Table of Contents
- IELTS band score | An overview
- The IELTS exam
- IELTS band score | What is it?
- 9 (Skill Level – Expert)
- 8 (Skill Level – Very Good)
- 7 (Skill Level – Good) (This is a commonly-achieved IELTS band score)
- 6 (Skill Level – Competent)
- 5 (Skill Level – Modest)
- 4 (Skill Level – Limited)
- 3 (Skill Level – Extremely Limited)
- 2 (Skill Level – Intermittent)
- 1 (Skill Level – Non-User)
- 0 (Skill Level – Did Not Attempt)
- How is the overall IELTS band score calculated?
- How long is an IELTS band score valid?
- Key takeaways
IELTS band score | An overview
International English Language Testing System, or IELTS, is the world’s most recognized test for proficiency in the language. The scores are eligible for over 11,000 organizations across 140 countries. IELTS, therefore, is credible proof of English language skills. Several colleges, universities, migration bodies, and employers set their own specific IELTS band score requirements. Different universities may also require students to produce good GRE scores to fulfill the admission criteria.
The IELTS exam
The IELTS exam has 2 components which are –
It is designed for people who want to study in English-speaking environments, such as universities or colleges. The test measures understanding and using complex academic language and tasks. The Reading and Writing sections of the Academic IELTS are more academic in nature and include texts and tasks that reflect the types of materials encountered in academic environments.
General training, on the other hand, is designed for people who want to work, live, or study in an English-speaking country. The test measures the ability to use everyday language in social and workplace settings. The Reading and Writing sections are focused more on general topics and situations, such as newspaper articles, advertisements, and everyday conversations.
The IELTS exam tests the following language skills –
Given the thorough nature of the exam, the assessing process is stringent and strictly adheres to the specific criteria set by the examiners. The result of the exam conveys the exact grasp and language skills of the student or candidate.
Understanding the scoring process of the IELTS exam can help you be better prepared. The Test Report Form is made available to candidates 13 days after the exam and provides an overall band score and band scores for each skill section. Here is everything you need to know about the IELTS band score!
IELTS band score | What is it?
The IELTS band scores range between 0 and 9. Each band score corresponds to a certain level of competence in the English language. It is possible for a candidate to receive .5 scores as well.
Each aspirant receives a band score for each of the language skills. However, candidates also get an overall band score. The overall band score calculated is the average band score of all language skills. This average is calculated to the nearest .5 or whole band score.
Each band score conveys the following level of proficiency –
9 (Skill Level – Expert)
Description – The test taker has a fluent, accurate, and fully operational command of English. They display complete understanding.
8 (Skill Level – Very Good)
Description – Understanding the scoring of the IELTS exam can help you better prepare yourself for the test. Learn everything you need to know about the IELTS band score here! The test taker has a fully operational command of English. There are occasional inaccuracies and inappropriate use. Misunderstanding in unfamiliar situations is likely.
7 (Skill Level – Good) (This is a commonly-achieved IELTS band score)
Description – The test taker has operational command of English, with occasional misunderstandings and inappropriate usage. However, they are capable of handling complex language well.
6 (Skill Level – Competent)
Description – The test taker has effective command of English. They can understand and use the language in unfamiliar situations.
5 (Skill Level – Modest)
Description – The test taker has partial command of English. They are able to understand the overall meaning but are likely to make multiple mistakes. However, they can handle basic communication in their own field.
4 (Skill Level – Limited)
Description – The test taker has basic competence in the language and is limited to familiar situations. Frequent problems in expression and understanding. Inability to use complex language.
3 (Skill Level – Extremely Limited)
Description – The test taker understands the meaning and can convey messages only in familiar situations. There are frequent and regular breakdowns in communication.
2 (Skill Level – Intermittent)
Description – The test taker displays great difficulty in understanding written and spoken English.
1 (Skill Level – Non-User)
Description – The test taker does not have the ability to use the language.
0 (Skill Level – Did Not Attempt)
Description – The test taker did not answer any questions.
How is the overall IELTS band score calculated?
The overall IELTS band score is the average of the band score of each language skill section. This number is rounded to the nearest half or whole band. As an IELTS aspirant, it is important to know that each section has equal weightage.
To better help you understand how band scores are calculated, here is an example –
Test Taker 1
Listening – 4.0
Reading – 3.5
Writing – 4.0
Speaking – 4.0
Average of Component Scores – 3.875
Band Score – 4
Each band score is provided as a half or whole band and rounded to the nearest half or whole band score. For example, if the average of your 4 language skills scores is 6.25, the score will be 6.5 and this becomes the overall band score.
How long is an IELTS band score valid?
The validity period for the IELTS band score is usually set by the respective organization you are applying to. However, IELTS partners recommended a maximum validity period of 2 years.
This period is based on an interesting and well-documented phenomenon called ‘attrition’ or ‘second language loss’. Attrition is the decline of second-language skills that occurs when a learner uses the language to an insufficient degree.
- IELTS is one of the most popular exams across the world to test proficiency in the English language.
- Thousands of global organizations require IELTS scores for purposes such as migration, education, and professional opportunities.
- Understanding how the scoring happens in an IELTS exam will keep aspirants well-informed and prepared.
- IELTS candidates are provided band scores as a measure of their proficiency in the language.
- IELTS scores are usually valid for a maximum period of 2 years.
With the right preparation and guidance, you can improve your English language proficiency and IELTS band score. We are dedicated to helping students with their study abroad journey and preparation and can provide expert guidance and resources to help them succeed. In case of any queries, feel free to reach out to us! Good luck with your IELTS exam!
Q1. What are the criteria for the IELTS speaking test?
Answer – The IELTS speaking test has the following criteria – accuracy, grammatical range, pronunciation, lexical resource and fluency, and coherence.
Q2. Can I apply for a review of band scores if I am not satisfied with my results?
Answer – Yes, you can apply for a review of band scores (called ‘Enquiry on Results’) within six weeks from the test date.
Q3. How is the listening test marked?
Answer – The listening test comprises 40 questions that are related to audio clips. Test takers receive one mark for every correct answer, and the band score is calculated accordingly.
The IELTS exam is a crucial part of the study abroad journey for many students. It is important to understand the scoring system and the requirements of the test in order to achieve your desired band score.