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How To Calculate IELTS Band Score

IELTS Band Scores: How they are calculated

Your IELTS scores decide the foreign institute where will you study. More than 10,000 professional colleges and universities of the world acknowledge the marks. These marks are awarded in the format of band scores on a scale of 0 to 9. There are short gradations of 0.5 as well. The total score is calculated by summing the individual scores in each section. The final score is rounded off to the nearest band score.

Knowing the marking scheme of IELTS will help you to set the right target. You can be more specific and give extra attention to scoring portions. So, in this article, we have shared with you all the information about the IELTS band score. So, keep on reading.

IELTS Marking system-

The question paper of the IELTS exam is jointly set by the British Council, IDP Education and Cambridge Assessment English. So, the level of examination is tough even for foreign test-takers. After the exam is over, the answer copies are thoroughly checked by qualified professionals. Fortunately, there is no pass and fail system in IELTS. Neither there is negative marking for incorrect answers. Every candidate is awarded a band score according to his performance. Each band score bestows the individual a grade of English proficiency. For example, if you have scored 6, you will be marked as a competent English user.


Now let us move our attention to a separate marking scheme for each section.

  1. How you will get marks in the listening assessment?

As you already know, the listening portion consists of questions having one word or a few word answers. You are made to listen a recording and find the answers from it. There are 40 questions in the question paper. And you have to answer each of the following proper instructions. Spelling mistakes will cost you points. Zero marks is awarded for a wrong answer. The band score is decided on the basis of the total number of correct answers. There is a predesigned table indicating the band score for a definite number of right responses.

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  1. How will you get your reading test scores?

This section has a similar marking pattern like listening. You have to read the texts and paragraphs in the question paper. Related to these textual items, you will get a variety type of questions such as true or false, MCQs, matching, Complete the sentence etc. Your answers will be limited to one or two words. And 1 mark is given for each correct answer. Based on the points you secure, you will be allotted a definite band score. There is a standard chart for this too.

  1. How your writing scores are counted?

IELTS ensures that candidates get justified marks for their performance. Writing is a subjective part. So, at least two professional examiners will check your answer sheet. If possible, 3 or more can also do the task. There are standardised rules to give you band scores in task 1 and task 2.

There are grossly 4 areas in which your writings will be judged. Let’s know one by one-

  • Task response-

Here the examiner checks if your answer meets all the demands of the question. To get a nice band score, your answer must address every bit of the question. Each part should be elaborated nicely. There should be strong ideas supporting the conclusion as well.

  • Coherence and cohesion-

This criteria checks if your essay has a well-balanced flow. The consecutive sentences should have a logical link between them. The texts should have proper readability. Then only you will get decent band scores in this part.

  • Lexical sources-

The examiner will check your vocabulary skills in writing. Your essays should have the least spelling errors. The sentences should be formed correctly. You have to make use of common lexical items effectively.

  • Grammatical range and accuracy –

You will be allotted a specific band score for your grammatical accuracy. The examiner will check if all your sentences are framed correctly according to tense, clause etc. So, give special attention to your grammar if you want to ace the writing part.

  1. How will you be assessed for your speaking skill?

As you know this exam is conducted as a face to face interview with the examiner. The interviewer will be giving a topic to speak on the spot. He will be also asking questions related to the topic. Band scores are given in 4 areas of judgment as follows-

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  • Fluency-

Whether you are able to speak fluently or not. How many times you cut the sentences in between and think for the exact word?

  • Lexical resources –

How rich is your vocabulary while speaking English? Are you able to use adequate idioms and phrases to support your statement?

  • Grammatical accuracy-

Whether the sentences you are uttering are grammatically correct or not? Do the sentences follow the tense rules?

  • Pronunciation check-

Are your pronunciation and accent up to the mark? Is it understandable to the examiner?

So, these were the 4 speaking areas in which separate band scores will be given to you!

The final score-

At the end scores in each section are summated and divided by 4. Let us understand with an example. Suppose your scores are like this:

Reading= 6.5

Writing= 5

Listening= 7

Speaking= 6.5

When added, the result will come out to be 25.

Now, it is further divided by 4, so you get a score of 6.25. Then, this score is averaged to the nearest band score which is 6.5- your final score on the certificate.

Let us have a look at what is your level on the basis of a band score-

Grade 9- Expert

Grade 8- Very good

Grade 7- Good

Grade 6- Competent

Grade 5- Modest

Grade 4- Limited

Grade 3- Extremely limited

Grade 2- Intermittent user

Grade 1- Nonuser

Grade 0- did not appear

Some of the top-notch universities in the world accept a grade between 7 to 8. So, your target should be greater than 7 if you are a student. We hope this article was informative and solved your queries regarding band scores in IELTS. So, plan your strategy, and start the preparation!

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