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IELTS 9-band Scale

You will be given a score from 1 to 9 for each part of the test – Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking. The average produces your overall band score. 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 part of the test.

Download a printable PDF of the 9-band scale.

Band ScoreSkill LevelDescription
Band 9Expert userhas fully operational command of the language: appropriate, accurate and fluent with complete understanding.
Band 8Very good userhas fully operational command of the language with only occasional unsystematic inaccuracies and inappropriacies. Misunderstandings may occur in unfamiliar situations. Handles complex detailed argumentation well.
Band 7Good userhas operational command of the language, though with occasional inaccuracies, inappropriacies and misunderstandings in some situations. Generally handles complex language well and understands detailed reasoning.
Band 6Competent userhas generally effective command of the language despite some inaccuracies, inappropriacies and misunderstandings. Can use and understand fairly complex language, particularly in familiar situations.
Band 5Modest userhas 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.
Band 4Limited userbasic competence is limited to familiar situations. Has frequent problems in understanding and expression. Is not able to use complex language.
Band 3Extremely limited userconveys and understands only general meaning in very familiar situations. Frequent breakdowns in communication occur.
Band 2Non-userno 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.
Band 1Non-useressentially has no ability to use the language beyond possibly
Band 0Did not attempt the testNo assessable information provided.

Find out more about how your IELTS score is calculated.

IELTS assessment criteria
To get a better understanding of the IELTS assessment criteria and the level of performance required to attain a particular band score, please download the PDFs below.
Speaking Test
Writing Test - Task 1
Writing Test - Task 2
Assessment criteria for Listening and Reading
IELTS Listening and Reading papers each contain 40 items and each correct item is awarded one mark; the maximum raw score a candidate can achieve on a paper is 40. Band scores ranging from Band 1 to Band 9 are awarded to candidates on the basis of their raw scores.
Why is my IELTS result valid for only two years?
The IELTS partners recommend that a Test Report Form which is more than two years old should only be accepted if it is accompanied by proof that you have actively maintained or tried to improve your English.