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English Language Requirement to Study in New Zealand as an International Student

Are you planning to apply as an international student to New Zealand? You may be required to submit the result of an English language exam to prove that your level of English proficiency will meet the requirements for the program you are applying for.

Jennifer ArandaOriginally posted on January 15, 2018; updated January 15, 2018

English Language Requirement to Study in New Zealand as an International Student

If you are a citizen of a country that has a refusal rate of more than 20% for New Zealand student visa applications, you will have to demonstrate a certain level of English language competency.  And, different levels of study in New Zealand will require its own level of English proficiency.  

The following language requirements are meant for student applying to polytechnics and private training establishments that the New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA) holds legislative responsibility for.  Note that only three Secure English Language Tests are listed:

  • International English Language Testing System or IELTS
  • Test of English as a Foreign Language
    • Paper-based Test or TOEFL pBT
    • Internet-based Test or TOEFL iBT
  • Pearson Test of English or PToE (Academic)
English Language Test Outcome
Program Level IELTS TOEFL pBT TOEFL iBT PToE (Academic)
Certificate at Level 3 General or Academic Test.  Overall band score of 5.0 with no band less than 5.0 Score of 500, with an essay score of 4
TWE
Score of 35, with a writing score of 20 PToE (Academic) score of 36
Certificate at Level 4 General or Academic Test.  Overall band score of 5.5 with no band less than 5.0 Score of 530, with an essay score of 4.5 TWE Score of 46, with a writing score of 20 PToE (Academic) score of 42
Certificate or Diploma at Level 5 Academic Test only.  Overall band score of 5.5 with no band less than 5.0 Score of 550, with an essay score of 5 TWE Score of 46, with a writing score of 20 PToE (Academic) score of 42
Certificate or Diploma at Level 6, Diploma or degree at Level 7, Graduate Certificate or Diploma at Level 7 Academic Test only.  Overall band score of 6.0 with no band less than 5.5 Score of 550, with an essay score of 5 TWE Score of 60, with a writing score of 20 PToE(Academic) score of 50
Post-graduate Diploma or Post-graduate Certificate at Level 8, Bachelor Honours Degree at Level 8, Master's Degree at Level 9, Doctoral Degree at level 10 Academic Test only.  Overall band score of 6.5 with no band less than 6.0 Score of 590, with an essay score 5.5 TWE Score of 79, with a writing score of 21 PToE (Academic) score of 58

 

Other note-worthy facts for English language requirement for international students who intend to study in New Zealand:

  • The English language test result form you present must be less than two years old at the time of your student visa application.
  • You can enroll in the program that you want even if you obtain scores higher than what is required.  However, some tertiary providers may require higher than what is listed.  When this happens, you must meet the higher level required by the provider. 
  • If you intend to take the IELTS, you can only use scores from ONE IELTS Test Report Form.
  • A program of study incorporating some English language components is not considered an English language program so you will still have to fulfill English language entry requirements.
  • Was your training scheme organized, paid for or required by your employer?  If so, you might not have to comply with the English language requirement.
  • Universities have their own English language requirement.
  • Students who intend to complete two programs, one higher than the other, must meet the English language requirement for the higher level of study which is Level 6.
  • You might not have to comply with the English language requirement if you meet both requirements below:
    • You completed any of the following degree level qualifications from a tertiary provider from New Zealand, Australia, Canada, the Republic of Ireland, South Africa, the United Kingdom or the United States:
      • Bachelor Degree;
      • Graduate Certificate;
      • Graduate Diploma;
      • Bachelor Honours Degree;
      • Postgraduate Certificate;
      • Postgraduate Diploma;
      • Master’s Degree;
      • Doctoral Degree.
    • The language of instruction was English.

Authors & Contributors

Jennifer Aranda

Jennifer Aranda

Jennifer S. Aranda is the COO of IVC Immigrant Visa Center, Inc.

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