University courses in New Zealand are divided into 2 semesters or 3 trimesters depending on your university of choice. Studying abroad in New Zealand as an Undergraduate usually takes 3 years. International students studying Masters courses, can expect to study for approximately 12-18 months. 


New Zealand is a beautiful country, that boasts wide biological and geological diversity. With all of its 8 universities ranking at the impressive top 3% of universities worldwide, it is unsurprising that a whopping 53,775 international students flood to study here per year. As an international student in New Zealand, you can expect to achieve globally recognized qualifications surrounded by a friendly, culturally diverse and inclusive community. 

You may find yourself thinking, ‘New Zealand sounds like a great option! But how do I study abroad in New Zealand?’. We’ve got this covered for you. Our guide will provide you with everything that you need to know for the most successful university application as an international student. 


  • To enrol on a study abroad course, most New Zealand universities will require you to have completed upper secondary education. Most universities will generally accept an IB Diploma score of 24 or higher (or your countries equivalent).
  • Universities will vary, however, so ensure that you check your chosen university for their specific requirements. 
  • If you don’t qualify for university admission, do not worry! There are still options out there for you! 
  • If you did not meet the university grade requirements, you may still meet their entrance standards, so check with your university to see if you are still eligible! 
  • If you still don’t qualify for undergraduate study, you could consider studying a foundation course to allow you onto your university programme.


  • If you are not from an English speaking country, you may be required to take an English language proficiency exam. 
  • The most widely recognised and accepted language exams in New Zealand universities are the TOEFL and IELTs Exams. 
  • However, each university will also accept other forms of language exam. If you already have different language qualifications or prefer a different language exam, check your university website to see if they may accept them. 
  • To get into most universities, the standard IELTs language grade required is at least 6-6.5. 
  • The standard TOEFL iBT score required is at least 80-90.  
  • The minimum grade cut off for your language qualifications will vary depending on your chosen level of study and university course. Ensure that you check your university webpage to arrange any language exams before you start your university application. 
  • If you did not achieve the language requirements at your university, you can instead take an English pathway or foundation course in New Zealand.  
  • Most university courses will not require you to take aptitude tests. However, you will need to check your individual university website as there can be exceptions, especially for specific courses like Medicine. You may also choose to take one of these tests as they can boost your application and set you apart from other candidates. 
  • To study in New Zealand, you are not required to write a Statement of Purpose. 
  • However, a Statement of Purpose can make or break your application so it is highly recommended that you write one to make your application stand out. 
  • Most personal statements will be approximately 400-500 words long.
  • To write a successful personal statement, explain why you want to study your course in New Zealand. 
  • Show how your experiences make you right for the course, and how you have made an impact within the industry. Demonstrate your motivations and visions for the future and how the course will allow you to achieve them. 
  • To boost your application that next step further, get experience within the industry. 
  • You could do this by getting a local part-time job, doing internships, attending summer schools or by doing competitions in your subject area.  
  • You could even attend local and online public lectures to expand knowledge on your passions in Environmental Science. 


You are generally unlikely to be required to take aptitude tests to qualify for study in New Zealand. However, some universities may specify exceptions to this, so you must check your course information to make the necessary preparations. 

If you would like to take an aptitude test to support your application, the most commonly recognized test across universities is the GMAT exam. Below are some details of the GMAT Test.


  • Time Length – This test will take you approximately 3 hours and 20 minutes. 
  • Cost – The general international fee is £190 GBP.
  • Score Required – The standard score required across New Zealand universities is at least 550.


  • It takes approximately 3 months to prepare for the GMAT test and 20 days to get your results back. However, it is recommended that you arrange and begin preparing for your test at least 6 months before your application deadline. This will ensure that you have time to prepare for your test, for the test to be processed and then for you to re-sit your test should you need to. 
  • If you are beginning your studies in March, it is recommended that you register and begin preparation for this test in September. 
  • You can take the test online or at your local center, check the GMAT website to make arrangements https://www.mba.com/exams/gmat.
  • The GMAT exam consists of 4 sections – analytical writing, integrated reasoning, quantitative reasoning and verbal proficiency. 
  • For tips on how to prepare for the GMAT exam, follow the MBA website GMAT Preparation Best Practices | GMAT Exam | mba.com

You will be required by universities to take a language exam. Your university will accept a variety of language qualifications, so follow their guidance to decide which course is best for you. 

The most commonly accepted language exams are IELTs and TOEFL. These exams assess your English Listening, Reading and Writing skills. 


Time Length – The test will take you approximately 3 hours to complete. 

Cost – The general international cost of this test ranges from £105-£233 GBP. Fees vary depending on the country in which you take this exam. 

Score Required – The standard score required for university admission in New Zealand is 80-90.


Time Length – The exam will take approximately 4 hours to complete. 

Cost – The general price range of this test is £120-£169 GBP. Fees will vary depending on where you take the exam.

Score Required – The generally required score for admission is 6-6.5 (New Zealand).


  • The preparation time for these exams is approximately 2-3 months. However, it is recommended that you begin preparation 5-6 months prior to your university admission deadline so that you have time to re-sit the exam, should you need it. 
  • To prepare adequately, ensure that you do plenty of revision and practice mock exams.
  • Here are some revision tips:
    • Practice listening by watching videos and translating them. 
    • Read articles and books in English.
    • Read up on the rules of English grammar.
    • Practice your writing.
    • Take certified online courses to help you learn English.
    • Take advantage of free apps which can help you practice your language skills (such as Duolingo & Rosetta Stone).

We hope that this article helped you feel reassured in your decisions and plans to study in New Zealand. If you feel that New Zealand was not right for you, look out for our brilliant guidance and advice on your study abroad options in other countries!  

If you are considering studying abroad why don’t you discuss your prospects and opportunities with experts at Lurnable’s dedicated study abroad counselling division LurnPathways?

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