All about IELTS Scoring System and IELTS Academic Test Format

The International English Language Testing System (IELTS) is a standardized test that measures English language proficiency. The test consists of four sections: reading, writing, listening and speaking. Each section is scored on a scale of 0 to 9, with 0 being the lowest and 9 being the highest.

The scores for each section are then averaged to give you an overall score on the IELTS scale. This overall score is called the “band score.” Band scores are rounded to the nearest half band, so a score of 6.5 is rounded up to 7.0, while a score of 6.4 is rounded down to 6.0.

The IELTS test is scored by trained and certified examiners. The reading and listening sections are scored by two examiners, while the writing and speaking sections are scored by one examiner. The scores from the two examiners are then averaged to give you your final score.

The IELTS scoring system is designed to be consistent and fair so that your score accurately reflects your English language ability. If you are taking the IELTS test for academic or professional purposes, you may need to meet a certain band score requirement. For example, many universities have a minimum IELTS score requirement for admission to their programs.

In a nutshell, the IELTS test is scored on a scale of 0 to 9, with half-band increments. The scores for each section are averaged to give you an overall band score, which reflects your overall English language ability. The test is scored by trained and certified examiners, and the scoring system is designed to be consistent and fair.

IELTS Academic Reading Scoring System and Format

The IELTS academic reading test is scored using the same band score system as the other sections of the IELTS test. The reading test consists of three passages of increasing difficulty and a total of 40 questions. The scores for the reading test are based on the number of correct answers you provide.

Each correct answer is worth one point. The number of points you earn is then converted to a band score using the following scale:

IELTS Reading Score—Marks ObtainedIELTS Band
IELTS Reading Score 39-40    9
IELTS Reading Score 37-388.5
IELTS Reading Score 35-368
IELTS Reading Score 33-347.5
IELTS Reading Score 30-327
IELTS Reading Score 27-296.5
IELTS Reading Score 23-266
IELTS Reading Score 19-225.5
IELTS Reading Score 15-185
IELTS Reading Score 13-144.5
IELTS Reading Score 10-124
IELTS Reading Score 8-93.5
IELTS Reading Score 6-73

This means that if you earn 39-40 points on the reading test, you will receive a band score of 9. If you earn 37-38 points, you will receive a band score of 8, and so on.

It is important to note that the IELTS scoring system is designed to be consistent and fair so that your score accurately reflects your English language ability. The scores are based on a combination of your ability to understand the main ideas and specific details in the reading passages, and your ability to use the information to answer the questions.

To improve your score on the IELTS academic reading test, it is important to practice reading a variety of texts, familiarize yourself with the types of questions that may be asked, and improve your overall reading skills.

IELTS Academic Writing Scoring System and Format

The IELTS academic writing test is scored using a band score system, with scores ranging from 0 to 9. The writing test consists of two tasks: Task 1 and Task 2. Task 1 requires you to write a report based on visual information, such as a graph, chart, table, or diagram. Task 2 requires you to write an essay in response to a given prompt.

The scores for the writing test are based on the following criteria:

  • Task Achievement: This criterion measures whether you have fully addressed the task and provided all the required information.
  • Coherence and Cohesion: This criterion measures how well you have organized your ideas and how logically and clearly you have presented them.
  • Lexical Resource: This criterion measures the range and accuracy of your vocabulary.
  • Grammatical Range and Accuracy: This criterion measures the range and accuracy of your grammar.

Each of these criteria is scored on a scale of 0 to 9, with 0 being the lowest and 9 being the highest. The scores for each criterion are then averaged to give you a final band score for the writing test. 

To improve your score on the IELTS academic writing test, it is important to practice writing a variety of tasks, familiarize yourself with the types of prompts that may be used, and improve your overall writing skills.

IELTS Academic Listening Scoring System and Format

The IELTS academic listening test is scored using the same band score system as the other sections of the IELTS test. The listening test consists of four sections, with a total of 40 questions. The scores for the listening test are based on the number of correct answers you provide.

Each correct answer is worth one point. The number of points you earn is then converted to a band score using the following scale:

IELTS Listening Score—Marks ObtainedIELTS Band
IELTS Listening Score 39-40    9
IELTS Listening Score 37-388.5
IELTS Listening Score 35-368
IELTS Listening Score 33-347.5
IELTS Listening Score 30-327
IELTS Listening Score 27-296.5
IELTS Listening Score 23-266
IELTS Listening Score 19-225.5
IELTS Listening Score 15-185
IELTS Listening Score 13-144.5
IELTS Listening Score 10-124
IELTS Listening Score 8-93.5
IELTS Listening Score 6-73

This means that if you earn 39-40 points on the reading test, you will receive a band score of 9. If you earn 37-38 points, you will receive a band score of 8, and so on.

The scores are based on a combination of your ability to understand the main ideas and specific details in the listening passages, and your ability to use the information to answer the questions.

To improve your score on the IELTS academic listening test, it is important to practice listening to a variety of spoken materials, familiarize yourself with the types of questions that may be asked, and improve your overall listening skills.

IELTS Academic Speaking Scoring System and Format

The IELTS academic speaking test is scored using a band score system, with scores ranging from 0 to 9. The speaking test consists of three parts: Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3.

In Part 1, the examiner will ask you general questions about yourself and your interests. In Part 2, you will be given a prompt and asked to speak for one to two minutes about a specific topic. In Part 3, the examiner will ask you more in-depth questions about the topic you spoke about in Part 2, as well as related topics.

The scores for the speaking test are based on the following criteria:

  • Fluency and Coherence: This criterion measures how smoothly and logically you speak.
  • Lexical Resource: This criterion measures the range and accuracy of your vocabulary.
  • Grammatical Range and Accuracy: This criterion measures the range and accuracy of your grammar.
  • Pronunciation: This criterion measures how clearly and accurately you pronounce words.

Each of these criteria is scored on a scale of 0 to 9, with 0 being the lowest and 9 being the highest. The scores for each criterion are then averaged to give you a final band score for the speaking test.

To improve your score on the IELTS academic speaking test, it is important to practice speaking about a variety of topics, familiarize yourself with the types of questions that may be asked, and improve your overall speaking skills.

What does an IELTS score mean? (Each band of IELTS explained)

The IELTS test is scored on a 9-band scale, with each band representing a range of language proficiency. The bands are:

Overall Band ScoreWhat does that mean?
9Expert user: This band is for individuals who have a near-native level of proficiency in English and can produce clear, detailed, and accurate sentences with very few errors.
8Very good user: This band is for individuals who have an excellent command of English and can produce clear, detailed, and accurate sentences with only occasional errors.
7Good user: This band is for individuals who have a very good command of English and can produce clear, detailed, and accurate sentences with only occasional errors.
6Competent user: This band is for individuals who have a good command of English and can produce clear and detailed sentences with occasional errors.
5Modest user: This band is for individuals who have a good knowledge of English and can produce well-structured sentences with some errors.
4Limited user: This band is for individuals who have a basic knowledge of English and can produce simple sentences with some errors.
3Extremely limited user: This band is for individuals who have limited knowledge of English and can produce simple sentences, but with some errors.
2Intermittent user: This band is for individuals who have very limited knowledge of English and can only produce simple phrases and sentences.
1Non-user: This band is for individuals who have no or very little knowledge of the English language.

It’s important to note that the IELTS test scores are not pass/fail. Instead, they provide a snapshot of an individual’s language proficiency level, which can be used for various purposes such as admission to universities or immigration.

Can I ask to re-evaluate my IELTS score?

Yes, it is possible to request a re-evaluation of your IELTS score. The process for requesting a re-evaluation, also known as an inquiry on results (EOR), varies depending on the test center where you took the test.

To request an EOR, you will typically need to submit a request form and pay a fee. The request form can typically be found on the website of the test center where you took the test, or you can contact the test center directly to request the form. The fee for an EOR varies depending on the test center, but it is usually around $200-$300.

It’s important to note that an EOR is not a guarantee that your score will change. The EOR process involves a thorough review of your test materials by an expert examiner, who will determine whether any errors were made in the original scoring of your test. If it is determined that an error occurred, your score may be adjusted. However, if the original score is found to be accurate, your score will not be changed.

It’s also worth noting that the EOR process can take several weeks to complete, so you should plan accordingly if you are considering requesting an EOR.

Is the overall score of 5 too low?

A band 5 score on the IELTS corresponds to a “modest user” level of English language proficiency. This means that you have a good knowledge of English and can produce well-structured sentences with some errors.

Many universities and employers have their own specific requirements for English language proficiency, and these requirements may vary widely. Some institutions may consider a band 5 score to be acceptable for a bachelor’s degree or diploma program, while most colleges and Universities require a higher score.

It’s important to check the specific requirements of the institution or organization you are applying to before taking the IELTS. This will help you determine what score you need to aim for and whether you will need to retake the test if you do not achieve the required score. However, we suggest you to plan your studies to achieve at least an overall score of 7 in IELTS (not less than 6)

Can I cheat on the IELTS exam and get good scores?

Cheating on any standardized test is not only unethical, but it is also strictly prohibited. The IELTS test is designed to assess your English language skills accurately, and cheating undermines the integrity of the test and the scores that are awarded.

There are strict measures in place to prevent cheating on the IELTS exam. These measures include surveillance cameras, strict invigilation procedures, and secure test materials. If you are caught cheating on the IELTS exam, your test will be canceled, and you will not receive a score. In addition, you may be banned from taking the test again in the future.

It’s important to remember that cheating is not a solution to achieving a high score on the IELTS exam. The best way to prepare for the test is to practice your English language skills and familiarize yourself with the format and content of the test. This will help you achieve a score that accurately reflects your language proficiency.

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