English Language Expectations

For learners to be successful on our qualifications which are taught and assessed in English, it is critical that they have an appropriate level of English language skills. The following clarifies the requirements for all centres when accepting applicants onto our qualifications.

Learners are expected to be able to demonstrate English language comprehension at a level equivalent to IELTS (International English Language Testing System) 5.5 to be able to study our qualifications.

All centres delivering our qualifications must ensure that all learners who are non-native English speakers and who have not undertaken their final two years of schooling in English, can demonstrate capability in English at a standard equivalent to the levels identified below, before being accepted to the programme that is both taught and assessed in English as follows:

  • Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR) level B2
  • Pearson Test of English Academic (PTE Academic) 51
  • IELTS 5.5; Reading and Writing must be at 5.5

It is for the centre to determine what evidence will be necessary to prove individual learner proficiency.

FAQs relating to the English language entry requirements

Why are English language entry requirements necessary?

For learners wishing to study our qualification and who are non-native English speakers, they must have a minimum level of English language competency.

UK universities and Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) commonly require a minimum standard of English language as part of their entry requirements onto undergraduate and postgraduate degree programmes.

Who do the entry requirements apply to?

These English language entry requirements apply to all non-native English speakers in the UK and internationally being registered onto our qualifications where that programme is taught and assessed in English.

Is it necessary for a learner to have studied in English at a particular level in the final two years of school?

No. The Centre should assess whether the learner completed the final two years of school in English and has the required English language competency.

The requirement refers to IELTS 5.5. / PTE 51 or equivalent. Can the requirement be met using other English language tests such as City & Guilds, Cambridge and ESOL etc.?

Yes. It is for the Centre to satisfy itself that the learner’s score is equivalent to IELTS 5.5 / PTE 51 / B2. Such courses are likely to include information on equivalencies.

Are Centres permitted to adopt their own English language test to judge whether learners meet this requirement? Or, do we need to ask learners to produce a valid IELTS certificate / PTE certificate (or equivalent)?

Yes, a Centre can adopt its own English language test. It is for the Centre to satisfy itself that the learner’s score matches this requirement. It is important to note however that many progression universities may not accept alternative tests. It is the responsibility of the learner to confirm this with the receiving university or HEI.

Are West African Examination Council (WAEC) learners exempt from the requirement?

If the West African Examination Council learners study their final two years of school in English, then they will be exempt from the requirement.

Are there English Language test comparison tables?

Please find the English language comparison tables here.

Will the English requirements be exempted, if a non-native English speaker has attained a full diploma both taught and assessed in English?

No, unless the subject was in English language, a non-native English speaker or those who have not studied the final two years of school in English will be required to demonstrate capability in English at a standard equivalent to IELTS 5.5 / PTE 51 / B2.

Will the English requirements be exempted, if a non-native English speaker who has completed a GCSE level English or equivalent English test in their home country before settling in the UK?

Whether the requirement is exempted will depend on the results the learner achieved. The result of the English language test is expected to be equivalent to IELTS 5.5 / PTE 51 / B2.

Will the English requirements be exempted, if a non-native English speaker who has obtained further qualifications taught in English in the last two years?

Exemption will only apply to non-native English speakers who have studied the final two years of school in English.

How will OTHM verify that learners meet the requirements?

These requirements form part of the Centre’s terms and conditions for offering our qualifications. Compliance is monitored through the External Quality Assurance process.

Are these requirements applied to all qualifications?

Yes, these requirements apply to all our regulated qualifications.