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How is the IELTS Reading score calculated?

The Academic and General IELTS tests have different reading sections. However, the question types, the number of questions, and the way it is scored remains the same. The question types range from multiple choice and matching information tasks, such as matching sentence endings or headings, to completion tasks such as summary, flow-chart or sentence completion. 

In the Reading test , you will respond to 40 questions that are based on three long texts, and you will receive one mark for each correct answer. Your raw score — which is used to calculate your IELTS band score will be based on the total number of correct answers. It is crucial to try to respond to every question because blank answers will not receive points.

IELTS Reading Band Scores

Band

Skill level

Description

0

Did not attempt test 

No assessable information provided

1

Non-user 

Essentially has no ability to use the language beyond possibly a few isolated words

2

Intermittent user

No 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

3

Extremely limited user

Conveys and understands only general meaning in very familiar situations. Frequent breakdowns in communication occur

4

Limited user

Basic competence is limited to familiar situations. Has frequent problems with understanding and expression. Is not able to use complex language.

5

Modest user

Has 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

6

Competent 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

7

Good user

Has operational command of the language, though with occasional inaccuracies, inappropriacies and misunderstandings in some situations. Generally handles complex language well and understands detailed reasoning

8

Very good user

Has fully operational command of the language with only occasional unsystematic inaccuracies and inappropriacies. Misunderstandings may occur in unfamiliar situations. Handles complex detailed argumentation well

9

Expert user

Has fully operational command of the language: appropriate, accurate and fluent with complete understanding

IELTS Academic Reading Scores

Number of correct answers 

(Raw Score) 

IELTS Academic 

Reading Band Score 

40-39

9

38-37

8.5

36-35

8

34-33

7.5

32-30

7

29-27

6.5

26-23

6

22-19

5.5

18-15

5

14-13

4.5

12-10

4

9-8

3.5

7-6

3

5-4

2.5

IELTS General Training Reading Band Scores

Number of correct answers (Raw Score)

IELTS General Training 

Reading Band Score 

40

9

39

8.5

37-38

8

36

7.5

34-35

7

32-33

6.5

30-31

6

27-29

5.5

23-26

5

19-22

4.5

15-18

4

12-14

3.5

9-11

3

The IELTS Reading band score charts that are displayed illustrate the average number of marks needed to get each band score. As a result of the variations in texts used on different occasions, actual scores may differ slightly between tests.