How to Interpret the IELTS band scores?

IELTS band scores

If you are unable to interpret your score on the IELTS test, then the information given below would surely help you. We are going to provide you the full details about what the IELTS scores are,  how the score is given,  and how to understand what your scores mean.  Remember that the IELTS results have to be understood well before starting the next step in the process, whether it is education or immigration. 

The IELTS test (The International English Language Testing System)  is basically a test of the candidate’s ability to prove his or her proficiency in being able to use the English language. It is a globally accepted test, and the test is taken by more than 3 Million individuals every year.  The numbers are growing steadily. 

There are two modules of the test, which are the IELTS academic module and the IELTS general module. The academic test is primarily for the students who wish to continue their higher education in a native English speaking country. The general test is for people who belong to a non-native English speaking country and wish to immigrate and work in a foreign nation. 

There are two ways of taking the IELTS test. One is the IELTS paper based test and the second one is the IELTS computer delivered test. Both the options are available for you. Depending on the place where you are interested to take the test, you should decide whether to take the online mode of testing or the regular method of paper based test. Interpretation of the results

One thing that you should remember is that there is no pass or fail  in the IELTS test.  For this reason,  the result is given as overall band score. This indicates that there is a set criterion for every point or every band score. We shall understand those criteria now.  

Your overall performance in four parts of the IELTS test – listening,  reading,  writing and the speaking tests is given a score individually depending on how you performed in each of these tests. For example,  let us say that an individual has achieved a score of 30 out of 40 in the listening test,  then the equivalent IELTS band score for this score is 7.0. 

Similarly,  if a student who is taking the IELTS academic test got a IELTS band score of 31 in the reading test,  then that is equal to a IELTS band score of 7.0.  Like this,  the candidates would get a score in each of the tests. 

Now,  the individual test scores are added together and the mean value is calculated.  This is the overall band  score.  You will be able to view your results online on the thirteenth day after the L,R,W test. The results will be available online for 48 days. In the meantime,  you will receive a hard copy of the results. This is called the IELTS Test Report Form (the IELTS TRF). You can use the TRF when applying for immigration or for education. The result is valid for two years.

Let us see what each of the band scores mean

1. Band score zero : This shows that the candidate has not attempted the test. It also suggests that there is no accessible information. 

2. Band score 1.0 :  If the total score of a person is one,  then it means that the person is not at all proficient with the language. He or she is a non-user. Except for a few isolated words, he or she does not have any command on the English language. They essentially do not have any ability to use the language. 

3. Band score 2.0 : Test takers whose overall band score is two are called intermittent users. They have a great difficulty in understanding spoken and written English. Real communication is not possible, because except for a few isolated words or short phrases and formula,  the sentences do not convey any meaning at all. The phrases convey just the immediate needs of communication. 

4. Band score 3.0 : If 3.0 is the overall band score achieved by a test taker,  then it means that he or she is an extremely limited user of the English language. The communication is pretty unclear. There are frequent and noticeable breakdowns in the speech, and they can express their language skills only in situations which are very familiar to them. 

5. Band score 4.0 : If a candidate gets an overall 4.0, then he or she is a limited user.  Except during familiar situations, they cannot display their language. Forming a complex sentence is difficult for such candidates. They would have problems with the expression and understanding the language. 

6. Band score 5.0 : These are called modest users,  and they have a partial command on the language. Although they make a lot of errors in coping with the overall meaning,  they can manage to communicate when it comes to their own field in which they have a command. 

7. Band score 6.0 : Test takers who show the competency in using the language ( called competent users)  will be able to express their ideas generally.  The communication is clear and understandable in spite of many inaccuracies and inappropriacies. 

8. Band score 7.0 : Individuals who can score an overall 7.0 are good users.  They can handle the communications well in many situations,  and can use the complex sentences. They have an operational command of the English language despite having inappropriacies and the language can be misunderstood at times. 

9. Band score 8.0 : The test takers who get a band score 8.0 are said to be very good users.  They have a fully operational command on the language and very few errors would be noticed in unfamiliar situations. They can form complex sentences very well and they can support their arguments with the relevant examples. However,  very minor inaccuracies will be observed. 

10. Band score 9.0 : If the overall band score is 9.0 , then those test takers are called expert users. This is the highest band score.  Such individuals can speak very fluently about any given topic and they use the language effortlessly and with accuracy. 

Finally,  getting a good score in the IELTS test is possible now that you have understood how to interpret your scores. 


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