How is the IELTS Speaking Test Graded?

by Ricky

Hi,

I attended my Speaking yesterday. The cue card topic was:


"Describe about a classical song which you like the most"

I'm fond of music a lot and even listen to it almost everyday but I was not able to recollect a single line of how to describe it?

My mind was blank but finally I spoke until she said to stop but I wasn't satisfied with my vocabulary I used.

Done very well in part 1 & part 2 almost answered every question. But getting scared about my score. I have to get 6 at any cost.

I would like to ask you how much band they assign for these 3 parts?

I mean one of my colleagues told me that it's of 3, 3, 3, or sometimes 2 for introduction and from others 2, 3, 2, (total 9).

Is it true? If so how much can I expect? Am really worryng because this is my 2nd attempt.

Please advise.

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Sep 13, 2016
Grading of the IELTS Speaking Test
by: IELTS buddy

Hi Ricky,

No it is not graded as you say.

Please do an online search and you can find the IELTS public band descriptors for speaking and you can then see how it is marked.

You are marked on 4 criteria:

- Fluency and Coherence
- Lexical Resource
- Grammatical Range and Accuracy
- Pronunciation

But you are marked on those for your performance throughout the WHOLE test - you are not given separate grades for each of the three sections.

So for example you may be given in those 4 criteria - 6, 7, 7, 6.

So your score for speaking would be 6.5.

Jan 21, 2017
Not understanding a question
by: Anonymous

Hi,

I had my speaking test yesterday. In section 3 I was asked to answer a question.

When I started to answer at a moment the examiner stopped me and repeated the question. Then I realized that somewhere my answer went wrong. So I answered again. But I didn't mention that I could not understand the question.

After getting the question again I answered and I felt that the examiner accepted the answer. Will I get a low score for this?

There were some grammatical errors so far I can remember. Thanks.

Jan 22, 2017
Not understanding a question
by: IELTS buddy

As I've said before, you are graded over the whole test rather than being penalised for one specific error.

So you are not likely to be downgraded just because there was one question you felt was not that good, and anyway, you say that you think you answered it ok the second time.

The examiner will look at what you did cumulatively so if you were struggling more generally in part 3, yes it would affect your score.

Apr 15, 2017
helpful blog
by: Prosper

Thanks for sharing

Apr 15, 2017
how much band u got
by: Anonymous

SO RICKY HOW MUCH BAND YOU GET IN YOUR SPEAKING TEST.

Aug 14, 2017
Repeat question twice
by: Anonymous

Today was my speaking test. In part 3 I don't understand two questions. So I asked the teacher for two times. Can my score be decreased?

Aug 15, 2017
Repeat question twice
by: IELTS buddy

Your score isn't decreased due to asking the examiner to repeat the question.

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When is the IELTS speaking test graded?

by lee

How is the ielts speaking test graded? Is it scored then and there by the examiner or do they send the recording to a second person to score it?

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Aug 15, 2015
Grading of speaking test
by: IELTS buddy

Hi,

The examiner grades it as soon as the test is finished and before the next candidate comes in.

Thanks

Aug 16, 2015
recording the test
by: Anonymous

Then what is the purpose of recording the conversation?

Aug 17, 2015
Recording the speaking
by: IELTS buddy

The examiner may still want to listen to parts of it again.

Also, it is recorded for monitoring purposes and the centre would also need a recording if the candidate asked for a remark.

Nov 24, 2016
If thinking aloud is allowed.
by: israel

Please, I am having my speaking test tomorrow and I will like to know if using 'Mmm' before answering is right.

Nov 24, 2016
Mmm
by: IELTS buddy

Well, there's nothing in the marking that says you can't say 'Mmm'. But I'm not sure why you would want to be planning to do that.

You want to sound natural. Saying something like that when it is not natural may sound odd.

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Giving Short Answers in IELTS Speaking

by Rachel

Just finished my ielts speaking test and I am really worried.

I did not practice much for the test and I got a little flustered after the first few questions even though my first language is English.

I was prompted with a lot of questions ranging from different topics such as "did I enjoy science in school?", "do you think kids should interact with other kids?"

I was so nervous and I kept giving short answers without much elaboration and I was prompted with so many questions. Does being prompted with many questions means that I didn't do well?

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Jun 28, 2016
Being prompted to speak
by: IELTS buddy

Hi Rachel,

You are graded on your willingness to speak at length so it is possible it could affect your score but it is really too difficult to tell whether it did or not without hearing your test.

Jun 29, 2016
Good job
by: Anonymous

Don't worry about that, you wil defentily go through it! Just believe in your self.

Jun 29, 2016
Well done
by: Daicaxuma

I think you have a variety of vocabulary in your writing (it was showed on your post). I guess you have done your test well.

Giving short answers in IELTS speaking without elaboration absolutely is not good, i think. Maybe it will mark your score down.

Anyway, to judge how many score can you get is not easy for people who have no change to hear your presentation.

Jul 07, 2016
plz help
by: Anonymous

I have stammering problem
I have given ielts speaking test
Cue card was on goal of ur life
1st question was about goal
I said i want to study abroad
To become renowned physician etc
Then she asked when u set the goal i said from 7-8 std and elaborate it
Is it right?

Jul 08, 2016
plz help
by: IELTS buddy

I have no idea what this means:

"7-8 std and elaborate it"

So I can't tell you if it is right or not.

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I couldn't pronounce a word properly

by anonymous32

I had my speaking test today, but i felt I might have done terribly in it.

How will if affect my score if I had a difficult time pronouncing only 1 word: "conversationalist"

I have braces, not to use it as an excuse, but I had to repeat the word thrice because I had a hard time saying it..

Another thing, if I didn't give any examples in some of the questions in part 3, will that matter?

I need a band 7 on the speaking.

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Feb 20, 2016
Wrong pronunciation
by: IELTS buddy

Hi anonymous32,

If you pronounced everything correctly in the rest of the test, it is unlikely that one single word will affect your score.

You are marked over the whole test. There is not something in the marking system that suggests marking someone down for an error with one single word. You general pronunciation over the whole test would be considered.

As for part three, again you are not graded for giving examples. You just have to answer the questions. If you do that by using examples that is fine but if you did something else that's ok.

Jun 03, 2017
Speaking
by: Dhan

Hi,

I had my speaking test today. I performed well in first and third part but could not perform well in second part. I paused for two seconds in between.

Can I know how much score will I get? I saw examiner marking 8.25 after my first part.

Jun 04, 2017
Speaking
by: IELTS buddy

It's impossible to predict scores without hearing your test.

The examiner was probably just writing down the timings, not your scores.

A two second pause is not going to make any difference. Everybody pauses now and again when they speak.

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I got an idiom wrong in the speaking test

by Ankur

Today was English speaking.

I have one worry...If you can solve it ..It will be beneficial for other students as well.

Well during speaking interview I said wrong idiom...instead of saying "charity begins at home" ...I said "Charity starts with own home". Is it a mistake?

And two times I saw downward ...One I time I also said..."Sorry I am not getting you".

Please guide us for such mistakes. I will be grateful to you.

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Oct 25, 2015
Idioms in the speaking test
by: IELTS buddy

Hi Ankur,

Yes it is a mistake, but there is no specific rule for making mistakes with idioms

Any error in your grammar or collocations is a mistake.

But examiner does not note one error then put your score up or down based on that. Your grammar and lexis (plus use of idioms etc) will be taken account of throughout the whole test, and your band score based on that.

So don't worry about one error like that.

Nov 02, 2015
Ielts reading and listening
by: Anonymous

Is it allowed to bring highlighter to the exam?

Nov 03, 2015
highlighter
by: IELTS buddy

No, you can't take your own stationary in.

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Speaking test worries

by Jessie Hegazie
(Cairo, Egypt)

Hello everyone!

I took my Ielts speaking test on friday. I thought it'd go well because everyone says I'm good at English. I am good with the pronunciation, fluent most of the time and I have a good accent.

However I was a bit nervous before -and I would say a little during- the exam.

During part one I was asked about trees? And if there are trees where I live and I said yes so she asked me why? It was a weird question to ask so I said it's because the color green brings relaxation to people and it makes the surrounding place less polluted also.

So after that she asked me if I liked trees so I said yes! So she asked me why? I didn't know what to say so I repeated the same reasons that I have mentioned earlier!

Will that be marked as a lower band?

Another thing is the topic I had to talk about is a place that I have been to that is full of color.

I decided to talk about an Indian temple in Malaysia. I talked about how to reach it. And that there were so many colors everywhere like the sculptures, the saris ..etc.

Then when I had covered all the points I stopped talking but she kept nodding her head so I had nothing more to say!

I'm not even sure if I had covered all the points?

Do you think that I would be able to get a 6?

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May 19, 2015
Speaking test worries
by: IELTS buddy

Hi Jessie,

In the IELTS speaking test, you are marked for your performance over the whole test, so that is what will decide your score.

It is not likely to affect your score just because in one question you gave a similar answer to the one before.

And for the part two, where you stopped speaking, obviously you had not spoken for long enough. But again, it is really impossible to say if that would affect your score in any way as there are so many factors that are considered during the test. And, as I said above, you are assessed over the whole test.

To get an idea of what the examiners are assessing on, do a search on the 'IELTS Speaking Public Band Descriptors'.

So really, no one can possibly make any predictions on your score, but you could certainly still get a 6 even with the factors that you mentioned.

Please post back on this page when you get your score. I'm sure other poeple would like to know.

Good luck.

Jun 05, 2015
Full question
by: Anonymous

Hi Jessy

Could you please post on the questions on your cue card? I know you said the question was on a colorful place you' ve been to, but pls give details of the question. I wish you best of luck.

Titi Omo

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Using non English Words

by arya
(india)

Hello! I gave the ielts test a few days ago. My mother tongue is hindi and during the speaking test i used a hindi word once or twice. I was wondering how many bands will i lose bcoz of this?

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Feb 11, 2016
Non English words
by: IELTS buddy

Hi,

As I've said before on here, the grading is not as simple as that. There are not set things you do that suddenly bring your score down.

If you just spoke a couple of Hindi words by mistake a couple of times its unlikely to have a direct impact on your score.

To understand the scoring, do a search on "IELTS speaking public band descriptors".

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Grading of Tenses

by Pooja

Regarding tense.

Today was my test. In cue card i was asked to describe the course which you would like to do if you had a time. And i said if i have a time. So does it affect my score?

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Aug 12, 2016
Tenses
by: IELTS buddy

It's difficult to understand what you are asking.

You say you were asked to describe a course you would like to do, and it sounds like that is what you did.

Anyway, it is really not possible to answer your question. The grading does not work on the basis that you can pick out one thing like that and specify how it a affects the score.

You are graded on many things throughout the whole test.

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Who grades the candidate?

by Sultan Rakhimzhanov
(China, Beijing)

Hi there,

I have a question regarding speaking part.

Who is assessing student's answer, is it the same examiner who sits with a student or another examiner?

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Nov 20, 2016
Who grades the candidate?
by: IELTS buddy

It's the same examiner who is with you in the test.

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IELTS in Kerala and Qatar

by jinu
(doha)

HELLO,

Is taking IELTS in Kerala and Qatar differ in level of difficulty?

I understand that the questions and modules will be the same. But regarding the evaluation by examiners, the level of English of all the candidates who appear for test matters. (IN WRITING AND SPEAKING MODULES.

Please advise

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Nov 14, 2016
Using different test centres
by: IELTS buddy

There will be no difference as they use exactly the same grading methods. The test is standardised which means it will be the same everywhere.

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Was my IELTS Speaking Score Affected

by NervousChatter
(India)

Ok so I had my speaking test today.

I believe it went well...although due to being a little nervous I couldn't stretch and utilise the extent of my vocabulary that I am normally able to tap into when writing.

I tried to keep my speech simple and used maybe some higher calibre alternative words that aren't used in normal conversation.

Also two questions in the 1st part I began with answer as "Most times". I do not know if this is appropriate or makes sense when describing frequency or number of occasions.

I found the examiner was rushing through questions but gave me a vibe and smiling for the most part as if he already had a sense of my linguistic capability from the 1st question itself.

After my speech in the 2nd part in the questions that followed he tried to confuse me in justifying my stand against higher pay for teachers vs creative people asserting that teachers are crucial in developing human resource.

I believe initially I took a stand that they should not be paid more than creative types as they are not developing any idea/product from something they are merely guiding/influencing but ended up contradicting my statement saying it's not about being born creative but it has to do with development of inner talents.

I was intending to say its about your own ideas and how you develop them and teachers only help you by guiding, influencing etc but ended up not explaining it this way.

I was nervous at this point and later realized my mistake.

Finally he asked me another question. When I started to answer he told me the interview is now over, thank you.

What do you think, how much will this affect my score? Especially the section 3. Is having a fixed opinion given more criteria over elaborating on my opinion?

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Mar 29, 2017
Speaking Score
by: IELTS buddy

As I've said in the forums quite a few times it's really impossible to judge a person's speaking test without actually hearing it, which we obviously can't do.

But the points you are worrying about are minor details that are unlikely to make much difference to your score.

It's not possible to know if 'Most times' fitted without knowing the question and how you used it, but it's a minor point anyway.

And as for the point in Part 3, the examiner is not going to mark you down because they disagree with your opinion. The grading doesn't allow for that.

And people often contradict themselves so the examiner may not have even noticed or found it relevant. But as I say without hearing what you said it's impossible to judge it.

I understand your concerns but you really just have to wait for your result.

Good luck

Apr 12, 2017
The final result of my ielts addressing my previous concerns
by: Nervous Chatter

Hey ielts buddy,

Hi! So with my first post i was concerned about my speaking and all those tiny little errors that made me a bit anxious.Thank you for the quick response and for adding my post on your site.Today i would like to announce my results for the test.My overall score is 7.5 and below are the scores for each band:

1) Listening = 8.0
2) Reading = 7.5
3) Writing = 6.5
4) Speaking = 7.0

Now, my only concern is whether that score in writing is a bad score? By the way these scores are for the academic module. I knew my weakness was in task 1 for writing and this is not because i dont have adequate knowledge of english or low grasp on good grammar, vocabulary etc.

I felt rushed during the exam and organizing the report by comparing the graphs, finding patterns and using varied vocabulary coupled with the constant reminder that task 2 has more weight-age while marking did affect my ability to present the information well.

I faced the same issue while practicing but i had to move onto task 2 which was my strength in writing. Task 2 has that advantage of free thinking as compared to task 1. Therefore the low score.

I hope this score would be good enough to get me into most universities that am planning to apply to. Thanks once again. Good luck to everybody else who will be attempting the ielts.

Apr 12, 2017
Final score
by: IELTS buddy

6.5 isn't a bad score but whether it is good enough willl vary for everyone as it depends on the admission criteria of the university you are applying to.

You need to think about what course you may want to do and at which universities. Then online you should be able to check what that university's IELTS admissions requirements are for the course you are interested in.

Good luck.

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Wrong idea for part 3 speaking

I was asked, "In the future, Would computer generated movies take over and replace humans?"

As I heard "computer generated movies", I thought that computers created a story line, speaking and visual. So I explained how computers are not that capable yet and how unlikely that will happen in near future.

But I had gave an example how Japan had popular a singer that is generated by computers (both sound and visual).

However, at home, I realized that the examiner meant "computer generated movies" as an animation and CGI movies.

How much would this can effect my speaking test?

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Apr 03, 2017
Wrong answer to question
by: IELTS buddy

Hi,

I think you are misunderstanding how the speaking test is graded so you should go online and check out the "IELTS Public Speaking Band Descriptors".

There is nothing about losing marks for answering one question wrong.

You are graded on your grammar, fluency etc.

Of course you are also graded on the extent to which you develop the topics you discuss so if you were misunderstanding lots of questions and giving answers nothing to do with the question your score could be affected, but one single question is unlikely to make any difference.

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