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We share with you how we mark your IELTS test

At IELTS, we want to help boost you to the next level. We want to make sure you don’t need to repeat your English language test. That’s why we share with you how we test , how we mark your work, and what is important.

For IELTS Writing, Speaking, Reading and Listening we’ll tell you what examiners look for and how your test is marked. We’ll also show you how your overall band score is calculated. Or check how other tests compare to IELTS .

How is the IELTS Writing test marked?

The IELTS Writing test is marked by qualified IELTS examiners who are intensively trained and monitored to ensure consistency and quality of marking, no matter where in the world the test is taken. A minimum of two examiners will mark your Writing test, and sometimes even up to three or four – we do this to ensure the highest level of accuracy and fairness possible.

Your Writing test response is scored in the areas of:

  • Task achievement (for Writing Task 1) or Task response (for Writing Task 2)

  • Coherence and cohesion

  • Lexical resource

  • Grammatical range and accuracy

To understand what each of these means read the Writing band task 1 and task 2 descriptors , which have detailed information about each phrase and how they relate to the different band scores that are possible.

IELTS Writing band scores explained

How is the IELTS Speaking test marked?

The Speaking test in IELTS is just like a conversation that you would have in everyday life. In the test, you will sit in a private, quiet room with a qualified examiner who will engage you in a conversation.

While it can be difficult to speak to a stranger, make the most of it! With IELTS, the examiner can slow down for you, speed up or even repeat or rephrase a question if you like – all you have to do is ask. The examiner is there to enable you to perform at your best.

Your speaking skills are marked against a number of criteria, including:

  • Fluency and coherence

  • Lexical resource

  • Pronunciation

  • Grammatical range

  • Accuracy

To understand what each of these means, read the Speaking band descriptor , which has detailed information about each phrase and how they relate to the different band scores that are possible.

IELTS Speaking band scores explained

How is the IELTS Reading test marked?

In the Reading test, you will answer 40 questions.

A variety of question types are used, e.g. multiple choice, True/False/Not Given, matching, and sentence completion.

Your answers are either correct or incorrect, so the marking is a little different to the Speaking and Writing tests. You will receive one mark for each correct answer, with the total number of marks determining your band score.

The tables below indicate the average number of marks required to achieve a particular band score in Academic Reading and General Training Reading.

Academic Reading:

Band score

Calculation

Band score 5

15 out of a raw score of 40

Band score 6

23 out of a raw score of 40

Band score 7

30 out of a raw score of 40

Band score 8

35 out of a raw score of 40

General Training Reading:

Band score

Calculation

Band score 4

15 out of a raw score of 40

Band score 5

23 out of a raw score of 40

Band score 6

30 out of a raw score of 40

Band score 7

34 out of a raw score of 40

Band score 8

38 out of a raw score of 40

IELTS Reading band scores explained

How is the IELTS Listening test marked?

In the Listening test, you will answer 40 questions that relate to audio clips that will be played to you.

Your answers are either correct or incorrect, so the marking is a little different to the Speaking and Writing tests. You will receive one mark for each correct answer, with the total number of marks determining your band score.

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

Band score

Calculation

Band score 5

16 out of a raw score of 40

Band score 6

23 out of a raw score of 40

Band score 7

30 out of a raw score of 40

Band score 8

35 out of a raw score of 40

IELTS Listening band scores explained

How is the Overall Band Score calculated?

The Overall Band Score is the average of the four component scores, rounded to the nearest whole or half band. The component scores are weighted equally.

If the average of the four components ends in .25, the Overall Band Score is rounded up to the next half band, and if it ends in .75, the Overall Band Score is rounded up to the next whole band. If the average ends with a fraction below .25 or .75, the overall score is rounded down.

Some examples:

Listening

Reading

Writing

Speaking

Average

Bandscore

Test Taker A

6.5

6.5

5.0

7.0

6.25

6.5

Test Taker B

4.0

4.5

4.0

4.0

3.875

4.0

Test Taker C

6.5

6.5

5.5

6.0

6.125

6.0

Learn how IELTS is scored

Band scores

Understanding IELTS band scores

Find out how each section of the IELTS test is marked in order to achieve your desired score

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