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At IELTS, we want to help boost you to the next level. We want to make sure you don’t need to repeat your English language test. That’s why we share with you how we test, how we mark your work, and what is important. For IELTS Writing, Speaking, Reading and Listening, we’ll tell you what examiners look for and how your test is marked. We’ll also show you how your overall band score is calculated

Watch the video at the end of this page: "What an IELTS Band 4.5 sounds like"

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The IELTS 9 band scale

The IELTS Academic and General Training tests are both graded to a 9 band scale. For each section of the test (Writing, Reading, Listening and Speaking), you will receive a band score from 1 – 9. The average of this score will form your overall IELTS band score. This may be a whole score (e.g. 5, 6) or half (e.g. 7.5, 8.5). So, what does it mean if you need a band 4.5?

IELTS band 4.5

An IELTS band 4.5 is between an IELTS band 4 and a band 5. At an IELTS band 4, you have a very basic understanding of English and you are more comfortable communicating in familiar situations. It is difficult to use complex language. Then, at an IELTS band 5, you have a limited command of the language. You can cope with overall meaning in most situations, but you still make many mistakes. 

In this article, we will tell you what you need to do to get a score of IELTS 4.5 in each of the four components of the test: Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking. Your Listening and Reading tests are marked on the number of questions you answer right. Then, in your Speaking and Writing test, we look at ‘marking criteria.’ Finally, your overall IELTS score is calculated as an average of these four module scores, or ‘sub-scores’.

How is the Overall Band Score calculated?

The Overall Band Score is the average of the four component scores, rounded to the nearest whole or half band. The component scores are weighted equally. So, if your average of the four components ends in .25, the Overall Band Score is rounded up to the next half band, and if it ends in .75, the Overall Band Score is rounded up to the next whole band. If the average ends with a fraction below .25 or .75, the overall score is rounded down. 

An example of IELTS 4.5: 

If these were your IELTS sub-band scores: 

  • Reading 4.5

  • Writing 3 

  • Speaking 6 

  • Listening 4.5 

You would calculate 4.5 + 3 + 6 + 4.5 = 18. Then, you divide 18 by 4 = 4.5. So, your overall band score = 4.5.

As the most respected English test in the world, IELTS offers more free practice tests and support material than any other test. It’s designed to help you succeed.

Watch the video at the end of this page about how IELTS is scored.

How to get an IELTS Listening band 4.5?

In the Listening test, you are asked to answer 40 questions that relate to audio clips that are played to you. Your answers are either correct or incorrect, so the marking is a little different to the Speaking and Writing tests. You will receive one mark for each correct answer, with the total number marks determining your band score. 

  • Get 13 out of 40 answers correct for IELTS 4.0* 

  • Get 16 out of 40 answers correct for IELTS 5.0* 

Just remember, that you need to spell answers correctly. You should read the questions carefully, and not write more than the maximum number of words for each question. You can try this in the IELTS on computer Listening practice test

*These indicate the average number of marks required to achieve a particular band score in the Listening test

How to get an IELTS Reading band 4.5?

In the IELTS Reading test, you are also asked to answer 40 questions. A variety of question types are used, e.g. multiple choice, True/False/Not Given, matching, and sentence completion. Just like the Listening test, your answers are either correct or incorrect. You receive one mark for each correct answer, with the total number of marks determining your band score. 

When you sit for the IELTS General Training test: 

  • Get 15 out of 40 answers correct for IELTS 4.0* 

  • Get 23 out of 40 answers correct for IELTS 5.0* 

Similar to the Listening test, you need to spell answers correctly. You should read the questions carefully, and not write more than the maximum number of words for each question. Also, have a look at our 5 common mistakes to avoid in the Reading test. 

*These indicate the average number of marks required to achieve a particular band score in the General Training Reading test

How to get an IELTS Speaking band 4.5?

The Speaking test in IELTS is just like a conversation that you would have in everyday life. In the test, you will sit in a private, quiet room with a qualified examiner who will engage you in a conversation. While it can be difficult to speak to a stranger, make the most of it! With IELTS, the examiner can slow down for you, speed up or even repeat or rephrase a question if you like – all you have to do is ask. The examiner is there to enable you to perform at your best. Check our list of 10 Examiner Approved Tips for the Speaking test. 

Your speaking skills are marked against a number of criteria, including ‘fluency and coherence’, ‘lexical resource’, ‘pronunciation’, ‘grammatical range’ and ‘accuracy’. To understand what each of these mean you can view the Speaking band descriptors, which has detailed information about each criteria and how they relate to the different band scores that are possible. 

Get an IELTS Speaking band 4.0

WordsMeaning
Fluency cannot respond without noticeable pauses and may speak slowly, with frequent repetition and self-correction links basic sentences but with repetitious use of simple connectives and some breakdowns in coherence
Lexical resource is able to talk about familiar topics but can only convey basic meaning on unfamiliar topics and makes frequent errors in word choice rarely attempts paraphrase
Grammar produces basic sentence forms and some correct simple sentences but subordinate structures are rare errors are frequent and may lead to misunderstanding
Pronunciation uses a limited range of pronunciation features attempts to control features but lapses are frequent mispronunciations are frequent and cause some difficulty for the listener

Get an IELTS Speaking band 5.0 

WordsMeaning
Fluency usually maintains flow of speech but uses repetition, self correction and/or slow speech to keep going may over-use certain connectives and discourse markers produces simple speech fluently, but more complex communication causes fluency problems
Lexical resource manages to talk about familiar and unfamiliar topics but uses vocabulary with limited flexibility attempts to use paraphrase but with mixed success
Grammar produces basic sentence forms with reasonable accuracy uses a limited range of more complex structures, but these usually contain errors and may cause some comprehension problems
Pronunciation produces basic sentence forms with reasonable accuracy uses a limited range of more complex structures, but these usually contain errors and may cause some comprehension problems

Examiner explains: Why is this a Band 4.5

View the video below or read the video transcript

What speaking ability does a score of IELTS Band 4.5 represent? Watch this Speaking test sample, where Jitleka from Thailand talks about 'Parties and celebrations'. 

This test taker can keep going, although her responses are rather repetitive and she relies heavily on certain expressions (something like; you know). She uses a sufficient range of vocabulary to discuss familiar topics, with occasional appropriate use of more complex items. However, she often reverts to the personal and uses a lot of simple phrases. She attempts to paraphrase, but with mixed success. 

She predominantly uses the simple present, and makes errors when she attempts a wider range (haven't known). She attempts to use complex structures but there are a lot of systematic errors caused by the addition of "s" to a variety of word forms, and this is confusing. She is able to make some use of rhythm and intonation, but the mispronunciation of individual sounds is very frequent and results in many quite basic words and whole patches of speech being difficult to follow. 

Although her ability to keep going and her use of vocabulary are stronger features, she is unable to achieve Band 5.0. 

How to get an IELTS Writing band 4.5?

The IELTS Writing test is marked by qualified IELTS examiners who are intensively trained and monitored to ensure consistency and quality of marking, no matter where in the world the test is taken. A minimum of two examiners mark your Writing test, and sometimes even up to three or four – we do this to ensure the highest level of accuracy and fairness possible. 

Your Writing test response is scored in the areas of ‘task response or task achievement', ‘coherence and cohesion’, ‘lexical resource’, and ‘grammatical range and accuracy’. To understand what each of these mean you can view the Writing band descriptors, which have detailed information about each criteria and how they relate to the different band scores that are possible. If you need someone to explain this in person, attend a free IELTS Masterclass

Understand how to get an IELTS 4.5 in Writing 

For the IELTS Writing test, you have to complete two tasks: Writing task 1 and Writing task 2. Have a look at each of the band descriptors below. This way, you know what is expected from you to get between an IELTS band 4.0 and 5.0 for Writing.

What an IELTS Band 4.5 sounds like

https://images.ctfassets.net/unrdeg6se4ke/hM1CMOLvhsO6JbMBFLPLy/632fe02b70b6a0eba645aa0ebf56a940/speaking_thumbnail.png
2022-05-06T09:31:51.105Z
https:https://www.youtube.com/embed/zEKhqsyR72I