Back to: IELTS Basics
Meaning of Band Scores:
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 (Nonuser) in English whereas band score 9 represents the maximum proficiency (Expert User) in English.
The test score for each module is published and the average of all these four test results is 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.
Description of Band Scores:
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 understands 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
Calculation of Band Scores:
The band scores for each section of the IELTS test are calculated separately, and then an overall band score is calculated as an average of the scores for each section.
For example, if a candidate scores 7.5 in listening, 8.0 in reading, 7.0 in writing, and 7.5 in speaking, the overall band score would be calculated as follows:
(7.5 + 8.0 + 7.0 + 7.5) / 4 = 7.5
So, in this example, the candidate’s overall band score would be 7.5.
Listening Test Score Calculation:
For the Listening module of the IELTS test, 40 questions are given. The examinee receives 1 point for each correct answer to the questions. The test score for the Listening part of the IELTS is calculated by counting the number of correct answers and the format given below is as followed:
|No. of Correct Answers||Band Score|
The chart shows that a raw score of 39-40 results in a band score of 9, which is the highest possible score. As the raw score decreases, the band score also decreases. A raw score of 1 results in a band score of 1, which is the lowest possible score.
Reading Test Score Calculation:
For the Reading part of the IELTS test, 40 questions are given. The examinee receives 1 point for each correct answer to the questions. The test score for the Reading part of the IELTS is calculated by counting the number of correct answers and the format given below is as 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 the IELTS test is marked based on 4 criteria where each of which is equally important. These 4 criteria are:
- Task response
- Coherence and Cohesion
- Lexical resource
- Grammatical Range and Accuracy
The details of each criterion will be discussed in the Writing Tutorial.
Speaking Test Score Calculation:
The Speaking portion of the IELTS test is marked based on 4 criteria where each of which is equally important. These 4 criteria are as follows:
- Fluency and Coherence
- Lexical Resource
- Grammatical Range and Accuracy
The details of each criterion will be discussed in the Speaking Tutorial.