Predicting Your IELTS Score

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You’ve prepped for the IELTS, but how do you know when you’re ready to take the IELTS? By predicting your IELTS score, based on your IELTS practise and your general English ability. If you practise with real IELTS materials and assess your own English ability carefully, you should have a good idea of what your IELTS scores will be.

Predicting your IELTS score in Reading and Listening

Predicting your IELTS score in IELTS Reading and IELTS Listening is a matter of percentages. The percentage of correct answers you get in these sections directly determines your IELTS band.

Let me give you a few examples of how this can work. Suppose you do this practise IELTS Reading passage and question set. There are thirteen questions. If you answer 8 of them correctly, it means you got 61.5% of the answers correct. The highest possible band in IELTS scoring is Band 9, so Band 9 would be like a 100% score. 61.5% of Band 9 is 5.535. So a practise score of 9/13 means you might be able to get an IELTS Reading score of Band 5.5 if you took the test immediately.

Notice that I said your 61.5% score for one question set might accurately predict an IELTS score of 5.5. A single section of IELTS Reading or Listening is too short to be a reliable predictor of your IELTS Reading and Listening scores. To predict your scores more accurately in these two sections, you’ll need to do more than just one set of questions.

You’ll want to do at least one full section of both IELTS Reading and Listening to get a good idea of what your real score might be. Ideally, these sections should be from an official source, one of the organisations that sponsors the IELTS. You can find full sections of real IELTS questions on the British Council website, or in Cambridge University Press’s official IELTS books.

Predicting your IELTS score in Speaking and Writing

Predicting your IELTS score in Speaking and Writing is a little bit harder, because you can’t just calculate your percentage. Instead, you have to identify the level of English speaking and writing ability that you are at.

You can estimate your English ability in these areas by carefully reading the official IELTS Band descriptors on the British Council website. These descriptors link your English ability to a specific IELTS score band:

A more detailed version of these descriptors is used by the real-life IELTS examiners who score your IELTS Speaking and Writing. So the descriptors are a great way to predict your IELTS score.

By the way, improve your IELTS score with Magoosh!

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  • David Recine

    David is a Test Prep Expert for Magoosh TOEFL and IELTS. Additionally, he's helped students with TOEIC, PET, FCE, BULATS, Eiken, SAT, ACT, GRE, and GMAT. David has a BS from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire and an MA from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls. His work at Magoosh has been cited in many scholarly articles, his Master's Thesis is featured on the Reading with Pictures website, and he's presented at the WITESOL (link to PDF) and NAFSA conferences. David has taught K-12 ESL in South Korea as well as undergraduate English and MBA-level business English at American universities. He has also trained English teachers in America, Italy, and Peru. Come join David and the Magoosh team on Youtube, Facebook, and Instagram, or connect with him via LinkedIn!

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