Test takers receive a score for each test component – Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking. The individual scores are then averaged and rounded to produce an Overall Band Score.

There is no pass or fail; IELTS is scored on a nine-band scale, with each band corresponding to a specified competence in English. Overall Band Scores are reported to the nearest half band. The following rounding convention applies: if the average across the four skills ends in .25, it is rounded up to the next half band, and if it ends in 5.75, it is rounded up to the next whole band. The nine bands are described as follows:

 9 Expert UserHas full operational command of the language: appropriate, accurate and fluent with complete understanding.
 8 Very Good UserHas fully operational command of the language with only occasional unsystematic inaccuracies and inappropriacies. Misunderstandings may occur in unfamiliar situations. Handles complex detailed argumentation well.
 7 Good UserHas operational command of the language, though with occasional inaccuracies, inappropriateness and misunderstandings in some situations. Generally handles complex language well and understands detailed reasoning.
 6 Competent UserHas generally effective command of the language despite some inaccuracies, inappropriacies and misunderstandings. Can use and understand fairly complex language, particularly in familiar situations.
 5 Modest userHas 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.
 4 Limited UserBasic competence is limited to familiar situations. Has a frequent problem in understanding and expression. Is not able to use complex language.
 3 Extremely Limited UserConveys and understands only general meaning in very familiar situations. Frequent breakdowns in communication occur.
 2 Intermittent UserNo 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 understanding spoken and written English.
 1 Non UserEssentially has no ability to use the language beyond possibly a few isolated words.
 0 Did not attempt the testNo assessable information provided at all.

This table can be used to convert raw scores (out of 40) to band scores (out of 9) for Listening and Reading modules of both Academic and General patterns. This helps test takers understand how many correct answers they need to achieve to get a particular band score.

 Band Score 9.0 8.5 8.0 7.5 7.0 6.5 6.0 5.5 5.0 4.5 4.0 3.5 3.0 2.5
 Listening raw score (Academic and General) 39–40 37–38 35–36 32–34 30–31 26–29 23–25 18–22 16–17 13–15 10–12 8–9 6–7 4–5
 Reading raw score (Academic) 39–40 37–38 35–36 33–34 30–32 27–29 23–26 19–22 15–18 13–14 10–12 8–9 6–7 4–5
 Reading raw score (General) 40 39 37–38 36 34–35 32–33 30–31 27–29 23–26 19–22 15–18 12–14 9–11 6–8

Examiners use detailed performance descriptors when assessing the Writing and Speaking tests. These band descriptors describe performance in four categories: 


  • • Task Achievement
  • • Coherence And Cohesion
  • • Lexical Resource
  • • Grammatical Range And Accuracy

For details, please refer to the following band descriptors:
Task 1 Writing Band Descriptors
Task 2 Writing Band Descriptors


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

For details, please refer to the following band descriptors:
Speaking Band Descriptors

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