Academic Counselling

IELTS Alternatives for Admissions in USA – Study in America Without IELTS

Studying in the USA at a prestigious university is like a dream come true. But achieving this goal is not a walk in the park. Students have to pass many crucial stages and different barriers to reach their target. Dozens of eligibility prerequisites, admission, and language requirements are waiting in line to test students’ potential and proficiency. Well, this list does not end here. Getting a study visa for the USA is another task that needs language proficiency test scores.

Such Language Assessment tests measure the students’ command of the English language as most universities use English as a medium of instruction. The most common language test is IELTS, widely accepted by the majority of universities in the USA. However, there are a few universities as well that also consider other language tests.

IELTS Alternative Tests for Admission in the USA:

Passing the IELTS test to fulfill language requirements is not so easy. Students often fail to secure admission because of not getting the required IELTS scores. Hence, to overcome this problem, several USA universities have waived the IELTS condition and are accepting other alternative tests, like;

  1. TOEFL
  2. DET
  3. PTE
  4. SAT
  5. CAE
  6. CPE

Here, we will discuss each of these Language Assessment tests that are IELTS alternatives in detail. Keep reading to get answers to all questions.


1- TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language):

TOEFL Exam Fee: USD 205
Duration: 4 hrs.

After ILETS, most of the students go for the TOEFL. Comparatively, it is a bit lengthy test, controlled by the ETS. Generally, there are two types of TOEFL tests. One is internet-based (TOEFL iBT) and paper-based (TOEFL-PBT). Most people go for the TOEFL iBT. The impressive thing about this test is that people have the liberty to use their best scores for admission after multiple attempts.

TOEFL checks the students’ potency in Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening Skills.

2- DET (Duolingo English Test):

DET Exam Fee: USD 49
Duration: Less than an hour.

After TOEFL, this is another language test widely chosen by the students to fulfill language proficiency requirements. It is a flexible online test that one can go for anyplace, anywhere, and anytime. DET checks and measures the students’ potency over the English language through the four above-stated skills by asking short questions. A video-based interview will also judge the language proficiency of applied aspirants.

3- PTE (Pearson Academic Test):

PTE Exam Fee: USD 200
Duration: 2 hrs.

It is another language test sponsored by Pearson to determine how capable a student is of studying in an English medium university. PTE is generally based on three different parts; Listening, Reading, and Speaking & Writing. In most countries, this test also helps in issuing visas. However, for test grading, they used AI (Artificial Intelligence)

4- SAT (Scholastic Aptitude Test):

SAT Exam fee: USD 26
Duration: 3 hours and 50 mins

Unlike the others, SAT is a multiple-choice paper-based language assessment that measures students’ Critical and Writing skills. The mathematics of students also get assessed through SAT. Each year approximately seven times SAT takes place. So, candidates have options to go for this one as per their feasibility.

5- CAE (Cambridge Advanced Exam):

Exam Fee: 165-195 USD
Duration: 1 hour 30 mins.

Those exam scores are valid forever. Like the other language tests, it also evaluates Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening skills. To pass the CAE, candidates need to achieve the mentioned percentages in every section. CAE consists of a C1 Advanced test that measures the above skills.

6- CPE (Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English):

CPE Exam Fee: USD 170
Duration: 4 hrs.

Another name for this test is the C2 Proficiency exam, known as the most advanced test. Though it is a widely accepted test in the UK. But the universities of the USA also consider this test score for English language proficiency.

Bisma Farooq

Bisma is a top financial aid advisor at top-ranked colleges across the country and we have her here on our guest authors list. She writes on academic topics, available opportunities, and their application procedures. She holds a master's degree in medical sciences.

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