Exams Required to Study in UK for International Students

8 minutes reading time (1550 words)

Studying in the UK is the dream of many international students. Students can also get a unique cultural experience and international exhibition in the UK. It is also a popular study destination among students, with 18 universities in the Top 100 QS world ranking. The universities also offer world-class education and accommodation facilities. All these factors make the UK the ultimate study destination.

But, students must go through standardised tests and exams if they wish to study in the UK. These include English proficiency tests like IELTS, UCLES, PTE, etc., and other tests like GRE, GMAT, etc. The exams required to be given by a student mainly depend on their course and university. Thus, students must thoroughly go through the course and university details before appearing in an exam. 

What Exams Are Required To Study in UK

Students must appear for various exams if they wish to study in the UK. English proficiency tests are the most necessary of all. All universities ask for the score of English tests at the time of application. Students also need to appear for various other tests if required for their course.

Some essential tests that students can appear for are:

  • IELTS (International English Language Testing System): The IELTS test scores are required for applying to universities and getting a UK Visa. It tests a student's English skills in four places listening, writing, speaking, and reading.
  • PTE (Pearson Test English): PTE is another English test that students can appear for. Its format is somewhat like the IELTS exam. It is accepted in 98 per cent of educational institutes in the UK.
  • UCLES (University of Cambridge Local Examinations Syndicate): It is an English assessment test set by members of the University of Cambridge.
  • GMAT: It is an entrance test given by graduate management students. It tests a student's eligibility for a business degree. Some topics included in the GMAT are arithmetic, algebra, grammar, geometry, and multi-data source.
  • GRE is an entrance exam for candidates applying for graduation in the UK. Like GMAT, it tests a student's arithmetic, geometry, algebra, and language abilities. It has three sections – analytic, verbal, and quantitative. The exam is altered according to students' preferred field of study. Students who have never studied in the United Kingdom before must take the GRE.

English Proficiency Exams to Study in UK

English proficiency tests are crucial for students who wish to study in the UK. Taking an English test is mandatory to enrol in any university in the UK. The scores of this test are also required at the time of application, irrespective of course and university.

The English tests accepted in the UK are IELTS, UCLES, and PTE. Students must appear for one of these tests and try to get a minimum accepted score. The minimum accepted score for English tests differs for different universities. Thus, students must keep check of the same.

Given below are the average required English test scores: 

English Tests

Average scores




180 (no less than 169)



Admission Tests to Study in UK

Students need to appear for different admission tests depending on their course. Students must find the exam required for their course. These exams help universities understand whether a student is eligible for the course.

Below are all the admission tests for different courses:

  1. For Graduate Courses:
  • GMAT (Graduate Management Admission Test): Students who wish to study graduate business courses in the UK must appear for the GMAT. It tests a student's knowledge of Algebra, Grammar, Geometry, etc.
  • GRE (Graduate Record Examination): This test is for students who wish to study graduate courses. The test is divided into analytic, verbal, and quantitative. Students must score good marks in all sections to get admission to any institute.
  1. For Law Aspirants:
  • Cambridge Law Test: This is a paper-based exam. It tests a student's critical thinking skills.
  • The National Admissions Test for Law (LNAT): This test is for law aspirants but doesn't require prior knowledge of the Law. It tests students based on their interpretation, thinking, analysing, reasoning, and concluding skills.
  1. For Mathematics students:
  • Mathematics Admissions Test (MAT): Students who wish to enrol in a UG maths or computer science course must appear for this test. It is a paper-based test and follows a grading pattern. It is conducted by two prestigious British universities – Oxford and Cambridge.
  • Sixth Term Examination Paper (STEP): This test assesses a student's knowledge of undergraduate mathematics. It is used by Imperial College London, the University of Cambridge, and the University of Warwick.
  1. For Medical aspirants:
  • Biomedical Admissions Test (BMAT): This test is for students who wish to pursue a course in Dentistry, Medicine, and Biomedical Science.
  • The Graduate Medical School Admissions Test (GAMSAT): This test selects elite students for graduate medical courses. It was first developed by the Consortium of Graduate Medical Schools and the Australian Council for Education Research (ACER).
  • Health Professions Admission Test (HPAT): This test is for students who wish to pursue medical and become healthcare professionals.
  • UK Clinical Aptitude Test (UKCAT): Some universities in the UK may ask for this time to enrol. It is mainly for students who wish to study in medical or dental degree programs.

Exams to Study for Bachelor's Degree

To pursue UG courses in the UK, students do not need to take any such entrance exams. But, students must take English proficiency tests like IELTS and PTE since the scores of these tests are required at the time of application.

Some universities might also take thinking skill assessment tests. These may be:

  • Thinking Skills Assessment Cambridge (TSA Cambridge)
  • Thinking Skills Assessment Oxford (TSA Oxford)
  • Thinking Skills Assessment University College London (TSA UCL).

Some English Proficiency tests that students must appear for are:

  • IELTS (International English Language Testing System)
  • PTE (Pearson Test English)
  • UCLES (University of Cambridge Local Examinations Syndicate)
  • CPE (Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English)
  • CAE (Cambridge Certificate of Advanced English)

Exams to Study Mathematics Courses

 Students who wish to pursue mathematical courses must appear for entrance exams and English proficiency tests. But, they must check the tests accepted in their university before appearing for an examination.

The accepted entrance tests for mathematics courses are:

  • MAT (Mathematics Admission Test)
  • STEP (Sixth Term Examination Paper)
  • TMUA (Test of Mathematics for University Admission).

Exams Required to Study Medical courses

Students must appear for various entrance exams to pursue Medical courses in the UK. These tests assess the prior knowledge of the student in the medical field. They also test a student's skills and expertise if required.

Students must also appear for English proficiency tests like IELTS or PTE. Some Medical tests that students can appear for are:

  • BMAT (Biomedical Admissions Test)
  • GAMSAT (Graduate Medical School Admissions Test)
  • HPAT Ulster (Health Professions Admission Test)
  • UKCAT (UK Clinical Aptitude Test)
  • UCAT (University Clinical Aptitude Test)

Exams Required to Study Law Courses

Law Aspirants need to take entrance and English proficiency tests to study Law in the UK. The entrance tests assess a student's critical thinking ability, reasoning, interpretation, analysing, and concluding skills.

It is mandatory for students who wish to pursue Law in the UK to take both tests. Some entrance tests that they can appear for are:

  • Cambridge Law Test
  • LNAT (National Admissions Test for Law).

Exams Required to Study for Master's Degree

After completing a UG degree from elsewhere, students who wish to study in the UK must give an entrance exam and English proficiency tests. These tests assess a student's basic knowledge of algebra, arithmetic, geometry, grammar, etc.

But, students must only appear for the exam required for their course and university. Some entrance exams for a Master's degree are:

  • GRE (Graduate Record Examinations)
  • GMAT (Graduate Management Admission Test).

Exams Required to Study for Doctorate Degree

Students do not need to appear for any such entrance exams to study PhD in the UK. However, they must appear for English proficiency tests and score good marks. This is a requirement for all the universities in the UK. A score on English proficiency tests is also required at the time of application.

Given below are some English proficiency exams in the UK and the acceptable score for a PhD:

English Proficiency Test

Average Required Marks


7 overall with 7 in writing and 6 in other sections


66 overall with 66 in writing and 59 in other sections


185 or above overall with 185 in writing and above 169 in all other sections


185 or above overall with 185 in writing and above 169 in all other sections

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