The IELTS band score is calculated based on the average performance across all four skills – Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking. Each skill is tested separately and given an individual band score out of 9. This single band score is then averaged to give the overall score for that particular test. The IELTS band scores range from 0-9 with 0 being non-user level and 9 being expert user level.
The Listening, Reading and Writing tests are marked in a similar way reflecting how well candidates can understand English in different contexts. Each question has one mark assigned to it and if the answer is correct, a full band point is awarded. Half marks are allocated when there are partial answers or where some information may be present but not all of it. The Speaking test is assessed differently, and the examiner looks at how well a candidate can communicate in English by giving them marks for their fluency, pronunciation accuracy, grammar and vocabulary range.
The overall IELTS band score is calculated using an arithmetic mean of each individual skill with one decimal place precision. This means that if you have a score of 6.5 or higher in all four skills then you will get an overall band score average of 6 or higher. However, if your scores are below 6.5 in any single skill then your final IELTS band will be lower than 6 even though the other skills may be above 6.5. It is important to remember that the IELTS band score calculation is not based on each individual skill, but rather the average across all four skills.
To be successful in the IELTS test and achieve a high overall band score, it is important to practise and prepare for each of the four skills equally. This will allow you to build your confidence with English as well as improve your understanding of how the IELTS marks are calculated and awarded which should lead to higher overall bands. Good luck!
IELTS Listening marking schemes
For the listening test, which contains 40 questions, the approximate band scores can be calculated using this table.
|Score / 40||39-40||37-38||35-36||32-34||30-31||26-29||23-25||18-22||16-17||13-15||10-12||8-10||6-7||4-5|
IELTS General Reading marking schemes
For the general reading test, which contains 40 questions, the approximate band scores can be calculated using this table.
|Score / 40||40||39||37-38||36||34-35||32-33||30-31||27-29||23-26||19-22||15-18||12-14||9-11||6-8|
IELTS Academic Reading marking schemes
For the academic reading test, which also contains 40 questions, but is more difficult, the approximate band scores can be calculated using this table.
|Score / 40||39-40||37-38||35-36||33-34||30-32||27-29||23-26||19-22||15-18||13-14||10-12||8-9||6-7||4-5|