Can IELTS be the common thread between Kuwait and Colombia?

So what does a Kuwaiti and a Colombian have in common (other than the makings of a really lame joke)? A few weeks ago I found out: the IELTS.

Turns out, two friends of mine had been freaking out over the same test — Ahmed, a 21-year-old Business student at Florida International University and Stephanie, a 20-year-old med student in the Universidad del Rosario in Bogotá. Both felt the pressure of the IELTS coming on. Ahmed, who had taken it when he first came to the States and said the experience had been nerve wrecking, recently told me he was even more nervous this time around. But I didn’t understand why — he had already passed once, after all. “Well, with my time with the language now, I should know more…”

I found this incredibly interesting. Added to Ahmed’s anxiety wasn’t the fear of what to expect – he knew the structure of the exam from beginning to end. It was the pressure to prove to himself, his family and the university, that his English (the reason he came here to begin with), had in fact improved.

Then there is Stephanie, who as a med student in Colombia is required to prove she has a basic proficiency in English (as if the whole saving lives thing wasn’t enough!) But, if you really think about it, it makes sense. The results of Stephanie’s IELTS score are important because it will be that proof she needs to show her future international colleagues, that language isn’t a barrier for her life saving skills.

So what do my two friends have in common? The fact that they both rely heavily on the benefits the IELTS has to offer. So if you find yourself considering if the test (and the inevitable anxiety that comes with taking any test) is worth it, just take a moment to think about all the doors that could open for you if you just give it a go! Happy thinking (and studying!)


As you narrow down the international schools you plan on applying to, you will notice that most schools that teach their coursework in English have minimum language requirements for admissions. The most commonly used English language exam around the world, particularly in Europe and Australia/New Zealand, is the IELTS test.

You should take this exam at least a month before your application is due to allow sufficient time to have your scores sent to your schools. You can retrieve your IELTS results online two weeks after taking the exam. Be sure to do this early since your scores will no longer be available online after 28 days. If you miss this window, not to worry! You will receive the results of your IELTS test in the mail, which are typically mailed out 13 days after your IELTS test date.

While each school requires different minimum IELTS scores, the general requirement is that you should have at least a 6 or 7 out of 9 to show that you have adequate English proficiency to be well prepared for your academic courses. To make sure that you are properly prepared, the IETLS tests your ability to read, write, speak, and understand – all important skills in order to perform well in your academically strenuous class.

Check out the who, what, where, when and why’s of the IELTS for additional information!