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How are your band scores calculated for each skill, as well as your Overall Score? The process of marking and scoring your IELTS exam can seem complicated and confusing. In this guide I will explain everything you need to know about the following:

  • Overall Band Score

  • Listening and Reading Scores

  • Speaking Scores

  • Writing Scores

If you need some writing feedback from a former examiner about your strengths and weaknesses, as well as your current band scores, check out IELTS Writing Band Score and Correction Service.

An example IELTS Certificate (or IELTS Test Report Form), with band scores for four skills and an Overall Band Score.

Overall Band Score

Students get a whole or half band score (0-9) for each of the four skills (Listening, Reading, Writing, Speaking).

The average of these four scores is calculated by adding them together and dividing by 4. This figure is then rounded up or down to the nearest whole or half band score to produce an ‘Overall Band Score’.

 

       Listening  

       Reading  

       Writing  

       Speaking  

Average (of 4 Skills)

Overall Band score

  Donald   

6.5

6.5

5

7

6.25

6.5

   Kanye   

4.0

3.5

4.0

4.0

3.875

4.0

   Taylor   

6.5

6.5

5.5

6.0

6.125

6.0

Listening and Reading Scores

In the IELTS Listening and Reading exams, a member of the British Council or IDP exams team will mark your answers to the 40 questions for each test, using an answer key from Cambridge.

Each correct answer scores one point and the the total (raw) score out of 40 is calculated for both the Reading and Listening tests. These raw scores for each skill are then converted into a whole or half band score (0-9). 

Below is a guide to how many points you need to achieve a particular band score, but this will change depending on the difficulty of the test. For example, if you have a difficult listening test, the score needed for band 6 might be 21 or 22. If the listening test is easier, you might need to score 24 or 25 to get the same band score.

As you can see from the table below, a higher raw score may be needed in General Training to get the same band score compared to Academic reading. This is because Academic reading texts often contains more difficult vocabulary or more complex styles of writing.

IELTS Listening

IELTS Reading (Academic)

IELTS Reading (General Training)

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

Speaking Scores

An IELTS examiner at British Council or IDP will assess your speaking overall for the three parts of the speaking test. Parts 1, 2 and 3 are equally important but they do not give separate scores for each part.

Overall, your speaking will get a whole band score (0-9) for each of the four criteria:

– Fluency and Coherence (F) – Ability to keep going and structure 

– Lexical Resource (LR) – Vocabulary 

– Grammatical Range and Accuracy (GR) – Grammar 

– Pronunciation (P) – Correct sounds, word and sentence stress, intonation and rhythm.

You can find more information about the band descriptors for IELTS Speaking here:

The exams office at BC or IDP will calculate an average score, and this figure will be rounded down to the nearest half or whole band score (see the table below).

     F       

     LR    

    GR     

     P      

Average Score

Final Result

          Speaking             

5

7

7

6

6.25

6*

*rounded down to the nearest half or whole band score.

Writing Scores

Task 1 and Task 2 writing will be marked separately by two different IELTS examiners.

For each task, your writing will get a whole band score (0-9) for each of the following four criteria:

– Task Achievement (TA) – Opinion and Ideas

 – Coherence and Cohesion (CC) – Organisation and Linking

– Lexical Resource (LR) – Vocabulary and Spelling

– Grammatical Range and Accuracy (GR) – Grammar and Punctuation

You can find more information about the band descriptors for IELTS Writing here:

Task 1 Band Descriptors

Task 2 Band Descriptors

The exams office at BC or IDP will calculate an average score for each Task, and a combined score (Task 2 = 66%, Task 1 = 33%). The final figure is rounded down to the nearest half or whole band score.

It is very important to remember that Task 2 is worth twice as much as Task 1 (Task 2 = 66%, Task 1 = 33%).

TA

CC

LR

GR

Average Scores

Final result

Writing Task 1

5

7

7

6

6.25

Writing Task 2

6

6

6

5

5.75

Combined Writing Score (Task 1 = 33%, Task 2 = 66%).

5.91

5.5*

*rounded down to the nearest half or whole band score

Now it’s Your Turn! Comment below!

Still confused? Do you have any questions for us? We’re always happy to help.

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