By IELTS Expert

27 July 2023 - 13:12

Student showcasing her Great Scholarship certificate with pride

Find out how to send your IELTS score to universities in the countries where you would like to study

Once you have your IELTS test results, a world of opportunity can open up for you.

Applying to universities in Australia If your chosen path is to study at an English-speaking university, you’ll first need to find out how to send your IELTS score to the universities you are applying to.

Here’s how to approach the task of submitting the right details, in the right way – so you can avoid any pitfalls and get off to a flying start. 

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Proof you have the right scores 

IELTS scores are graded on a banded system from 1.0 to 9.0, with each band indicating a certain level of proficiency in the English language.

Each university sets its own rules regarding the minimum IELTS scores it requires of its students, so you’ll need to check these before applying.

In most countries, these minimum scores will be somewhere in the range of 6.0 (competent user) to 7.0 (good user). Although it stands to reason that a higher score of 8.0 (very good user) or 9.0 (expert user) will never be a disadvantage.

Once you have checked the relevant university’s website and are sure that you have the necessary scores for the course you wish to study, you must send in official confirmation of your IELTS results to prove that you qualify. This ‘proof’ comes in the shape of your Test Report Form (TRF) or electronic Test Report Form (eTRF).  

Your all-important Test Report Form

Your Test Report Form is the official document confirming your IELTS result. It is valid for two years from your test date.

If you postpone your university application for personal or professional reasons and your TRF falls out of date, you’ll need to retake the IELTS test.

You can take the IELTS test as many times as you like and use any result for your university applications, providing it is less than two years old.

In most cases, you will have collected your Test Report Form from your test centre in person or received it by post. However, if you took your IELTS test online, or on a computer in Argentina, Indonesia, Malaysia, Mexico, Myanmar, Occupied Palestinian Territories or Qatar, you will instead have downloaded an electronic copy, or eTRF, from the Test Taker portal.

Whichever version of the form you have, it’s important not to lose this document. If you do mislay it at any stage, or if your hard copy gets damaged, please contact us as soon as possible.

How to send your IELTS score to universities by post

Most universities will ask to see an original copy of your IELTS Test Report Form, meaning photocopies will not be accepted.

We strongly advise that you retain your original copy and keep it somewhere safe rather than sending it out to a university or anywhere else just in case it goes missing in transit. Instead, we can supply up to five additional copies free of charge and send these direct to the universities you are applying to on your behalf. (These additional Test Report Forms cannot be sent direct to you; only to your chosen universities).

If you would like us to do this, simply include the relevant university addresses on the Test Taker portal within two years of taking the test. If your test centre has closed, you can ask for your IELTS results to be sent to your additional organisations by filling in the application for additional TRFs (from closed test centres) form. This service is available for up to two years from your test date.

If you took your test at a test centre in the USA, you can request that the test centre send copies of your TRF to up to five institutions for free (postal fees may apply if the institution is outside the USA). If you need additional Test Report Forms sent to your chosen organisation after your test date, you will need to fill in an IELTS USA Test Report Form request (administrative and/or postal fees may apply).

If you have an eTRF, you can print it out yourself and send it to your chosen universities by post.

How to send your IELTS score to universities electronically

While paper versions remain the norm  for most universities, some have now subscribed to the electronic download of IELTS scores.

Please check with your chosen university[s] before sending a hard copy of your results or asking us to do so. If the universities you wish to apply to are registered for electronic download, we can send up to ten e-copies free of charge. Alternatively, if you have taken IELTS Online or IELTS on a computer in some countries (Argentina, Indonesia, Malaysia, Mexico, Myanmar, Occupied Palestinian Territories or Qatar),  you can request an e-TRF from the Test Taker portal.

If you have an eTRF, you can also send this directly to the universities you are applying to via email. There’s no limit to how often you can do this, providing your eTRF is less than two years old.

In some instances, a university may accept a scanned copy of your (paper) Test Report Form. In that case, you can scan the form and submit it as a PDF.

How to send your IELTS score to universities as a PDF:

  • First scan your form and save it in PDF format
  • Then go to the website of the university you’re applying to
  • Find the section on admissions requirements
  • Follow the instructions for submitting your IELTS results
  • Upload your PDF and submit it

Applying to universities in Australia

If you are intending to apply for a university place in Australia, you’ll be pleased to know that all major Australian universities accept IELTS scores as proof of English proficiency.

This includes leading universities such as the University of New South Wales (UNSW), the University of Queensland, and The Australian National University – as well as dozens more, which are listed here.

Most Australian universities require an overall IELTS score of between 6.0 and 7.0, and a score of between 6.0 and 6.5 for each section of IELTS – Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking. Some have higher or lower requirements.

Remember, these score requirements are subject to change. To make sure you know how to send your IELTS score to universities in Australia, check with each institution before applying.

Applying to universities in Canada

Canada has two official languages, French and English. For some Canadian universities, such as l’Université de Montréal, the language of instruction is French, so there is no need for an English proficiency test such as IELTS.

For those universities where study is in English, the IELTS score required to demonstrate proficiency will vary according to the university and the programme of study. For example, for entry to a ‘good’ university, such as the University of Toronto, the University of British Columbia and McGill University, you will typically require a total score of 6.5 and a minimum score of 6.0 for each of the four test components.

For certain courses, such as a Masters in English or in Journalism, the total score required may be as high as 7.5.

IELTS is accepted by over 350 institutes and universities in Canada. You can search here to see if your chosen university accepts IELTS.

Applying to universities in New Zealand

All major universities in New Zealand accept IELTS as proof of proficiency in English. You can check to see if a specific university welcomes IELTS by searching here.

As in most other countries, universities tend to have minimum IELTS scores for the overall test, typically 6.0 for an undergraduate degree and 6.5 for a postgraduate degree. Similarly, most also have minimum requirements for each section of the test, typically 5.5 for an undergraduate degree and 6.0 for a postgraduate degree.

In addition, some universities in New Zealand also accept applications from students who have secured a band of 5.5 in one or more of all four sections of the IELTS test – either Listening, Reading, Writing or Speaking– meaning you can still apply for certain courses without a 6.0 across the board.

These requirements vary from university to university and they may also change over time. Be sure to check the minimum band scores required by your chosen university and for your specific course just prior to applying.

Applying to universities in the UK

The majority of universities in the UK accept IELTS, including world-renowned institutions such as the University of Oxford, the University of Cambridge, and the Universities of Edinburgh and Glasgow.

You can see if your choice is on the list by checking here.

Most UK universities will accept a total IELTS score in the range of 6.0 to 7.0. However, this depends on the specific university and the level of degree – e.g. whether undergraduate or postgraduate – so you should always check directly with your chosen university(s).

Wherever you decide to apply, it’s good to know that the IELTS Academic test is generally the most recommended option for candidates who want to study at a UK university. So, if you have your TRF, you’re one step ahead.

Applying to universities in the USA

Over 3,400 organisations in the USA accept IELTS scores as proof of English language proficiency, including universities accepting the test for degree programmes, masters, PhDs, MBAs and so on.

The top 25 universities and all Ivy League colleges recognise IELTS as giving an accurate reflection of a candidate’s ability to understand, read, write and speak English. You may also find that having good IELTS scores can help you to get into the university or college of your choice.

As a first step, you can use this search tool to check if your chosen university is on the list.

IELTS (or a similar test) is also needed to take part in the Fulbright Program, which offers merit-based grants for international educational exchange – both for students and for scholars, teachers, professionals, scientists and artists.

To pass the initial technical review of the Fulbright process, you would need a total IELTS score of 6.5.

Your pre-application checklist

IELTS is accepted by over 12,000 organisations in more than 140 countries – many of them colleges and universities. However, while you can be pretty sure that your result will be accepted at your chosen university, there are still certain things you must check with them before applying.

These include:

  • How to send your IELTS score to your chosen university
    To find out how to send your IELTS score to a specific university, you will first need to do some research. As a first step, find out whether or not the university has subscribed to the electronic download of IELTS scores. If it has, you can request an e-TRF on the Test Taker portal (if you don’t already have one) and then inform the university that the form is ready to download . If the university doesn’t yet subscribe to electronic downloads, you’ll need to know whether they would prefer your eTRF to be sent via email or as a hard copy in the post. Similarly, if you have a paper TRF, you’ll need to find out if they require an original copy to be sent by post or if you can upload a PDF copy.
      
  • The minimum IELTS score required
    As outlined above, each university has specific requirement regarding the minimum overall score and the score that must be achieved for each of the four IELTS test components. They may also have different requirements for foundation courses, undergraduate courses, and postgraduate studies, as well as for different subjects. In most cases, this information can be found quickly and easily by entering ‘IELTS’ in the search function of the university website.
      
  • If you just miss the minimum entry requirements
    If your IELTS scores are slightly below those needed for your chosen university course, it might not be the end of the road. Some universities offer additional focused courses to help candidates get ready for their studies. And if this applies to you, your IELTS test will have been a great preparation for this more targeted follow-up study.
      
  • If you want to retake one part of the IELTS test
    If you are in Australia, you have the option to retake any one of the four test sections to boost your score in Listening, Reading, Writing or Speaking via IELTS One Skill Retake. If you decide to do this, you will receive a new Test Report Form that has both your original scores and the IELTS One Skill Retake score. Currently, this option is only available at selected test centres in Australia, but it will soon be available at more test centres worldwide.

And remember:

  • The expiration date of your Test Report Form
    Your TRF is valid for two years from your test date, after which it may no longer be a true reflection of your proficiency in the English language and thus invalid. If your TRF has lapsed, you will need to take another IELTS test. You can do this as many times as you wish and submit any result that is less than two years old. If you wish to book another Academic IELTS test, you can do so here.  

Finally, wherever you decide to study and whatever university you choose to apply for, your IELTs test should give you an excellent platform on which to build a successful future.

Personalised study-abroad matching – based on your preferences

Thanks to an exciting new partnership between British Council IELTS and ApplyBoard, when you take your test with us, you’ll get access to customised study-abroad options based on where – and what – you wish to study.

With ApplyBoard, you get the option of accessing personalised recommendations based on either your chosen study destination or your preferred programme of study. When you find a programme that suits you, you can easily apply there and then.

That means you can instantly match with the right programs for you directly within the IELTS site. Plus, you’ll get access to travel advice and exclusive offers on fees and flights.

Go to ApplyBoard