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IELTS scoring in detail

The IELTS Academic and General Training test results are reported using the same nine-band scale

The Test Report Form provides your Overall Band Score and band scores for each of the four components: Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking.

Overall Band Score

The Overall Band Score is the average of the four component scores, rounded to the nearest whole or half band. The component scores are weighted equally.

Some examples:

  Listening Reading Writing Speaking Average of four components
(total of the four individual
component scores
divided by four) 
Band score
Test taker A 6.5 6.5 5 7 6.25 6.5
Test taker B 4.0 3.5 4.0 4.0 3.875 4.0
Test taker C 6.5 6.5 5.5 6.0 6.125 6.0

If the average of the four components ends in .25, the Overall Band Score is rounded up to the next half band, and if it ends in .75, the Overall Band Score is rounded up to the next whole band.

Component Band Scores

Listening

The IELTS Listening test contains 40 questions. Each correct answer is awarded one mark. Scores out of 40 are converted to the IELTS nine-band scale. Scores are reported in whole and half bands.

Reading

The IELTS Reading test contains 40 questions. Each correct answer is awarded one mark. Scores out of 40 are converted to the IELTS nine-band scale. Scores are reported in whole and half bands.

The Academic and General Training Reading tests are graded on the same scale. The distinction between the two tests is one of genre or text type. However, Academic Reading tests may contain texts which feature more difficult vocabulary or greater complexity of style. It is usual that a greater number of questions must be answered correctly on a General Training Reading test to secure a given band score.

The tables below indicate the average number of marks required to achieve a particular band score in Listening, Academic Reading and General Training Reading.

Listening   Academic Reading     General Training Reading
Band score Raw score out of 40   Band score  Raw score out of 40    Band score  Raw score out of 40 
5 16    5  15    4  15
6 23    6  23    5  23
7 30    7  30    6  30
8 35    8  35    7  34

Writing

Examiners use assessment criteria to award a band score for each of the four criteria:

  • Task Achievement (for Task 1), Task Response (for Task 2)
  • Coherence and Cohesion
  • Lexical Resource
  • Grammatical Range and Accuracy
The criteria are weighted equally and the score on the task is the average.

Speaking

Examiners use assessment criteria to award a band score for each of the four criteria:
  • Fluency and Coherence
  • Lexical Resource
  • Grammatical Range and Accuracy
  • Pronunciation
The criteria are weighted equally and the Speaking band score is the average.

Versions of the assessment criteria for Writing and Speaking have been developed to help stakeholders better understand the level of performance required to secure a particular band score: