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Proving your skills - English language exams

Universities in the UK will usually ask students to provide evidence of language learning and this usually includes the Cambridge English: Advanced and IELTS exams. IELTS Academic is an English language exam designed for people who want to study at university.

There are other qualifications that universities will accept. If you have an international qualification, you can find out more from NARIC about what it is equivalent to. There is lots of information available for people who want to prepare for IELTS; look at these links for more information:

Inside IELTS: Preparing for the Test with the Experts: This MOOC will give you all of the information you need to prepare for IELTS.

IELTS: You can find more information about the exam as well as some practice materials here.

There are more sample papers here to help you practise.

Cambridge English: Advanced is a C1 level exam that you can take to prepare you to follow a course at university. To find more information about Cambridge English: Advanced, go here:

Sample papers to help you practise

More steps to help you prepare

  Level Length of exam Visa Valid
CAE C1 3 hours 55 minutes Not recognised for visa Valid forever
IELTS All levels 2 hours 45 minutes Recognised for visa Valid for 2 years

Whichever exam you choose, be careful to check with the university you’re applying for what grade you need to have. Different universities may ask for different grades and qualifications - not all universities accept all qualifications.

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Aim Higher: Access to Higher Education for Refugees and Asylum Seekers

Cambridge Assessment English