IELTS Score Format

Published On: 24 Mar 2012

 | Last Updated On: 16 Nov 2012

International English Language Testing System (IELTS) is jointly owned by British Council, IDP: IELTS Australia and the University of Cambridge ESOL Examinations (Cambridge ESOL) and offered through over 800 test centers and locations in over 130 countries. International teams of writers contribute to IELTS test materials. Ongoing research ensures that IELTS remains fair and unbiased. Test writers from different English-speaking countries develop IELTS content so it reflects real-life situations.

IELTS Score Format

There is no pass or fail in IELTS. Candidates are graded on their performance, using scores from 1 to 9 for each part of the test – Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking. The Results from the four parts then produce an Overall Band Score.

This unique 9-band system measures scores in a consistent manner – wherever and whenever the test is taken. It is internationally recognized and understood, giving you a reliable international currency. IELTS scores have a recommended validity period of two years.

IELTS uses a 9-band scoring system to measure and report test scores in a consistent manner. You receive individual band scores for Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking and an Overall Band Score on a band scale from one to nine.

Test Report Form will be posted to you 13 calendar days after your test date. All test centers will post your Test Report Form to you. Keep your Test Report Form in a secure place as you only receive one copy. Some test centers provide SMS alerts and an online Results service.

How is IELTS Scored?

IELTS Results are reported on a nine-band scale. In addition to the score for overall language ability IELTS provides a score, in the form of a profile, for each of the four skills (Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking). These scores are also reported on a nine-band scale. All scores are recorded on the Test Report Form along with details of the candidate’s nationality, first language and date of birth. Each Overall Band Score corresponds to a descriptive statement which gives a summary of the English language ability of a candidate classified at that level. The nine bands and their descriptive statements are as follows:

9 Expert User – Has fully operational command of the language: appropriate, accurate and fluent with complete understanding.

8 Very Good User – Has fully operational command of the language with only occasional unsystematic inaccuracies and inappropriacies. Misunderstandings may occur in unfamiliar situations. Handles complex detailed argumentation well.

7 Good User – Has operational command of the language, though occasional inaccuracies, inappropriacies and misunderstandings in some situations. Generally handles complex language well and understands detailed reasoning.

6 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.

5 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.

4 Limited User – Basic competence is limited to familiar situations. Has a frequent problem in understanding and expression. Is not able to use complex language.

3 Extremely Limited User – Conveys and understands only general meaning in very familiar situations. Frequent breakdowns in communication occur.

2 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 understanding spoken and written English.

1 Non User – Essentially has no ability to use the language beyond possibly a few isolated words.

0 Did not attempt the test. – No assessable information.

Most universities and colleges in the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand and Canada accept an IELTS Overall Band Score of 6.0 or 6.5 for entry to academic programmes. IELTS scores are increasingly being recognised by Universities in the USA.

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