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IELTS 9-band Scale

You will be awarded an IELTS band score from 0-9 for each test section, which reflects your proficiency in English.

Your TRF shows a score for each of the four skills (Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking), as well as an overall band score. You can score whole band scores (for example 5.0, 6.0, 7.0) or half band scores (e.g. 5.5, 6.5, 7.5) in each section of the test.

  • Band Score / Band 9
    Skill Level / Expert user
    Description / has fully operational command of the language: appropriate, accurate and fluent with complete understanding.
  • Band Score / Band 8
    Skill Level / Very good user
    Description / has fully operational command of the language with only occasional unsystematic inaccuracies and inappropriacies. Misunderstandings may occur in unfamiliar situations. Handles complex detailed argumentation well.
  • Band Score / Band 7
    Skill Level / Good user
    Description / has operational command of the language, though with occasional inaccuracies, inappropriacies and misunderstandings in some situations. Generally handles complex language well and understands detailed reasoning.
  • Band Score / Band 6
    Skill Level / Competent user
    Description / has generally effective command of the language despite some inaccuracies, inappropriacies and misunderstandings. Can use and understand fairly complex language, particularly in familiar situations.
  • Band Score / Band 5
    Skill Level / Modest user
    Description / has partial command of the language, coping with overall meaning in most situations, though is likely to make many mistakes. Should be able to handle basic communication in own field.
  • Band Score / Band 4
    Skill Level / Limited user
    Description / basic competence is limited to familiar situations. Has frequent problems in understanding and expression. Is not able to use complex language.
  • Band Score / Band 3
    Skill Level / Extremely limited user
    Description / conveys and understands only general meaning in very familiar situations. Frequent breakdowns in communication occur.
  • Band Score / Band 2
    Skill Level / Non-user
    Description / no real communication is possible except for the most basic information using isolated words or short formulae in familiar situations and to meet immediate needs. Has great difficulty understanding spoken and written English.
  • Band Score / Band 1
    Skill Level / Non-user
    Description / essentially has no ability to use the language beyond possibly
  • Band Score / Band 0
    Skill Level / Did not attempt the test
    Description / No assessable information provided.

Find out more about what your score means here.

IELTS assessment criteria

To get a better understanding of the IELTS assessment criteria and the level of performance required to attain a particular band score, please download the PDFs below.

Assessment criteria for Listening and Reading

IELTS Listening and Reading papers each contain 40 items and each correct item is awarded one mark; the maximum raw score a candidate can achieve on a paper is 40. Band scores ranging from Band 1 to Band 9 are awarded to candidates on the basis of their raw scores.

How long are my IELTS results valid for?

Organisations will usually not accept your results if they are more than two years old, unless you provide evidence that you have actively maintained or tried to improve your English since taking the test. The IELTS Partners cannot confirm the validity of test results that are more than two years old.