Go behind the scenes and find out how your IELTS test is marked.
Understanding the assessment criteria can help you prepare for your test and how to better approach each test section.
IELTS band scores are reported on a 9-band scale ranging from band 1 (lowest) to band 9 (highest). Each part of the test is awarded a band score for performance.
In the Listening and Reading test parts, each have 40 questions and each correct answer receives 1 mark. The total score out of 40 is converted to the IELTS 9-band scale.
IELTS Speaking test is evaluated by certified IELTS examiners in a face-to-face interview using a set of assessment criteria to award band scores for each of the four criteria, fluency and coherence, lexical resource, grammatical range and accuracy and pronunciation.
IELTS Writing test is evaluated in the same way with the examiner awarding band scores for each of the four criteria that best match the performance at each band level for Writing Task 1 and Writing Task 2.
Overall IELTS band scores
Has fully operational command of the language: appropriate, accurate and fluent with complete understanding.
Very good user
Has fully operational command of the language with only occasional unsystematic inaccuracies and inappropriacies. Misunderstandings may occur in unfamiliar situations. Handles complex detailed argumentation well.
Has operational command of the language, though with occasional inaccuracies, inappropriacies and misunderstandings in some situations. Generally handles complex language well and understands detailed reasoning.
Has generally effective command of the language despite some inaccuracies, inappropriacies and misunderstandings. Can use and understand fairly complex language, particularly in familiar situations.
Has partial command of the language, coping with overall meaning in most situations, though is likely to make many mistakes. Should be able to handle basic communication in own field.
Basic competence is limited to familiar situations. Has frequent problems in understanding and expression. Is not able to use complex language.
Extremely limited user
Conveys and understands only general meaning in very familiar situations. Frequent breakdowns in communication occur.
No real communication is possible except for the most basic information using isolated words or short formulae in familiar situations and to meet immediate needs. Has great difficulty understanding spoken and written English.
Essentially has no ability to use the language beyond possibly a few isolated words.