IELTS Score for USA: Admission Guide for 2024

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IELTS Score for USA

Every year, thousands of students wish to go to the USA to pursue their higher education. In order to get to the USA, it is necessary for one to pass the IELTS exam. IELTS is an International English Language Testing System. It is made for all non-native English language speakers. IELTS assesses the candidate’s English language proficiency in four skills: listening, reading, writing and speaking

This language proficiency test is taken by all those people who want to migrate to another country for study/ work. In this blog, you will read about the IELTS score which is required to get admission to a university in the USA. 

About IELTS 

The International English Language Testing System (IELTS) is planned in such a manner to help students work, study or migrate to a foreign country where English is the native language. Countries which come under this include Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the UK and the USA. 

Candidates are judged on four skills which include reading, listening, writing and speaking. IELTS is graded on a scale of 1-9. The higher the candidate scores in their IELTS, it reflects that they have a better understanding to communicate in English. 

Importance of IELTS Score for Studying in the USA

IELTS score is important for the USA as most of the prominent institutions recognise this language test. At the same time, it gives an idea about the student’s ability to understand, read, write and speak English. IELTS is believed by USA’s top 25 universities and all Ivy League colleges.

In order for any student to get admission to a top-tier university in the USA, it is essential for the student to score at least 7 bands in the IELTS exam. 

IELTS scores for the USA are evaluated on a scale of 0 to 9 based on the student’s performance on the exam. Below is a list of each band’s score along with the evaluation for that score.

  • Expert user – 9
  • Very good user – 8
  • Good user – 7
  • Competent user – 6
  • Modest user – 5
  • Limited user – 4
  • Extremely limited user – 3
  • Intermittent user – 2
  • Non user – 1
  • Did not attempt – 0

Also Read: IELTS Writing Tips

IELTS Score for Top Universities in the USA

Below mentioned is the list of top universities in the USA and the minimum IELTS score, as per the Times Higher Education World Rankings. 

Institution’s Name Minimum IELTS Cut-Off (Undergraduate Courses)Minimum IELTS Cut-Off (Postgraduate Courses)
California Institute of Technology77
Harvard University 77
Massachusetts Institute of Technology77
Princeton University 77
Cornell University 77.5
Columbia University 77
New York University7.57.5
University of Washington77
University of Wisconsin- Madison6.57

Universities Accepting IELTS Scores for USA in the Range of 6-7

UniversityMinimum IELTS Score for USA Undergraduate coursesMinimum IELTS Score for USA Postgraduate Courses
Johns Hopkins University7.07.0
University of California, Berkeley (UCB)7.07.0
Duke University7.07.0
Brown University8.07.0
University of Texas at Austin6.56.5
University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign6.5-7.0 or higher (Depending on the intake)6.5-7.0 or higher (Depending on the intake)
Texas A&M University6.06.0
American University Washington D.C6.06.0
Dakota State University6.0 (with no sub-score less than 5.5)6.0 (with no sub-score less than 5.5)
University of Southern California6.56.5

What if you don’t achieve your desired IELTS score for the USA?


It might be difficult to achieve the best IELTS score in the USA, and not all applicants will be able to reach the minimum standards of the universities they want to attend.

If you don’t receive your ideal IELTS score for the USA, there are still realistic options you can take into consideration.

  • English Language Preparation Programs: For overseas students who do not have the required IELTS score, several universities and colleges in the USA provide English language preparatory courses. Reading, writing, hearing, and speaking in the English language are commonly covered in these programmes, which may also include academic support and cultural orientation.
  • Conditional Admission Programs: For overseas students who do not satisfy the minimum IELTS score criterion for the USA but who nonetheless demonstrate the potential for academic success, some universities and colleges in the USA offer conditional admission programmes. In accordance with these programmes, you might be granted conditional admission to the university or institution with the provision that you take additional English language classes in addition to your usual coursework. Once you have finished the relevant English language courses and have attained the required competency level, you can be qualified for full admission to the programme of your choice.
  • Community Colleges: For international students who don’t have the required IELTS score to enrol in the best institutions in the USA, junior colleges or two-year colleges, sometimes known as community colleges, are an alternative choice. Compared to four-year universities, community colleges often have fewer entrance criteria and provide a wider selection of courses, including English language classes, at lower costs. You might be able to transfer to a four-year institution to pursue your preferred undergraduate or graduate programme after completing a programme at a community college and earning a specified GPA.
  • Retake the IELTS Exam: If your IELTS score fell short of what you needed for the USA, you might think about retaking the test to improve it. It’s crucial to adequately prepare for the exam by taking practice exams, comprehending the framework of the test, and enlisting the help of knowledgeable teachers or tutors. Even if you don’t initially meet the required IELTS score for the USA, you can still achieve your academic goals with dedication, hard work, and careful planning.

Tips for Cracking IELTS Exam

Before starting to prepare for the IELTS exam, one should know that to pass this, one needs to get a good score for admission to their dream university. Apart from this, the candidate must also be fluent in English. 

When beginning with the preparation, one must know that they will have to master English grammar, rich vocabulary, should have fluency in reading, good writing skills and several other factors. The candidate should also be familiar with the IELTS format, before beginning with the preparation.

Here are some tips one should keep in mind to obtain a high IELTS score:

  • Start your preparation early, and be consistent with it.
  • When preparing, one should grab every opportunity to communicate in English.
  • Practice your English in four ways- listening, speaking, reading and writing.
  • To work on their English skills, one can listen to the news, watch English movies, drama or even listen to music. 
  • In the end, one can test oneself by taking a diagnostic test wherein the candidate will also get feedback from the professional tutor at the end.  

Also Read: How to Prepare for IELTS Online?

FAQs

What is the minimum IELTS score required to go to the USA?

In order to pass the IELTS exam, the candidate must have a score of 6.5 or 7. However, there are many universities which accept a lower IELTS score. A minimum of 5.5 is required to get admission to any university in the USA.

Is IELTS compulsory in the USA?

IELTS is considered a crucial exam for all those applicants who want to go abroad to the USA to pursue their higher education. However, not all universities ask for an IELTS score. 

Can I go to the USA with only IELTS?

Maximum universities in the USA accept IELTS test scores for admission. Each university has its own criteria and limit of IELTS scores. 

We hope this blog answered all your questions about IELTS Score which is needed to get admission to US universities. 

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