Iceland, an island in the North Atlantic Ocean, is famous for its incredible natural wonders, which include volcanoes and glaciers. Interestingly, it is also becoming increasingly popular among students from around the world for delivering high-quality education within a secure and scenic environment.

Now, if you want to study in Iceland, you should know that its national language is Icelandic. But here’s the good news: many of the country’s universities offer classes in English. However, before you start packing your bags, there are some examinations you must take and pass. To help you out, in this article, we’ll guide you through the language tests required of international students in Iceland!

Language Proficiency Tests Needed in Iceland

Although English is a widely used medium of instruction in Iceland, several universities have begun offering courses in Icelandic. Thus, in the upcoming sections, we will guide you through the English and Icelandic language tests required of international students in Iceland, as well as when and where they may be required for admission.

Icelandic Language Tests for International Students

Icelandic, with its unique linguistic characteristics and limited global usage, does not have widely recognized standardized language tests, unlike more commonly spoken languages such as Spanish or French. The prevalence of the Icelandic language is largely confined to Iceland itself, which contributes to its lack of international language testing infrastructure. Consequently, the specific Icelandic language test requirements for international students may vary between universities.

For instance, at the University of Iceland, students interested in Icelandic-language courses demonstrate their proficiency by passing an online language exam integrated into the admission process. To aid students in passing, the university encourages the completion of specific online courses like those on, providing essential language skills and qualifications needed for success in the proficiency test. Additionally, it’s important to note that some universities may utilize their entrance examinations to assess your Icelandic language proficiency, emphasizing the importance of connecting with your chosen institution for specific requirements.

English Language Tests for International Students

While there may not be any recognized Icelandic language tests, proving your English proficiency is crucial for international students considering higher education in Iceland. As many programs are conducted in English, universities in Iceland frequently require English language tests from international students to assess applicants’ language skills.

1. IELTS – International English Language Testing System

When discussing English proficiency tests, IELTS invariably takes the lead, as it is accepted across 140+ countries worldwide. This international recognition makes IELTS a standard requirement for international students in Iceland. It is composed of four integral parts: Reading, Writing, Listening, and Speaking. Each part is rigorously evaluated and scored on a scale from 0 to 9, ensuring a comprehensive assessment of a candidate’s English language proficiency.

For many universities in Iceland, a common benchmark is an IELTS overall band score of 6.5 or 7.0 for undergraduate and postgraduate programs. For example, the University of Iceland, the country’s largest and most prestigious institution, typically requires an IELTS score of 6.5 or above for undergraduate and postgraduate studies. Similarly, the University of Akureyri may stipulate a minimum IELTS score of 6.5 for programs conducted in English. It’s important to note that score requirements can change, so it’s advisable to verify the latest prerequisites directly from the universities’ official admission sources.

2. TOEFL – Test of English as a Foreign Language

Started 59 years ago, TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) is accepted by over 12,000 institutions and companies worldwide as a language proficiency test. It assesses a candidate’s ability to understand and use English, particularly in academic and professional settings, measuring the same skill set as IELTS. It is available in two main formats: the internet-based test (TOEFL iBT) and the paper-based test (TOEFL PBT). In recent years, the TOEFL iBT has become the more commonly taken version, as it offers greater flexibility and a more comprehensive evaluation of a test-taker’s English proficiency.

The TOEFL iBT scores range from 0 to 120, with each section scored on a scale of 0 to 30, whereas TOEFL PBT has a maximum score of 677. In Iceland, several universities accept TOEFL scores as proof of English proficiency. For example, Reykjavik University, a prominent institution in the country, typically considers a TOEFL iBT score of 91 or a TOEFL PBT score of 577 for admission.

3. Pearson Test of English: (PTE) Academic

Even though most Icelandic universities primarily accept TOEFL or IELTS scores, applicants can use their PTE (Pearson Test of English) score for admission. Notably, the University of Iceland, a leading institution in the country, acknowledges PTE scores as an alternative proof of English proficiency.

PTE offers a computer-based assessment of English language skills, providing candidates with the opportunity to demonstrate their capabilities in reading, writing, listening, and speaking. While required scores may vary between 58 to 80, having a maximum PTE score can open doors to academic opportunities in Iceland, making it a valuable option for prospective students.


Most Icelandic universities offer English programs; thus, they accept internationally recognized language proficiency tests from international students in Iceland. This convenience, combined with Iceland’s breathtaking natural beauty and historic cultural values, positions the country as an alluring destination for students seeking a top-notch education!


We hope this article has been of great help in preparing for the language tests you’ll need as an international student in Iceland. To offer more aid in your Icelandic journey, read about the Best Universities in Iceland for International Students!

About the Author: Hyun Lee

Hi! I am Hyun, and I am the founder at Global Scholarships. I've received a full-tuition scholarship at Birmingham-Southern College and a $1,000 Burger King Scholarship for my undergraduate degree and was offered a fully funded scholarship consisting of tuition, living stipend, and health insurance for computer science Ph.D. program at North Carolina State University. You can read more about my scholarship journey here. If you are interested, you can follow me on Linkedin where I regularly write about scholarship opportunities.

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