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IELTS Scores: Understand How They Are Calculated & What They Mean

If you’ve read Magoosh’s How is the IELTS Graded?, you’ve already got a good idea about how examiners evaluate your performance. This particular article is instead intended to help you understand exactly how your score is calculated and what these scores ultimately mean.

How the IELTS Scores Are Calculated

Your IELTS score is a number that falls on a scale of 0 – 9 (in one-half increments) and is the average of four separate scores. Each represents a specific skill: listening, reading, writing, and speaking. The resulting average is meant to represent your overall English ability.

IELTS Listening and Reading Skills Scores

You’ll demonstrate your listening and reading skills in two separate tests that will ask you a set of 40 questions. On both tests, you receive a single point for each correct answer, yielding you a score of 0 (if you answer every single question incorrectly) to 40 (a perfect score). This is converted into a band score. The conversion formulas are not shared by the IELTS, but they have provided some sample scores that have been converted from a raw score (0 – 40) into a band score (0 – 9).


IELTS Listening & Reading Score Conversion Chart -magoosh

IELTS Listening & Reading Score Conversion Chart


IELTS Writing and Speaking Scores

These two sections divide the parent skills (writing and speaking) into four measurable child skills on the band scale of 0 – 9. The final score for each section is the average of the child skill scores. Scores are rounded up to the next half-point when they reach .25 and .75 (see sample below).


IELTS Writing & Speaking Score Calculations -magoosh

Calculating IELTS Scores

Once you’ve taken all four section of the IELTS, You’ve got four skill scores that will be averaged together to result in your final score. Here are some sample test-taker scores from IELTS:


IELTS Sample Test Score Calculation -magoosh

IELTS Sample Test Score Calculation

What your IELTS Score Means

The band scale describes an English user’s language level in terms of mastery and command. Take a look at what these mean:


IELTS Band Score Descriptors -magoosh

IELTS Band Score Descriptors

More from Magoosh on the IELTS:


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