IELTS

How IELTS is marked

Go behind the scenes and find out how your IELTS test is marked and the process it goes through to ensure results are fair and accurate.

IELTS band scores are reported on a 9-band scale ranging from band 1 to band 9. Each part of the test is awarded a band score for performance. The Listening and Reading parts of the IELTS test are marked in a different way to the Speaking and Writing tests.

In the Listening and Reading test parts, each have 40 questions and each correct answer receives 1 mark. The total score out of 40 is converted to the IELTS 9-band scale.

IELTS Speaking are evaluated by certified IELTS examiners in a face-to-face interview using a set of assessment criteria to award band scores for each of the four criteria, fluency and coherence, lexical resource, grammatical range and accuracy and pronunciation.

IELTS Writing are evaluated in the same way with the examiner awarding band scores for each of the four criteria that best match the performance at each band level for Writing Task 1 and Writing Task 2.

Understanding the assessment criteria can help you prepare for your test and how to better approach each test section.

Band scores

Overall band scores

Band 0
Skill level

Did not attempt test

Description

Description No assessable information provided.

Band 1
Skill level

Non-user

Description

Essentially has no ability to use the language beyond possibly a few isolated words.

Band 2
Skill level

Intermittent user

Description

Intermittent user

Band 3
Skill level

Extremely limited user

Description

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Band 4
Skill level

Limited user

Description

Basic competence is limited to familiar situations. Has frequent problems in understanding and expression. Is not able to use complex language.

Band 5
Skill level

Modest user

Description

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 6
Skill level

Competent user

Description

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 7
Skill level

Good user

Description

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 8
Skill level

Very good user

Description

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 9
Skill level

Expert user

Description

Has fully operational command of the language: appropriate, accurate and fluent with complete understanding.

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