How is the IELTS Score Calculated?


This article will explain in details about the IELTS score for every module.

IELTS: Universal English Language Test

IELTS (International English Language Testing System), an English proficiency test is outlined to evaluate your linguistic skills.

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Read more: Ielts 7.25

Since 1938, this IELTS test is being conducted and jointly managed by British Council, IDP; IELTS Australia and Cambridge English Language Assessment.


It is globally accepted as an exclusive evidence of the English language by over 9000 organizations in more than 135 countries that majorly include Australia, British, Canada, New Zealand and the USA.

However, every candidate who dreams either to study and work or to migrate to the countries that are mentioned above has heard or read about this IELTS test once in a while.

In this particular article, we are going to discuss the most promising part of this IELTS test i.e. How IELTS score is calculated?

How is the IELTS Score calculated?

The IELTS evaluator ensures about the accurate evaluation by applying the strict criteria that help in reflecting the exact level where your communication or writing skills stand.


It follows a 9-Band Scoring, though there are no set bars to be called as “failed” or “approved”.

9-Band IELTS Score

The description of each band score indicating the level of English requires for the band scores (5-9) is given below:

Band Score Skill Level Description Keywords 9 Expert User •The candidate has fully operational command of the language.

•Their use of English is appropriate, accurate and fluent, and shows complete understanding

•Full operational command on language.

•Accurate and Appropriate usage of grammar

8 Very Good User •The candidate has fully operational command of the language with only occasional unsystematic inaccuracies and inappropriate usage.

•They may misunderstand some things in unfamiliar situations.

•They handle complex and detailed argumentation well.

•May misunderstand some things

•Handle complex and detailed argument well.

7 Good User •The candidate has operational command of the language, though with occasional inaccuracies, inappropriate usage and misunderstandings in some situations.

•They generally handle complex language well and understand the detailed reasoning.

•Few inaccuracies and inappropriate usage of grammar

•Understand detailed reasoning and handle complex language well

6 Competent User •The candidate has an effective command of the language despite some inaccuracies, inappropriate usage and misunderstandings.

•They can use and understand fairly complex language, particularly in familiar situations

•Has some inaccuracies, inappropriate usage.

•Can handle complex language in familiar situations

5 Modest User •The candidate has a partial command of the language and copes with overall meaning in most situations, although they are likely to make many mistakes.

•They should be able to handle basic communication in their own field.

•Has partial command over the language.

•Make many mistakes.

To see the description of all Band Scores (0-9), have a quick look at British Council Official description of different bands

IELTS Score ranges between 0-9 (Nonuser to expert). One more thing that can be added in the range is .5 It means your score can also be 6.5, 7.5 or 8.5.

Each of the four skills on which a candidate is evaluated i.e. Speaking, Reading, Writing and Listening get an individual score band which ranges between the same.

For example-

Listening Reading Writing Speaking Overall 7.5 8 7.5 7 7.5

Important points regarding Overall IELTS Score:

  • If your average overall score is 7.25, then your score will be increased to 7.5
  • If your average overall score is 7.65, then your score will be increased to 8.
  • If your overall score is 7.1, then your score will go down to 7.
  • Your score will either rounded up or down to the nearest 0.5 or whole score as shown above.

As the criteria of the overall score have been discussed above, let’s get to know how each of the four testing skills i.e. Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking score band gets calculated.

Listening Test Score Band

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IELTS Listening Module is a 40 minutes evaluation in which 30 minutes are for testing and 10 minutes are for transferring answers to an answer sheet.


These life-changing 40 minutes of your life comprises of four sections.

Watch more: Band 8 Sample Answers for IELTS Speaking Part 1 Topic: Food

Each section has 10 questions that mean a total of 40 questions in this module.

Your listening module band score will be calculated on the basis of a number of correct answers you have out of these 40 questions.

For every correct answer, you will be awarded one mark. No negative marking for incorrect answers.

The table below indicates the average number of marks required to achieve a particular band score:

IELTS Listening Band Score

Correct Answers Band Scores 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

As we have already discussed about listening test band score, let’s get to know about another testing skill i.e. Reading and its band score.

IELTS Reading Band Score

This 60 minutes evaluation comprises of 3 sections and text mounting up 2,150 to 2,750 words.

The IELTS Reading module contains 40 questions. Just like in the listening test, each correct is awarded one mark.


You should be careful while writing your answers, as every incorrect spelling and grammar will make you lose marks.

This IELTS Reading Test varies in both of the IELTS types; IELTS Academic and IELTS General Training.

The distinction between the test arises on the basis of genre and text.

The texts in Academic usually feature more complex structure and difficult vocabulary. That’s why it’s been observed that IELTS General Training is more scoring than the former.

The table below indicates the average number of marks required to achieve a particular band score in the IELTS Academic Reading Test and IELTS General Training Reading Test.

IELTS Academic Reading Band Score

Correct Answer Band Scores 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

IELTS General Training Reading Band Score

Correct Answers Band Scores 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

After IELTS Listening and IELTS Reading Band Score, it’s time to move further towards another testing module i.e. Writing.

IELTS Writing Band Score

In this 60 minutes of evaluation, there are two tasks.


Just like in the IELTS Reading Module, Writing Module also varies in both of the IELTS types; IELTS Academic and IELTS General Training.

Academic General Training Timings Task 1

(150 words)

Describe a graph, map, chart or diagram. Write a letter. 20 minutes Task 2

(250 words)

Write an essay. Write an essay. 40 minutes

Both Task 1 and Task 2 are evaluated on the basis of these 4 criteria:

  • Task Achievement
  • Coherence and Cohesion
  • Lexical Resource
  • Grammatical Range and Accuracy.

Let’s see the details of each marking criteria in the table below:

Task Achievement (Task 1) Accurate Information.

Providing an overview.

Highlighting key features.

Supporting detail with data.

Task Response (Task 2) Addressing the task.

Giving relevant main points.

Giving a clear position.

Providing a conclusion.

Coherence and Cohesion Organising information in paragraphs.

One central idea in each paragraph.

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Using a range of linking devices.

Lexical Resource Using a range of words & paraphrasing.

Using collocations.


Watch more: (Update 2022) CAMBRIDGE IELTS 7 READING TEST 3 ANSWERS – Free Lesson

Avoid errors

Grammar Range & Accuracy Using a range of sentence structure.

Using a range of grammar tenses.


Avoiding errors.

So, below are the official descriptors of Writing band scores published by IELTS:

IELTS Writing Task 1 official descriptors by IELTS

IELTS Writing Task 2 official descriptor by IELTS

Knowing about the testing criteria of three skills, we have already reached to the last criteria of this IELTS test i.e. Speaking.

IELTS Speaking Assessment Criteria

Coming to the last 11-14 minutes of IELTS Speaking Module, comprises of the three sections. Let’s have a quick proposition about them first.


Section 1: This starting (4-5 minutes) is all about ‘you’. To make you comfortable the evaluator will ask you some casual questions regarding your family, hobbies etc.

Section 2: This section sometimes called as “long turn”. You will be given a card on which a topic has been written. You will get one minute to think and another two minutes to speak.

Section 3: This section is more conceptual where you will get an opportunity to make a good answer for the issues brought up by the evaluator.

In the IELTS Speaking module, three of the above sections are evaluated on the basis of these 4 criteria:

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

Let’s see the details of each marking criteria in the table below:

Fluency & Coherence Speaking without pause and hesitation.

Keeping your ideas forward efficiently.

Lexical Resource Using good vocabulary.

Using a range of word & paraphrasing.

Using collocation.

Grammatical Range & Accuracy Using a range of sentence structure.

Using a range of grammar tenses

Pronunciation Easily understandable throughout the test.

Able to use intonation.

Usage of accent effectively.

If you want to make an addition in your knowledge regarding each criteria in the speaking descriptors, you can read also make a glance at Official Speaking descriptors by IELTS

Now let’s see how these criteria help in calculating the Speaking Module Score.

IELTS Speaking Module Score Calculator

Each of the four criteria which we have discussed above will receive a score from 0-9. After that, it can be calculated through arithmetic mean. For example: If your exams are given as follow: Fluency and Coherence: 7.5 Pronunciation: 7.0 Lexical Resource: 7.0

Grammatical Range and Accuracy: 7.5 Then your total score for IELTS Speaking Module (7.5+7.0+7.0+7.5)/4 =7.25 Which will rounded upto 7.5

With this last testing skill, we have come to know about how IELTS score is calculated?

If you are wondering about why we have discussed about this above? Then let me clear this to you, this criterion will help you to get Good IELTS Score.

To make an addition in your knowledge regarding good IELTS score, you can read Significance of good IELTS score here.

Good luck with your journey ahead!

Learn More: Complete IELTS


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