International English Language Testing System which is also popularly known as IELTS is designed to assess the proficiency and language skills of candidates across different areas of the English Language. The IELTS score is accepted by most professional and academic institutions in many countries such as the UK, USA, Australia, Canada, Ireland, and many more. It is even used in the Visa and Immigration process by the UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and others. Therefore, a good score is crucial in proving that one has command over the language.
THIS BLOG INCLUDES:
1. IELTS Test Format
2. Tips to Score 8 Bands in IELTS
3. How is the IELTS Score Calculated?
4. IELTS Band Score
5. IELTS Band Score Calculation – How?
6. IELTS Band Scores 2023 Descriptors
7. IELTS Score Calculator
The test is divided majorly into two modules:
The IELTS Listening section has four subsections again, with ten questions each. 40 minutes (including 10 minutes of transfer time) are required for this module. It contains speeches and conversations, topics ranging from everyday situations to education and training-based situations.
The IELTS Reading section has three subsections consisting of 40 questions. This section is drafted to test reading ability by means of passages on different themes. Additionally, it has a different structure for academics and training. For academics, it has three long passages. For training, it has 5 to 6 passages which are very short, short, and long. The time given to attempt this section is 60 minutes.
The IELTS Writing section involves two tasks. The time given to this section is 60 minutes. Both tasks must be completed.
Task 1: You will be given a graph, table, chart, or diagram and asked to summaries, explain, or describe the data in your own words. You can be required to describe and explain data, the steps in a process, how something operates, or an item or an event.
Task 2: You’ll be required to compose an essay in response to a viewpoint, counterargument, or issue. These activities need responses to be given in a formal manner.
The IELTS Speaking section is a personal interview between the candidate and the examiner lasting approximately 11 to 14 minutes. The exam is divided into three sections, and each section performs a certain purpose in terms of interaction style, task input, and test-taker output.
Section 1: Introduction & Interview
Section 2: A task card is given by the test-taker to talk about a particular topic.
Section 3: Discussion
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For obtaining 8 bands in the IELTS reading and listening section an individual is required to get 89% of the marks. The reading and listening section of IELTS is formed with 40 questions each, so getting 36/40 is a band 8 on the listening and reading. However, if we talk about the IELTS writing and speaking section then the overall performance is not calculated by just getting a glimpse of the scores but there are some descriptors in both sections and the test taker should meet all the requirements mentioned in these descriptors.
Enhance vocabulary: Vocabulary is a significant part of the IELTS so it is important to practice listening to lectures/audio clips, and reading newspapers and magazines as much as you can. Pick out new words and use them in daily activities to familiarize and expand your vocabulary. Improving vocabulary is not an instant task. So, if you plan to give the IELTS exam in the future then you should start working on the vocab section a few months before the exam.
Increase your listening ability: The ability to understand the information despite the change in pace and accent will help you score a band 8. Always try to note down the important ideas, and major and minor details to perform better at the time of the exam. The sections like introductions, major steps, ideas, and conclusion are the most prominent parts that you should differentiate in the listening section. Do daily practice by listing the podcast of various intellectuals as this will give you an idea to understand every spoken word more precisely.
Listen for signal words: Develop an intellect in which you can easily predict the basic idea and information. Try to anticipate what the examiner will be going to say. Your IELTS preparation should always focus on listening for words that showcase the connection and relationship between certain sentences. Always identify a clear-cut relationship between certain causes such as compare/contrast, effect/consequences, and the step of the major process. We know that this trick is quite hard but if you listen carefully, you will be able to make out the next move of the examiner.
Purpose of the speech: As a test taker you should be well-versed in assessing the entire purpose of the speech or the conversation. Is it a complaint, apology, or suggestion? Try to notice if the language used is casual or formal. The test taker should pay special attention to the tone of the invigilator, and the situation or context of the audio. If the overall speaking is formal then you can easily make out that it is a courtroom discussion between certain intellectuals.
Work on your reading speed – Skim and Scan: The IELTS exam pattern has a strict time limit that will surely challenge your entire capability to complete every task in time. Your efficient reading skill will help you to find the answers to the question more quickly. The term skimming is known as the basic strategy to read a passage appropriately to answer the questions. You should practice skim-reading the entire passage in 2 to 3 minutes. You skim before reading questions to get the gist of the passage and scan after reading the question looking for particular words from the question.
Understand the type of question: Firstly, the test taker should focus on the entire IELTS exam syllabus of the reading section. This is one of the most essential steps to score 8 bands in IELTS. It is to be noted that there are about 14 questions and the test taker should require a game plan to tackle each type of question. This particular information will not only save you time but also provide great assistance in providing correct answers.
Target keywords and meaning: It might seem unusual to you but every question has some keywords. You are required to firmly make use of every keyword so that they can help you locate the answer. Always try to learn the basic spot of the keyword for giving correct answers. The test taker can also use paraphrasing to understand the contextual meaning of the keywords. It is often noticed that some keywords are obvious such as name, number, date, place, transition words, action words, and so on.
Cohesion and coherence: Your answer should be relevant to the question with also good readability. Try to use some transitions that are not mostly used by all the test takers. The uniqueness of your answers will become one of the major reasons behind the increasing scores on your entire test.
Lexical resources: Magnifying the reach of your vocabulary can work wonders, so try to write a new vocab in your IELTS practice tests, because the examiner will expect you to form your answer with high-level words. It is also important to use high-level vocabulary appropriately and not where they do not fit.
Don’t copy question content: The test taker should always avoid copying any major or minor part of the question word-to-word into the test paper. Always try to put everything in your own words. This will surely portray a great impact on the mind of the invigilator. This is step one to using appropriate vocabulary.
Practice time and word count: Even if you are capable of writing good answers that don’t mean you can handle anything. Don’t underestimate the pressure and time duration at the time of the IELTS exam. Always keep in mind there is a lot of space for you to improve in many things and to improve, candidates must write as much as possible using the IELTS test series. It is important to practice completing the writing in 50 mins so the additional 10 mins will be an advantage in the real test. Keeping time and word count without comprising the content and vocabulary is critical. Also, practice brainstorming and proofreading.
Try not to retain your pre-set answers: Fluency is the biggest part of receiving a band 8 on speaking so having pre-set answers will not help with fluency. This particular part of the IELTS test is somewhat similar to the daily conversation that you usually encounter with your friends and family. The IELTS speaking test is considered one of the most realistic tests as the main aim of the examiner is to judge the involvement of English in your daily conversations. Hence, enroll in online IELTS classes focusing on multiple daily conversations that improve fluency and vocabulary.
Don’t make the accent your stressing point: It is the pronunciation that should be given importance rather than an accent. If the test taker can communicate constructively then there is nothing to worry about. However, make sure to pronounce every word correctly and make sure to stress on some points as English is widely known as a stress-timed language.
Not to use big and unfamiliar words: You can’t memorize 10 big words and think you will be able to use them in your speaking. You will only be fluent when you can be spontaneous with the words you know. Make sure you make vocabulary prep a part of your IELTS online course a few months before you plan or book your IELTS exam.
Don’t use fillers: Fillers are natural to use for any native speaker so you don’t need to worry about fillers until it is overused. You cannot predominately use words like Ahh, Like, You know, Umm, and Well. It is important to practice using idioms and connection phrases so you will not get stuck with fillers that will show the invigilator that you don’t know what to speak.
Use variations in the speaking style: If you speak in a low and weak tone then it will have a negative impact on the mind of the invigilator. Using the right way of speaking such as putting emphasis on important words and doing voice modulation can surely help you to leave a remarkable impression on the mind of the examiner. We know that it’s not as simple as it sounds, the test taker should stand in front of the mirror and then try to add voice modulation to make their answer effective and mind-captivating. You could choose to get the best IELTS online course to help you score the dream band 8.
All the scores of the test are between 0 to 9. The scores are calculated by averaging out the scores of the four sections (listening, reading, writing, and speaking). The scores can be 0.5, as well as 6.5 or 7.5. In the case of decimal figures other than 5 or 0, the score is rounded up or down to the nearest 0.5. For instance,
Each score has been given a unique description and is associated with a skill level. For example, ‘9’ denotes an expert user whereas ‘0’ denotes no attempt. Scores from 9 to 6 depict that candidate understands the basics of the language, whereas 5 to 0 depict that candidate has limited or no knowledge about the language.
IELTS is the leading English Language Proficiency test. Your performance is evaluated in bands from 0 to 9. Being familiar with the IELTS syllabus helps candidates easily improve the necessary skill required for a band 8 on the IELTS test. Therefore, before booking the IELTS slot and paying the exam fee, it is better to understand the Exam Scoring System and the IELTS Band Score Chart/ list.
A band score between 0 – 9 is given for each of the sections – Listening, Reading, Writing, and Speaking. A band score is the average of the four section scores, rounded off to the nearest half or whole band. For example, if it is a 6.5 in Reading, 7 in Writing, 7 in Speaking, and 6.5 in Listening, the average of these 4 scores would be 6.75. Rounding it off to 7 gives the overall band score. You must try to score more in each section too while focusing on the minimum required overall band score.
|Band score||Skill Level||Description|
|9||Expert user||Complete command of the language. Fluent use and complete understanding of the English language.|
|8||Very good user||Complete command of the language with few inaccuracies. Handle complex situations well. May misunderstand in certain unfamiliar situations.|
|7||Good user||Good command of the English language with inaccuracies occasionally and inappropriate usage in certain situations. Understand detailed reasoning well and handle complex language well.|
|6||Competent user||Effective command of the language with some inappropriate usage and some inaccuracies. Understand complex language well in familiar situations.|
|5||Modest user||Partial command of the English language. Can deal with overall meaning. Make many mistakes. Can handle basic communication in their field.|
|4||Limited users||Limited to familiar situations only. Cannot use complex language. Frequently shows problems in understanding and expression.|
|3||Extremely limited user||Understands the only general meaning in very familiar situations. There are repeated breakdowns in communication.|
|2||Intermittent users||have Great difficulty in understanding spoken and written English.|
|1||Non-user||Cannot use the English language except a few isolated words.|
|0||Did not attempt the test||Did not appear for the test or answer the questions at all.|
Note: ** To score 8 or 9 bands the user needs to ensure that he/she has rephrased the questions asked to understand them correctly and answer them with relevance to what is asked. It can be justifiably done if he/she maintains fluency, (take minimal pauses and use fillers instead), coherence, and cohesion uses uncommon and idiomatic vocabularies as lexical resources, and ensures grammatical accuracy while using complex sentences. All these would help him/her to achieve the task and a high band score.
The IELTS Listening Test has 40 questions, divided into different types and based on 4 audios – 2 monologues and 2 conversations – 10 questions for each audio. The duration of the test is 30 minutes. Each correct answer is worth one mark and an incorrect or no answer is given zero. There is no negative marking. The total marks are converted into the IELTS band scale.
Given below is the IELTS listening band score chart that shows the bands given to the candidates based on the number of correctly answered questions by them in the listening test.
|Listening band score||Correct Answers|
|9||39 – 40|
|8.5||37 – 38|
|8||35 – 36|
|7.5||32 – 34|
|7||30 – 31|
|6.5||26 – 29|
|6||23 – 25|
|5.5||18 – 22|
|5||16 – 17|
|4.5||13 – 15|
|4||11 – 12|
The IELTS Reading Test also consists of 40 questions based on three passages. The duration of the test is 60 minutes. The marking criterion is the same as the IELTS Listening Test i.e. one mark for each correct answer and zero for no answer or incorrect answer. There is no negative marking. The total marks are converted into the IELTS band scale.
The reading test is categorized into two parts – Academic Reading Test for study abroad aspirants and General Training Reading Test for PRs (permanent residents).
The IELTS academic reading test has more complex passages comprising a difficult level of vocabulary than the General Training Reading Test. Therefore, to score a high band score, more questions must be correctly answered in the General Training Reading Test than in the Academic Reading Test.
The following IELTS Reading band score chart shows the bands given to the IELTS Academic Test candidates and IELTS General Training Test candidates based on the number of correctly answered questions by them in the Reading test.
|Academic Reading Test||General Training Reading Test|
|Band Score||Correct Answers||Band
|8||36 – 35||8||37 – 38|
|7.5||34 – 33||7.5||36|
|7||32 – 30||7||34 – 35|
|6.5||29 – 27||6.5||32 – 33|
|6||26 – 23||6||30 – 31|
|5.5||22 – 19||5.5||27 – 29|
|5||18 – 15||5||23 – 26|
|4.5||14 – 13||4.5||19 – 22|
|4||12 – 10||4||15 – 18|
|3.5||9 – 8||3.5||12 – 14|
|3||7 – 6||3||9 – 11|
|2.5||5 – 4||2.5||6 – 8|
The IELTS Academic Writing test consists of two tasks – Task 1 and Task 2. In Task 1 the test takers are required to summarize the information provided to them in the form of a graph, diagram, chart, or table. For Task 2, they get an essay to write in response to an argument or point of view. Each task is marked independently on a band scale of 0 to 9.
The IELTS General Training Writing Test also has two tasks. Task 1 requires analyzing a situation presented to the test takers and asking them to write a letter to explain the situation. In Task 2 an essay has to be written in response to a problem or point of view
P.S: Task 2 carries more weight in marking than Task 1 both in IELTS Academic Test and IELTS General Training Test.
Some assessment criteria that need to be fulfilled to score a high band on the writing test are mentioned below. The average of these scores is rewarded as a band score.
Task Achievement (Task 1) – The test takers are required to present precise information and provide an appropriate overview by highlighting key features/stage details supported with proper data.
Task Response (Task 2) – The test takers are required to attend the task i.e. answer the questions, give relevant points to support their answer, state their opinion if asked, and provide a clear conclusion.
Coherence and Cohesion – The test takers must organize ideas and information into paragraphs having a particular central idea in each paragraph by using a range of linking words and discourse markers.
Lexical Resource – The write-up must have correct spellings. Using collocations, uncommon vocabulary, idiomatic vocabulary, and avoiding errors using paraphrases are a must for a high band score.
Grammatical Range and Accuracy – Correct usage of Grammar – tenses and punctuations and range of sentences need to be used.
The IELTS Speaking Test has three rounds which last for 11-14 minutes. Round one is a personal round that goes for four to five minutes. Round two is a cue-card round to speak on a particular topic for two minutes. Round three of the IELTS Speaking test is an extension of the topic in Round two where some questions are asked on abstract ideas and issues.
Some assessment criteria that need to be fulfilled to score a high band on the IELTS speaking test are mentioned below. The average of these scores is rewarded as a band score.
Fluency and Coherence – Talking at length; speaking with minimum pauses using fillers, minimum repetitions, and self-corrections; using linking words and discourse markers to connect words, phrases, and sentences.
Lexical Resource – Paraphrasing and using a range of rare and some idiomatic vocabularies.
Grammatical Range and Accuracy – Maintaining grammatical accuracy while using a range of sentences.
Pronunciation – Intelligible throughout ensuring the intonation and stress. Accents shouldn’t convey confused meanings.
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A good IELTS score depends on the requirements of the institution and organization that the test taker is applying to. Generally, a score of 7 or above is considered good, and a score of 8 or above is considered excellent.
Yes, you can retake the IELTS tests as many times as you want to improve your score. However, you must wait at least 2 weeks between tests.
Some ways to improve your IELTS score included practicing regularly, focusing on your weaker areas, using study materials and resources, seeking feedback from a teacher or tutor, and staying calm and focused on test day.
The minimum IELTS score required for studying or working abroad varies depending on the institution or organization. Some may require a minimum score of 6, while others may require a score of 7 or above.
The test taker will get 1 point for each correct answer. There is no negative marking in the IELTS reading section so the test taker will not lose any points for the incorrect answer. The general training and academic papers have different schemes to calculate the scores.