How IELTS Band Scores Are Calculated

Most people know what an IELTS band score is, but are not entirely sure how it’s calculated. This blog post will explore the intricacies of the scoring system and hopefully give you a better understanding as to why your scores may vary from one sitting to another.

Perhaps you have had this experience before: You study for a test and are sure that you’ve done your best. But when the IELTS results come in, they’re just not what you were hoping for!

Well, it turns out there is an explanation behind these upsets. IELTS scores vary from one sitting to another because of two different things–the examiner’s individual scoring system and random variation over time in how well people perform on tests like this one around the world.

This blog post will explore both of those concepts so hopefully, we can give better insights into why some students score higher than others at certain times even if everything seems fair across all sessions with other examiners.

Most people know about their IELTS band score but don’t understand exactly how they are calculated.

How the IELTS Band Scores are Calculated?

The IELTS score is a measure of your English ability, and it’s calculated in three different ways. You’ll get an overall band score for each skill (listening, reading, writing) as well as an overview band which averages all the skills together. The scoring system ranges from 0 to 9 – with .5 scores available too!

How can I Calculate my IELTS Band Scores?

A general description of the competency level for each of the nine bands is reprinted from the IELTS website with permission.

IELTS Band Scores are reported in whole or half bands. The overall band requirement for each institution or government body may be different. A band of 6.5 or 7 is a common requirement for university admission.

  • If your overall score is an average of 6.25, your score will be increased to 6.5.
  • If your overall score is an average of 6.75, your score will be increased to 7.
  • If your overall score is 6.1, your score will go down to 6.
  • Your score is rounded up or down to the nearest 0.5 or whole score as shown above.

You can Calculate this information on the official British Council IELTS Website: Visit The Website

Band Score Descriptions

The table below gives a description of each band score with information about the level of English required for band scores 0 to 9.

9Expert UserHas fully operational command of the language: appropriate, accurate, and fluent with complete understanding.
8Very Good UserHas fully operational command of the language with only occasional unsystematic inaccuracies and inappropriacies. Misunderstandings may occur in unfamiliar situations. Handles complex detailed argumentation well.
7Good UserHas operational command of the language, though with occasional inaccuracies, inappropriacies, and misunderstandings in some situations. Generally handles complex language well and understands desired reasoning.
6CompetentHas generally effective command of the language despite some inaccuracies, inappropriacies, and misunderstandings. Can use and understand fairly complex language, particularly in familiar situations.
5Modest UserHas partial command of the language, coping with overall meaning in most situations, though likely to make many mistakes. Should be able to handle basic communication in their own field.
4Limited UserBasic competence is limited to familiar situations. Has frequent problems in understanding and expression. Is not able to use complex language.
3Extremely Limited UserConveys and understands only general meaning in very familiar situations. Frequent breakdowns in communication occur.
2Intermittent UserNo 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.
1NonuserEssentially has no ability to use the language beyond possibly a few isolated words.
0Did not attempt the testNo assessable information provided.


IELTS Listening Scores

The number of right answers you have out of the 40 questions in the test determines your listening scores. Incorrect responses do not result in a loss of points.

IELTS Listening Scores

IELTS Reading Score

Your reading scores are calculated by the number of correct answers you have out of the 40 questions in the test. You do not lose points for incorrect answers.

IELTS Reading Score Academic

IELTS Reading Score Academic

IELTS Reading Score General Training

IELTS Reading Score General Training

IELTS Writing Assessment Criteria

Both writing task 1 and task 2 are graded on the basis of four criteria. For more information on each criterion, see the table below.

To see the full version of the table, click on it.

IELTS Writing Assessment Criteria

IELTS Speaking Assessment Criteria

The following are the IELTS speaking grading standards. To see the full version of the table, click on it.

IELTS Speaking Assessment Criteria


By Superingenious

I help students who are preparing for their international test or the once are looking to improve their English skills. So I help students learn English, get better scores on their tests, and prepare for the future.