Exams to Study in Ireland for International Students

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    Bhavya Rawal

    Study Abroad Expert

    Ireland is one of the most popular educational destinations in Europe, after the UK. in order to study in Ireland, international students have to meet certain criteria, especially in terms of language proficiency. The top universities in Ireland use English as the medium of instruction, so one would have to take any of the recognized English proficiency tests. Students applying to certain programs, especially those at the graduate level, may be required to take subject aptitude tests in addition to the language tests.

    English Language Tests

    English is the most spoken language in Ireland, even though Irish Gaelic is recognized as the first official language. You will need to prove your ability to speak, understand, read and write English both for application to educational institutions and for visa purposes. Ireland uses a lot of the same exams required to study in the UK, but it has a slightly lower standard for proficiency.

    The top-ranking Irish universities have the following minimum requirements:

    University IELTS Score TOEFL iBT Score PTE Academic Cambridge ESOL GCSE Grade
    Trinity College Dublin 6.5, with no band below 6.0 90, with 21 in the Writing section 63, with no section below 59 C1 or C2 C
    University College Dublin 6.5, with no band below 6.0 90, with 21 in the Writing section 63, with no section below 59 C1 or C2 C
    National University of Ireland, Galway 6.5, with no band below 6.0 88 overall 61, with no section below 48 C1 or C2 N/A
    University College Cork 6.5, with no band below 6.0 90, with 20 in each section 63, with no section below 59 C1 or C2 C
    Maynooth University 6.0 overall 80-92 55-59 overall N/A N/A

    Although the average score required is as shown above, in most of these colleges courses like Medicine and Engineering often have higher cutoffs.

    IELTS (International English Language Testing System)

    The IELTS Academic test is used as a proof of English proficiency by many Irish universities. It has four sections - Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking - in each of which you are scored on a band of 1-9.

    The average overall score required by most Irish universities is 6.5. Native English-speakers, i.e citizens of countries where the official majority language is English, do NOT have to take this exam. The cost of the test is INR 14,000 and the IELTS score expires after two years.

    TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language)

    Another proof of being competent in English is TOEFL. In most countries, students prefer taking the TOEFL iBT over the TOEFL PBT, owing to its comparative simplicity. It also has the four sections of Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking, but here the score is out of a total of 120. The cost of the test is INR 13,617 and its validity is also two years.

    PTE (Pearson Test of English)

    The PTE Academic is quite popular, though maybe not as popular as IELTS or TOEFL. It is, however, a lot more convenient than the aforementioned two, as it is strictly computer-based and has results made available to the candidate within 24 hours of taking the exam.

    The test is divided into three sections, that is, Speaking & Writing, Reading, and Listening. The exam cost is INR 13,300, but you can send the score directly to as many institutions as you want for free.

    GCSE English Language (General Certification of Secondary Education)

    Students in India between the ages of 14 and 16 can write this exam before they move onto a higher secondary level of education. Usually students who are enrolled under the IGCSE board can qualify the English Language test before they start their A-level and AS-level, and this is recognized as sufficient for university entrance.

    GCE O-Level English Language (General Certificate of Education)

    The GCE Ordinary Level English exam is yet another qualification that is easily accessible to IGCSE students, taken after their A-level studies. These kinds of exams may be attempted by students from other educational boards too, but it is advisable that they opt for more well-known exams like IELTS or TOEFL.

    Cambridge ESOL Tests

    The University of Cambridge has instituted a number of certification tests, especially ones pertaining to language proficiency. Although to get a student visa to Ireland, lower certifications are allowed, CAE or C1 Advanced, and CPE or C2 Proficiency, are two accepted proofs of English language skills in universities. The best thing about Cambridge ESOL tests is that they do not have an expiration date.

    OET (Occupational English Test)

    Students applying to courses in healthcare require to take OET to prove that they have the right English communication skills for the healthcare profession. It is used specifically for these fields:

    • Dentistry
    • Dietetics
    • Medicine
    • Nursing
    • Occupational Therapy
    • Optometry
    • Pharmacy
    • Physiotherapy
    • Podiatry
    • Radiography
    • Speech Pathology
    • Veterinary Science

    The exam costs INR 32,716, but the top medical colleges in Ireland prefer candidates who have qualified this test, and it is even accepted as proof of proficiency even for visas and employment.

    Academic Tests to Study in Ireland

    Nursing, midwifery, and other healthcare professions are the most popular courses for international students in Ireland. Other than that, there are those pursuing MS and MBA. For some of these courses, students are supposed to take certain aptitude tests for admission purposes.

    HPAT (Health Professions admission Test)

    The HPAT Ireland is similar to its UK counterpart, and is used for entry into courses in medicine. It is administered by ACER (Australian Council for Educational Research) as a 2.5-hour test, except at the University of Limerick, where students applying to the MSc Occupational Therapy and the MSc Speech and Language Therapy are required to sit a 1-hour Written English component. The test costs INR 13,718.

    GAMSAT (Graduate Medical School Admission Test)

    GAMSAT is yet another test administered by ACER, meant for admissions to graduate-entry medicine and veterinary medicine in the following Irish colleges:

    GAMSAT is a little more holistic than HPAT, having three sections - Reasoning in Humanities and Social Sciences, Written Communication, and Reasoning in Biological and Physical Sciences. However, it is quite an expensive test, costing INR 30,630.

    GMAT (Graduate Management Admission Test)

    Costing INR 18,300 to take, GMAT is the most in-demand exam for students pursuing Masters-level study in management. The exam consists of four sections, which are Analytical Writing Assessment, Integrated Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning, and Verbal Reasoning. You will get an overall score ranging from 200 to 800, which is actually calculated from the last two sections alone. GMAT is a necessary exam for the most part if you wish to do an MBA in Ireland.

    International students who wish to study in Ireland must have a valid score of the tests that pertain to them. Before starting the application process for universities in Ireland, all aspiring students are requested to double check with their preferred universities exactly which tests they will require as many of these are quite expensive. Moreover, most universities in Ireland do not accept test scores older than two years.


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