We’re going to tell you about the scoring on IELTS (International English Testing Service) exams in this article. The scoring system may seem a little odd at first, but it is actually a good system once you know how it works. Also, we’ll tell you what range of scores are typically needed for entrance to a well-regarded English speaking university and for employment.
Oh yes, we’ll also let you know how we, at GlobalExam, can help you to get ready for your upcoming IELTS exam and improve your score, so you will achieve the result that you need.
IELTS scoring and bandwidths
IELTS uses a nine level bandwidth scoring system. Bandwidth 1 indicates that the person has virtually no English ability, while bandwidth 9 indicates a native-like level of English ability.
Both the IELTS Academic and General Training exam results use the same nine-band scale.
The Test Report Form (TRF) provides your Overall Band Score and band scores for each of the four exam sections: Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking.
Overall Band Score
The Overall Band Score is the average of the four component scores; the score is rounded to the nearest whole or half band. The component scores are given equal weighting.
Here is an example.
|Test Taker A||6.5||6.5||5.5||7.5||6.5|
|Test Taker B||4.5||4.5||5.0||4.0||4.5|
|Test Taker C||5.0||5.0||6.0||6.0||5.6|
When the average of the four components ends in .25, the Overall Band Score is rounded up to the next half band. When it ends in .75, the Overall Band Score is rounded up to the next whole band.
Component Band Scores
The IELTS Listening section has 40 questions. Each correct answer is given one mark. Scores out of 40 are converted to the IELTS nine-band scale.
The IELTS Reading section has 40 questions. Each correct answer is given one mark. Scores out of 40 are converted to the IELTS nine-band scale.
Below is an average number of marks that you would need to receive the indicated band score in Academic Reading.
|Band score||Raw score out of 40|
IELTS examiners use a rubric with descriptors to assess a band score. Examiners are trained to follow the rubric carefully, and there is typically little variation between examiners. The criteria for assessment are
- Task Achievement (for Task 1), Task Response (for Task 2): does the person answer the question and follow the instructions
- Coherence and Cohesion: Is the writing well-organized and are appropriate signal devices used.
- Lexical Resource: does the person use a wide range of vocabulary or only simple words.
- Grammatical Range and Accuracy: you don’t have to be error free, but you need to be able to use a variety of grammatical structures with minimal errors for a high score.
The 4 criteria are given equal weighting and your score on the task is the average.
The IELTS examiners must use the given rubric to assess an exam candidate. Two people will listen to your responses to ensure reliability in scoring.
- Fluency and Coherence
- Lexical Resource
- Grammatical Range and Accuracy
The 4 criteria are given equal weighting, and your score on the task is the average.
Minimum levels required for companies
It really depends on the company and the type of work. For example, an engineer who needs excellent technical skills, but spends little time writing reports or speaking would be fine with an overall band score of 6. On the other hand, if you will be working with the public and need to communicate often in writing, then you will need an overall band score of 7-8.
Levels required for prestigious universities
Better universities will require an overall band score of 6.5-7.0 with a minimum score of 6 in each exam section. Harvard and MIT require a 7.0 score, for example. Departments at the same university may have different requirements.
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