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 also important. As the courses in foreign universities are taught in the English language, students must prove their proficiency in the language by taking the standardized tests like IELTS/TOEFL/PTE. The most common and widely accepted among them 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

Following chart represents the different IELTS band scores given for particular number of correct answers to the candidate.

IELTS Band Calculator

How is the IELTS Band Score Calculated?

The 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 a different IELTS band score for each skill (listening, reading, writing, and speaking) and an overall IELTS band score which is the average of all the band scores obtained in different skills.

For example:

Listening Reading Writing Speaking Overall
7.5 8 7.5 7 7.5

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. For example:

  • 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.

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
Source: ielts.org

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Different IELTS Band Scores and TOEFL Score Range as per CEFR

The table below represents the different IELTS band scores and their respective TOEFL score range along with their equivalent CEFR levels.

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)

Check Out:

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 marking for this section is slightly different from the Speaking and Writing examinations since responses are either right or wrong. 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:

Different IELTS band scores in Academic Reading (AC):

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

Different IELTS band scores in General Reading (GR):

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.

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

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. The table below will help you get a clear picture of this:

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 Validity Period

Although each organization is free to choose a validity time that suits their needs, the IELTS partners advise a 2-year validity term for test results based on the well-established idea of second language loss or “attrition.”

Tips to Improve IELTS Band Scores

  • Know the structure and format of the IELTS exam thoroughly. Check the questions that are often asked during the test. Appear for mock exams online and check where you have done mistakes.
  • Strategize 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 conversation.


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.

Planning to study abroad? We at Leverage Edu are all about helping students to realize this dream which can open the door of many career opportunities. To get assistance in your application process, just register on our website or call us at 1800-572-000.

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