IELTS Band Score

IELTS Band Score

IELTS is the English language proficiency test, used to evaluate your proficiency in the language. The four (4) basic linguistic skills, namely listening, speaking, writing and reading are assessed in this test. The test is conducted by the British Council, IDP, and Cambridge to assess the language competency of non-native speakers. The test is in two formats: IELTS academic and general. The IELTS band score is graded between 0-9 as per skills. 

The IELTS band score is one of the essential criteria required to achieve your abroad education dream in the US, UK, Canada, etc. This IELTS score validity is 2 years. Thus, a clear understanding of the overall IELTS band score and how it is calculated is required. In this article, we will guide you through the overall score calculation, the IELTS band score chart, and the individual section scores. 

Table of Content 

How the IELTS band scores are calculated?

The IELTS band scores are calculated by taking the average of all 4 individual section scores. The overall IELTS band score is graded between 0-9 in the increment of 0.5 on a 9-band scale. Thus your overall score can be a 5 or 6.5 based on the average score. The average result is rounded to the nearest whole or half-band value in the IELTS band score calculator. Thus your IELTS score depends on your listening, reading, writing, and speaking scores. 

In the IELTS exam, there are no qualifying marks, but the marks obtained are to precisely assess your English language skill. The score obtained will demonstrate your English proficiency. This score is vital because it is used for obtaining the Canada PR and immigration visa. 

Know more about the IELTS score requirements for Canada student visa.

The overall IELTS band score = (listening band score + reading band score + speaking band score + writing band score) / 4

The following IELTS band score chart will illustrate how the IELTS score is calculated. 

how the ielts band score are calculated

From the above illustration, you can see there will be 4 ways to round off the average score. 

  • It can be seen that the average value is rounded off up or down, and remains the same based on the decimal value obtained. If your average sum is 6 or 6.5 your overall score will remain the same. 
  • When the average value has a decimal value ending with .25 or .75 it will be rounded off to the nearest higher value. For example, if you have a score of 7.25, your score will be 7.5 and if your score is 6.75 then your overall IELTS score will be 7. 
  • If the average value is having a decimal value below the midpoint, then it will be rounded off to the lowest band score. For example, if your score is 4.625, it is rounded off to 4.5, and if it is 5.175 it will be rounded as 5.
  • If the average score is having a decimal point, above the midpoint, it will be rounded off to the higher band score. For example, if your average value is 7.825, your final score will be 8 and if it is 7.356 band score will be 7.5. 

In the IELTS band score, the value of 0.5 is vital. Thus while filling out your application form, be cautious to fill in the original score as given in the TRF. The score obtained is valid for 2 years. If you wish to improve your IELTS score, you can retake the IELTS exam again.

IELTS band score chart

The IELTS band score descriptors are used to measure your English competency level to provide the score. IELTS score is considered by immigration offices and universities across the globe because of its accurate assessment level. The IELTS band score chart is given below for your reference. 

ielts band score chart

IELTS scoring in detail - Section Band score

As you are aware that the IELTS test evaluates your ability to listen, speak, write and read the language, these four skill sets will be the 4 sections of the exam. Since the IELTS score, scoring pattern, and marking criteria for each section differ, we will see how each section is being assessed and scored. 

Listening band score

The IELTS listening section is used to evaluate how well you can listen and understand the conversation of native language speakers. Here the listening band score will be given based on the number of correct answers. Each correct answer will gain you 1 mark and the total raw score will be 40. The listening band score will be graded between 0-9 based on the raw score obtained out of 40. 

This section will be conducted for 30 minutes, during which you will be listening to the recording of 4, different conversations and monologues in social and academic contexts. Using the audio, you will be answering the given questions. The below-given table will show you the obtained raw score and the corresponding IELTS listening band score. 

ielts listening band score

From the table it can be seen that, for a score of 38 out of 40, your listening band score would be 8.5, and for a raw score of 31, your band score will be 7 and so on. Thus you must pay keen attention to the audio played and try answering the questions correctly within the time limit. 

IELTS Reading band score

The IELTS reading test is conducted to evaluate your skills like reading, understanding, and response to the situation. The reading test will be different for the IELTS AC test and the IELTS GT test. Thus the IELTS reading band scores are also calculated differently. 

In the reading test, you will be reading the given passages and responding to the corresponding questions. You will have 40 questions to answer in 60 minutes. Each question carries 1 mark and there is no negative marking. Thus your IELTS reading band score will be calculated based on the number of correct answers provided. 

Check out this IELTS reading band score to know more about the evaluation of the reading section. 

IELTS academic reading band score

The IELTS Academic test is taken by aspirants seeking admission to universities abroad. You will be given 3 passages taken from the articles and publishings from an academic background. The academic test is considered to be hard as the language used will be at a scholarly level. You will be given 40 questions and each question carries one mark. The IELTS academic reading band score will depend on the raw score obtained. 

The IELTS academic reading band score chart is given below for your reference. 

ielts academic reading band score

IELTS general reading band score

The IELTS general test is taken by individuals who are travelling abroad for a job or for migrating reasons. The GT test is considered easy as the passages will be related to the social life, work life, and personal life of the individual in an English-speaking country. You will be given 3 reading passages, and 40 questions to be answered in 60 minutes. The IELTS general reading band score will be given in accordance with the number of correct answers given. 

The IELTS general reading band score chart is given below for your reference. 

ielts general reading band score

Writing band score and assessment criteria

The IELTS writing test is used to assess your language competency in writing. Here you will be asked to write 150 words and 250 words essays. Task 2 essay is similar to the general and academic tests. Task 1 is different for academic and general tests. In the academic test, you will be reporting about the visual representation in a 150 words essay. In the general test, you will be writing a letter explaining the given situation. 

The IELTS writing band score is calculated based on the 4 marking criteria. They are 

  • Task achievement in Task 1 and Task response in task 2
  • Grammar range and accuracy
  • Lexical resources
  • Coherence and Cohesion

writing band score and assessment criteria

The writing band score along with the IELTS writing band descriptors are given below for your reference. 

Band Score Task response Task Achievement Coherence and cohesion Lexical Resources

Grammatical range and accuracy

  • Fully addresses all aspects of the task
  • Fully addresses all aspects of the task
  • Does not attend the test
  • Does not attempt the task in any manner
  • Writes a completely memorized response
  • Uses cohesion in a way that it attracts no attention
  • Manages paraphrasing skilfully
  • A wide range of vocabulary is used with a very natural and sophisticated control over lexical features and rare minor errors happen only as ‘slips’


  • Wide range of structures are used in full flexibility and accuracy and rare minor errors occur only as ‘slips’. 
  • Adequately addressed all parts of the task
  • Have to present a well-constructed response to the question with relevant, extended, and supported ideas.
  • Need to cover all the requirements of the task adequately
  • Have to present, highlight and illustrate the key features or bullet points in a clear and appropriate manner
  • Information and ideas are sequenced logically
  • All aspects of cohesion are managed well
  • Uses paragraphing adequately and appropriately
  • Uses a wide range of vocabulary in a fluent and flexible manner to communicate precise meanings
  • Uses uncommon lexical items skilfully and there may be inaccuracy in word choice and collocation occasionally
  • Rare errors in spelling and/or word formation


  • Wide range of grammatical structures are used

  • Most of the sentences are error-free

  • Made just a few occasional errors or inappropriate


  • All parts of the task have to be addressed
  • Need to present a clear position throughout the response
  • Main ideas are presented, extended, and supported but overgeneralized or supporting ideas could lack the focus
  • Needs to achieve the requirements of the task 
    Academic - have to present a clear overview of main trends, differences or stages
    General training - A purpose is supposed to be clearly presented and the tone should be consistent and appropriate
  • Organises information and ideas in a logical manner and clear progression throughout the response
  • Employs a range of cohesive devices appropriately but there may be some under or overuse
  • Needs to present a clear central topic within each paragraph
  • Uses an adequate range of vocabulary in order to allow some flexibility and precision. 
  • Less common lexical items are used with some awareness of style and collocation.
  • Might produce occasional errors in word choice, spelling, and/ or word formation
  • A variety of complex structures are used
  • Frequent error-free sentences
  • Good control over grammar and punctuation but may make some errors
  • All parts of the task might be addressed but some parts might be covered more fully than others
  • Though the conclusions are unclear and repetitive, a relevant position is presented
  • Presented relevant main ideas but some ideas might be insufficiently developed/ unclear
  • Need to address the task requirement IELTS band scores
  • Academic - an overview supposed to be present with information appropriately selected
  • General training - presented purpose is generally clear and there might be inconsistencies in tone
  • Presented and highlighted key features/ bullet points but details might be irrelevant, inappropriate and inaccurate
  • Information and ideas are arranged in a coherent manner and there is a clear overall progression
  • Could have used cohesive devices effectively but cohesion within sentences might be faulty or mechanical
  • Referencing not always used clearly or appropriately
  • Paragraphing is used; but not always logically


  • Adequate range of vocabulary is used in the task. 
  • Attempted to use less common vocabulary but with some inaccuracy
  • Made some errors in spelling and/ or word formation, but they do not obstruct communication


  • Mix of simple and complex forms are used
  • Made some errors in grammar and punctuation but they barely reduced communication


  • Only partially addressed the task; the format might be not suitable in places
  • Position is expressed but the development is not always clear and there might be no conclusions were drawn
  • Some of the presented ideas are limited and inadequately developed and there could be irrelevant detail
  • Addressed the task generally but the format might be inappropriate in places
  • Academic - Mechanically reproduced the detail with no clear overview; there might be no data to support the description
  • General training - letter’s purpose is unclear at times; the tone might be variable and sometimes inappropriate
  • Presented, but key features and bullet points are insufficiently covered; there might be a tendency to focus on details
  • Information with some organization could be presented but there may be an overall lack of progression 
  • Cohesive devices - inadequate, inaccurate or overused
  • Might be repetitive because of a lack of referencing and substitution
  • Might not write in paragraphs or inadequate paragraphing
  • Limited range of vocabulary is used, but this is minimally sufficient for the task
  • Noticeable errors in spelling and/or word formation which may cause some difficulty for the reader


  • Limited range of structures are only used
  • Complex sentences are attempted but those all tend to be less accurate than simple sentences
  • Frequent grammatical errors and faulty punctuation; errors could some difficulty for the reader
  • Responding to the task minimally or the answer is erratic; the format might be inappropriate
  • Position is presented but it is unclear
  • Some main ideas are presented but those are hard to identify and might be repetitive, irrelevant, and not well supported
  • Task is addressed but it did not cover all the key features and bullet points; the format might be inappropriate
  • General training - failed to clearly explain the purpose of the letter; the tone might be inappropriate
  • Might confuse key features or bullet points with details; parts might be unclear, irrelevant, repetitive, or inaccurate
  • Information and ideas are presented but not arranged coherently and there is no clear progression in the essay
  • Basic cohesive devices could be used but those might be inaccurate or repetitive
  • Might not write in paragraphs or their use of paragraphs might be confusing
  • Only basic vocabulary is used that might be used repetitively and inappropriate for the task.
  • Limited control of word formation and/ or spelling; errors might cause strain for the reader
  • Very few limited range of structures; rare use of subordinate clauses
  • Several structures are accurate but predominated errors and faulty punctuation


  • Does not sufficiently address all parts of the task. 
  • Clear position is not expressed
  • Few ideas are presented but those are largely undeveloped and irrelevant
  • Ideas are not organized logically
  • Might use a very minimal range of cohesive devices and those are not denoted a logical relationship between ideas
  • Ideas are not organized logically
  • Might use a very minimal range of cohesive devices and those are not denoted a logical relationship between ideas


  • Limited range of words and expressions with limited control over word formation and/or spelling
  • Errors might severely distort the message


  • Sentence forms are attempted but have grammatical and punctuation errors which distort the meaning


  • Hardly responds to the task
  • Does not express a position
  • Attempted to present one or two ideas but there is no development
  • Control over organizational features could be little
  • Control over organizational features could be little
  • Extremely limited range of vocabulary; no control of word formation and/or spelling


  • Absence of sentence forms except in memorized phrases


  • The answer is entirely unrelated to the task
  • Not able to communicate any message


  • Not able to communicate any message


  • Few isolated words are only used


  • No sentence forms are used


  • Does not attend the test
  • Does not attempt the task in any manner
  • Writes a completely memorized response

IELTS speaking band score and assessment criteria


The IELTS speaking test is used to check your command over the language. The test consists of 3 parts. In part 1, you will introduce yourself, in part 2 you will be given a speaking cue card and asked to talk about the topic. Part 3 will be a follow us discussion session, where you will be discussing the cue card answer. The IELTS speaking band score will be calculated based on your performance in all the 3 parts. 

The IELTS speaking band score is calculated based on the 4 speaking assessment criteria. They are

  • Fluency and coherence
  • Lexical resources
  • Grammatical range and accuracy
  • Pronunciation 

ielts speaking band score

The speaking band score chart is shared for your reference. 

Band score Fluency and coherence Lexical resources Grammatical range and accuracy Pronunciation
  • Can speak fluently without errors
  • Speaks coherently related to the topic
  • Has only content-related hesitations
  • Flexible and strong use of vocabulary
  • Can use idioms on the flow


  • Full range of error-free sentence structures is used and 
  • Can understand effortlessly
  • Full range of pronunciation range usage
  • Occasionally errors occur and self corrects
  • Can develop appropriate topic
  • Hesitates related to the use of words


  • Can convey the meaning flexibly with wide vocabulary usage
  • Ability to paraphrase as per the needs
  • Able to use idioms and common vocabulary in speech


  • Majority of their sentences are error-free
  • At times, inappropriate sentence errors may occur
  • Occasional lapses with sufficient pronunciation features. 
  • Can easily understand with minimal effort 


  • Can speak in a go about the topic
  • Connectivities and discourses markers are flexibly used
  • Has language-related hesitations
  • Able to discuss a variety of topics with strong vocabulary 
  • Able to paraphrase
  • Has minor errors but the choice of words is good
  • Range of complex structures is used
  • Error-free sentences are spoken with rare grammatical errors
  • Has control over the pronunciation  with minimal errors
  • Can give a long speech about any topic but may lode coherence
  • Connectivities and discourse markers are used with few minor errors
  • Good paraphrasing skills
  • Ability to talk on long topics with common word usage but with some inappropriate word usage.
  • Uses both simple and complex sentence structure
  • The complex sentences are having frequent errors 
  • Mixed control over the pronunciation feature is exhibited.
  • Can be generally understood but frequent mispronunciations are present
  • The flow of speech is maintained but repeats the words to maintain the flow
  • Over usage of connectivities and discourse markers.
  • Able to give a simple speech but complex speeches may be an issue
  • Can talk about a familiar and unfamiliar topics
  • Has limited vocabulary usage flexibility
  • Can paraphrase but with mixed success
  • Has accurate simple sentence formation 
  • Limited range of complex sentence usage.
  • Contains few sentence errors and comprehension errors. 
  • Limited control over the range of pronunciation features
  • Takes noticeable pauses and is slow in responding.
  • Frequent repetition of words and slow speech 
  • Breaks the coherence and links the simple sentences to make them complex.
  • Unfamiliar topics can convey only the basic meaning.
  • Frequent errors in the choice of words
    Paraphrasing is rare
  • Ability to form basic sentences and simple sentence structures. 
  • Concept misunderstanding due to frequent errors 
  • Limited range of pronunciation features with frequent lapses
  • Listeners find it difficult to understand due to incorrect pronunciation. 


  • Long breaks are taken
  • Noticeable repetition and loss of coherence
  • Not able to convey the basic message and replies only with a simple sentence
  • Simple vocabulary usage and can convey only personal details
  • Insufficient words for unfamiliar topics
  • Relies on memorized sentences
  • Has frequent errors but is able to create a sentence



  • Has features that are better than band 2 but less than band 4
  • Takes a break before every word
  • Only less communication is present 
  • Uses isolated or memorized words in the speech.
  • Not able to produce even the basic sentence


Unintelligible speech 
  • No communication is possible 

Learn more about the IELTS score required for Canada PR


Achieving a good IELTS band score is important to secure admission to the top universities of the globe. As the overall score is calculated based on the individual section, pay equal attention to crack the sections successfully. 

FAQs on IELTS band score

1. What's the passing score for IELTS?

IELTS doesn’t follow the concept of passing or failing. If the band is zero, it indicates you didn't attempt the test. Any band above zero indicates your level of proficiency in English. Band 9 means a high level of proficiency, whereas band 6 means an average proficiency. 

2. How are scores calculated in IELTS? 

Individual scores of all 4 modules are first compared against bands [zero to nine]. Then the bands for each module are added up and divided by 4. The obtained average score is your IELTS band, ranging anywhere between 0 and 9. 

3. What’s the validity of your IELTS score?

The validity of the IELTS test report is 2 years. This means that you can apply for your studies abroad within those 2 years. If the score expires, you’ll have to retake the exam. 

4. Does reapplying for IELTS increase marks?

No. Reapplying for IELTS does not always increase marks. There’s no rule that reapplying for IELTS will always lead to an increase in marks. It may or may not. The score improvement depends only on your performance. 

5. Can I combine 2 IELTS results?

No, that’s not possible. You are allowed to choose the highest or any one test report that you wish to use. It’s always better to go with the highest band since that can fetch you other opportunities. 

6. Is band 6 good for Canada PR?

Yes. IELTS band 6 can get you into many good colleges in Canada. It’s also useful for migration visas. But if you are looking for a master, you may need to score a little more than just 6 in IELTS.

7. Is 1 month enough to prepare for IELTS?

IELTS preparation time varies based on the test-taker and how much time the person has in hand. Some people find it easier to prepare within a month, whereas some couldn’t complete the syllabus after 2 months. 

8. Can I prepare at home for IELTS in 1 month?

Yes. You can prepare for IELTS at home for one month. Self-studying is a good idea, but not for those who don’t know what IELTS is all about. If you are struggling to understand the question patterns in IELTS, then you must go with coaching. A professional IELTS trainer will prepare you within a month. 

9. How to score band 7.5, 8 or 9 in IELTS?

To get a good band score of 7 and above, you must understand how the entire exam is marked. If you follow a strategy, then it shouldn't be difficult to get a band score of 7.5, 8 or 9 in IELTS. 

10. What is the IELTS life skills test?

IELTS life skills tests are used to assess only the speaking and listening skills of the test-taker. It’s used for certain visa types to move to the UK. 

11. Is 7.5 a good IELTS band score?

Yes, 7.5 is a good IELTS band score and is considered to be an above-average band score. Most universities are considering a band score of 7 and above as their pre-requisite for admissions. 

12. Is 4 a good IELTS band score?

The IELTS band score of 4 indicates that you have limited usage of the Language. For a hassle-free immigration and admission process, you must have a band score above 6. 

13. What is the difference between raw score and band score? 

The main difference between the raw score and band score is, raw score is the mark given against the number of correct answers given in the reading and listening sections. The band score is the final average score given to depict your English proficiency. The raw score will be in the range of 40 and the IELTS band score will be on a 9-band scale ranging between 1-9. 

14. What is IELTS life skills score?

IELTS life skills exams were first offered in 2015, to meet the requirements of the UK Visas and Immigration [UKVI]. It’s offered to test the speaking and listening skills of test-takers applying for certain types of UK visas. 
The test doesn’t have reading and writing sections, and no band score is given at the end. It’s only to test the speaking and listening ability of test takers - the way they communicate and engage in a discussion. 
Since there is no scoring system in this test, the test-taker is declared either to pass or fail after the exam. If a candidate fails, he/she can retake the exam as many times as they want. But if a candidate passes the exam, then he/she cannot take up the test [to improve scores] for the next 2 years. 

15. Why do you need a good band score? 

You need a good IELTS band score for the following reasons 

  • To prove that you are competent in English language listening, reading, speaking, and writing. 
  • Many English-speaking countries like Canada require good IELTS scores for permanent residency through express entry programs. 
  • To secure admissions to top-notch academic institutions across the world. 
  • To migrate easily to an English-speaking country on a skilled visa. 

16. What happens if you achieve a good IELTS score? 

As explained above, achieving a good IELTS score is very important for university admissions, PR applications, migration, etc. If you were not able to secure the desired IELTS band score, you can rewrite the exam as many times as possible.  IELTS is an exam that can be re-taken any number of times. 

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