What is a good IELTS score?



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. IELTS score is accepted by most of the professional and academic institutions in many countries such as the UK, USA, Australia, Canada, Ireland, and many more. It is even used in the Visas and Immigration process by the UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and others. Therefore, a good score is crucial in providing proof that one has command over the language.


IELTS Test structure

The test is divided into two modules majorly:

  • Academic Module: to enroll in universities and other institutes of higher education
  • General Training Module: for non-academic training, professional work and immigration purposes

Qualifying scores for different modules varies, which have been discussed in the latter part of the article. 

Apart from this, there are four parts of the test, which are: 


IELTS Listening Test

The IELTS Listening section has four subsections again, with ten questions each. 40 Minutes are required for this module. It contains speeches and conversations, topics ranging from everyday situations to education and training based situations.


IELTS Reading Test

The IELTS Reading section has three subsections with words summing up from 2150 to 2750. 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. 

IELTS Writing Test

The IELTS Writing section involves two tasks. The first one must be a write up of 150 words whereas the other one must be of 250 words. The time given for each is 20 minutes. 


IELTS Speaking Test

The IELTS Speaking section is a personal interview between the candidate and the examiner lasting approximately 11 to 14 minutes.

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How are the scores calculated?

All the scores of the test are between 0 to 9. The scores are calculated by averaging out the scores of the above mentioned four sections. The scores can be .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, 6.1 will be rounded down to 6 or 7.75 will be rounded up to 8.

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 depicts that one understands the basics of the language, whereas 5 to 0 depicts that one has limited or no knowledge about the language.

Related Blog Post: Best IELTS Listening Tips and Tricks


Scoring in Different Sections

In Reading and Listening sections, with 40 questions each, one can score a maximum of 40 marks in each section. The marks awarded are called raw scores which are converted to the band score as per the makers of IELTS exam give the directions.

For Speaking and Writing sections, different band descriptions have been provided. The average score of these descriptions will be the score in these sections. Fluency and coherence, Lexical resource, Grammar, Pronunciation are the parameters for Speaking whereas Task achievement, Cohesion along with Grammar and Lexical resource are the band descriptions for Writing.

The overall band score is the mean of the four sections scores, rounded to the nearest whole or half band.

Know more about IELTS Band Score


Good Academic Scores

A good academic score is required for admission to different foreign universities. Now, the question of what is defined as “good” arises. Well, it differs from country to country and university to university. For instance, in the USA, most of the top universities like Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Stanford accepted at the very least a score of 7. It can be increased to 7.5 in the case of MIT and even to 8.5 in the case of Columbia. However, most of the universities will contend if one scores 7. In the UK, the range is from 6.5 to 7.0, where King’s College London requires 7.5. The topmost Canadian and Australian Universities require a score of approximately 6.5. In non-native English countries such as Japan, France, Germany, China, a score of 6.0 to 7.5 will suffice depending upon the country, university, and course requirements.

Related Blog Post: Study in the UK without IELTS


Good General Training Scores

For immigration and work purposes, the score demanded by the different countries is relatively lower. For example, the minimum score required in Australia is 4.5. In New Zealand, a work visa can be secured at a score of 5.0. In Canada also, a score of around four will ensure a business visa. In the UK, the tier 1 entrepreneur visa can be provided at 4.0.

In case one is not able to score “good” in the exam, the score can always be improved by practicing more sample papers, taking control of vocabulary, reading different texts, note-making, pre-writing and most importantly understanding the exam pattern. If one can master these areas, IELTS exam can open the doors of luxurious opportunities for the future.

If this article has helped you plan ahead for the IELTS exams 2020, be sure to share it to help others who might be looking to take the exams.


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