IELTS Band Score Criteria 2024: Section Wise Best IELTS Scores

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If you are planning to take the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) exam, understanding the band score criteria is crucial.

Each of the four sections will be scored on a scale of 1 to 9, and in addition to that, you will receive an overall band score. 

A “good” IELTS band score is 7.0 or higher. A band 7.0 is defined as a “good user“, a band 8.0 a “very good user“, and a 9.0 an “expert” user.

It will take less than two weeks to get the IELTS results.

In this blog, we will explore IELTS band score criteria, focusing on each section to comprehensively understand how your scores are assessed.

What are IELTS Band Scores, and how are they calculated?

In the IELTS test, you will receive an IELTS band score from 1 to 9 for each section – Listening, Reading, Writing, and Speaking.

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IELTS Band Score Criteria 2024: Section Wise Best IELTS Scores

Your Overall IELTS Band Score is calculated by averaging these scores. In each part of the test, you can achieve whole bands (e.g., 5.0, 6.0, 7.0) or half bands (e.g., 5.5, 6.5, 7.5).

Let’s look at an example:

Listening7
Reading6
Writing6
Speaking6.5
IELTS Band Score6.5

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IELTS Band Score Criteria 2024: Section Wise Best IELTS Scores

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IELTS Band Score Descriptor

Here is the IELTS band scores chart to understand the descriptor for each band score (0-9):

IELTS BAND SCORESKILL LEVELWHAT IT INDICATES
9Expert userHas a complete understanding of English.
8Very good userGood hold on English; possibilities or minimum errors.
7Good UserCan communicate effortlessly; might experience some misunderstandings
6Competent UserCan communicate with a little effort, especially in familiar situations
5Modest userCannot use complex forms of English. Experiences problems in expressing.
4Limited UserExperiences problems in expressing themselves in writing or speaking.
3Extremely limited userExperiences frequent interruptions while speaking and understanding English
2Intermittent userExperiences extreme difficulty in speaking and writing English
1Non-userNo knowledge of the language except for a few commonly used words
0Test not attemptedThe test taker has not provided any information for the assessment

IELTS Band Score Section-wise Assessment Criteria

Your IELTS band score determines your performance level.

It is ideal to properly understand the IELTS Band Score Chart and the scoring system before preparing for the test.

The following sections will give you a clear idea of the assessment criteria and how the scores translate into a section-wise band score:

IELTS band score
A “good” IELTS band score is 7.0 or higher.

IELTS Reading

The reading section consists of 40 questions. If you get one correct answer, you get a raw score of one.

The IELTS reading raw score is calculated based on the total number of correct answers out of 40.

The IELTS academic reading scores will probably be whole bands like 4, 5, 8, 7, etc., or half bands like 5.5, 7.5, 6.5, etc.

If the decimal portion is more than 0.25, the score will be rounded to the upper value. If the decimal point is below, the midpoints will be rounded off to the lower value, i.e. 7.2 will be rounded as 7.

IELTS Reading Band Scores

Here’s how you can calculate your IELTS reading band score:

Band ScoreRaw Score out of 40
939-40
8.537-38
835-36
7.533-34
730-32
6.527-29
623-26
5.519-22
515-18
4.513-14
410-12
3.58-9
36-7

IELTS Listening

The IELTS listening section consists of 40 questions.

If you get one correct answer, you get a raw score of one. The raw listening score is calculated by adding the total number of correct answers out of 40.

The final IELTS band score is calculated by converting the raw scores to the band scale of 1-9. Like the reading section, the scores are in whole and half bands.

IELTS Listening Bands Scores Table

Here’s how you can calculate your IELTS listening band score:

Band ScoreRaw Score out of 40
939-40
8.537-38
835-36
7.533-34
730-32
6.527-29
623-26
5.519-22
515-18
4.513-14
410-12
3.58-9
36-7

IELTS Speaking

You’ll engage in a face-to-face interview with the examiner in the IELTS speaking test

Your band score for this section will be assessed based on specific criteria. Let’s explore these criteria and understand how you can excel in each aspect:

  • Fluency & Coherence: This evaluation focuses on how confidently and smoothly you speak. Begin your answers with confidence and communicate your thoughts. Avoid using fillers like ‘umm’ or ‘uh.’ If you need a moment to gather your thoughts, pause briefly before responding. Think about your answer, and then deliver it with ease.
  • Lexical Resource: Your vocabulary is under scrutiny in this section. Aim to demonstrate a wide range of words and expressions to articulate your ideas effectively. Learn idioms and their proper usage in sentences to enrich your responses.
  • Grammatical Range & Accuracy: The speaking test also assesses Your grammatical proficiency. To excel in this category, dedicate time to learn various grammatical structures during your IELTS preparation. Be well-versed in the different parts of speech to construct accurate and coherent sentences.
  • Pronunciation: Pay close attention to the pronunciation of each word. Ensure you use words from your vocabulary correctly and pronounce them clearly. Practice speaking aloud to refine your pronunciation skills.

Remember, all these criteria carry equal weight in determining your IELTS Band Score. It’s an average of your performance in each measure.

IELTS Speaking Band Scores Table

IELTS Band scores for speaking calculate the mean of all four criteria (For Instance: 6+7+6+8/4=7). The decimal portion is more than 0.25 and is rounded off to the upper value and midpoints to the lower value.

Here is an example of an IELTS band score chart of speaking to provide you with an idea:

Fluency and Coherence7
Pronunciation6
Lexical Resource8
Grammatical range and accuracy8
Total IELTS Speaking Score7

IELTS Writing

The IELTS Writing test comprises two tasks. These tasks are evaluated using the below criteria:

Task Achievement: The tasks in the writing section have a set of directives. You must follow them and complete your tasks efficiently. To score well in this section, ensure you understand the instructions.

Coherence & Cohesion: This section evaluates your writing skills. You must form sentences properly and format your writing with well-organised paragraphs. Form simple, compound, and complex sentences, as required. 

Lexical Resource: The writing section also evaluates your vocabulary. You must have an adequate range of vocabulary and must be able to express yourself efficiently. Knowledge of idioms and how to use them correctly is a bonus

Grammatical Range & Accuracy: The writing section evaluates the test-taker’s grammatical accuracy. To score a good IELTS band score in this category, learn the basics and different structures of grammar during your preparation. 

IELTS Writing Band Scores table

IELTS Writing Score is calculated by the mean of the four assessment criteria (For Instance: 6+7+&+8/4=7). 

Here is the IELTS writing band score chart to provide you with an idea:

Task Achievement8
Lexical Resource7
Coherence & Cohesion8
Grammatical range and accuracy8
Total IELTS Speaking Score8

How to improve your final IELTS band score?

To excel in your IELTS exam and achieve a high score, it’s crucial to approach your preparation with a comprehensive strategy. 

Here are some essential steps you can take to maximize your test scores:

  • Master the Basics of Grammar: Strengthen your foundation in grammar by reviewing the rules and structures of the English language. Understanding grammar will enable you to construct clear and accurate sentences.
  • Practice Different Parts of Speech: Learn various parts of speech like nouns, verbs, adjectives, etc. Practicing their usage will enhance your ability to express yourself fluently and precisely.
  • Expand Your Vocabulary: Commit to learning at least five new words daily. Take the time to understand their meanings and usage in context. A rich vocabulary will elevate the quality of your responses.
  • Improve Reading Skills: Read aloud from study guides, newspapers, and books regularly. This exercise will enhance your comprehension and aid in pronunciation and fluency.
  • Hone Your Writing Skills: Practice writing essays and short reviews on different topics, such as books or entertainment. This practice will refine your writing style and help you effectively convey your ideas.
  • Enhance Listening Skills: Engage with English podcasts and educational programs to develop your listening abilities. Focus on understanding different accents and nuances in spoken English.
  • Use a Dictionary: Whenever you encounter an unfamiliar word or phrase, make it a habit to look it up. Expanding your lexical resources will boost your overall language proficiency.
  • Take Mock Tests: Take advantage of mock tests as they provide valuable insights into your strengths and weaknesses. Regularly assessing your performance will help you identify areas that need improvement.

Wrapping up

The IELTS band score concept’s main focus is the sectional scores with specific details. Most top universities follow the IELTS band score chart of around 7.0 – 7.5, which is among the highest IELTS scores.

In addition to the steps mentioned above, consider seeking expert help to enhance your IELTS preparation further. 

Confused? That’s where Leap Scholar steps in. You can download the IELTS Prep app, where our study abroad experts have prepared special lessons for you.

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Frequently Asked Questions

  • For how long is the IELTS score valid?

    A: Your IELTS band scores are valid for a period of two years from the date of the test. After this two-year period, your scores will expire, and you will need to retake the IELTS exam if you wish to use the scores for any official purposes, such as university admissions or visa applications.

  • Is 7 and above a good IELTS score?

    A: Yes, a score of 7 is considered a good IELTS score. It indicates that the user is familiar with the language and its complexities. They might make a few errors, but you can avoid the mistakes with thorough IELTS preparation. Most universities have a minimum requirement of 7 as an entry criterion.

  • Q: Is 7 and above a good IELTS score?

    A: Yes, a score of 7 is considered a good IELTS score. It indicates that the user is familiar with the language and its complexities. They might make a few errors, but you can avoid the mistakes with thorough IELTS preparation. Most universities have a minimum requirement of 7 as an entry criterion.

  • Q: Can I retake the IELTS test to improve my band score?

    A: Yes, you can retake the IELTS test as many times as you wish. There is no limit on the number of times you can take the test. If you are not satisfied with your band score, retaking the exam gives you the opportunity to improve your performance and achieve a higher score.

  • Q: What is the minimum band score required for higher education institutions?

    A: The required minimum band score for higher education institutions varies depending on the specific university and the course you wish to enrol in. In general, most universities require a band score of 6.0 or higher for undergraduate courses and a band score of 6.5 or higher for postgraduate courses. However, some universities may have higher or lower requirements, so it is essential to check with the specific institution you are interested in.

  • Q: Are there separate band scores for each section of the IELTS test?

    A: Yes, the IELTS test consists of four sections: Listening, Reading, Writing, and Speaking. Each section is scored separately, and you will receive a band score for each of them. The band scores for the four sections are then averaged to calculate your Overall Band Score.

  • Q: How is the IELTS Speaking test assessed?

    A: The IELTS Speaking test is assessed by trained and certified examiners. The examiners evaluate your performance based on specific criteria, including fluency, vocabulary, grammar, pronunciation, and coherence. They will listen to your responses and assign a band score based on your overall language proficiency demonstrated during the Speaking test.

  • Q: Can I request a remark if I am not satisfied with my band score?

    A: Yes, if you are not satisfied with your IELTS band score, you can apply for an Enquiry on Results (EOR). To do this, you must submit a formal request to the test centre where you took the exam within six weeks of the test date. A senior examiner will re-mark your test materials, and if there is any change in your band scores, you will receive a new Test Report Form with the updated scores.

  • Q: Is there a passing or failing score on the IELTS test?

    A: The IELTS test does not have a passing or failing score. Instead, the band scores reflect your level of English proficiency. Each band score corresponds to a specific level of language ability, ranging from non-user (band score 1) to expert user (band score 9). The score you need depends on your specific goals and the requirements of the institution or organization you are applying to.

  • Q: Can I use my IELTS band score for immigration purposes? 

    A: Yes, many countries accept IELTS scores for immigration purposes, including Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom. IELTS is commonly used to demonstrate English language proficiency for immigration applications, particularly for skilled migration and study visas. However, the required band score may vary depending on the specific visa category and immigration policies of the country you are applying.

  • Q: Can I take the IELTS test on a computer?

    A: Yes, the IELTS test is available in a computer-delivered format in some locations. The computer-based IELTS test is similar in content and structure to the paper-based test. However, the format may differ slightly, and the Speaking test is still conducted face-to-face with an examiner.

  • Q: Is there a minimum age requirement to take the IELTS test?

    A: There is no minimum age requirement to take the IELTS test. However, some test centres may have their own age restrictions or guidelines. If you are under 18, it is advisable to check with the specific test centre where you plan to take the exam.

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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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