Different IELTS Bands

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Different IELTS bands

While considering the option to study abroad, various parameters are to be kept in mind as universities abroad ask students to go through an array of tests to prove their merit. Besides aptitude exams like GMAT, GRE, and SAT, language proficiency tests are important. As the courses in foreign universities are taught in the English language, students must prove their proficiency in the language for which various tests are there. The most common and widely accepted of them all is IELTS. International English Language Testing System or IELTS is a standardized language test accepted by various countries like the USA, Canada, Australia, Germany, and New Zealand and is administered jointly by the British Council, IDP, and Cambridge Assessment English. Thus, through this blog, we will help you understand the different IELTS bands and how the score is calculated. 

The IELTS Score Scale

IELTS score is widely accepted by almost every institution abroad to test your English-language proficiency and eligibility for immigration purposes, admission, etc. The score is counted in different IELTS bands which range from 0-9 where 6-8 is considered the median score.

Band Score English Level Description of IELTS Bands
9 Expert  Full operational command of the language – appropriate, accurate, and fluent.
8 Very Good  Full operational command of the language – occasional unsystematic inaccuracies and inappropriate usage. However, you can handle detailed argumentation well.
7 Good Operational command of the language – occasional inaccuracies, inappropriate usage, and misunderstandings in some cases. However, in general, you can handle complex language well and handle detailed reasoning.
6 Competent  Effective command of the language – some inaccuracies, inappropriate usage and misunderstandings. However, you can use and understand fairly complex language, especially in familiar situations.
5 Modest Partial command of the language – make many mistakes. However, you can handle basic communication in your field.
4 Limited Basic competence is limited to familiar situations – frequent problems in understanding and expression and you are unable to use complex language.
3 Extremely Limited You can understand and convey only general meaning in very familiar cases – frequent breakdowns in communications.
2 Intermittent You have difficulty understanding written and spoken English.
1 Non-user You cannot use the language except a few isolated words
0 Did not attempt You did not answer the test questions.

IELTS Band Chart

IELTS Band Calculator

How is the IELTS Band Score Calculated?

Your IELTS scores range between 0 to 9, where you can get a 0.5 score as well (like 5.5 or 6.5). There will be an individual score for each skill (listening, reading, writing, and speaking) and an overall IELTS band score which is the average of all the skills. 

For example:

Listening Reading Writing Speaking Overall
7.5 8 7.5 7 7.5
  • If your overall score is an average of 6.25, the score will be increased to 6.5.
  • If your overall score is an average of 6.75, the score will be increased to 7.
  • If your overall score is 6.1, then your score will be reduced to 6.
  • Always remember that your score is rounded up or down to the nearest 0.5 or the whole score as shown in the table above.

How Does IELTS Map Against CEFR?

Source: ielts.org

Tips to Improve IELTS Band Scores

  • Know the structure and format of the IELTS exam thoroughly. Check the passage and interviews that are often asked during the test. Appear for mock exams online and check where you have erred.
  • Strategise and keep practicing. Read as many books, newspapers and magazines as you can. You can also watch movies that can help you enhance your English speaking skills.
  • Improve your vocabulary by making a list of words and try to use them in everyday conver

Follow, like and subscribe to Leverage IELTS for more such information

Individual Test Scores vs Overall Band Scores

The score for each of the 4 skills is equally weighted while the overall band scores are calculated by taking the mean result for each part of the IELTS test. If the average score across the 4 skills ends in 0.25, it is rounded up to the next half band. But, if it ends in 0.75 it is rounded up to the next whole band.

Also Read: IELTS Eligibility

Different IELTS Band Score PDF

Here is the IELTS band score chart for you-

What is CEFR?

Before understanding the scoring in different IELS bands, it is important to gain an overview of the CEFR or Common European Framework of Reference for Languages. CEFR is an international standard for describing language ability on a 6-point scale from A1 for beginners up to C2 for those who are adept in a language. This is a guideline that is used to describe the achievement of the learner of foreign languages across Europe and in other countries as well.

Often used as a benchmark in English education courses, the CEFR levels are as follows:

  • A1 and A2: Basic English Ability and High Basic English Ability
  • B1 and B2: Independent and High Independent English Use
  • C1 and C2: Proficient English and Advanced Proficient English Use

Check Out:

Different IELTS Band Scores as per CEFR

Now that you know how the different IELTS bands are calculated, you need to know what these bands mean. Thus, we have tabulated the comparison between IELTS and equivalent TOEFL scores. Also, we have compared IELTS bands to English levels in the CEFR:

IELTS Band Score TOEFL Score Range CEFR Level
9 118 – 120 C2
8.5 115 – 117 C2 
8 110 – 114 C1
7.5 102 – 109 C1 
7 94 – 101 C1
6.5 73 – 93 B2
6 60 – 78 B2 
5.5 46 – 59 B2
5 35 – 45 B1 
4.5 32 – 34 B1
0 to 4 0 – 31 A2 (IELTS Band 4) and
A1 (anything below IELTS Band 4)
IELTS Band Calculator
How does IELTS map against CEFR?

IELTS Listening Scores

In the listening test, you will have to answer 40 questions related to the audio clips played to you wherein the answer will either be correct or incorrect. You will receive 1 mark for each correct answer, with the total marks determining your IELTS band score. Have a look at the table below which indicates the average number of marks required to achieve a particular band score:

Correct Answers  Band Scores 
39-40 9
37-38 8.5
35-36 8
32-34 7.5
30-31 7
26-29 6.5
23-25 6
18-22 5.5
16-17 5
13-15 4.5
11-12 4

IELTS Reading Scores

In this test, you will answer 40 questions which include MCQs, True/False/Not Given, Matching, and Sentence Completion. You will receive 1 mark for every correct answer, with the total number of marks determining your band score. The tables below indicate the average number of marks required to achieve a band score in both Academic Reading (AC) and General Training (GT) Reading:

IELTS Reading Test Scores

The reading section has 40 questions including multiple-choice, True/False/Not Given, matching, and sentence finishing. The marking for this section is slightly different from the Speaking and Writing examinations since responses are either right or wrong. Each correct answer will get you one mark, with the overall number of marks calculating your band score.

IELTS Listening Test Scores

In the listening sections, students are asked 40 questions in the form of audio sets. The grading is marked according to the responses which are either correct or incorrect. Each right answer will get you one mark, with the overall number of marks calculating your band score.

IELTS Scores in Academic Reading 

Correct Answers  Band Scores 
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 Scores in General Training Reading

Correct Answers  Band Scores 
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
6-8 2.5

Note: Both Academic and General Training measure your competencies in all 4 sections, however, the questions are a little different and one test might suit you more than the other. To know more about this, read our blog on IELTS General.

Must Read: Books for IELTS Preparation

IELTS Writing Assessment Criteria

The IELTS examiners for writing tests are intensively trained to ensure consistency and quality of marking, no matter where the test is taken. Your response is scored in the areas of task response, coherence & cohesion, lexical resource, and grammatical range & accuracy and to understand what it means, look at the table below:

Task Achievement: Task 1 – Presenting accurate information
– Providing an overview
– Highlighting key features
– Supporting details with data
Task Response: Task 2 – Addressing the task by answering the questions
– Giving relevant main points which are supported and well developed
– Giving a clear position stating an opinion when required
–  Providing a conclusion
Coherence and Cohesion -Organising information or ideas into paragraphs
– Central idea in every paragraph
– Using a range of linking devices
Lexical Resource – Using a range of words and paragraphing
– Using collocations
– Spelling
– Avoid errors
Grammar Range and Accuracy – Using a range of sentence structures
– Punctuation
-Avoiding errors
-Using a range of grammar tenses

IELTS Speaking Assessment Criteria

The speaking test in IELTS is similar to a conversation that you would have in everyday life wherein you will sit with a qualified examiner and engage in a conversation. Also, the examiner is there to enable you to perform at your best. Your speaking skills are marked against several criteria which have been explained in detail below: 

Fluency – Talking at length
– Talking without causes for hesitations
– Able to be understood
– Talking without self-correction
– Using  linking devices
Lexical Resource – Using a range of words and paraphrasing
– Using per locations
– Using a less common vocabulary
– Avoiding errors
Grammar Range and Accuracy – Using a range of sentence structures
– Avoiding errors
– Using a range  of grammar tenses
Pronunciation – Able to be understood throughout the test
– Action does not affect understanding
– Able to use intonations
– Accurate word and sound pronunciations

Also Read: IELTS Slot Booking

IELTS Score for Canada

Amongst all the other prominent study abroad destinations, Canada offers various relaxations when it comes to IELTS scores for UG and PG courses. To know more about the exact IELTS requirements as per your dream course, check out this blog- IELTS Score for Canada.


What is the highest band for IELTS?

IELTS results are reported as band scores on a scale from 1 (lowest) to 9 (highest).

Is 1 month enough for IELTS?

It is recommended that you give yourself at least 2 months of study for IELTS.

What is the hardest part of IELTS?

According to the surveys based on IELTS modules, the Writing module is considered the toughest among the four. 

Does accent matter in IELTS?

Instead of your accent, pronunciations are considered. You must say the words clearly and correctly.

How IELTS bands are calculated?

Your overall band score is calculated by taking the mean score of the four test components (Listening, Reading, Writing, and Speaking).

To ensure a fair assessment for all test takers, IELTS invests heavily in the continued development of its test and the processes by which scores are calculated. Hopefully, you have become familiar with different IELTS bands through this blog. We, at Leverage Edu, aim at taking your career a step further. We want to make sure you don’t repeat your IELTS and that’s why we have the best career guidance and access to high-quality study material uniquely curated to help you. You can also enroll in our centers for IELTS coaching in Delhi, IELTS coaching in Noida, and other locations like Rohini, Gurgaon, and West Delhi to boost your exam preparation!

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