What’s on the IELTS score certificate?

On your results certificate, you will find 5 scores:

  • 4 subscores, one for each section (Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking)
  • 1 total score: the overall band score, which is the average of the 4 subscores

Each of these 5 scores is marked from 1 to 9 points. Each subscore is worth the same as the others and all the scores are rounded to the nearest half point.

Your results certificate will be sent to you within 13 days following the day of the exam. Be aware that some test centres will not send test results worldwide, while others will also allow you to consult your results online. You can find out more from the test centre in which you will sit your IELTS exam.

If you are applying for Canadian citizenship, you may need to know how to convert your IELTS score into CLB levels.

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Examples of IELTS scores

If you obtain 3.25, the score will be rounded to 3.50

  • If you obtain 7.75, the score will be rounded to 8
  • If you obtain 2.10, the score will be rounded to 2

The sections are marked according to several criteria which differ for each section:

  • Writing: correct execution of tasks, coherence and cohesion, vocabulary, and the usage of correct grammar and precision.
  • Speaking: pronunciation, fluency and coherence, vocabulary, and the usage of correct grammar and precision
  • For the Listening and Reading sections: the number of correct answers (out of a total of 40 questions) is translated into a score out of 9 (for example, between 10 and 13 correct answers gives you a score of 4/0, while between 39 and 40 correct answers gives you a score of 9/9)

The score reflects the candidate’s proficiency in English.

IELTS Score – Interpretation

ScoreLanguage ProficiencyExplanation
9Expert UserTotal mastery of the language. Understands perfectly and is at ease orally
8Very good userVery good operational mastery of the language. Some occasional faults.
7Good userGood general mastery of the language, despite some errors and misunderstandings
6Competent userCompetent mastery of the language in unfamiliar situations. Good mastery of everyday situations. Multiple errors and misunderstandings
5Modest UserAbility to understand the general meaning of a situation, despite numerous errors and misunderstandings
4Limited userAbility to deal with a few daily situations. The candidate does not use complex language
3Extremely limited userCan only deal with very familiar situations. Has difficulties communicating.
2Intermittent userHas great difficulties communicating and being understood
1Non userDoes not know how to speak the language except for certain ideas
0Did not sit the examDid not sit the exam

The Common European Framework of Reference to Languages (CEFR) is used abroad by most universities and language schools. It allows the comparison of scores between different tests on the same scale.

The following table shows the correlation between IELTS exam scores and CEFR levels:











IELTS – Who accepts it?

Thousands of organisations (universities, schools, employers, governments) accept the scores obtained in the IELTS exams as proof of your English level.

The IELTS exam is not at test that you pass or fail. Organisations determine their own score requirements according to the level of English that they deem necessary. Universities generally require a score of 6 or 7. Please note that they may also require a minimum score for each section.

Scores are valid for two years. If you are not satisfied with your score, you may sit the IELTS exam as many times as you wish. However, given the test fee, it is better to practice for the IELTS in order to obtain the highest possible score at your first try.

Register for IELTS

You can register for IELTS online or download the application form and submit it to your local exam centre. You can take IELTS at one of over 1,200 test centres in 140 countries. The first step is to locate your nearest test centre by going to ielts.org and searching by country. We have written articles to help you locate a test centre in the following countries: Canada, UK, Ireland, Germany, Belgium, Netherlands, Switzerland, AustraliaHK.

Online training with GlobalExam

GlobalExam allows you to train for the IELTS test, thanks to many exercises and advices/strategies to get a high score. You will also find resources on the blog, such as vocabulary and grammar study sheets, tips for your training, and other information about the structure of the test and testimonials.

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