Assessment Criteria

IELTS Assessment Criteria

There is no pass of fail in an IELTS test – your test results provide a profile of your ability to use English.

 The nine-band scoring system

Marking performance fairly

IELTS uses a nine-band scoring system to measure your test results. You will receive individual scores for each of the four skills in listening, reading, writing and speaking, and an overall band score on a scale of 1 (the lowest) to 9 (the highest). Examiners do not see any of your personal details (including any previous scores if you have sat the test before), which ensures that they mark your performance anonymously and fairly. Different examiners also mark different sections of your test.

Assessed by highly qualified examiners

Global assessment criteria

Your test results are assessed by examiners who are highly qualified and experienced English language professionals. They work to clearly defined criteria and are subject to extensive and detailed quality control procedures.  Your IELTS test is marked with the same assessment criteria used all over the world. You are no more likely to receive a higher band score in one country than another.
Listening and Reading Tests

IELTS Listening and Reading papers contain 40 items and each correct item is awarded one mark; the maximum raw score a candidate can achieve on a paper is 40.

Writing and Speaking Tests

Examiners use detailed performance descriptors when assessing the Writing and Speaking tests. These band descriptors describe performance in four categories:

  • task achievement
  • coherence and cohesion
  • lexical resource
  • grammatical range and accuracy

To understand the IELTS assessment criteria, please download the below PDFs.
IELTS Assessment Criteria: Speaking
IELTS Assessment Criteria: Writing