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What’s the difference between IELTS and PMP?

If you’re an International Student hoping to study a postgraduate degree in the UK, you might be a bit overwhelmed by the choice of English courses available to help you get your place. Most UK universities will require you to have an IELTS qualification in order to study with them, but did you know you could also take specialised pre-university courses to guarantee your place? Read on to find out more about the difference between IELTS and our Pre-Master’s Programme (PMP). 

What’s the difference between IELTS and PMP? 

The Pre-Master’s Programme prepares you for Master‘s programmes specifically and grants you guaranteed progression to one of our university partners. The BSC Pre-Master's Programme is offered by NCUK a global provider of university pathway programmes. It is a specialist programme designed to prepare international students for postgraduate study in the UK. 

IELTS, on the other hand, is one of the world’s most popular English proficiency exams and is taken by millions of students each year in order to prove their English level for work, migration or study. The exam allows you to demonstrate your general knowledge of English and your ability to study a university course in the UK. 

What will I study on the two courses? 

On the Pre- Master’s course you’ll focus on the following topics: 

  • The development of research skills and methods.
  • Orientation to Western Study 
  • The development of proficiency in the use of English for Academic Purposes (EAP) 
  • The promotion of independent learning skills

On an IELTS preparation course, you’ll cover: 

  • Speaking 
  • Writing 
  • Listening 
  • Language focus 

What’s the benefit of taking a Pre-Master’s course compared to an IELTS course? 

On successful completion of the PMP, students are guaranteed a place on a postgraduate degree at an NCUK university partner in subject areas such as Art, Life Sciences, Engineering, Marketing, Business and Finance. Our English for Academic Purposes module serves as an alternative English exam to IELTS which is recognised by the universities. Students who take on the skills taught in the PMP programme are more likely to complete their postgraduate degree within the expected timeframe. 

Whereas, after completing the IELTS exam, you will have an English qualification which is recognised by all UK universities at both undergraduate and postgraduate level. This is a standalone exam preparation course meaning that admissions support is not provided and you will, therefore, apply to universities with your IELTS certificate independently. 


The BSC Pre-Master's Programme is a 9-week online course to help you gain the skills you need to succeed on your Master's Programme. Want to find out more? See our Pre-Master's Programme course information or contact us.

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We can help you find the preparation course to suit your needs. Contact us to find out more.