ielts speaking band score

How IELTS Speaking Score is Calculated: IELTS Speaking Score

Updated on 13 October, 2022
Mrinal Mandal

Mrinal Mandal

Study Abroad Expert

The International English Language Testing System, or IELTS speaking test evaluates the ability of applicants to communicate in English. IELTS is very important for students planning to study abroad. The IELTS speaking scores are awarded based on the English speaking skills of a candidate. During the test, a face-to-face formal discussion or interaction is held between the candidate and the IELTS examiner. The speaking band score ranges from zero to nine and a good band score is important to fulfill the eligibility criteria set by organizations, countries, and education institutions. Applicants need to understand the format of the IELTS speaking section and the marking system to perform better. The band score depends on various factors, and to get a good score, it is important to understand them appropriately.

How is the IELTS Speaking Band Score Calculated

The IELTS speaking band score ranges from a scale of zero to nine. Scoring a band 8 means that an aspirant has an excellent command of English. The performance in the speaking section is awarded a score based on four criteria - fluency and coherence, lexical resources, grammatical range and accuracy, and pronunciation. The speaking band score is awarded based on these four criteria and each of the criteria is weighted equally. 

The attained band score is awarded after considering the performance in all four criteria. If a candidate receives a band score of 6.1, it is rounded off to 6 bands. There is no negative marking for the speaking section of IELTS. The IELTS speaking examiners are trained and certified, so they carefully evaluate the candidates on the four eligibility criteria and award the right band. Listed below are the IELTS speaking scoring criteria on the basis of which aspirants are marked:

Fluency and Coherence (FC)

1. The ability to speak very fluently, without repeating, taking pauses, and having the know-how to self-correct

2. Know the usage of the right words, vocabulary, and grammar

3. Speak coherently with appropriate, strong, cohesive features

4. Have a clear knowledge of the topic that is being asked to speak on 

Lexical Resource (LR)

1. Make correct use of collocation

2. Use a varied range of words

3. Avoid making mistakes

4. Know how to paraphrase words

5. Use less common vocabulary

Grammar Range and Accuracy (GR)

1. Sentences should be well structured

2. Word flow and sentence construction should be accurate

3. Tenses should be used in the right manner

4. Answers should be grammatically correct

Pronunciation (P)

1. Use annotation

2. Correct pronunciation of a word

3. Ability to be understood throughout the test

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IELTS Speaking Band Score Chart

The IELTS Speaking band is calculated based on four different levels - Fluency and Coherence, Lexical Resource, Pronunciation, and Grammatical range and accuracy. The arithmetic mean of all these four criteria makes the band score for the speaking section of IELTS. For instance, if an aspirant score 6,7,7, and 8 in each of the sections, 6+7+7+8 = 28, when divided by 4 is 7. Listed below is an IELTS speaking band score chart that will help students to understand the band scores.

Fluency and Coherence




Lexical Resource


Grammatical range and accuracy


Total IELTS Speaking Score



More Resources to Read for IELTS:

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IELTS Speaking Band Descriptors

The IELTS Speaking band score assesses a candidate’s ability to communicate effectively in a face-to-face conversation and their ability to understand a variety of accents. The table below presents an IELTS Speaking band descriptors:


Fluency and Coherence

Lexical resource

Grammatical range and accuracy



  • Speaks fluently and rarely self-corrects
  • Can speak coherently appropriately
  • Face only content-related hesitation than to find the correct word or grammar
  • Full flexible and precise use of topics 
  • Can place idioms naturally
  • Can produce a full range of sentence structure appropriately with an exception of ‘slip’ characteristic of a native speaker 
  • Is effortless to understand
  • Can precisely use a full range of pronunciation features



  • Occasionally self-corrects while speaking 
  • Hesitation to search the correct language is mostly content-related
  • Can develop topics coherently
  • Has a wide vocabulary resource to convey a meaning flexibly
  • Can use phrases effectively as per requirements
  • Can skillfully use idiomatic and less common vocabulary
  • Has the ability to produce a majority of error-free sentences
  • Might make some occasional inappropriacies or basic/non-systematic errors 
  • Can precisely use a wide range of pronunciation features, with only occasional lapses
  • Easy to understand throughout with minimal effect on intelligibility



  • Can speak at a go without loss of coherence
  • Flexibly uses a range of connectives and discourse markers
  • Demonstrates rare language-related hesitation 
  • Can discuss a variety of topics with the use of vocabulary resource 
  • Paraphrase effectively
  • Has an awareness of style and collocation, with some inappropriate choices
  • Can use a range of complex structures
  • Produce error-free sentences frequently with rare grammatical mistakes
  • Possesses all the positive features of Band 6 but not all positive features of Band 8


  • Speaks at any length willingly but might lose coherence at times
  • Uses a range of connectives and discourse markers but makes occasional mistakes
  • Generally paraphrases successfully
  • Can discuss topics at length with a wide enough range of vocabulary despite  inappropriacies 
  • Has limited flexibility in the use of a mix of simple and complex structures
  • Makes frequent mistakes with complex structures
  • Has mixed control over a range of pronunciation features
  • Is generally understood throughout, though there is a mispronunication of individual words or sounds


  • Usually maintains flow of speech but uses slow speech or repeats words to keep going
  • May over-use certain connectives and discourse markers
  • Can produce simple speech fluently, but causes fluency problems in case of more complex communication 
  • Manages to talk about familiar and unfamiliar topics 
  • Has limited flexibility in the use of vocabulary
  • Can attempt to use paraphrase but with mixed success
  • Has reasonable accuracy in the formation of basic sentence forms 
  • Uses a limited range of more complex structures
  • Sentences usually contain errors and may cause some comprehension problems 
  • Shows all the positive features of Band 4 but not all the positive features of Band 6 


  • Faces problems in responding and takes noticeable pauses 
  • Speaks slowly, with frequent repetition and self-correction 
  • Links basic sentences with repetitive simple connectives and some breakdowns in coherence
  • Can only convey basic meaning while talking about unfamiliar topics 
  • Makes frequent errors in word choice
  • Rarely attempts paraphrase 
  • Has the ability to come up with basic sentence forms and some correct simple sentences
  • Frequent errors lead to misunderstanding
  • Uses a limited range of pronunciation features but lapses are frequent
  • Mispronunciations are frequent and often cause some difficulty for the listener


  • Takes long pauses while speaking
  • Hardly able to link simple sentences
  • Frequently gives only simple responses and is frequently unable to convey basic message 
  • Use of  simple vocabulary to convey personal information
  • Insufficient vocabulary for less familiar topics
  • Relies on memorized utterances
  • Attempts numerous errors but attains limited success
  • Demonstrates numerous errors except in memorized expressions 
  • Has some features of Band 2, but not all the positive features of Band 4 


  • Pauses lengthily before most words 
  • Little communication possible
  • Only produces isolated or memorized words 
  • Fails to produce basic sentence forms
  • Speech is often unintelligible





Speaking Score Calculation

A test taker receives a score from zero to nine points based on the above-mentioned four criteria. Following it, an arithmetic mean is calculated to determine the section’s total score. 

For example, if a candidate’s marks are:

Fluency and Coherence: 7.5,

Pronunciation: 7.0,

Lexical Resource: 7.0,

Grammatical Range and Accuracy – 7.5.

Then the total score for IELTS Speaking is 7.5+7.0+7.0+7.5= 29/4 =7.25, which will be rounded to 7.5. Thus, the IELTS speaking score will be 7.5. 

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Get to know about the latest updates on the IELTS Exam, Eligibility, Preparation Tips, Test procedure,  Exam Pattern, Syllabus, Registration Process, Important Exam Dates, and much more!! This guide is a one-stop solution for every IELTS Aspirant who aims to crack the exam with an impressive band score.


IELTS speaking is a compulsory section that tests the English language’s communication skills. The test takers are evaluated on fluency and coherence, lexical resources, grammar range and accuracy, and pronunciation. The average IELTS speaking band score is 6.5. Applicants need to prepare for all four eligibility criteria to get a winning band in the IELTS speaking section.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Q. How to score a good band in IELTS Speaking?

The IELTS Speaking grading system is based on how well candidates can articulate their thoughts on a particular topic. Constant practice and not being shy while talking are the key to scoring high in the speaking section of IELTS. Some tips that students need to keep in mind while interacting with the examiner for the IELTS speaking test are as follows:

  1. The exam is not about testing a candidate’s knowledge
  2. Aspirants should not be hesitant to express their ideas in front of the examiner 
  3. Remember to talk from past experiences
  4. Present the ideas with confidence and showcase language skills
  5. Maintain coherence

Q. How to get band 9 in IELTS Speaking?

To get a band score of 9 in IELTS Speaking, aspirants should keep their answers relevant. They need to stick to facts and never give memorized answers, give honest answers and avoid giving one-word answers. Students generally have one minute to frame their answers. This time can be utilized to make notes. Candidates should speak at length fluently and avoid repetition, give an opinion and support it with an argument. Practicing how to come up with attractive opening lines can also help in scoring a 9 band in IELTS speaking.

Q. How can I improve my IELTS speaking from 6.5 to 7?

Improving the IELTS speaking score from 6.5 to 7 is not a difficult task. All that a student needs to do is to reflect on their weakest point and then work on it. Understanding the assessment criteria for the IELTS Speaking section is another way that can help students improve their scores.

Q. Is the IELTS speaking band score of 6 good?

Yes, an IELTS band score of 6 is considered decent to get admission to most universities abroad.

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