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How IELTS Speaking Score is Calculated: IELTS Speaking Score

Updated on 27 October, 2023

Akansha Semwal

Akansha Semwal

Study Abroad Expert

ielts speaking band score

International English Language Testing System or IELTS is one of the most crucial tests for pursuing international studies in nations where English is the primary language. This English proficiency test assesses your speaking, reading, listening, and writing skills. If we talk specifically about the IELTS speaking test, it evaluates candidates' ability to communicate in English. The IELTS speaking band scores are awarded to the applicant based on this ability. A face-to-face formal discussion or interaction is held between the candidate and the IELTS examiner during the test. 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 educational institutions. Candidates need to understand the format of the IELTS speaking section and various other factors, such as the marking system to perform better and score a good band score.

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 a candidate has an excellent command of English. The performance in the speaking section is awarded a score based on four criteria weighted equally. The four criteria include fluency and coherence, lexical resources, grammatical range and accuracy, and pronunciation. 

The trained and certified examiners assess the candidate for the IELTS Speaking section. Their experience and qualifications make them evaluate candidates carefully. IELTS Speaking band score consists of no negative marking and ranges from zero to nine, reported in half and whole bands. Furthermore, the candidate’s scores are rounded off if in decimal. For instance, if you receive a band score ending with .25, it will be rounded up to the next half band; if you receive a band score ending with .75, it will be rounded up to the next whole band. Listed below are the IELTS speaking scoring criteria based on which candidates 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, and 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 or 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:


IELTS Speaking Band ScoreFluency and CoherenceLexical ResourceGrammatical Range and AccuracyPronunciation


Develops a topic adequately and speaks without any hesitation; Talks fluently with no to very few repetitions; Speaks coherently using appropriate cohesives that are easy to understand.Uses of vocabulary that is completely flexible and accurate to the topic. Keeps the language natural and grammatically correct. Uses the complete range of grammar and accurate sentence structures.Uses an accurate and complete range of pronunciation; sounds effortlessly understandable with flexible use of pronunciation features.


Develops a topic coherently and adequately; hesitation is normally content-related; talks fluently with occasional repetition.Uses a vast range of vocabulary that is flexible and accurate to convey. Keeps the language less natural with occasional inaccuracies; Rephrases when needed.Uses a vast range of structures with no errors and occasional inaccuracies in sentences.Uses a vast range of flexible pronunciation features with rare lapses and is easy to understand; L1 accent has the least impact on intelligibility


Talks effortlessly at a stretch without noticeable coherence loss; Uses various connectives and discourse markers; Demonstrates very few repetitions or language-related hesitations. Discusses various topics and uses vocabulary resources flexibly; Uses less common and natural vocabulary; Uses rephrasing wherever needed; shows understanding style and collocation with few inaccurate choices.Uses various complex structures with flexibility; Usually builds error-free sentences with some grammatical mistakes.Combines a few positive features of Band 8 and all positive features of Band 6.


Tries to speak at length but loses coherence sometimes; shows self-corrections, occasional repetitions, or hesitations; Uses various connectives and discourse markers with some inaccuracyDiscusses topics at length and uses a vast range of vocabulary; Makes the meaning understandable despite being inappropriate; Usually rephrases successfully.Uses a combination of simple and complex structures but not with much flexibility; Makes repeated mistakes with complex structures; Does not cause understanding problems.Uses various pronunciation features with mixed control; Starts with effective use of features that don't last; Makes understandable but has few wrong pronunciations that decrease the clarity.


Speaks in a flow with repetitions or self-corrections; Overuses some of the connectives and discourse markers; Builds fluent speech but gets affected by complex communication.Speaks about common and uncommon topics with limited vocabulary flexibility; Tries rephrasing but with mixed success.Builds basic sentences with some accuracy; Uses a limited range of complex structures with errors and comprehension problems.Combines a few positive features of Band 6 and all positive features of Band 4.


Speaks slowly and responds with noticeable pauses; Uses frequent repetition and self-correction; Uses connectives repetitively to link basic sentences; Shows coherence breakdownsTalks about familiar topics; Conveys the basic meaning of unfamiliar topics; Makes frequent errors in choosing words; Attempts rephrasing.Builds basic and correct simple sentences; Makes occasional subordinate structures and frequent errors that lead to misunderstanding.Uses a limited range of pronunciation features; Tries to control features but with frequent lapses; Makes frequent mispronunciations, leading to difficulty for the listener.


Talks using long pauses; Links simple sentences with limited ability; Gives simple responses and is unable to convey the basic message.Makes use of simple vocabulary for conveying personal information; Has significantly less vocabulary for not-so-familiar topics.Tries basic sentence forms with limited success; Depends on memorized vocabulary; Makes countless errors except in memorized responses.Combines some positive features of Band 4 and some positive features of Band 2.


Pauses for a long before most of the words; Communicates little.Speaks isolated words or memorized responses.Unable to build basic sentence formSpeaks with no meaning


Does not communicate, and language cannot be evaluated.Does not communicate, and language cannot be evaluated.Does not communicate, and language cannot be evaluated.Does not communicate, and language cannot be evaluated.


Does not attend.Does not attend.Does not attend.Does not attend.

Download IELTS Preparation Guide For Free

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.

Image Source: ielts.org

IELTS 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. The below-mentioned example will make it clear how speaking bands are calculated.

For example, if a candidate’s marks are:

Fluency and Coherence




Lexical Resource


Grammatical Range and Accuracy


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

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11 Tips to Get a Good Score in IELTS Speaking

Some important tips to be considered for scoring a good band score for the IELTS Speaking sections are mentioned below:

  1. Divide the allotted time and adhere to it throughout.
  2. Get good sources of grammar and practice from there. 
  3. Try developing storytelling skills; it will bring up many ideas and won’t build repetitive sentences.
  4. When giving the IELTS speaking answer to the examiner, avoid answering by memorizing it.
  5. Use a wide range of grammar language and sound natural with your accent.
  6. Practice communicating with your friends, colleagues, or family members daily.
  7. While practicing, try recording and evaluating your performance and then work on your weak points.
  8. While taking the test, make sure to ask the examiner to repeat the question if you don’t understand it. 
  9. Review the IELTS speaking band descriptors thoroughly and focus on scoring the desired marks accordingly.
  10. Stay calm while answering the questions. There’s no need to rush. Make sure the examiner understands your pronunciations.
  11. Practice the IELTS topics available online.

Download IELTS Sample Papers

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IELTS Speaking is a compulsory section of the standardized test that measures the English communication skills of a candidate aspiring for international studies. The evaluation of the aspiring candidate is done based on four crucial criteria: fluency and coherence, lexical resources, grammar range and accuracy, and pronunciation. Prepare your communication on these four criteria to score the best band score.

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Frequently Asked Questions

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. Candidates 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.

How to get band 9 in IELTS Speaking?

To get a band score of 9 in IELTS Speaking, candidates 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.

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.

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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Akansha Semwal

Study Abroad Expert

Akansha Semwal is a content marketer at upGrad and has also worked as a social media marketer & sub-editor. Experienced in creating impressive Statement of Purpose, Essays, and LOR, she knows how to captivate the attention of Admissions Committee. Her research-driven;study-abroad articles helps aspirants to make the prudent decision. She holds a bachelor's & master's degree in Literature from the University of Delhi.

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