paraphrasing here, IELTS can be taken by anyone in the world, irrespective of their nationality, gender, age, race, or religion; however, it is not recommended for persons under 16 years of age.

Now, what is this “under-16” story? Do they mean that 16 years is the minimum age limit?

Absolutely not! Technically, all age groups are eligible to take IELTS, however, a child under 16 years of age does not have much use for an IELTS score. Why so? Let us see this case in a little more detail.

We all know that most people take the IELTS to get admission to a university or to get a migration visa to an English-speaking country like the UK, USA, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, or Singapore. In such cases, most applicants are 18 or more than 18 years of age and we also know that IELTS scores hold good only for two years. Now, if a person under 16 years of age takes the IELTS, his scores will expire much before he/she applies for the visa for study abroad or migration. So, this is the rudimentary logic behind IELTS not being “recommended” for persons under 16 years of age.

However, there are some exceptions here; some foreign exchange programs, international schools, and bilingual schools would like to see your IELTS scores. So you will be required to take the IELTS. If you are entitled to none of the above situations, and are under 16 years of age but want to test your English proficiency, you have a number of Cambridge tests for that like the Cambridge ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) which will give you an idea of where you stand in English proficiency.

Coming to the original question again, we now know that there are no upper or lower age limits to take the IELTS. However, you might want to keep these case-specific factors in mind. If you are aspiring to study at a university in an English-speaking country, you will have to confirm the age limit restrictions for the university or the program that you are applying to.

If you are planning to migrate to and settle in any English-speaking country, then the age factor plays a major role. Depending on whether you are applying for work-visas or Permanent Residency, the age limit restrictions will vary. Every age group fetches your points and the best age group, one that will get you the most score, is the age group of 25-32. Gradually, the points will go down as you grow older and beyond 45 years of age, your points table will accrue negligible points. For further details about age factor versus visa points, please contact a qualified counselor who can guide you better on this.

Another notable exception is taking IELTS for Canadian Visa. In June 2015, the Canadian government brought about some changes in the Citizenship Act in Canada. According to the new set of rules, the range of the age of applicants that are required to take an English proficiency test has been broadened. Earlier applicants falling under the age group of 18-54 were required to take IELTS but now all applicants falling under the age group of 14-64 need to take the test.

So if you think, you are too young or too old for the IELTS, read the above article again and decide for yourself. And, in case, even after going through the same there are more detailed questions peeking in your mind, do not hesitate to consult an overseas advisor.

Here at Manya, we have a diverse pool of advisors with destination-specific expertise – so any query you have regarding the application process, any authentic information is just a call away!

What do you think of the above article? Share the post for others to learn and comment on. Manya experts would like to hear from you and answer further queries. Do seek an appointment if you would like best-in-class guidance.


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