Your results are presented as band scores, with each band reflecting a different level of English language proficiency and ranging from 1 to 9. You will receive a band score for each section of the test—Listening, Reading, Writing, and Speaking—as well as an overall band score.

Meaning of your IELTS score

IELTS scores are made to be simple and easy to understand. IELTS results are on a 9-band scale; they are known as band scores on a scale from 1 to 9, 1 being the lowest and 9 being the highest. All formats of IELTS use the same scoring system.

Band Skill level Description 
9Expert userHas fully operational command of the language: appropriate, accurate and fluent with complete understanding.
8Very good userHas fully operational command of the language with only occasional unsystematic inaccuracies and inappropriacies. Misunderstandings may occur in unfamiliar situations. Handles complex detailed argumentation well.
7Good userHas operational command of the language, though with occasional inaccuracies, inappropriacies and misunderstandings in some situations. Generally, handles complex language well and understands detailed reasoning.
6Competent user Has generally effective command of the language despite some inaccuracies, inappropriacies and misunderstandings. Can use and understand fairly complex language, particularly in familiar situations.
5Modest userHas partial command of the language, coping with overall meaning in most situations, though is likely to make many mistakes. Should be able to handle basic communication in own field.
4Limited userBasic competence is limited to familiar situations. Has frequent problems in understanding and expression. Is not able to use complex language.
3Extremely limited userConveys and understands only the general meaning in very familiar situations. Frequent breakdowns in communication occur 
2Intermittent userNo real communication is possible except for the most basic information using isolated words or short formulae in familiar situations and to meet immediate needs. Has great difficulty understanding spoken and written English.
1Non-userEssentially has no ability to use the language beyond possibly a few isolated words.
0Did not attempt test No assessable information provided.

How to calculate IELTS score?

Each test - Listening, Reading, Writing, and Speaking– is given a score. To create an overall band score, the individual scores are then summed and rounded to the nearest half band.

Section band scores

How to calculate IELTS listening score?

There are 40 questions in the IELTS Listening test. One mark is assigned to every correct answer. The IELTS nine-band scale is used to convert scores out of 40. Scores are reported in whole and half bands. Learn more about IELTS Listening band scores.

IELTS Reading band score

There are 40 questions on the IELTS Reading test. One mark is assigned to each correct response. The IELTS nine-band scale is used to convert scores out of 40. Scores are reported in whole and half bands. The grades for the Academic and General Training Reading tests are the same. The difference between the two tests basically comes down to text genre. However, materials used in Academic Reading assessments may have more challenging vocabulary or a more complicated writing style. On a General Training Reading test, it is common that more questions must be answered correctly in order to receive a certain band score.  

Here are the average number of marks required to achieve a particular band score in Listening, Academic Reading, and General Training Reading. Check out more information about IELTS Reading band scoresexternal icon.


Band scoreRaw score out of 40

Academic Reading

Band scoreRaw score out of 40

General Training Reading

Band scoreRaw score out of 40

IELTS Writing score

Examiners assign a band score for each of the four categories using assessment criteria:

  • Task Achievement (for Task 1), Task Response (for Task 2)

  • Lexical Resource

  • Coherence and Cohesion

  • Grammatical Range and Accuracy

The average score for the task is calculated by measuring the criteria equally and the Writing band score is the average.

IELTS Speaking scores

Examiners use the assessment criteria below to determine a band score for each of the four categories:

  • Fluency and Coherence

  • Lexical Resource

  • Grammatical Range and Accuracy

  • Pronunciation

The average score for the task is calculated by measuring the criteria equally and the Speaking band score is the average.

What is the validity of the IELTS score?

The IELTS partners recommend a 2-year validity period for the IELTS test results based on the well-established concept of second language loss or "attrition," although it is up to each organisation to determine a validity period that suits their needs. You can get your IELTS test results within a few days, depending on which type of test you take. Click here to know more about the IELTS test results.


What is the difference between raw scores and band scores?

The Listening and Reading parts of the IELTS test  are scored out of 40 and then converted  to a  band score which ranges  from  band 1  to  band 9.

The Listening and Reading tests contain 40 questions and each correct question will be awarded 1 mark (so the maximum a test  taker can score here is 40).  Band scores, ranging from band 1 to band 9, are  awarded based on the raw scores.  

How is IELTS Scored? Find out how all four parts of the IELTS test are scored in this short video

How is IELTS scored?

To help you work towards the IELTS score you need, watch this short video and find out how IELTS is scored in all four parts of the test.

Learn More