Nestled amidst stunning fjords, pristine landscapes, and a rich cultural heritage, Norway has emerged as an increasingly popular destination for international students seeking a unique educational experience. While Norwegian is the primary language spoken by the locals, you’ll find that most Norwegians are proficient in English, making it convenient for international students to navigate daily life and engage with the community.

Many universities in Norway offer programs taught entirely in English, further enhancing the country’s appeal to international students. However, whatever the medium of instruction, you’ll have to prove your proficiency in the language. This article aims to provide information about the basic language tests needed when applying to a university in Norway.

Language Proficiency Tests Needed in Norway

Whatever the language requirements, you will be required to demonstrate proficiency before you begin your studies. One of the ways to do this is through taking a language test and meeting the minimum required score.

Norwegian Language Tests for International Students 

Norwegian Language Test

The Directorate for Higher Education and Skills organizes the Norwegian Language Test for adult immigrants. The test measures proficiency in Norwegian at four levels: A1, A2, B1, and B2. Starting from A1, the test increases in complexity.

While A1 and A2 are very basic levels for short and simple conversations, B1 requires a slightly more intermediate use of the language. At the B2 level, which is usually the minimum university requirement, individuals can understand complex texts and converse fluently.

At these levels, the test has four parts: reading (up to 75 minutes), listening (30-60 minutes), writing (90-120 minutes) and oral (20–30 minutes).

For more advanced users of the language, there is a different test at the C1 level. This comprises two tests: “listening comprehension and written production” and “reading comprehension and oral communication.”

Registrations for the test are open four times a year. The price varies between NOK 300 and NOK 2,200.

English Language Tests for International Students

Most universities in Norway will require you to demonstrate your English language proficiency.  These are some of the various English language tests accepted by Norwegian universities:

1. IELTS – International English Language Testing System

The International English Language Testing System (IELTS) is one of the most widely recognized and accepted English language proficiency tests globally. It assesses the English language skills of individuals who want to study, work, or immigrate to English-speaking countries. IELTS is jointly managed by the British Council, IDP: IELTS, and Cambridge University Press & Assessment.

The IELTS test evaluates candidates in four key language skills:

  • Listening: This section assesses your ability to understand spoken English, including various accents and dialects.
  • Reading: It measures your reading comprehension skills, including your ability to understand, interpret, and analyze written texts.
  • Writing: You will be required to write essays or responses to prompts, demonstrating your ability to express yourself in written English.
  • Speaking: This section evaluates your oral communication skills, including your ability to engage in conversations, express opinions, and discuss various topics.

IELTS scores are reported on a scale from 1 to 9, with 1 being a non-user and 9 indicating an expert level of proficiency. In Norway, minimum scores range from 5 to 6.5. Many universities accept IELTS scores, including the University of Oslo and the University of Bergen.

2. TOEFL – Test of English as a Foreign Language

The Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) is another popular English language proficiency test used by universities, colleges, and institutions around the world to assess the English language skills of non-native English speakers.

The TOEFL is administered by the Educational Testing Service (ETS), which offers a variety of tests but the most popular is the TOEFL iBT. It is accepted by more than 12,000 institutions around the world. An internet-based test that is conducted entirely online. It assesses four language skills: Reading, Listening, Speaking, and Writing.

The TOEFL iBT scores are reported on a scale from 0 to 120. Each of the four skills is scored separately, and the scores are then combined to determine the total score. Most Norwegian universities accept TOEFL scores, including the Norwegian University of Life Sciences and the University of Stavanger. The minimum score accepted differs across university and degree types, ranging from 60-90 on the iBT.

3. PTE Academic – Pearson Test of English Academic

The Pearson Test of English Academic (PTE Academic) is a computer-based English language proficiency test that assesses the speaking, listening, reading, and writing skills of non-native English speakers. PTE Academic scores are reported on a scale from 10 to 90, with 10 representing minimal proficiency and 90 indicating a high level of English proficiency.

The two-hour test has three parts: Speaking & Writing, Reading, and Listening. These components are assessed through 20 different types of questions, from quick multiple-choice options to writing essays.

Along with IELTS and TOEFL, this is another test accepted by most of the top universities in Norway. The University of Oslo and the Norwegian University of Science And Technology accept PTE scores, with both asking for a minimum score of 51.


From IELTS and TOEFL to PTE Academic and the Norwegian Language Test, these assessments are your gateway to world-class education and diverse cultures. By understanding the requirements and preparing diligently, you can expand your horizons in a country known for its stunning landscapes, innovative research, and warm hospitality.


We hope that this article on language tests needed in Norway was informative. You can also find more information on different Norwegian universities, study programs, and scholarship opportunities on the Study in Norway and Available Programs in Europe pages!

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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