Band Score: Meaning, Description and Calculation

For IELTS, the test result is published as a band score between 1 and 9 to demonstrate the level of English of the examinee in the 4 modules which are Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking. Band score 1 defines the minimum proficiency (Non user) in English where as band score 9 represents the maximum proficiency (Expert User) in English.

Test score for each module is published and the average of all these four test results are calculated and published as the final band score. Test scores and the final Band score can be full or half like 5, 5.5, 7, 8.5, 9 etc. The score is rounded up or down to the nearest 0.5 to produce the half of full score.

The description and meaning of the band scores ranging from 1 to 9 are as follows:

  • Band score 9 = Expert User

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

  • Band score 8 = Very Good User

Has fully operational command of the language with only occasional unsystematic inaccuracies. Misunderstandings occur in unfamiliar situations. Handles complex detailed argumentation as well

  • Band score 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 score 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 score 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 score 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 score 3 = Extremely Limited User

Conveys and understand only general meaning in very familiar situations. Frequent breakdowns in communication occur.

  • Band score 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 in understanding spoken and written English.

  • Band score 1 = Non User

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

  • Band score 0 = Did not attempt the test

No assessable information provided

Listening Test Score Calculation:

For Listening module of IELTS test, 40 questions are given. The examinee receives 1 point for each correct answer of the questions. The test score for Listening part of the IELTS is calculated by counting the number of correct answers and the format given below is followed:

   No. of Correct Answers   Test Score
                 39 – 40          9
                 37 – 38         8.5
                 35 – 36          8
                 32 – 34         7.5
                 30 – 31          7
                 26 – 29         6.5
                 23 – 25          6
                 18 – 22         5.5
                 16 – 17          5
                 13 – 15         4.5
                 11 – 12          4
                   8 – 10         3.5
                   6 – 7          3
                   4 – 5         2.5

Reading Test Score Calculation:

For Reading part of IELTS test, 40 questions are given. The examinee receives 1 point for each correct answer of the questions. The test score for Reading part of the IELTS is calculated by counting the number of correct answers and the format given below is followed:

   No. of Correct Answers   Test Score
                 39 – 40          9
                 37 – 38         8.5
                 35 – 36          8
                 33 – 34         7.5
                 30 – 32          7
                 27 – 29         6.5
                 23 – 26          6
                 19 – 22         5.5
                 15 – 18          5
                 13 – 14         4.5
                 10 – 12          4
                    8 – 9         3.5
                    6 – 7          3
                    4 – 5         2.5

Writing Test Score Calculation:

The Writing task of IELTS test is marked based on 4 criteria where each of them is equally important. These 4 criteria are:

  • Task response
  • Coherence and Cohesion
  • Lexical resource
  • Grammatical Range and Accuracy

The details of the each criterion will be discussed in the Writing Tutorial.

Speaking Test Score Calculation:

The Speaking portion of IELTS test is marked based on 4 criteria where each of them is equally important. These 4 criteria are as follows:

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

The details of the each criterion will be discussed in the Speaking Tutorial.

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