IELTS Scoring

The IELTS exam tests your ability to communicate in English. The way to higher IELTS scores is three-fold:

    • understand the test format
    • develop the primary and supporting language skills required in the exam
    • implement specific strategies, techniques and “tricks” to earn extra marks in the speaking and writing sections where there is scope to receive extra points, versus the all or no points option in the reading and listening section.

IELTS scores are expressed in terms of bands of language ability, with full and half band scores given for each section. The highest score you can receive is a Band 9, which represents Expert User. General descriptions of other band scores are given below. For a more detailed description of band scores, please refer to the official IELTS website.

You receive separate scores in each of the four modules – listening, reading, writing and speaking – and a fifth score, which is your overall score. Some institutions are only concerned with your overall score, while others require specific scores in the separate modules, along with a certain overall score.

Band 9 Expert User
Has full operational command of the language: appropriate, accurate and fluent with complete understanding.

Band 8 Very Good User
Has full operational command of the language with only occasional unsystematic inaccuracies .

Band 7 Good User
Has operational command of the language, though with occasional inaccuracies, and misunderstandings in some situations.

Band 6 Competent User
Has general effective command of the language despite some inaccuracies, and misunderstandings

Band 5 Modest User
Has partial command of the language, coping with overall meaning in most situations, though is likely to make many mistakes.

Band 4 Limited User
Basic competence is limited to familiar situations. Has frequent problems in understanding and expression. Is unable to use complex language.

Band 3 Extremently Limited User
Conveys and understands only general meaning in very familiar situations. Frequent breakdowns in communication occur.

Band 2 Intermittent User
No real communication is possible except for the most basic information using isolated words to meet immediate needs. Has great difficulty understanding spoken and written English.

Band 1 Non User
Essentially has no ability to use the language beyond possibly a few isolated words.

Band 0
Did not attempt the exam.

The way to higher IELTS scores is two-fold:

            • develop the primary and supporting language skills required in the exam
            • implement specific strategies and techniques to earn extra marks in the speaking and writing sections where there is scope to receive extra points, versus the all or no points option in the reading and listening section.
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