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European Education Area

Quality education and training for all
Published:  31 Jan 2022

Prepare to prove your English language skills with some courses of study in Europe

You will need to prove your English language skills to study English-taught study programmes in Europe with a recognised test.

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Many degrees and study programmes in European universities are taught through English. Some courses require students to demonstrate their proficiency at spoken/written English to enroll.

English language skills

Across Europe, universities may ask for evidence of your English language skills when you apply for one of their English-taught study programmes.

While each course and university may vary in the exact requirements for English language skills, there are some things in common that are useful to know if you’re considering study in English in a European university. 

How to demonstrate your English language proficiency

  • Check whether your diploma meets the English proficiency requirements of the university of your choice*.
  • Native English speakers and those who have obtained an International Diploma that qualifies for admission to a specific university may be exempted from an English language test. Applicants can supply supporting documents in that case.
  • In the event that your diploma does not meet the English proficiency requirements specified by the university, a proficiency test in the English language may be required.

Common English language tests for university

Different universities may accept other tests, but the most commonly recognised English language proficiency tests are

  • TOEFL iBT
  • IELTS Academic

TOEFL iBT

For some courses, academic study requires a certain minimum standard of English. The main academic skills the TOEFL tests are

  • listening
  • reading
  • speaking
  • writing

There are 3 options to take the TOEFL iBT test

  1. in a test center
  2. with TOEFL iBT Home Edition
  3. using the TOEFL iBT Paper Edition

Follow the link to learn more about TOEFL iBT

IELTS Academic

IELTS is an English language test for study, migration or work. It is widely recognised and accepted worldwide.

In order to assess your English language skills to study in Europe, you can take the IELTS Academic test at a nearby location. From early 2022, you will also be able to take the IELTS Academic test online.

Follow the link to learn more about the IELTS English language test.

Minimum standard

According to the CEFR, universities across Europe generally require students to demonstrate they have at least level B2 of English.

For TOEFL iBT, universities require

  • a minimum score of between 70-100 for a traditional internet-based test or iBT Home Edition
  • a score of 500-600 for the paper-based test

For IELTS Academic, universities require

  • minimum scores in the range of 5.5-7

Test timing

Your test score must be valid at the time of submitting your application. Many English language proficiency test results expire after two years from the date of the exam. Applicants are recommended to take their tests far in advance of their application because it can take a few weeks to get the test results.

* Make sure to check specific English language requirements on the university’s website, as these may differ for each university.

Published:  31 Jan 2022