What is a waiver from TOEFL, IELTS, or other English Proficiency Test?

English is a popular medium of instruction in most academic institutions abroad. Most international colleges and Universities allow admissions of students from around the world who differ in their academic and cultural backgrounds. Therefore, a standardized test is required to judge the proficiency in English for international students. All these students who are non-native English speakers need to demonstrate their skills in reading, writing, and speaking in the English language.

It is for this reason that most of these institutions require international students, to present their TOEFLexam, PTE, or IELTS exam scores, with their admission application. TOEFL, IELTS and PTE are all internationally standardized exams to test proficiency in English. A main TOEFL vs IELTS parameter is that TOEFL is inclined towards an American audience, while IELTS exam scores emphasize more on British or Australian English.

Most of the international educational institutions require the scorecard for these English proficiency tests with different thresholds set for different colleges. However, under certain special circumstances, it does not become mandatory for the students applying for enrollment to a particular university, to present the score for these tests. These situations are known as Exceptions and in such a scenario, a waiver or an exemption is given to the applicant I.e. he does not need to submit his IELTS/TOEFL/PTE scores.

Conditions when Waiver for IELTS/TOEFL/PTE is given to an applying student

Below, we present the situations when a student applying for admission to a University or college internationally, will be exempted from submitting his English proficiency score.

  • If the international student is a native of an English-speaking country like the USA, UK, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Singapore, Ireland, etc.,
  • If you are a non-native English speaker but you have completed an undergraduate or graduate degree in the UK, USA, Australia, Canada, US, etc., where all courses were taken in that country and were taught in English.
  • Some universities even accept waivers for students who are non-native English speakers, and have completed part of their degrees in a native English-speaking country and have secured a minimum GPA.
  • If the applicant is a non-native English speaker but has had full-time employment for more than two years, in English speaking countries, like Australia, Canada, UK, USA, etc.
  • If the applicant is a non-native English speaker but his complete official instruction has been in the English medium, and all his official documentation and transcripts are in English, he may be eligible for a waiver, if all his documentations can be officially authorized.

 If any non-native English-speaking applicant to a University falls under the above-mentioned exceptions, he needs to specify this in his application form to the University. Depending on the conditions set by different universities, their admission committee will evaluate the waiver request.

If you are applying for a waiver from the English language proficiency test scores, you must apply early. This is because these decisions take time and students should not be held back because of a lack of a test score.

If the application of any such student is rejected by the concerned University, he needs to prepare for the exam and submit his English proficiency scores on time.

Some Universities do not make it mandatory for the international students to submit their IELTS/TOEFL/PTE test scores but require the students to complete a one-year Foundation level program while at the University. These programs are recognized as Pathways or Bridge Programs.

If you want to submit a waiver request to your concerned university as per their admission guidelines, you need to write out a letter or fill out a form based on a template prescribed by the University.

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