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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.

Band Score Score Description
IELTS Band 9
Expert user
has fully operational command of the language: appropriate, accurate and fluent with complete understanding.
IELTS Band 8
Very good user
has fully operational command of the language with only occasional unsystematic inaccuracies and inappropriacy. Misunderstandings may occur in unfamiliar situations. Handles complex detailed argumentation well.
IELTS Band 7
Good user
has operational command of the language, though with occasional inaccuracies, inappropriacy and misunderstandings in some situations. Generally handles complex language well and understands detailed reasoning.
IELTS Band 6
Competent user
has generally effective command of the language despite some inaccuracies, inappropriacy and misunderstandings. Can use and understand fairly complex language, particularly in familiar situations.
IELTS Band 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.
IELTS Band 4
Limited user
basic competence is limited to familiar situations. Has frequent problems in understanding and expression. Is not able to use complex language.
IELTS Band 3
Extremely limited user
conveys and understands only general meaning in very familiar situations. Frequent breakdowns in communication occur.
IELTS Band 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.
IELTS Band 1
essentially has no ability to use the language beyond possibly a few isolated words

For example, a band score of 6 corresponds to a competent user who generally has effective command of the language despite some inaccuracies, inappropriacies and misunderstandings. They can also use and understand fairly complex language, particularly in familiar situations. 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. 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.


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.  

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