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Watch this short video and find out how IELTS is scored in all four parts of the test.

What are IELTS scores? An introduction to band scores

In the IELTS test, your English-language skills are measured against band scores. These band scores range from a band 0 to a band 9 with each band score corresponding to a level of English-language competence. Here’s a breakdown of the IELTS band scores:

  • Band 9 - Expert: Demonstrates a full command of the language with fluency, precision, and coherence.

  • Band 8 - Very Good: Displays full comprehension of the language with occasional minor errors. Can deal with complex language and situations effectively.

  • Band 7 - Good: Can use the language efficiently, though some inaccuracies and misunderstandings might arise. Capable of handling complex discussions and texts.

  • Band 6 - Competent: Manages to convey and understand messages in familiar situations, though errors might be present. Engages with somewhat complex language.

  • Band 5 - Modest: Limited ability, can grasp general meaning, but is prone to mistakes. Can manage basic communication in known contexts.

  • Band 4 - Limited: Has the ability to deal only with familiar situations. Struggles with complex language and often misunderstands it.

  • Band 3 - Extremely Limited: Understands and communicates only in very routine scenarios. Faces significant challenges in unfamiliar situations.

  • Band 2 - Intermittent: Struggles significantly with understanding and producing English in most scenarios.

  • Band 1 - Non-user: Can possibly recognise a few words but cannot communicate beyond that.

  • Band 0 - Did not attempt the test: No evidence of language ability as the test was not taken.

While many might assume that the scoring for the Academic and General Training tests might differ substantially, they share many similarities. Both these versions of the IELTS exam employ the same 9-band scale, ensuring uniformity in evaluating English competence. 

The distinction primarily lies in the content and context of the tests, designed respectively for educational and general real-world situations. Yet, in both, the goal remains the same: to provide an accurate, comprehensive, and reliable measure of your English proficiency.

How IELTS is scored: the mechanics behind your band score

In your IELTS results, you will get a band score for each part of the test as well as an overall band score which is an average of your band scores for Speaking, Reading, Writing, and Listening. Both the Listening and Reading sections consist of 40 questions, with each correct response earning one mark. The accumulated score out of 40 is then converted to the IELTS 9-band scale.

For the Speaking section, IELTS-certified examiners will conduct a face-to-face evaluation. Candidates are assessed based on fluency and coherence, lexical resource, grammatical range and accuracy and pronunciation. Similarly, the Writing section's evaluation is criterion-based. Examiners allocate band scores for Writing Tasks 1 and 2 based on performance in areas like coherence, lexical variety, and grammatical accuracy.

Your band scores are given as whole or half band scores and are rounded up to the nearest half or whole band score. For example, if you get a 6.5 in Reading, 5 in Writing, 7 in Speaking, and 6.5 in Listening, the average of these 4 scores would be 6.25. This score would be rounded up to 6.5 for your overall band score.

Skilled examiners, backed by rigorous training, assess all IELTS tests. For added reliability, selected results undergo double-checks, guaranteeing uniform scoring across various test venues. 

The significance of your IELTS score in Cambodia

Recognised by over 11,500 organisations globally, the IELTS is the preferred metric for English proficiency. In Cambodia, universities, training institutions, and government departments have specific IELTS entry scores, tailored to their unique requirements. For instance, a high-demand English programme might require a higher IELTS score than other courses.

For those in Cambodia eyeing migration, IELTS is universally accepted by immigration departments in countries like Australia, the UK, Canada, and New Zealand. Though minimum score criteria may vary and evolve, often, higher scores might confer added advantages in certain migration pathways. 

IELTS scores and your future: study, work, and migration

A strong IELTS score is a passport to global opportunities. Universities around the world recognise the IELTS certification, ensuring that international students have the English proficiency needed for academic success. Moreover, global employers often regard IELTS as a reliable measure of a candidate's ability to communicate effectively in professional settings. 

If you are planning to relocate, many countries consider the IELTS score as a dependable gauge of linguistic capability, streamlining visa applications. Overall, an impressive IELTS score will not only showcase your English expertise but also pave the way for international education, employment, and residency opportunities.

Achieving your desired band score: tips and strategies

To get that dream IELTS band score, it will require a combination of dedication, practice, and the right resources. Consider these tips to guide your preparation journey:

  • Immerse in English daily: Engage with English newspapers, podcasts, or shows daily. This enhances both vocabulary and understanding of diverse accents.

  • Consistent practice: Dedicate time daily for practice, focusing on areas where improvement is needed.

  • Familiarise with the test format: Understand the structure of the IELTS to reduce test-day anxiety.

  • Take online preparation tests: Engage in IELTS Academic and General free practice tests to familiarise yourself with the test environment and improve time management.