IELTS Scoring

I have had many students over the years who are confused by the way that IELTS is marked. This is just an overview of the IELTS scoring system. I will add more specific guidance in the future.

Reading and Listening

The reading and listening sections are very simple to score. A correct mark is rewarded for each correct answer. Note that answers should be given in the correct format and spelt correctly. There are no half marks awarded for a partially correct answer. Note that points are NOT deducted if you get an answer wrong.

Once you have a raw score out of 40, this is compared to a table like the one below. Note that these can change from test to test if one is more or less difficult than another. However, the following is a good indication:

Band Listening General Reading Academic Reading
2.5
4-5
6-8
4-5
3
6-8
9-11
6-7
3.5
9-10
12-14
8-9
4
11-12
15-18
10-12
4.5
13-15
19-22
13-14
5
16-17
23-26
15-18
5.5
18-22
27-29
19-22
6
23-25
30-31
23-26
6.5
26-29
32-33
27-29
7
30-31
34-35
30-32
7.5
32-34
36
33-34
8
35-36
37-38
35-36
8.5
37-38
39
37-38
9
39-40
40
39-40

Writing

Your writing is graded according to 4 criteria:

  • Task achievement/response (TA/TR)*
  • Coherence and cohesion (CC)
  • Lexical resource (LR)
  • Grammatical range and accuracy

* For task one this is called task achievement, for task two it is called task response.

For each of these criteria you are given a whole band number. The average is then taken for task 1 and task 2, and these are then used to calculate your overall writing score.

Task Achievement/Response

This measures how well you respond to the question. To get a high mark for this criteria you need to:

  • Answer all parts of the question;
  • Select appropriate details and trends for academic writing task 1;
  • Avoid untrue, inaccurate or misleading information for academic writing task 1;
  • Have a clear purpose for general writing task 1;
  • Present a clear position and develop your arguments in writing task 2.

Coherence and Cohesion

Coherence means how well a text goes together while cohesion refers to how well sentences link together. To get a good mark here you need to:

  • Use paragraphs appropriately;
  • Make use of cohesive devices (linking words);
  • Organise your writing logically;
  • Use accurate reference words.

Lexical Resource

In other words, this means your vocabulary. You need to demonstrate that you know a lot of words, but also that you can use them correctly. To get a high mark here you need to:

  • Use less common words appropriately;
  • Use correct collocations;
  • Use a range of vocabulary to give precise meanings;
  • Avoid spelling mistakes.

Grammatical Range and Accuracy

As with your lexical resource, you need to show that you know a range of grammar structures and you can use them correctly. However, one mistake IELTS candidates sometimes make is attempting to use ‘more advanced grammar’ when it isn’t need. Most of English (about 60%) is actually either present simple or past simple! The goal is not to use every tense you know but to construct complex sentences.

To get a good mark here, you therefore need to:

  • Use a range of complex sentences such as conditionals, relative clauses and participle clauses;
  • Use the correct tenses where you need them;
  • Use punctuation such as full stops, capital letters and commas correctly;
  • Have error-free sentences.

Speaking

Like the writing, speaking is graded according to 4 criteria:

  • Fluency and coherence (FC);
  • Lexical resource (LR);
  • Grammatical range and accuracy (GRA); and
  • Pronunciation (P).

Fluency and Coherence

Fluency is your ability to speak at a sustainable, moderate pace about a topic. Coherence is your ability to stay on a topic and develop it. To do well in this criteria, you therefore need to:

  • Speak at an even and moderate pace – not too quick or too slow;
  • Be able to speak about familiar and unfamiliar topics;
  • Be able to think quickly;
  • Stay on topic and develop a few ideas;
  • Give an appropriate amount of information.

Lexical Resource

Lexical resource refers to the range and accuracy of the vocabulary you use. To score well in this criteria, you need to:

  • Use less common or idiomatic language;
  • Use words accurately to convey precise meanings;
  • Use words with appropriate collocations.

Grammatical Range and Accuracy

As with writing, getting a good score for grammar depends on:

  • Using a range of complex sentences;
  • Avoiding errors as much as possible.

Pronunciation

Your pronunciation is not judged on accent. Instead, getting a high score requires you to:

  • Use phonemes correctly (i.e. to pronounce individual words correctly);
  • Use the correct word stress;
  • Use sentence stress and intonation to adjust meaning;
  • Chunk words and phrases together appropriately.

Show Buttons
Hide Buttons
error: Content is protected !!