How to Study in New Zealand without IELTS score?

Due to globalization, over the past couple of decades, there’s been a drastic increase in the number of students opting for graduate and undergraduate programs at foreign universities. Earlier US, UK, and Canada were the most sought-after countries,  now countries like Sweden, Ireland, France, Germany, Denmark, Australia, New Zealand and so on, are also gaining the attention of aspirants.

Even though applying for admission in a foreign university is a cumbersome process, having a good academic profile and high test scores (TOEFL, GMATGRESAT, and IELTS) increases the chances of admissions. These tests evaluate the eligibility of students in terms of English language proficiency, reasoning, analytical writing, verbal and reading skills and mathematical knowledge. However, non-English speaking students may find it difficult to achieve a high score in English language proficiency tests. Thankfully, there are several universities that have exempted IELTS/TOEFL scores as a prerequisite in the admission process so that all students can apply irrespective of their proficiency levels in English.

Also Check TOEFL / IELTS Waiver for the Top Universities

As per recent reports by experts, New Zealand is joining the league of most-sought-after countries for foreign education. Along with the US, UK, Europe, and Canada, New Zealand also has a number of institutions that you can apply to without the requirement of IELTS score. However, to get into the universities without IELTS, the student will have to fulfill certain conditions.

For international students, whose first language is not English, a particular exception is granted for IELTS by the New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA) for non-university tertiary education providers in New Zealand.

Institutions under Category-I have their own procedures of analyzing the English language competency of internal students, hence, IELTS and TOEFL scores are exempted as an admission criterion.

These internal exams conducted by the institutions prove to be a beneficial for international students as these designated exams and conditions are relatively simpler when compared to IELTS.

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Institutions under Category-II onwards have made IELTS scores mandatory for international students whose first language is not English.

The application procedure and documents required can vary based on the universities. It is recommended to first verify the respective websites for special instructions and guidelines, and then apply accordingly.

However, some of the general factors based on which IELTS can be exempted are as follows:

  • For students who have studied in an English-medium school from Grade 8 to 12 can also be exempted. The medium of instruction should have been English irrespective of the education board.
  • This is applicable for those seeking admission to Undergraduate and Postgraduate courses. However, students without IELTS score proof would generally be interviewed by the New Zealand Immigration. Hence it wise to be prepared accordingly.
  • Compulsory five years of education in the primary section (Grade I to V) or at least three years during higher secondary.
  • Institutions under Category-I should evaluate the English proficiency of international students based on their own respective examinations and as per the guidelines set by NZQA.

For students from a non-English medium, the institutions would conduct interviews, which can be either face-to-face, on-call or through other electronic communication means to check their English proficiency.

Apart from the relevant documents necessary for applications (SOPEssaysLORs, and CV), the following documents are also required for admission without IELTS:

  • Mark sheets from school indicating that your medium of the study was English (complete schooling)
  • Mark sheet from the school confirming that the medium of education was English from Grade VIII to XII, if not the entire schooling
  • A Bonafide certificate that can validate your duration of study that you have mentioned and appeared in all relevant exams conducted by the schools, as presented in the mark sheet


  • During the visa interview, even though the New Zealand visa officials are well informed about Category-I universities that do not require IELTS, you can expect them to test your English language proficiency.
  • If you fail to impress them with your English knowledge and communication skills, you may be asked to reappear.

However, if they are satisfied with your English language skills then there would be no issues regarding visa due to the absence of IE.

Also Check IELTS Test Centers

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