Overview of IELTS Scores

IELTS is graded on a scale of 0-9. You will receive a score for Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening. These scores are then averaged and this will give you your overall score. Scores are always rounded up to the nearest half score. This article will show you what the different band scores mean, how examiners decide what score you get and how to understand your band score more fully 

Band 9– IELTS describes people who get Band 9 as ‘expert users’. This means that you have complete command of the language and you use it with complete accuracy and fluency. Very few people ever get to this level and, in fact, most learners do not need to get to this level. A big misconception is that Band 9 means ‘perfect’. There is no such thing as the ‘perfect ‘ IELTS test and many Band 9 students make small mistakes during their Writing and Speaking tests. 

Band 8– If you get a Band 8, IELTS considers you a ‘very good’ user of English. You may make a few mistakes when talking or writing about very unfamiliar situations, but overall, you have a very good grasp of the language. My best students normally reach this level. If you are Band 8, you would have no problems living and working in an English-speaking country. 

Band 7– These students are ‘good users.’ Most people who get Band 7 can cope with complex situations in English. If you are a Band 7 student you will make occasional mistakes, but you will be able to perform most everyday tasks without too many problems. I believe this is the minimum level a person should be at if they want to study or work in an English-speaking country. 

Band 6– IELTS describes these students as ‘competent’. Notice that the ones above it are described positively i.e. ‘good’ and ‘very good’, but this one is described in more neutral language. If you are Band 6 you can talk and write about familiar situations, such as your family or job, but you struggle to deal with more complex or unfamiliar topics.   This person makes frequent mistakes and can sometimes either misunderstand situations because of a lack of language or cause the listener/reader to misunderstand what they mean.

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