Studying abroad with IELTS: Planning advice

Applying to study in your preferred country takes careful planning. Use our checklist to record your progress.

Up to 3 years before enrolment

Find the college or university of your choice, and check which version of IELTS you need to take and the IELTS score required. Find out how to register for IELTS.

  • Maintain a good academic record at your current institution.
  • Find your nearest IELTS test centre, check for a convenient date and book your test. You should plan to take the test around 12–14 months before enrolment on your course. See IELTS test dates, fees and locations for details.
  • Start preparing for IELTS – even if you are a native English speaker. You should familiarise yourself with the format and timing of the test.
  • Find out if the institutions you are interested in require an admission test. Start planning to take the test(s) required by your chosen institutions.

15–18 months before enrolment

Look at information sources about studying abroad such as:

12–14 months before enrolment

Take the IELTS test and receive your score within 13 days. Visit our Prepare for IELTS page for ideas about how to do better next time if you did not achieve the required score.

  • Prepare a folder for each institution you want to apply to so that you can keep all your forms, receipts and correspondence organised.
  • Read all application materials carefully and make sure you meet all the required deadlines.
  • Create an application calendar to stay on track.

10–12 months before enrolment

  • Complete the application(s) for admission to the the institution(s) you have chosen.
  • Complete your applications for any financial aid and/or scholarships you want to apply for.
  • Check the visa requirements (if any).

6–9 months before enrolment

At this stage you should know which institutions have accepted you as a student.

3 months before enrolment

If required, ensure your visa application is progressing as required.

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