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How IELTS Exam is scored

How IELTS Exam is Scored and What It Means for Your Exam Preparation

IELTS is an English proficiency test used by universities and employers all over the world. It consists of four modules: Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening.

The IELTS exam can be taken in over 180 countries worldwide and it is recognized by 295 international institutions around the world. The IELTS exam is offered at over 1,000 locations worldwide and thousands of students have been successfully admitted to top universities on this basis.

-It is a skills-based test that measures an individual’s ability to communicate in English as a second language. The test also assesses general knowledge and academic skills needed for success in university studies at the tertiary level.

-IELTS has become an international standard recognized by 295 international institutions of world-class universities.

The IELTS exam dates can be confusing in different countries and different universities having different requirements. You should check your country’s own date. But for those in the United States the IELTS exam date is August to November. This date is the same for most universities. General Introduction to IELTS.

What Do You Need To Prepare For IELTS?

The IELTS is a well-known English language proficiency assessment that is used by educational institutions and employers around the world. It has four modules: reading, writing, listening and speaking. You can find out the IELTS score expected for your band: Band Score ESL/IELTS Band Score Speaking 4 60 Listening 3.5 53 Reading 4.5 56 Writing 4.0 59. There are three levels of band scores that enable employers and educational institutions to differentiate between individuals with different levels of English language skills.

This test is designed to assess the following:

– Your ability to understand English in written form.

– Your ability to use English in spoken form.

– Your ability to listen to spoken English.

– Your ability to read and understand texts in English.

What are the Components of IELTS?

The IELTS test is the most widely accepted English proficiency test in the world. It is jointly managed by British Council, IDP: IELTS Australia, and Cambridge English Language Assessment.

The IELTS test consists of four components: Reading, Writing, Speaking, and Listening. Each component is scored on a scale of 0-9. The total score ranges from 0-36 which is then converted to an IELTS band score.

How IELTS Exam is scored
How IELTS Exam is scored

What is the Band Scale?

The Band Scale is a tool for measuring the level of English language proficiency. This is important when determing how IELTS Exam is scored.

The Band Scale is a grading system that assigns a band score to each student based on their IELTS, TOEFL, or PTE Academic scores. The band scale can help educators to understand the level of English language skills of their students.

The Importance of Speaking in the IELTS Exams

The importance of speaking well in the IELTS exam is to communicate information effectively and efficiently: You should practice your speaking ability before you take the test. Preparation will help you to get the best score in both Speaking and Writing. It is important that you speak clearly and confidently when answering questions so that your examiner can understand what you are saying. It is recommended that people who have a hard time with their pronunciation or voice level practice reading out loud.

Section 1- Reading and Writing Score Breakdown Explained

The reading and writing component scores are broken down into 3 parts. The first part is reading comprehension, which is the number of questions a student answered correctly. The second part is the essay score, which is a combination of the essay length and the number of errors in it. Lastly, there’s the writing score, which is determined by how well students performed on their timed essays.

The reading and writing component scores are broken down into 3 parts: reading comprehension (questions answered correctly), essay score (composition + errors), and writing score (essay length + errors).

Section 2- Speaking Score Breakdown Explained

The Speaking component of the TOEFL test is designed to measure a test taker’s ability to use spoken English in an academic setting.

The TOEFL Speaking score is calculated by adding together the scores for each of the three sections of the Speaking test:

  • – The Integrated Language Skills section: The Integrated Language Skills section focuses on a person’s ability to use language skills in different situations. This section is scored on a scale from 0 to 3.
  • – The Presentation Skills section: The Presentation Skills section focuses on how well a person can organize and deliver information in English. This section is scored on a scale from 0 to 6.
  • – The Task Performance section: This section focuses on how well a person can answer questions about the information that has been presented in both written and spoken form, as well as how well they can complete tasks that are based on listening or reading texts

The total possible score for this component ranges from 0 (low) to 30 (high).

The IELTS Exam calculation

According to ielts.org, here are the various things you need to be aware of to enable you understand how IELTS is calculated.

Band scoreSkill levelDescription
9Expert userThe test taker has a fully operational command of the language. Their use of English is appropriate, accurate, and fluent and suggests that they have a complete understanding.
8Very good userThe test taker has a full command of the language with just occasional technical mistakes. In unfamiliar situations, they can sometimes misunderstand things. They understand complex reasoning well and have good argumentation skills
7Good userThe test taker’s language skills are generally on point, with the odd mistake or misunderstanding here and there. They’ve demonstrated an ability to handle complex sentence structures and understand detailed information.
6Competent userDespite some inaccuracies and misunderstandings, the test taker has a good command of vocabulary, as seen by their ability to use complicated words in familiar situations
5Modest userThe tester has a basic understanding of the language and is capable of understanding most situations, despite making several mistakes. As long as they’re in an area they’re familiar with, they should be able to handle basic communication.
4Limited userTest takers have a limited set of knowledge in the use of language since they often have problems comprehending and speaking confidently.
3Extremely limited userThe test taker has difficulty understanding the meaning of very simple or familiar phrases. There are a lot misunderstandings.
2Intermittent userThe examinee doesn’t have a strong command of spoken and written English
1Non-user.The test taker has very limited understanding of the language used.
0Did not attempt the testThe test taker did not answer the questions.
Table showing the band and skill level

How to calculate IELTS Band score

Each test has a score – Listening, Reading, Writing, and Speaking. These individual scores are then averaged and rounded to the nearest half band, to get an overall band score.

The overall band score is the average of the four sections scores, rounded to the nearest whole or half band. The sections scores are weighted equally.


 ListeningReading Writing SpeakingAverage of four components
(total of the four individual
component scores 
divided by four)  
Band score 
Test taker A
Test taker B4.
Test Taker C6.

If the average of the four sections ends in .25, the overall band score is then rounded up to the next half band, and if it ends in .75, the overall band score is also rounded up to the next whole band.

The IELTS listening test covers 40 questions. For each correct answer, you get one mark. Your final score is converted to the nine-band IELTS scale and reported in whole 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.

The table below indicates the number of marks needed to get a certain band score in Listening, Academic Reading and General Training Reading.

Band scoreRaw score out of 40
Academic Reading 
Band scoreRaw score out of 40
General Training Reading 
Band scoreRaw score out of 40
  • Writing

Examiners analyze students’ performances on the four assessment criteria and award a grade band for each of the following:

  • Task Achievement
  • Coherence and Cohesion
  • Lexical Resource
  • The grammar range and accuracy.

The standards are weighted equally and the final score is an average rating.


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

  • Fluency and Coherence
  • Lexical Resource
  • Grammatical Range and Accuracy
  • Pronunciation

The emphasis on Speaking is equal to that of Writing. The scores are then averaged out.

How IELTS Exam is scored
How IELTS Exam is scored

Do you need IELTS Scores Guide ?

The IELTS Scores Guide is a critically important document for people looking to stay on top of comparing their English ability with that of other people.

The IELTS Scores Guide is a document that is created by qualified and experienced experts in the field, and provides a detailed analysis of the latest IELTS test results from around the world, making it easy for

It provides a detailed breakdown of the scores and the cut-off points for each level of language proficiency, making it easy for test takers to see how they rank in comparison with other people taking the test. The IELTS Scores Guide also provides detailed information on what the different levels of proficiency mean, what skills each level encompasses, and how test takers can improve their language skills at each level.

IELTS is a tough test and if you are not confident of your English language skills, it will be very difficult. The IELTS Scores will help you put together a comprehensive study plan and identify the areas where you need to focus on improving your skills in order to do well in the exam. This prepares us for success at school, work, or even travelling abroad. So yes you need IELTS Scores Guide if you are not confident of your English language skill.

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