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Just like a businessman must understand the numbers in profit and loss for the future of his business, so too do you need to understand the numbers in the pass and fail for IELTS.

 I know when you are preparing for your IELTS test you feel enormous pressure because you know that this is your ticket to your English future, so let’s have a deeper look into how the IELTS score is  calculated, and in return you will be able to understand the how to get the highest score.

I’m going to talk only about the Academic paper in this post.

Your Total band score

This is the total scores of your Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening divided by 4 and rounded out to the nearest whole or half band score. E.g. 6.3 would be rounded to 6.5. 7.1 would be rounded to 7.0.
The IELTS results paper will show all 4 scores plus the overall band score. This might help your University acceptance. Perhaps your University says you must have a 6.0. However you got a 5.5, perhaps you got your scores like this:

Reading:  5.0

Writing 6.5

Speaking: 6.5

Listening 4.5

…and 5.0+6.5+6.5+4.5 = 22.5

Now divide 22.5 by 4 = 5.625 (which rounded down means 5.5 for your overall mark)

This gives your university an idea of generally how good you are at English. But it may not be the end of your chances if you only get 5.5. What they may do is because you got the writing and speaking at 6.5, they may let you start some courses, but you have to re-sit the Listening and Reading during the first semester. Not every university is like that, but some are, so don’t be afraid to ask.

Now for the actual tests themselves:

For Listening and Reading:

Both Reading and Listening tests have a total of 40 marks. You must get these absolutely correct, there are no half marks.

The raw score is then converted into a band score:

(Notice3 how the reading score suggests one mark lower at15 as the cut off point for the Band 5 instead of 16 for Listening

Listening Raw scoreListening Band scoreReading Raw scoreReading Band score

For the Writing Task

The IELTS examiner gives 1 band score for each of the following criteria (each are equally weighted)

  1. Task Achievement (for Task 1),  and Task Response (for Task 2),
  2. Coherence and Cohesion,
  3. Lexical Resource (vocabulary usage)
  4. Grammatical Range and Accuracy.

For the Speaking Task

The IELTS examiner gives 1 band score for each of the following criteria (each are equally weighted)

  1. Fluency and Coherence
  2. Lexical Resource (vocabulary usage)
  3. Grammatical Range
  4. Accuracy and Pronunciation.

I am going to go over the band descriptors for each of the Speaking and Writing task on another post. But hopefully this has helped you understand what the examiner is marking you on.

Keep on going! The more you learn and read about the IELTS test the better you will get.

More useful IELTS Task Links on my pages:

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