The IELTS Score Range – The Complete Guide

The International English Language Testing System or IELTS exam is the top-most choice of Educational institutions, professional organizations, and employers to evaluate the candidates’ level of proficiency in the English language. IELTS is accepted globally. Having proficiency in the English Language and getting a good IELTS score range is important to apply at any international university, the ones located in English-speaking countries like the US, UK, Canada, Australia, etc.

IELTS Score Range – An Introduction

Students living in non-native English-speaking countries and planning to study abroad, have to appear for the English Language Proficiency test. It is a mandatory requirement in most universities and colleges globally and will be applicable to all courses, including Diploma, undergraduate, postgraduate, or PhD courses. As an international student, one has to clear the IELTS exam and needs to produce a scorecard to the university they look forward to studying in any session you choose to.

The IELTS test is evaluated through band scores varying from 0 to 9. Each number indicates a unique English proficiency level of the candidates. Students giving the IELTS exam will get band scores for individual sections apart from an overall band score.

In case you are preparing for the IELTS exam, check out this detailed IELTS score range guide for a better understanding of the scoring system.

Ideal IELTS Score Range Guide

Unlike exam format, scoring also is of utmost importance. Students and other applicants need to have the essential information about it. The relevant information can help you take informed decision and prepare in the right manner. Also, the IELTS Score Range will help you develop the right exam preparation strategies and score the required Band in the IELTS. Let’s understand the IELTS exam score range below.

For detailed knowledge of the IELTS exam score range, go through the table mentioned below:

IELTS Band Score Skill Level Remarks
9 Expert Appropriate and accurate command over the language
8 Very good Fully operational command over the English language with a few occasional mistakes
7 Good Operational command over the language with mistakes in certain parts
6 Competent Practical knowledge of the language. Fair understanding of complex language
5 Modest Partial language command and coping capacity in most situations
4 Limited Recurrent misconceptions while understanding and Inability of using difficult language
3 Extremely limited Understanding of general meanings and faces some difficulty while communicating
2 Intermittent Real communication is difficult and the candidates experience difficulty while writing, speaking and understating the language
1 Non-user No capacity to use English


The Key Intakes

  • The individual scoring 9 will be considered to have Full, native-like fluency, both in producing language and understanding it while the individual scoring 1 is not considered to study or work abroad. The test taker scoring 1 means that he/she knows only a few words and phrases in English.
  • The chance of getting a high IELTS grade range is quite unpredictable. Actually, it is based on the individual’s current level of English proficiency, hard work, focus, and dedication.
  • Those who currently have a high level of English proficiency (Band 6.0 – 6.5) need to focus on learning skills using some of the best techniques, and tips and apply the same to get the score. The candidates can learn some exam tips regarding maximizing their scores. Also, referring to academic books is a great idea to lower the gap between the scores achieved and the target IELTS score.
  • The candidates need to focus on the parameters that need more attention. For instance, in case your IELTS Reading score is 5.5 while other skills are over 6.0, then you need to improve your reading skills by referring to the best available books.
  • Do not feel shy with your own style of pronunciation; rather look for ways to improve it. If you are preparing for the test by yourself, then you can take the help of your elder brother or sister at home who might have taken the test earlier or can seek the help of professional trainers.

The IELTS Score Band Requirement

To get admission abroad, the candidates need to demonstrate their English abilities. The minimum IELTS score range varies from university to university and also differs country-wise.

The four sections in which the IELTS test is conducted include:

  •       Speaking
  •       Listening
  •       Reading
  •       Writing

IELTS test score range for Language Tests

English Language Proficiency Section IELTS
Competent Listening 6
Reading 6
Writing 6
Speaking 6
Proficient Listening 7
Reading 7
Writing 7
Speaking 7
Superior Listening 8
Reading 8
Writing 8
Speaking 8


IELTS Speaking Test

The Speaking test in IELTS is just like a conversation that you happen in daily routine life. In the test, the test-takers will sit in a private, quiet room in front of an examiner who starts a conversation with the test-takers.  Through this test, candidates speaking skills are judged based on various factors including fluency of the candidate, the way they pronounce, grammatical usage, and much more. To know about all of them, it is important to go through the detailed Speaking band descriptors which provide detailed and updated information about each phrase and how to score good marks.

How is the IELTS Writing test marked?

The IELTS Writing test is taken by qualified and experienced IELTS examiners who are trained and are responsible to ensure consistency and quality of marking, no matter where the test is taken. At least two examiners will mark up the Writing test. Sometimes there might be three or four examiners as well. The main reason for appointing more examiners is to ensure maximum accuracy and fairness. The Writing test marks will be given in the areas of ‘task response’, ‘coherence and cohesion’, ‘lexical resource’, and ‘grammatical range and accuracy’.

IELTS Writing

In the writing test, the examiners use assessment criteria to award a band score in criteria including –

  • Task Achievement
  • Coherence and Cohesion
  • Lexical Resource
  • Grammatical Range and Accuracy

All the above factors will be evaluated equally and the score on the task is the average of all the scores.

The criteria based on which the examiners will give scores to candidates in the writing tasks include:

Criteria Details
Task 1 – Achievement • Providing accurate information

• Presenting an overview

• Highlight of key stages/features

Task 2 – Response • Answering the questions by addressing the given task

• Stating main position and opinions, if asked

• Adding a conclusion

Coherence & Cohesion • Formulating ideas into paragraphs

• Gathering one central idea in each of the paragraphs

• Utilising various linking devices

Lexical Resource • Using various paragraphs and words

• Utilising collocations

• Spellings

Grammar Accuracy & Range • Using a wide range of sentence structures

• Use of different grammar tenses

• Punctuations





IELTS Speaking

The examiners follow predefined rules to allocate marks for each question in a different section in a module. In the case of IELTS Speaking also the same is followed. Apart from it, an examiner also considers certain assessment criteria to calculate the IELTS score range.

The exam takers consider the underneath assessment criteria for calculating the IELTS score range:

  • Fluency and Coherence
  • Lexical Resource
  • Grammatical Range and Accuracy
  • Pronunciation

All the factors are calculated equally and the Speaking band score is the average.

The marking criteria for the IELTS speaking section are detailed below:

Criteria Details
Fluency • Speaking without hesitations/ pauses

• It should be easy to understand

• Talking without correcting oneself

Grammar Accuracy & Range • Using different structures of sentences

• Making use of different grammar tenses

• Staying free of errors

Lexical Resource • Using different ranges of words/ paraphrasing

• Use of collocations

• Using different vocabulary

Pronunciation • Must be easily understood by the examiner

• Using intonation

• Accurate usage of words and sounds


IELTS Grade Range for Reading

Candidates appearing for the IELTS reading test will be given 40 questions. The kind of questions asked consists of multiple choices, sentence finishing, true, false, not given and matching etc. In this section, the score will be given differently as the answers can either be completely right or wrong. For every correct option, the candidates will get one mark.

The band score chart mentioned below provides in-depth knowledge about the assessments:

General Training Reading Score Median Marks Required Academic Reading Score Median Marks Required
4 15 out of 40
5 23 out of 40 5 15 out of 40
6 30 out of 40 6 23 out of 40
7 34 out of 40 7 30 out of 40
8 38 out of 40 8 35 out of 40


IELTS Grade Range: For Listening

The IELTS listening section consists of 40 questions and all of them are audio samples, and in this section, assessment is quite different from the writing and speaking sections.

Provided below is the band chart score mentioning the score needed by the students:

Score Median Marks Required
5 16
6 23
7 30
8 35


The Validity of the IELTS Score Band

The results of the IELTS score come with validity for two years from the exam date.

The key features of the IELTS test include –

  •       The four modules of the IELTS test include Reading, Writing, Listening, and Speaking
  •       The combined results of these four modules are referred to as the final IELTS score.
  •       The IELTS score is valid for 2 years.
  •       The IELTS uses a 9-band scale to assess proficiency

Hope you have now understood the IELTS exam score range and start preparing accordingly. Candidates applying abroad can book their test well in advance by visiting the official website of IELTS or can also visit the nearest centre.

For more information on IELTS and IELTS grade range, reach out to our overseas counsellors at Study Smart and get the best guidance.



  1. Does the IELTS score come with lifetime validity?

No, the IELTS result doesn’t have lifetime validity. The validity of the scores is two years.

  1. How many sections are there in the IELTS Exam?

The exam consists of four sections including Reading, Writing, Listening, and Speaking. Each section has its own relevance and holds 25% of the overall score.

3.      Are there any alternatives to Study in Canadian Universities without IELTS?

There are numerous options available that are equivalent to IELTS. You can choose those options to take admission to Canadian universities without IELTS but for Visa you need to crack the IELTS.

  1. Which English-speaking countries consider IELTS scores?

The English-speaking countries namely the USA, Canada, Australia, the UK, and more prefer IELTS score for admission to different study programs.

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