Test takers receive a score for each test component – Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking. The individual scores are then averaged and rounded to produce an Overall Band Score.
There is no pass or fail. IELTS is scored on a nine-band scale, with each band corresponding to a specified competence in English. Overall Band Scores are reported to the nearest half band.
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.
The nine bands are described as follows:
|9||Expert User||Has full 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 with occasional inaccuracies, inappropriateness 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 frequent problems 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 provided at all.|
IELTS and the CEFR
|IELTS Band Score||CEFR Level|
|0.5||Did not attempt the test|
This table can be used to convert raw scores (out of 40) to band scores (out of 9). This helps test takers understand how many correct answers they need to achieve a particular band score. This chart is a guide only because sometimes the scores adjust slightly depending on how difficult the test is.
|Band Score||9.0||8.5||8.0||7.5||7.0||6.5||6.0||5.5||5.0||4.5||4.0||3.5||3.0||2.5||2.0||1.5||1.0||0.0||Band Score|
|Listening raw score (out of 40)||39||37||35||33||30||27||23||20||16||13||10||8||6||4||3||2||1||0||Listening raw score (out of 40)|
|Reading raw score (A, out of 40)||39||37||35||33||30||27||23||20||16||13||10||8||6||4||3||2||1||0||Reading raw score (A, out of 40)|
|Reading raw score (G, out of 40)||40||39||38||36||34||32||30||27||23||19||15||12||9||6||5||3||2||0||Reading raw score (G, out of 40)|
For a computer-delivered test, results are released between 5–7 days. For a paper-based test, a Test Report Form is posted to test takers 13 days after their test. It shows:
- An Overall Band Score (from 1-9)
- A band score (from 1-9) for each section of the test (Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking)
- Whether IELTS Academic or General Training was completed
- The test taker’s photo, nationality, first language and date of birth.
Test takers receive one copy of their Test Report Form, apart from test takers who are applying to the Department of Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) or UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) who receive two copies.
Test Report Forms are valid for two years.