IELTS test takers are scored from 0-9 on each section of the test: Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening. The four marks are then used to create an average, to give your overall score.
|Average of four components||6.25|
When marking your IELTS test, the examiner will be assessing each component against the IELTS marking criteria to establish your band score. You can see the different IELTS band scores, plus a description of what is needed to achieve that IELTS score in the table below.
|Band score||Skill level||Description|
|9||Expert user||Full operational command of the language. Your use of English is appropriate, accurate and fluent and you show complete understanding.|
|8||Very good user||Very good user You have a fully operational command of the language with only occasional unsystematic inaccuracies and inappropriate usage. You may misunderstand some things in unfamiliar situations. You handle complex detailed argumentation well.|
|7||Good user||You have an operational command of the language, though with occasional inaccuracies, inappropriate usage, and misunderstandings in some situations. Generally, you handle complex language well and understand detailed reasoning.|
|6||Competent user||Generally, you have an effective command of the language despite some inaccuracies, inappropriate usage and misunderstandings. You can use and understand fairly complex language, particularly in familiar situations.|
|5||Modest user||You have a partial command of the language, and cope with overall meaning in most situations, although you are likely to make many mistakes. You should be able to handle basic communication in your own field.|
|4||Limited user||Your basic competence is limited to familiar situations. You frequently show problems in understanding and expression. You are not able to use complex language.|
|3||Extremely limited user||You convey and understand only general meaning in very familiar situations. There are frequent breakdowns in communication.|
|2||Intermittent user||You have great difficulty understanding spoken and written English.|
|1||Non-user||You have no ability to use the language except a few isolated words.|
|0||Didn’t attempt the test||You did not answer the questions.|
The Canadian government uses the ‘Canadian Language Benchmark’ (CLB) to measure the English language abilities of those immigrating to Canada – but how does IELTS align to the CLB? With 12 levels of CLB and 9 Levels in the IELTS band scores, it can be confusing knowing how your IELTS score matches up.
Not to worry! You can easily convert your IELTS score to the CLB using our conversion calculator.
You cannot fail the IELTS test. It is designed to assess the English language abilities of those who speak English as a second language, not as a pass or fail test.
The only way you can achieve a Level 0 is if you do not attempt the test at all or answer any of the questions. Otherwise, you can score anywhere between 1 and 9, depending on the level of English you demonstrate in your test.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a good IELTS score?
The IELTS levels are scored between 0 and 9. A “good user” is described as someone who gets a band score of 7. Level 8 is considered a “very good user” and Level 9 is considered “expert”. You can see all the levels and their descriptors in the table further up this page.
How do I calculate my IELTS score?
Your overall IELTS score is calculated by taking an average across the four sections of the test (Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking). You can find out more information on this by reading the information above, and you can also see an example of how an overall score is calculated.
How many years is my IELTS score valid for?
Your Test Report Form (TRF) which contains your IELTS results is valid for two years. You can, however, take the IELTS test as many times as you wish.
What are the bands in IELTS?
Every individual who takes the IELTS test will be given an IELTS band score. This tells governments, employers or universities and colleges what your level of English is. The band score is worked out by taking an average across the four areas of your IELTS test (Reading, Writing, Speaking & Listening). You can see what each IELTS band score means using the table on this page.
How do I get a good score in IELTS?
The best way to get a good score in IELTS is by preparing as much as possible for your test. The more you understand the test format, the kinds of questions that will be coming up and how to answer them, the better you are likely to do on the day of your test. You can use the preparation section on our website to get ahead with your revision.
We also have lots of useful blogs available on our site, including this one: Last minute preparation tips.