Decoding the IELTS Band Score Chart: All You Need to Know

Jul 28, 2023 | IELTS

IELTS band score chart<br />

IELTS Band Score Chart

 In this article, we will delve into the evaluation process and shed light on how band scores are calculated for the Listening, Reading, Writing, and Speaking sections.

Section 1: Listening

  • The Listening section of the IELTS evaluates candidates’ ability to comprehend spoken English. Band scores in this section are determined based on the number of correct answers. 
  • Each question carries one mark, and there is no penalty for incorrect responses. 
  • The raw score obtained from the number of correct answers is then converted to a band score using the official IELTS band score chart.
  • The table provides an estimation of the band scores for the respective performance levels.

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

Section 2: Reading

  • The Reading section evaluates candidates’ abilities in reading comprehension. 
  • The calculation of band scores in the Reading section is similar to that of the Listening section. 
  • Candidates receive one mark for each correct answer, and there is no penalty for incorrect responses. 
  • The raw score is then converted to a band score using the band score chart specific to the Reading section.

IELTS General Reading marking schemes

For the General Reading test, consisting of 40 questions, the table allows you to estimate the corresponding band scores.

Band Score 9 8.5 8 7.5 7 6.5 6 5.5 5 4.5 4 3.5 3 2.5
Score / 40 40 39 38 35-37 34 31-33 30 22-29 23 16-22 15 12-14 9-11 6-8

IELTS Academic Reading marking schemes

The table can help calculate the approximate band scores for the Academic Reading test, which consists of 40 questions and is considered more challenging.

Band Score 9 8.5 8 7.5 7 6.5 6 5.5 5 4.5 4 3.5 3 2.5
Score / 40 39-40 36-38 35 31-34 30 24-29 23 16-22 15 13-14 10-12 8-9 6-7 4-5

Section 3: Writing

The Writing section evaluates candidates’ ability to express ideas coherently in written English. Both writing tasks 1 and 2 are assessed based on four criteria, and examiners assign a band score for each of these parameters.

Task Achievement

  • Aim to deliver precise and factual information in your presentation.
  • Provide a concise overview of the subject matter to give a general understanding.
  • Emphasize the key features or important aspects of the topic.
  • Support your details with relevant data or evidence to enhance credibility.

Task Response 

  • Address questions directly and comprehensively in your responses.
  • Offer supporting points or evidence to strengthen your arguments or claims.
  • Summarize your main points and provide a conclusion that ties your ideas together.

Coherence and Cohesion

  • Organize information and ideas effectively by structuring them into paragraphs.
  • Ensure that each paragraph focuses on a single central idea to maintain clarity and coherence.
  • Employ a variety of linking devices such as transitional words and phrases to establish logical connections between sentences and paragraphs.

Lexical Resource

  • Utilize a diverse range of words and practice paraphrasing to enhance your language skills.
  • Incorporate collocations, or commonly used word combinations, to improve the naturalness and fluency of your writing.
  • Double-check your spelling to ensure accuracy and maintain the overall quality of your work.

Grammatical Range and Accuracy

  • Utilize a variety of sentence structures to add complexity and variety to your writing.
  • Employ a range of tenses to accurately express different time frames and actions.
  • Strive for error-free writing by thoroughly proofreading and editing your work.
  • Pay attention to punctuation to ensure clarity and proper sentence structure.

Example how writing score is calculated

  • For Writing Task 1, you achieved a band score of 8, 
  • while for Writing Task 2, you obtained a band score of 6. 
  • As a result, your total Writing score is 6.5. (8+6+6-20/3-6.66. By round of we get 6.5)
  • To calculate your own score, add the band score for Task 1 and two times the band score for Task 2, and then divide the sum by 3.

Section 4: Speaking

The Speaking section measures candidates’ ability to communicate orally in English. The calculation of band scores in the Speaking section is based on the assessment of four criteria: 

Fluency and Coherence

  • Maintain a fluent speaking style by avoiding pauses.
  • Speak at length to provide detailed and comprehensive responses.
  • Ensure clarity in your speech to be easily understood by the listener.
  • Employ linking devices to connect ideas and enhance the coherence of your speech.

Lexical Resource

  • Employ a variety of vocabulary and practice paraphrasing.
  • Utilize commonly used words and phrases.
  • Minimize errors and strive for accuracy in your writing.
  • Incorporate collocations to enhance the naturalness of your language use

Grammatical Range and Accuracy

  • Employ a variety of sentence structures to add complexity and depth to your writing.
  • Utilize a range of tenses to accurately convey different time frames and actions.
  • Strive for error-free writing by carefully reviewing and editing your work.


  • Prioritize clear communication to ensure that your message is understood by others.
  • Utilize appropriate intonation patterns to convey meaning and emphasis in your speech.
  • Ensure that your accent does not hinder the comprehension of your spoken English.

Qualified examiners evaluate these criteria and assign scores ranging from 0 to 9. Similar to the Writing section, the scores for each criterion are averaged to determine the final band score for the Speaking section.

Overall Band Score

The overall band score is an average of the band scores obtained in each section. The four individual band scores from Listening, Reading, Writing, and Speaking are averaged, rounded to the nearest half or whole band score, and reported as the overall band score.

As an example, if you have achieved a score of 6 in Listening, 7 in Reading, 8 in Writing, and 6 in Speaking, your overall score would be calculated as follows: (6 + 7 + 8 + 6) / 4 = 6.75. According to the rounding rule, this would be rounded up to 7.