Understanding IELTS Bands and Scores to Unlock Success

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Understanding IELTS Bands and Scores: An Ultimate Guide

Marking scheme in IELTS is often a question of many individuals. For every part, the criteria differs that cause confusion in minds of candidates. This blog thrives to clear all doubt by explaining every detail.

Table of Contents

To crack IELTS exam it is necessary to understand the marking criteria. It helps you in ascertaining on how to prepare for every test. This blog gives you an insight into calculation of every part: reading, writing, speaking, and listening. It clarifies the picture between IELTS and CEFR; solving all your probable doubts. Also, it tells you about a remedy(experts) that can help you score great in IELTS exam without any doubt.

The IELTS exam has four sections to crack: listening, reading, writing, and speaking. Each part has its own terms for scoring. Thus, understanding IELTS bands and scores in detail becomes necessary to prepare smartly. This blog discusses the marking scheme in detail so you can achieve your goals. Thus, stick till the end because all your answers are hidden in the upcoming information. 

Marking Scheme: Understanding IELTS Band Scores

In an IELTS exam, there are a total of 40 questions, and each correct answer gives you one score. The total raw score gets converted into the IELTS bands score. Reading, listening, speaking, and writing all of these sections have different charts to put raw scores in the range from 0-9. But the descriptor for every section remains the same. It defines your proficiency in the English language and portrays a clear picture in terms of skills. Thus, take a look at the infographic below for understanding IELTS bands and scores in a more simplified way.

Find Out Skill Level in IELTS with Gradding.com

Thus, without any further delay, hop on to the next section if you are curious to know the criteria or method for score calculation. 

Listening & Reading Band Scores

In this section of the blog, you will be acquainted with the listening and reading sections of the test.

IELTS Listening Band Scores

The IELTS listening test comprises 40 questions that you have to finish in 30 minutes. The IELTS listening score is determined on the basis of four different recordings. The first two recordings consist of situations that you might experience every day. The last two recordings deal with circumstances that occur in an educational institute. The recording can be in the form of conversations, monologues, or lectures. 

On the other hand, the question format can be any of these: multiple choice, diagram, sentence completion, or short answer questions. For every correct question, you get one score. In a nutshell, the total raw score then gets converted into the IELTS listening band score that ranges from 1-9.
For example, if your score is 35-36, your band score is 8. 

Understand IELTS Listening Band Score with Gradding.com 

IELTS Reading Band Scores

The IELTS reading test comprises 40 questions that you have to finish in a 60-minute timeframe. It comprises three sections that have large paragraph text. The text can be from sociology, medicine, or any other field. The questions can be in any form, such as multiple choice questions, flow charts, table completion, and so forth. 

Thus, to get a good IELTS reading band score read every paragraph carefully. Focus on words such as “not” “or” “and” to avoid giving wrong answers in multiple-choice questions. Also, techniques such as skimming, scanning, and knowing words can improve reading scores. Thus, follow these strategies to get an 8-9 band score. Scoring eight or getting a 35-36 IELTS reading score signifies that you have an operational command in English while making rare mistakes. 

Now that you know about listening and reading band scores explore the band score calculation of writing in the next section. 

Get to Know Reading Band Score with Gradding.com

Writing Section Band Scores Calculation

Are you here to understand how the IELTS writing score is determined? If yes, you should first understand the format or structure of the paper. The IELTS writing section is divided into two tasks: task 1 and task 2. Task 1 comprises describing a graph or a diagram, and one must allocate 20 minutes to it. On the other hand, task 2 comprises writing an essay. You must devote 40 minutes to this section. 

Now that you have an idea about the pattern, ideally, you must focus more on task 2 because it carries more weight. The word count requirement in task 2 is 250, whereas, for task 1, it is 150. Therefore, task 2 weighs two times more than task 1. Therefore, it is much easier to calculate the IELTS writing band score as you have understood bifurcation. Here is an example to make it more clear. 

For example- You get 8 in task 2 and 7 in task 1: The final band score will be 8*2/3+ 5.5*1/3= 7.5 

Moreover, the marking criteria for IELTS writing tests depend on four factors: response, coherence, lexical resource, and grammar. Thus, you should work on all these aspects if you want a band score between 8 and 9. Clear with the marking scheme of the writing test, but do not have an idea about the speaking part? If yes, learn about it in the next section. 

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Speaking Band Scores Calculation

The IELTS speaking test is divided into three parts. IELTS speaking part 1 is an introduction of yourself to the examiner. IELTS speaking part 2 gives you 2 minutes to speak on the topic given in the cue card. IELTS speaking part 3 continues part 2, discussing the questions more in-depth. Now that you have an insight into the pattern of the speaking exam, it is time to ascertain how the IELTS speaking score is calculated. 

Grammar, fluency, lexical resources, and pronunciation are four factors that determine the overall score of the IELTS speaking test. Grammar analyses the accuracy of the language. Fluency judges the clarity of the speech. Pronunciation checks natural speaking abilities. Lastly, lexical resources focus on vocabulary expertise. Each factor contributes to 25% of the score. Still confused? Here is an example to make things clear. 

For example- If you get 7 in grammar, 8 in lexical resource, 7 in pronunciation, and 8 in fluency, then the score will be 7.5. The criteria to calculate the IELTS speaking band score is dividing the total score by the arithmetic mean. 

Now, as you went through the marking criteria for each section, move ahead to explore the point of differentiation between IELTS and CEFR.  

Difference Between IELTS and the CEFR

Common European Framework for Reference of Language is a standardized scale that measures the proficiency of a foreign language. It is a framework that depicts the learning ability of an individual and brings clarity to the organisation, employer, and school. CEFR is a scale that determines the fluency of any language across Europe. CEFR helps an individual ascertain the value of their IELTS score globally. Now that you have an idea, it is time to understand the difference between the IELTS band score and CEFR. 

IELTS ascertains the English proficiency of a non-native speaker  CEFR assess the proficiency of multiple languages across Europe  
IELTS assesses the language ability of an individual in the range of 1-9   CEFR assess the language ability of an individual in 6 levels: C2, C1, B2, B1, A2, and A1
IELTS acts as proof to educational institutions of English language proficiency     CEFR acts as evidence to employers of any language proficiency across the world
It uses a band score from 1-9 to define proficiency It uses descriptors(A1-C2) to define proficiency

So, it is the difference between IELTS and CEFR. This blog discusses in detail the band score in IELTS for each section: listening, reading, writing, and speaking. Does the entire procedure seem complex? If yes, do not worry there is an aid to it. Experts or agents can help you to ace the exam with a good band score. For more details, do not skip the details mentioned in the next section.


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How to Score Well in IELTS with Experts Assistance?

In the previous sections of this blog, you went through the marking criteria and must have probably understood them. But still, in the back of your mind, you might be wondering how to prepare for every IELTS levels and get the best scores. Well, the answer to it is taking an expert's help. The following pointers will help you understand how a proficient assistant can guide you in scoring well. 

Mock Tests 

Experts help you to prepare thoroughly with mock tests. Regular practice makes you confident and reduces the chances of making errors. It familiarises you with the questions, IELTS bands & scores and time management. Giving mock tests under expert guidance helps you to grab all such aspects, increasing your chances of scoring high.


After assessing your practice test, experts give you feedback on your strengths and weaknesses. In a nutshell, it means giving you a brief about grammar, fluency, vocabulary, and coherence. A detailed overview helps you to determine areas to accelerate and excel at which you are proficient.

Best Strategies

Experts teach you strategies for every section. For example, skimming in reading, note-taking during listening, structuring an essay for writing, and confidence during speaking. Thus, all such strategies help you get an IELTS passing score easily.

Vocabulary Enhancement

Be it any section of IELTS reading, writing, listening, or speaking, a good vocabulary can help you ace any part. Thus, experts focus on building or improving your vocabulary so that you can perform better on every test. 

Wrapping Up
We hope you get an insight into understanding IELTS bands and scores via this blog. Now that you have understood the criteria, you must have realised the value of every score. Even a difference of 1 score can either help to stay in the game or lose it. Thus, seek expert help if you want to clear your IELTS exam in one go. Ask for assistance if you can not afford to miss this chance.

Frequently Asked Questions

Question 1. How to Get Good Scores in Cue Card Round of Speaking Part 2? 

In the cue card round, you have to speak on the topic for 2 minutes. Thus, practice note-taking skills and write the main keywords on which you have to speak.

Question 2. Is It Possible to Get a 9 Band Score in the Writing Section? 

Yes, it is possible to get a nine-band score. But for that, the structure of the essay should be proper. Other than that, the sentences should be framed accurately.

Question 3. How Many Passages Are There in the Reading Section? 

There are three passages in the reading section of the IELTS exam. After going through each passage, you have to answer the questions. 

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