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IELTS Band Score 2023: IELTS Scoring System & IELTS Band Score Chart

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According to a report, around 1.3 to 1.4 million students take the IELTS exam every year. Additionally, the percentage of students appearing for the IELTS exam increases rapidly every year due to the rapid rise in craze among students to study in foreign destinations.

Although different destinations require different IELTS band scores, the minimum requirements also depend on the academic institution. So, before appearing for the examination, it is beneficial to know about the exam scoring system and the different band scores. Candidates get scaled in the range 0-9. In 2019, about 27% of the students scored band 6, 21% students scored 5.5, and 19% scored 6.5%. 

IELTS band score

Details of IELTS bands

As we mentioned, the scorecard of IELTS is prepared on 9 points scale. The lowest band is 1, whereas the highest band is 9. Also, these IELTS bands are clearly described by the authority, which is provided below. 

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IELTS Band Score 2023: IELTS Scoring System & IELTS Band Score Chart

Band 0:The student hasn’t appeared for the examination, or the student hasn’t answered any questions. 

Band 1:A student with a band 1 score has zero ability to use the language but can use few words.

Band 2: A student with Band 2 is an intermittent English user, which means they have great difficulty in understanding English.

Band 3: This test taker is an extremely limited user of English. He/she can understand some general English and also has frequent drops while speaking. 

Band 4: A score band of 4 means that the student cannot use complex sentences, and the test taker shows difficulty understanding expressions. They can only show competence in only familiar situations. 

Band 5: This user can show basic communication in their field. This modest user also partially understands the language and understands the meaning in most situations. 

Band 6: A student with band 6 is effective while using the language, but they have some errors. They also have some inaccuracies and misunderstandings in understanding the language. In familiar situations, they can use reasonably complex sentences.

Band 7:This indicates that the candidate is a good user and has operational command of the language with few inaccuracies, misunderstandings, and inappropriate usage in a few situations. Generally, these users handle complex language pretty well and also have a detailed understanding of the language.

Band 8:A user with a band of 8 is a very good user of English. With negligible inaccuracies, they can handle detailed arguments and complex sentences well. 

Band 9:This user has full competency in using the language. They can use the language fluently with full accuracy and shows full accuracy. 

The USA, Canada, and Australia are the most sorted study destinations among the English-speaking countries for Indians. Candidates should also note that every academic institution has different IELTS requirements, but in general, a 6 to 7 band score is the most widely asked minimum requirement. This band score also depends on the number of questions correctly answered. The official website of IELTS has shown how bands are linked with raw scores out of 40 on 3 sections. This band score chart is given in a table format below – 

For IELTS Listening

Band scoreRaw score out of 40

For IELTS Reading Academic 

Band scoreRaw score out of 40

For IELTS General Reading 

Band scoreRaw score out of 40

How is IELTS band score calculated?

The overall IELTS band chart is prepared by averaging the score of four sections and then rounding off the final score to its nearest half or value.  For example, if after calculation the score ends in .25, then it will be rounded off to its nearest half, which is 0.5; similarly, if a calculation ends at .75, then it will be rounded off to its nearest full value. If, for a student, the average score stands at 6.75, then their final score will be 7; similarly, if the average score is 6.25, then the final score will be 6.5.  

IELTS Assessment criteria 

In the examination, the four sections are scored differently. The section band scores are given below – 

IELTS Listening assessment criteria

This section consists of 40 questions, where each question comprises 1 mark. Then this raw score will be converted to an IELTS band score either in half or full band. 

IELTS Reading assessment criteria  

This section also consists of 40 questions. Each section has 1 mark, and with every correct answer, 1 mark is awarded. Then, the raw marks will be converted into 9 points score as per the chart.  Additionally, this should be noted that IELTS academic and general training are graded similarly. But these two exams are different based on text complexity, such as sentence construction, vocabulary, and others. 

IELTS Writing assessment criteria

IELTS examiners, awards marks, and band scores are based on four basic criteria. These criteria’s are –

  1. For Task 1, Task Achievement, and Task 2, Task Response.
  2. Coherence and cohesion.   
  3. Grammatical accuracy and range.
  4. Lexical resource

Broadly, the process of awarding marks for IELTS writing is discussed below – 

Task Achievement – Task 1: 

  • Presenting an overview
  • Providing details with data
  • Highlighting relevant features
  • Giving accurate information

Task Response – Task 2:

  • Addressing by answering questions
  • Giving primary pointers with supportive information 
  • Providing a clear position with opinion 
  • Clear concluding remark

Coherence and cohesion 

  • Stating a clear idea in every paragraph
  • Using a variety of linking devices
  • Organising information into a paragraph

Grammatical accuracy and range 

  • Avoiding errors
  • Punctuation
  • Versatility in using sentence structure
  • Using tense

Lexical resource

  • Spelling mistake
  • Collocation use
  • Using a diaspora of words
  • Avoiding errors 

IELTS Speaking assessment criteria 

During the speaking test, IELTS examiners use 4 pointers to mark the candidate’s performance. Those four pointers are – 

  1. Lexical resource.
  2. Fluency and coherence.
  3. Pronunciation.
  4. Grammatical range and accuracy.

In an explanatory way, the criteria’s for speaking assessment are – Lexical resource 

  • Using diversity in vocabulary. 
  • Avoiding errors. 
  • Using a variety of words and paraphrasing. 

Fluency and coherence

  • Speaking without self-correction.
  • Speaking understandable English.
  • Talking fluently, without hesitations.
  • Speaking at length. 
  • Using interlinking words. 


  • Understandable throughout the examination. 
  • Understanding is not affected by actions. 
  • Use of accurate pronunciation.
  • Proper use of tone. 

Grammatical range and accuracy 

  • Using a range of tenses.
  • Using a variety of sentence structures.
  • Avoiding errors.   

It should be noted that these all factors are weighted equally for band score. Apart from all these, IELTS band scores are also related to CEFRs. 

What is CEFR?

CEFR stands for Central European Framework of Reference for Languages. Among the six points scale, it describes the candidate’s ability over that language. These pointers are marked as C2 for experts and A1 for beginners. This CEFR refers to the use of an individual’s 5 language skills: listening, writing, reading, spoken production, and spoken interaction. The six levels of ability are divided into 3 groups – 

  1. Basic user (A1 and A2).
  2. Independent user (B1 and B2).
  3. Proficient user (C1 and C2). 

IELTS band and its correlation with the CEFR scale

CEFR levelIELTS band score
A12 and less.

In general, IELTS band score differs from country to country. Also, specifically speaking, these requirements vary depending on the academic institutions and job prospects. General country-specific requirements are as below.

CountryAverage overall IELTS band
UK5.5 – 6.5
Australia6.0 – 6.5
New Zealand6.5+

For IELTS Reading Academic 

IELTS band score


To apply abroad, the English proficiency test is among one of the primary requirements for application. Before application, candidates have to check the requirements beforehand to expedite the application process. Also, it should be remembered that different institutions have different requirements for IELTS. Some might have individual section-wise requirements, whereas some emphasize the overall IELTS band score. Aspirants looking to apply for foreign institutions should not know the cost of studies concerning the foreign university. Thus, due to high monetary requirements, most studious students are giving up studying at these high-ranked universities. Leap Scholar assists students with the potential to study at foreign universities by providing financial help

Frequently Asked Questions

Does the IELTS score differ with the university?

Yes. Different universities have different IELTS requirements. It is also important to note that few of the departments might have their specific requirements too.   

Should I apply for IELTS Academic or General?

For academic studies, universities need IELTS Academic scores. 

Does the IELTS speaking test happen on the same day of the test?

It depends. For CBT speaking test might be taken on the same day, but for PBT speaking test will be taken on a different day.

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Manisha Angre

Experienced IELTS prep trainer and education management industry veteran. Specializes in public speaking, international education, market research, mentoring, and management.

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