You will be given a score from 1 to 9 for each part of the test – Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking. The average produces your overall band score. You can score whole (e.g., 5.0, 6.0, 7.0) or half (e.g., 5.5., 6.5, 7.5) bands in each part of the test.
IELTS 9-band Scale
|Band Score||Skill Level||Description|
|Band 9||Expert User||Has fully operational command of the language: appropriate, accurate and fluent with complete understanding.|
|Band 8||Very Good User||Has fully operational command of the language with only occasional unsystematic inaccuracies and inappropriacies. Misunderstandings may occur in unfamiliar situations. Handles complex detailed argumentation well.|
|Band 7||Good User||Has operational command of the language, though with occasional inaccuracies, inappropriacies and misunderstandings in some situations. Generally handles complex language well and understands detailed reasoning.|
|Band 6||Competent User||Has generally effective command of the language despite some inaccuracies, inappropriacies and misunderstandings. Can use and understand fairly complex language, particularly in familiar situations.|
|Band 5||Modest User||Has partial command of the language, coping with overall meaning in most situations, though is likely to make many mistakes. Should be able to handle basic communication in own field.|
|Band 4||Limited User||Basic competence is limited to familiar situations. Has frequent problems in understanding and expression. Is not able to use complex language.|
|Band 3||Extremely Limited User||Conveys and understands only general meaning in very familiar situations. Frequent breakdowns in communication occur.|
|Band 2||Intermittent User||No real communication is possible except for the most basic information using isolated words or short formulae in familiar situations and to meet immediate needs. Has great difficulty understanding spoken and written English.|
|Band 1||Non-User||Essentially has no ability to use the language beyond possibly a few isolated words.|
|Band 0||Did not attempt the test||No assessable information provided.|
How your overall band score is calculated
The Academic and General Training papers are graded to the same scale.
Your overall band score is calculated by taking the mean score of the four test components (Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking). The score for each component is equally weighted. Your overall band score is rounded to the nearest whole or half band.
If you achieve 6.5 for Listening, 6.5 for Reading, 5.0 for Writing and 7.0 for Speaking, you will be awarded an Overall Band Score of 6.5.
Total score of 25 ÷ 4 = 6.25 which is a band score of 6.5.
If you achieve 4.0 for Listening, 3.5 for Reading, 4.0 for Writing and 4.0 for Speaking, you would be awarded an Overall Band Score of 4.0.
Total score of 15.5 ÷ 4 = 3.875 which is a band score of 4.0.
Listening and Reading scores
IELTS Listening and Reading components each contain 40 questions. Each correct item is awarded one mark, therefore the maximum raw score you can achieve for each component is 40. Band scores ranging from Band 1 to Band 9 are awarded to candidates on the basis of their raw scores.
Note: In order to equate different test versions, the band score boundaries are set so that all candidates’ results relate to the same scale of achievement. This means, for example, that the Band 6 boundary may be set at a slightly different raw score across versions.
Writing and Speaking scores
When marking the Writing and Speaking components of the test, examiners use detailed assessment criteria which describe written and spoken performance at each of the 9 IELTS bands.
Writing: Examiners award a band score for each of four criterion areas: Task Achievement (for Task 1), Task Response (for Task 2), Coherence and Cohesion, Lexical Resource and Grammatical Range and Accuracy. The four criteria are equally weighted.
Speaking: Examiners award a band score for each of four criterion areas: Fluency and Coherence, Lexical Resource, Grammatical Range and Accuracy and Pronunciation. The four criteria are equally weighted.
Why is my IELTS result valid for only two years?
The IELTS partners recommend that a Test Report Form which is more than two years old should only be accepted if it is accompanied by proof that you have actively maintained or tried to improve your English.