Canada revises IELTS requirements: Individual section scores no longer mandatory

In a landmark development poised to have far-reaching implications for international students aspiring to pursue educational opportunities in Canada, the nation has recently unveiled a significant alteration to its International English Language Testing System (IELTS) prerequisites. Effective as of today, August 10, the modifications specifically impact applicants who seek entry through the Study Direct Stream (SDS) program, heralding a notable departure from the prior admission criteria.

Under the revised guidelines, prospective students will no longer be obligated to attain a minimum score of six bands in each individual section of the IELTS examination. Instead, the newly instituted policy necessitates that applicants achieve an overall band score of 6.0 to qualify for the SDS program. This shift represents a remarkable departure from the previous stipulation, where each section demanded an individual score of 6.0 bands.

This change in the IELTS requirements reflects a strategic decision on the part of Canadian authorities to place greater emphasis on evaluating the comprehensive language abilities of test-takers. By moving away from a stringent focus on individual section scores, Canada seeks to open up enhanced educational opportunities for international students eager to pursue their academic endeavors within its borders.


The decision to dispense with the requirement for a 6.0 band score in each section of the IELTS test is underpinned by the belief that a broader assessment of language proficiency better aligns with the evolving landscape of global education. This change signifies a fundamental shift in how Canada assesses the eligibility of international students, acknowledging that holistic language competency can be a more accurate indicator of a student’s potential to thrive in Canadian educational institutions.

In response to this transformative development, Piyush Kumar, the Regional Director for South Asia and Mauritius at IDP Education, expressed wholehearted appreciation for the decision. Kumar lauded this update as a progressive step that showcases Canada’s commitment to recognizing the comprehensive language abilities of prospective students, thereby dispelling the rigid emphasis on individual band scores. He articulated his optimism by stating, “This update represents a positive shift towards recognizing the comprehensive abilities of test-takers rather than focusing solely on individual band scores. We believe this change will provide greater opportunities for talented students worldwide to pursue their educational goals in Canada and also reflects authorities’ confidence in IELTS.”

In essence, the alteration in the IELTS requirements for the SDS program in Canada signifies a transformative policy shift aimed at fostering greater inclusivity and accessibility for international students. By moving away from rigid score requirements in individual sections, the nation is extending a welcoming hand to a broader spectrum of aspiring scholars, enhancing the appeal of Canadian educational institutions to talented individuals worldwide. This decision not only reflects a forward-thinking approach but also underscores Canada’s unwavering commitment to fostering diversity and excellence within its academic landscape.

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