IELTS Scores

On this page you will learn more about IELTS scores and how they are calculated.

Also, if you scroll down, you will see an IELTS Score Conversion Table which tells you how your scores for reading and writing are converted into IELTS band scores.

How are overall band scores calculated?

When you have taken the IELTS test you will be sent a Test Report Form with your band score about 2 weeks later.

Band scores are given from 0-9. These IELTS scores are given for each section of the exam - writing, speaking, listening, and reading.

These are then added together to give you an overall band score.

You can be given a half band score as well, so scores are rounded up to whole or half bands.

Scores ending in 0.25 will be rounded up to the nearest half band, and scores of 0.75 will be rounded up the the nearest whole band.

Here are some examples:

Listening Reading Writing Speaking Overall Band

Listening Reading Writing Speaking Overall Band

Check out this video which also explains how band scores are calculated:


Band Descriptors

The IELTS scores you are given provide an assessment of your level of English.

This can then be used by the institution you are applying to decide if you have the ability to successfully complete their course of study, or successfully live and work in the country if you are applying for work or citizenship.

The overall IELTS scores and descriptors are illustrated below:

Expert user
Has fully operational command of the language: appropriate, accurate and fluent with complete understanding.
Very good user
Has fully operational command of the language with only occasional unsystematic inaccuracies. Misunderstandings occur in unfamiliar situations. Handles complex detailed argumentation as well.
Good user
Has operational command of the language, though with occasional inaccuracies, inappropriacies and misunderstandings in some situations. Generally handles complex language well and understands detailed reasoning.
Competent user
Has generally effective command of the language despite some inaccuracies, inappropriacies and misunderstandings. Can use and understand fairly complex language, particularly in familiar situations.
Modest user
Has partial command of the language, coping with overall meaning in most situations, though is likely to make many mistakes. Should be able to handle basic communication in own field.
Limited user
Basic competence is limited to familiar situations. Has frequent problems in understanding and expression. Is not able to use complex language.
Extremely limited user
Conveys and understands only general meaning in very familiar situations. Frequent breakdowns in communication occur.
Intermittent user
No real communication is possible except for the most basic information using isolated words or short formulae in familiar situations and to meet immediate needs. Has great difficulty in understanding spoken and written English.
Non user
Essentially has no ability to use the language beyond possibly a few isolated words.
Did not attempt the test
No assessable information provided.

Raw Score Conversion Tables

In the listening and reading test, you are given a score out of 40. This 'raw score' is then converted into a band score.

You can use the following tables to calculate what IELTS score your raw score will be.

It is important to note that the tests may differ in difficulty because it is obviously impossible to make each test at exactly the same level.

Therefore, these band score boundaries may vary slightly according to each test.

Listening Test - Raw Score Conversion

Raw Score Band Score Raw Score Band Score
39-40 9 18-22 5.5
37-38 8.5 16-17 5
35-36 8 13-15 4.5
32-34 7.5 11-12 4
30-31 7 8-10 3.5
26-29 6.5 6-7 3
23-25 6 4-5 2.5

Academic Reading Test - Raw Score Conversion

Raw Score Band Score Raw Score Band Score
39-40 9 19-22 5.5
37-38 8.5 15-18 5
35-36 8 13-14 4.5
33-34 7.5 10-12 4
30-32 7 8-9 3.5
27-29 6.5 6-7 3
23-26 6 4-5 2.5

General Reading Test - Raw Score Conversion

Raw Score Band Score Raw Score Band Score
40 9 27-29 5.5
39 8.5 23-26 5
37-38 8 19-22 4.5
36 7.5 15-18 4
34-35 7 12-14 3.5
32-33 6.5 9-11 3
30-31 6 6-8 2.5

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