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IELTS Band Scores

The table below rates each band score against an English skill level. To find out how your test is marked, view IELTS scoring and marking.

Band Score Skill Level Description
9 Expert user The test taker has fully operational command of the language. Their use of English is appropriate, accurate and fluent, and shows complete understanding.
8 Very good user The test taker has fully operational command of the language with only occasional unsystematic inaccuracies and inappropriate usage. They may misunderstand some things in unfamiliar situations. They handle complex and detailed argumentation well.
7 Good user The test taker has operational command of the language, though with occasional inaccuracies, inappropriate usage and misunderstandings in some situations. They generally handle complex language well and understand detailed reasoning.
6 Competent user The test taker has an effective command of the language despite some inaccuracies, inappropriate usage and misunderstandings. They can use and understand fairly complex language, particularly in familiar situations.
5 Modest user The test taker has a partial command of the language and copes with overall meaning in most situations, although they are likely to make many mistakes. They should be able to handle basic communication in their own field.
4 Limited user The test taker’s basic competence is limited to familiar situations. They frequently show problems in understanding and expression. They are not able to use complex language.
3 Extremely limited user The test taker conveys and understands only general meaning in very familiar situations. There are frequent breakdowns in communication.
2 Intermittent user The test taker has great difficulty understanding spoken and written English.
1 Non-user The test taker has no ability to use the language except a few isolated words.
0 Did not attempt the test The test taker did not answer the questions.


How is the overall band score calculated?

Your overall band score is the average score calculated from the result of all four IELTS test components. In other words, if you:

  • add your Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening scores together, then
  • divide that number by four, then
  • round up to the nearest 0.5 or whole number, you should then have*
  • your overall band score.

*If your overall score is an average of 6.25, your score will be increased to 6.5.

If your overall score is an average of 6.75, your score will be increased to 7.

If your overall score is 6.1, your score will go down to 6.

Your score is rounded up or down to the nearest 0.5 or whole score as shown above.

Here’s an example:

  • Reading 6.0 + Writing 6.5 + Speaking 6.5 + Listening 6.0 = 25
  • Divide 25 by 4 = 6.25
  • Round up to the nearest 0.5 or whole number
  • Overall band score = 6.5


IELTS Listening Scores

Band Score / 40
9 39-40
8.5 37-38
8 35-36
7.5 32-34
7 30-31
6.5 26-29
6 23-25
5.5 18-22
5 16-17
4.5 13-15
4 10-12
3.5 8-10
3 6-7

IELTS Reading Scores

 For the general reading test, and for the academic reading test, which is more difficult, both of which contain 40 questions, the approximate band scores can be calculated using this table.

Band Academic Score/40 General Score/40
9 39-40 40
8.5 37-38 39
8 35-36 37-38
7.5 33-34 36
7 30-32 34-35
6.5 27-29 32-33
6 23-26 30-31
5.5 19-22 27-29
5 15-18 23-26
4.5 13-14 19-22
4 10-12 15-18
3.5 8-9 12-14
3 6-7 9-11


IELTS Writing Scores

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

  • Task Achievement (for Task 1), Task Response (for Task 2)
  • Coherence and Cohesion
  • Lexical Resource
  • Grammatical Range and Accuracy

Read more about IELTS Writing Scores

IELTS Speaking Scores

If you’re serious about improving your IELTS Speaking score, you’ll want to match your speaking style to the four assessment criteria.

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