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  • IELTS Scores Explained

    IELTS Exam – Your Score


    Each candidate receives a certificate in which the total score and the score for each section of the exam are indicated (i.e. Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking). The Overall Band Score is calculated by taking the average of the total of the four individual sub-test scores.


    IELTS Band Scores: How they are calculated

    Overall Band Scores are reported to the nearest whole or half band. To avoid any confusion, the following rounding convention applies: if the average across the four skills ends in .25, it is rounded up to the next half band, and if it ends in.75, it is rounded up to the next whole band.


    Thus, a candidate achieving 6.5 for Listening, 6.5 for Reading, 5.0 for Writing and 7.0 for Speaking would be awarded an Overall Band Score of 6.5 (25 ÷ 4 = 6.25 = Band 6.5).

    Likewise, a candidate achieving 4.0 for Listening, 3.5 for Reading, 4.0 for Writing and 4.0 for Speaking would be awarded an Overall Band Score of 4.0 (15.5 ÷ 4 = 3.875 = Band 4.0).

    However, a candidate achieving 6.5 for Listening, 6.5 for Reading, 5.5 for Writing and 6.0 for Speaking would be awarded band 6 (24.5 ÷ 4 = 6.125 = Band 6).


    Examiner Comments - Academic Writing (pdf, 1.4 Мб)

    Examiner Comments - General Training Writing (pdf, 869 Кб)

    IELTS Score Scale

    9 - Expert user

    Has full command of the English language. Immediate and complete comprehension.

    8 - Very good user

    Compehension is full with only occasional minor misunderstandings. Has the ability to handle complex argumentation.

    7 - Good user

    Has operational command of the language with occasional misunderstandings. The user has the ability to follow the line of reasoning.

    6 - Competent user

    Not full but effective command of language. The user displays a number of inaccuracies and misunderstandings.

    5 - Modest user

    The user has partial command of the language and there is a high level of error. Can communicate in familiar everyday situations.

    4 - Limited user

    Has problems understanding language. The user is unable to deal with the expression and usage of complex language.

    3 - Extremely limited user

    There is communications breakdown as the user conveys only limited ideas.

    2 - Intermittent user

    Incapable of communicating with others except for a few isolated words. Has great difficulty in written and spoken discourse.

    1 - None user

    Has no ability to use language or has no language resource. User is unable to communicate beyond a few isolated words.

    0 - Did not attempt the test


    No information provided.

     Comparison of IELTS scores with the European scale of English levels:


    IELTS scores


    8.0 - 9.0


    7.0 - 7.5


    6.0 - 6.5


    5.0 - 5.5


    4.0 - 4.5


    3.5 and below

    The following table shows the overall average score needed for academic and non-academic training

    The overall average score






    Academic courses with high level linguistic requirements,

    e.g., medicine, law, linguistics, librarianship


    not always acceptable

    further study required

    further study required

    further study required

    Academic courses with lower linquistic requirements


    e.g., agriculture, theoretical mathematics, telecommunications


    not always acceptable

    further study required

    further study required

    further study required

    Practical courses with high linguistic requirements:

    e.g., engineering, applied sciences, industrial safety




    not always acceptable

    not always acceptable

    Practical courses with lower linguistic requirements:

    e.g., livestock, services, firefighting, air traffic control