Need to retake one skill? IELTS One Skill Retake is here. 

Close

We share with you how we mark your test

At IELTS, 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.

IELTS scores are reported as band scores on a scale from 1 (the lowest) to 9 (the highest). You will be given a band score from 1 to 9 for each section of the test – Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking. The overall band score is calculated as an average of your four individual test section band scores.

Listening

In the Listening test, you will answer 40 questions that relate to audio clips that will be 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.

The table below indicates the average number of marks required to achieve a particular band score in the Listening test:

  • Band score 5 = 16 out of a raw score of 40

  • Band score 6 = 23 out of a raw score of 40

  • Band score 7 = 30 out of a raw score of 40

  • Band score 8 = 35 out of a raw score of 40

Reading

In the Reading test, you will answer 40 questions. A variety of question types are used, e.g. multiple choice, True/False/Not Given, matching, and sentence completion. 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 of marks determining your band score.

The tables below indicate the average number of marks required to achieve a particular band score in Academic Reading and General Training Reading.

Academic Reading:

  • Band score 5 = 15 out of a raw score of 40

  • Band score 6 = 23 out of a raw score of 40

  • Band score 7 = 30 out of a raw score of 40

  • Band score 8 = 35 out of a raw score of 40

General Training Reading:

  • Band score 4 = 15 out of a raw score of 40

  • Band score 5 = 23 out of a raw score of 40

  • Band score 6 = 30 out of a raw score of 40

  • Band score 7 = 34 out of a raw score of 40

  • Band score 8 = 38 out of a raw score of 40

Writing

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 will 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’, ‘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 phrase and how they relate to the different band scores that are possible.

Download the IELTS Writing task 1 and task 2 band descriptors

Speaking

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.

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 descriptor, which has detailed information about each phrase and how they relate to the different band scores that are possible.

Download the IELTS Speaking band descriptors