Is it necessary to appear for TOEFL or IELTS for an admission in Australian university

When you move to Australia to seek higher education, then you can not think of it as merely relocating yourself. It is completely a change that you need to accept in your academic sphere and culture. You simply can not use your native language to communicate locally with the domestic people out there in Australia, therefore an examination is conducted to evaluate the proficiency and comprehension of the English language before moving to Australia, during the time of application processing. English Proficiency tests like TOEFL & IELTS are the most commonly known and reputed among the others however, they are not just exams to prove efficiency. More examinations can build a path to supplement these exams and explore whether it is necessary to take the TOEFL or IELTS exam to seek admission to Australian Universities. 


Swim through the pool to discover the other prominent examinations to prove English Language proficiency and shed light on the opportunities that await within this captivating corner of the world.


Overview of the English Language Proficiency Exam: TOEFL & IELTS




The Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) is a standardised test designed to measure the English language proficiency of non-native speakers. Like any other English language proficiency this test also evaluates the ability to use and understand English in an academic setting. It is a basic need for an international student, making it an essential credential for those aspiring to study in Australian universities.


Accepted by Universities Globally


The TOEFL exam is not just valid in the territories of the Australian continent, there are more countries that accept the scores, more than 11,000 universities and institutions in over 150 countries. These include the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, and New Zealand. To take admission into the undergraduate, graduate, and postgraduate courses, you need to have the scores on this test.  Additionally, many scholarship programs and visa applications also accept TOEFL scores, underscoring its global relevance and importance.




IELTS is an abbreviation of the International English Language Testing System which is again a globally recognised English proficiency test designed to assess the language skills of non-native speakers. It has more reputation and is recognised globally in comparison to the TOEFL exam and is used for various purposes, including university admissions, employment, and immigration. The test evaluates a candidate's ability to communicate in English across four key areas: listening, reading, writing, and speaking.


Types of IELTS exam


The IELTS exam is not just taken for academic purposes but there are other traits to it for an international individual who is planning to work in the Australian job market, having an IELTS score is a necessity for them as well. 


IELTS offers two versions: Academic and General Training, each serving different purposes:


1. Academic Version: This version is intended for those who wish to pursue higher education or professional registration in an English-speaking environment.


2. General Training Version: This version is aimed at individuals who are going to English-speaking countries for secondary education, work experience, or training programs. It is also used for immigration purposes to countries such as Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the UK. 


Is it necessary to appear in the TOEFL & IELTS exam for admission to an Australian University?


Since we have overviewed both forms of examinations, their sole purpose lies in evaluating the proficiency of an individual, but the examinations and their significance may differ depending upon the universities and their specific admission requirements. Though the first and foremost thought that comes to mind is the TOEFL & IELTS exams, however, the necessity of these exams depends upon various factors. 


1. University Requirements


There are many universities in Australia that consider the scores of these examinations for their admission process. The authorities know that it isn’t easy for a non-native to cope with the curriculum or the competitive environment without having a good hold over the language. Thereby, the TOEFL and IELTS are widely accepted by them, with minimum score requirements differing between institutions and programs. 


For example, the University of Melbourne typically requires an IELTS score of 6.5 overall with no band less than 6.0, while the University of Sydney might have different criteria based on the specific course.


2. Alternative Pathways


As mentioned, we will be talking about the alternative options, therefore, despite the general requirement, there are notable examinations constructing your path towards the academic journey. Some universities may waive the TOEFL or IELTS requirements if the applicant has completed previous education in English-speaking countries or attended an international school where English was the medium of instruction. 


Conversely, there are certain universities that offer their own English language preparation programs, such as the English Language Intensive Courses for Overseas Students (ELICOS), which can serve as an alternative to standardised tests.


3. Special Considerations


Special consideration includes scholarships and visa requirements where a few of these require a Prospective student to take up the TOEFL or IELTS score for their eligibility. Furthermore, specific visa requirements might necessitate proof of English proficiency through these standardised tests, even if the university does not explicitly require them.


How to study in Australia without an IELTS OR TOEFL examination?


International students applying to any university in Australia need to justify that they are eligible to adjust and align with the academics of the country. However, if they do not possess the basic need then how will that even be a positive trait in their journey? Therefore, there have been alternatives which can substitute these exams such as the PTE, ELICOS, OTS, etc.


Let us explore these alternative pathways to meet the English language requirements for admission to Australian universities. Here are several options:


Previous education in English


You are exemplified by taking these exams if you have already been a part of an environment where the English language was a prominent way to communicate things. It includes completion of senior secondary education from an English-speaking institution where the English language was a medium of instruction. 


 This typically applies if:


1. You have studied in an English-speaking country for at least 1-2 years.


2. You have completed a certain level of education, such as high school or a degree, in English.


Significant work experience


If you have been working in an English-speaking country and then applying for a postgraduate program, then the work experience of a significant time may work to depict your proficiency in the English language, preventing you from taking the IELTS or the TOEFL exam. This is more common in professional courses such as business, engineering, and healthcare.


Alternative English Language proficiency exams


There are some universities that accept exams other than these renowned ones. Here are the exams which can an alternate options for you to begin your academic journey:


1. Pearson Test of English (PTE) Academic


2. Cambridge English: Advanced (CAE)


3. Occupational English Test (OET)


4. Cambridge English Qualifications


5. Duolingo English Test


University-affiliated English Language Programs


Now there are many Australian universities which offer their own English language courses, often referred to as English Language Intensive Courses for Overseas Students (ELICOS). If you complete one of these programs efficiently then these can be sufficient in demonstrating the level of proficiency in the language. Examples include:


1. University English Centers: Most major universities have their own language centres. For example, the University of Sydney Centre for English Teaching or the Melbourne Language Centre at the University of Melbourne.

2. Pathway Programs: Universities often collaborate with private education providers to offer pathway programs that include English language preparation.


You can perform your own research and consider options that find you the best as per your needs and interests. As an international student, you might have secured education from anywhere else where English might have been the common way of communication then you can opt for these Alternative options, and even if you have no hands over the language, we have provided you with other options above. 


Listing some of the alternative English language exams and a few of the Australian universities that accept them:


English language exams and a few of the Australian universities which accepts them


In addition to the IELTS, TOEFL, PTE Academic, Cambridge English exams, OET, and Duolingo English Test, other English language proficiency exams are accepted by some institutions and organisations in Australia. Have a look at them below:


English language proficiency exams that are accepted by some institutions and organisations in Australia


Steps to Apply Without IELTS or TOEFL


1. Research Universities: Identify universities in Australia that offer alternatives to IELTS or TOEFL. Some of them may offer you to study the language or else some might require options for demonstrating English proficiency.

2. Prepare Documentation: Gather all necessary documents, such as transcripts, certificates, Confirmation of Enrollment (CoE), Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC) or proof of English-medium education or work experience.

3. Contact Admissions Offices: You can reach out to the admissions offices of the universities you are interested in, to get details of certain requirements and confirm whether they accept alternative English proficiency tests.

4. Apply for Pathway Programs: If opting for a university-provided English language program or pathway course, apply directly to those programs.

5. Meet Conditional Requirements: If you receive conditional admission, make sure to enrol and complete any required English courses before your degree program begins.




Whether it is Australia or any other country that captivates your attention on the basis of seeking education, then you must keep an idea about the English language tests which avail you the benefit of seeking admission in a reputable university in Australia. The two basic and most common exams are the TOEFL and the IELTS, but there are alternative options available to demonstrate proficiency such as previous education in English-speaking countries, alternative English tests, university-provided language programs, conditional admission, and work experience. It is crucial for prospective students to thoroughly research the specific requirements of their chosen universities and programs.


If you are beginning your English language learning then Start by researching the specific criteria and available alternatives. Otherwise, you can reach out to an expert assistant at OZ assignments to prepare for any exam.