Understand how to calculate your IELTS scores

Remember, you can’t fail IELTS — your results simply offer an accurate assessment of your level of English-speaking ability.

The IELTS 9-band scale

You’ll receive a score between 1 to 9 for each section of your test — Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking. Your overall band score is the average achieved from each element of the test.

You can score whole (e. g., 5.0, 6.0, 7.0) or half (e. g., 5.5, 6.5, 7.5) bands in each test.

How are your results used?

There is no pass or fail with IELTS. Your results will be used by your chosen organisation to assess your English language skills against international standards such as the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR).

IELTS can act as a gateway to a new life abroad — scores are accepted by over 10,000 English-speaking organisations worldwide, including institutions, business and immigration authorities.

You’ll find a full breakdown of your results on your Test Report Form.

Band score Skill level Description
Band 9 Expert user You have a full operational command of the language. Your use of English is appropriate, accurate and fluent, and you show complete understanding.
Band 8 Very good user You have a fully operational command of the language with only occasional unsystematic inaccuracies and inappropriate usage. You may misunderstand some things in unfamiliar situations. You handle complex detailed argumentation well.
Band 7 Good user You have an operational command of the language, though with occasional inaccuracies, inappropriate usage and misunderstandings in some situations. Generally you handle complex language well and understand detailed reasoning.
Band 6 Competent user Generally you have an effective command of the language despite some inaccuracies, inappropriate usage and misunderstandings. You can use and understand fairly complex language, particularly in familiar situations.
Band 5 Modest user You have a partial command of the language, and cope with overall meaning in most situations, although you are likely to make many mistakes. You should be able to handle basic communication in your own field.
Band 4 Limited user Your basic competence is limited to familiar situations. You frequently show problems in understanding and expression. You are not able to use complex language.
Band 3 Extremely limited user You convey and understand only general meaning in very familiar situations. There are frequent breakdowns in communication.
Band 2 Intermittent user You have great difficulty understanding spoken and written English.
Band 1 Non-user You have no ability to use the language except a few isolated words.
Band 0 Did not attempt the test You did not answer the questions.

IELTS band scores explained

On the IELTS Test Report Form, you’ll find your overall band score and the results you achieved in each part of the test.

Individual test scores

Scores for each of the four skills are equally weighted. Your overall band scores are calculated by taking your mean result for each part of the test.

Your overall band score

Overall band scores are calculated to the nearest whole or half band. If the average score across the four skills — Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking — ends in .25, it is rounded up to the next half band. If it ends in .75, it is rounded up to the next whole band.

Band score examples

1) You achieve 6.5 for Listening, 6.5 for Reading, 5.0 for Writing and 7.0 for Speaking, giving a total score of 25.

The mean is then calculated (25 ÷ 4 = 6.25) and this is rounded up to 6.5. So you’ll be awarded an overall band score of 6.5.

2) If you score an IELTS result of 4.0 for Listening, 3.5 for Reading, 4.0 for Writing and 4.0 for Speaking, your total score will be 15.5.

The mean is calculated (15.5 ÷ 4 = 3.875) and this is rounded up. So your overall band score will be 4.0.

3) If you achieve 6.5 for Listening, 6.5 for Reading, 5.5 for Writing and 6.0 for Speaking, your total score will be 24.5.

The mean will be calculated (24.5 ÷ 4 = 6.125). This is then rounded down, giving you an overall score of band 6.