How to Study in New Zealand without IELTS Test


4 mins read145.5K Views
Aishwarya Bhatnagar
Study Abroad Expert
Updated on Aug 30, 2022 19:00 IST
study in nz without ielts

With an increased requirement for international students to submit ELP or English language proficiency tests to study abroad, there are a few exceptions which come along with this. Those applying to study in New Zealand and not willing to submit an IELTS score, can either submit some other test score or might be exempted based on their previous academic background. This also differs on a case-by-case basis at New Zealand universities.

These tests just aim to determine the eligibility of students in terms of English language proficiency, reasoning, analytical writing, verbal and reading skills, and mathematical knowledge. However, for non-English speaking students achieving a high in English language proficiency tests can be challenging. Hence, to give a fair chance to all students irrespective of English language skills, many foreign universities have exempted IELTS scores as a prerequisite in the admission process.

Exceptions to Study in New Zealand Without IELTS 

As per recent reports by study abroad experts, New Zealand is joining the league of most sought-after countries for abroad studies. Along with destinations like the US, UK, Europe, and Canada, New Zealand has a number of institutions that you can apply to without the requirement of an IELTS score. However, to get into the universities without IELTS, the student would be subjected to certain conditions fulfilling the following given criteria:

  • Applicants can submit HSE or class 8-12 proof of English medium study.
  • Or submit 5 years of English medium study in primary school and 3 years in senior school.
  • Qualify for the interview conducted by New Zealand authorities applying without IELTS scores.
  • Those applicants who come from the following countries and fulfil tertiary study requirements are also exempted from submitting IELTS scores to study in New Zealand:

Does New Zealand Require IELTS

It's not mandatory to submit IELTS for New Zealand university admissions. However, there are other English language proficiency exams accepted besides IELTS in New Zealand for admission to universities. They are as follows:

ELP Tests Accepted in New Zealand Except for IELTS Minimum Scores Required

iBT: 90 | paper-based: 68

CAE / CPE 176
PTE Academic 58
English New Zealand Accredited Pathway Assessment  Assessment Level 3 overall and no skill below Level 2

The following universities in New Zealand accept the above-given exceptions for non-acceptance of IELTS:

International students, whose first language is not English, are granted particular exceptions 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 process of analysing the English language competency of internal students, hence, IELTS and TOEFL scores are exempted as admission eligibility.

Related Article: What are NZQA/NZQF Level Systems in New Zealand?

These individual exams conducted by the institutions prove to be a boon for international students seeking admission without IELTS scores as the designated exams and conditions are relatively more manageable than that of IELTS. Institutions from Category II onwards have made IELTS scores mandatory for admission of international students whose first language is not English. 

New Zealand Study Visa Without IELTS

The application procedure and documents required can be different. This depends upon all proofs the applicant gives during his/her study visa interview. Those not submitting an IELTS score for study, while appearing or applying for a student visa in New Zealand, applicants are advised to check the respective websites for special instructions and guidelines and apply accordingly:

  • IELTS can be exempted for students who have studied in an English-medium school from Grade 8 to 12. The medium of instruction in school should have been English irrespective of the education board.
  • This is applicable to those seeking admission to Undergraduate and Postgraduate courses. However, students without IELTS score proof would plausibly be interviewed by New Zealand Immigration. Hence, one needs 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 need to evaluate the English proficiency of international students through their own respective examinations and as per the guidelines set by NZQA.

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For students not hailing from an English-medium background, 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 generic documents necessary for applications (SOP, Essays, LORs, and CV), the following documents are also required for admission without IELTS:

  • Marksheets from school showcasing that your medium of study was English (complete schooling)
  • Marksheet 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 without 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.
  • On the other hand, if they are content with your English language skills then there would be no issues regarding a visa due to the absence of an IELTS score.
  • Else applicants must ensure that they can be exempted from submitting IELTS scores if UG applicants have scored between 5.5-6.5 while PG applicants must have scored between 6-6.5. 

Also Read:

Study Abroad Without IELTS

About the Author
Aishwarya Bhatnagar
Study Abroad Expert

A passionate writer and a literature fanatic, Aishwarya Bhatnagar has 4+ years of experience - working in EdTech with a strong focus on studying abroad. She holds a postgraduate degree in Linguistics from Delhi Univ... Read Full Bio




Sagar Vijay

3 years ago

I got overall 6 band for ielts but individually I got 5 for two tests do I can go to newzealand?!!

Reply to Sagar Vijay

3 years ago

Hi, iam diploma holder in nursing, how can I join psychology course in new zealand. Iam from Hyderabad.

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3 years ago

Please I need to study a diploma course without English test in New Zealand

Reply to

3 years ago

Can you please provide me with a list of PGd. school that waive language proficiency exams?

Reply to

4 years ago

my IELTS results is overall 5.5 and may I know that can I apply PG Diploma with my obove IELTS result.

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