IELTS Band Scores: How They Are Calculated

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IELTS is a reputed exam accepted by most countries with English as their official language.

The test has four sections based on the four skills - Listening, Speaking, Reading, and Writing. Each section evaluates the candidate’s performance on basic language functions such as expressing opinions, understanding debate, reading for clarity, and so on.

While attempting the exam, the test-takers should have an idea of the marking system. This helps the candidates to have a more focused approach to the preparation for the exam.

The raw scores in IELTS exam for each section are awarded out of 40. The reading and listening sections of the exam have 40 questions.

Each item is awarded one mark to calculate the Ielts reading score. The Ielts listening score chart is automatically updated after the test is taken by the candidate.

For the writing section, the candidate writes a long and short answer to two questions. The marks are awarded on different criteria such as coherence and cohesion, grammatical accuracy, and lexical resources.

Similarly, for the speaking section, the candidate is interviewed by an examiner and is assessed on fluency, coherence, pronunciation, grammatical range, and accuracy.

The raw Ielts score obtained is then changed to the IELTS nine-band scale. If the candidate receives a score of 16-23 in any of the four sections, the awarded band score would be in the range of 5-6.

A raw score between 23-30 gets converted to a reading band score between 6-7. Similarly, the candidate receives a band score between 7-8, if the raw score is in the range of 30-35.

Finally, a score of 35-40 leads to an IELTS reading band score in the range of 8-9. The reading band score academic is also processed in a similar way.

The overall band score in IELTS is calculated by taking the average of all four section scores. Each section is given a score from 1 to 9.

The score can be a whole number or half. For example, the reading score for a candidate can be 5.0 or 6.7 as well.

In order to get the band, the scores from all four sections, i.e., the reading band scores, the listening score, the writing score, and the speaking scores are added and divided by the number of sections (4).

Finally, the score is rounded to its nearest whole number to get the IELTS band score. To illustrate, look at the Ielts speaking band descriptors below.

Listening Score 5
Reading Score 2.5
Writing 3
Speaking Score 3
Average 3.875
Overall band 4

The two sections with receptive skills - listening and reading are automated while the productive skills - speaking and writing are marked by trained examiners who follow the detailed guidelines while marking the answers.

The IELTS test results are made available after a week for the test-takers.

The process of understanding the marking criteria for IELTS can be difficult. So, it is advised that test-takers can speak to experts to learn more about the process in detail.

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