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Score Structure

Scores

You cannot fail the test

IELTS is designed to assess English language skills at all levels.

You will receive IELTS scores based on each for the four skills on a scale of 1 – 9, and you will also be awarded an overall band score.

Understand and explain the IELTS scores

On the IELTS Test Report Form, you’ll find the overall band score and the results your students achieved in each part of the test.

Individual test scores

Scores for each of the four skills are equally weighted. The overall band scores are calculated by taking the mean result for each part of the test. 

The overall band score 

Overall band scores are calculated to the nearest whole or half band. If the average score across the four skills – Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking – ends in .25, it is rounded up to the next half band.

If it ends in .75, it is rounded up to the next whole band.

Band scoreSkill levelDescription
Band 9Expert userYou have a full operational command of the language. Your use of English is appropriate, accurate and fluent, and you show complete understanding.
Band 8Very good userYou have a fully operational command of the language with only occasional unsystematic inaccuracies and inappropriate usage. You may misunderstand some things in unfamiliar situations. You handle complex detailed argumentation well.
Band 7Good userYou have an operational command of the language, though with occasional inaccuracies, inappropriate usage and misunderstandings in some situations. Generally you handle complex language well and understand detailed reasoning.
Band 6Competent userGenerally you have an effective command of the language despite some inaccuracies, inappropriate usage and misunderstandings. You can use and understand fairly complex language, particularly in familiar situations.
Band 5Modest userYou have a partial command of the language, and cope with overall meaning in most situations, although you are likely to make many mistakes. You should be able to handle basic communication in your own field.
Band 4Limited userYour basic competence is limited to familiar situations. You frequently show problems in understanding and expression. You are not able to use complex language.
Band 3Extremely limited userYou convey and understand only general meaning in very familiar situations. There are frequent breakdowns in communication.
Band 2Intermittent userYou have great difficulty understanding spoken and written English.
Band 1Non-userYou have no ability to use the language except a few isolated words.
Band 0Did not attempt the testYou did not answer the questions.