What is the IELTS band score?

ielts band score

Understanding the IELTS band score is not difficult as the results in the examination are reported on a scale of 9 bands. Aspirants can understand it easily with the help of information given below. First, let’s take a look at the band scores and what they denote-:

9- Expert User-: This demonstrates full operational command of the aspirant over the English language. He/she has demonstrated accurate, appropriate, and fluent usage of the language while exhibiting full understanding as well.

8- Very Good-: The aspirant has complete control over the English language with unsystematic inaccuracies and inappropriate usage taking place only occasionally. They may not understand a few aspects in scenarios which are unfamiliar. Otherwise, they can tackle detailed and complex argumentation quite well.

7- Good User-: The aspirant has total functional control over the English language although he/she displays sporadic inappropriate usage, inaccuracies, and misinterpretation in a few scenarios. They usually deal with complex language satisfactorily while understanding reasoning of a detailed nature.

6-Competent User-: The aspirant has practical English language command despite a few instances of improper usage, inaccuracies, and misinterpretations. They can use and understand complex language, especially during familiar situations.

5- Modest User-: The aspirant doesn’t have complete command over the English language and will be able to cope with most situations although they are likely to make several mistakes. They will be able to manage primary communication in their areas of operation.

4- Limited User-: The English language understanding of the aspirant is restricted to known and experienced scenarios. He/she will frequently demonstrate issues in expression and understanding alike. He/she will be unable to make use of advanced language.

3- Extremely Limited User-: The aspirant understands and communicates just basic meanings in highly familiar scenarios. The communication is not fluent and often disrupted.

2-Intermittent User-: These aspirants face a lot of problems in properly comprehending written and spoken English alike.

1-Non-User-: The aspirant does not possess the skill to use the English language except for some particular words.  

0- Did not Attempt the Examination-: The aspirant did not answer any of the questions.

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How IELTS band scores are calculated

Since there are four components of the IELTS (International English Language Testing System) exam—Listening, Writing, Reading, and Speaking—the IELTS band score is calculated by taking out an average of the individual scores awarded in these four sections. This score is then rounded off to the nearest half or whole band with equal weightage for the section scores. For example, Aspirant X gets 6.5, 6.5, 5.0 and 7.0 in the four sections, then his/her average of these four scores will be 6.25 and the band score will be rounded off to the nearest half i.e., 6.5.

In the same manner, suppose another Aspirant Y gets 4.0, 3.5, 4.0 and 4.0 for these sections, his/her average score will be 3.875 and the band score will be 4.0. Someone getting 6.5, 6.5, 5.5 and 6.0 in these portions will have an average score of 6.125 and a band score of 6.0. If the average is ending at the .25 mark, then the overall score will be rounded off to the nearest half band, which will be .50. And if it ends at .75, then it will be rounded to the next whole band.

Section-wise understanding of IELTS score band

Listening Section

The IELTS listening section has 40 questions in total. Every right answer gets a single mark. Scores out of 40 are changed to the 9-band IELTS scale. Here’s a table depicting total marks scored and the band score awarded based on that:

Total marks received out of 40

Band score awarded

39-40

9

37-38

8.5

35-36

8

32-34

7.5

30-31

7

26-29

6.5

23-25

6

18-22

5.5

16-17

5
13-15

4.5

11-12

4

Read More: Improve reading skills in IELTS

Reading Section

The IELTS Reading section has 40 questions with one mark given for every correct answer. Out of 40 the scores will be converted into the 9-band scale. They are also converted in half and whole bands. The Academic and General Training Reading examinations are graded on a similar scale. The only difference is the text or genre type. Yet, the Academic Reading tests may have texts with tougher vocabulary and complexity of content. A larger number of questions may have to be correctly answered correctly on the General Training Reading examination for getting a good score.  

a) IELTS Academic Reading Section score and subsequent band score

Total marks received out of 40

Band score awarded
40-39

9

38-37

8.5
36-35

8

34-33

7.5
32-30

7

29-27

6.5
26-23

6

22-19

5.5
18-15

5

14-13

4.5
12-10

4

9-8

3.5
7-6

3

5-4

2.5

b) IELTS General Training Reading Section score and subsequent band score:

Total marks received out of 40

Band score awarded
40

9

39

8.5
37-38

8

36

7.5
34-35

7

32-33

6.5
30-31

6

27-29

5.5
23-26

5

19-22

4.5
15-18

4

12-14

3.5
9-11

3

6-8

2.5

Read More: Ways to improve IELTS Writing Task 2 Score

Writing Section

Specific assessment criteria are employed to award band scores. They are:

1. Task Achievement (Task 1) and Task Response (Task 2)

2. Lexical Resource

3. Coherence and Cohesion

4. Grammatical Range and Accuracy

Each criteria carries equal weightage, and the scores are an average of marks awarded in each of them.

Read More: Top 10 IELTS speaking tips for a high score

Speaking Section

Specific assessment criteria are employed to award band scores. They are:

1. Grammatical Range and Accuracy

2. Fluency and Coherence

3. Lexical Resource

4. Pronunciation

Each criteria carries equal weightage, and the scores are an average of marks awarded in each of them.

This is your handy guide to understanding the IELTS band scores, how they are calculated and section-wise information.

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