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IELTS score format

The IELTS scoring format will give you a clear idea of where you can score more points. Read this article for detailed inputs.

Antony Chacko

A band score of 9 in the IELTS test means that you are an expert in the language. A band score of 1 means that your grasp of English is poor and that you understand only a few words.

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The IELTS test does not have a minimum score to pass the test. Instead each institution sets a threshold according to their requirements. Band scores range from “Band 1” to “Band 9”. “Band 1” means that the candidate is a “non-user” of the English language and “Band 9” means that the candidate is an expert user. All bands in between 1 and 9 correspond to a specified competency in English. In addition there is also a “Band 0” to indicate that the candidate had not attempted the test. An IELTS score that is older than two years is generally not accepted by most institutions.

The table below lists all the band scores and explains the English competency level of a user based on his/her particular band score.

Band Score Type of User Description
9 Expert User Has full operational command of the language: appropriate, accurate and fluent with complete understanding.
8 Very Good User Has full operational command of the language with only occasional unsystematic inaccuracies and inappropriacies. Misunderstandings may occur in unfamiliar situations. Handles complex detailed argumentation well.
Good User Has operational command of the language, though with occasional inaccuracies, inappropriateness and misunderstandings in some situations. Generally handles complex language well and understands detailed reasoning.
6 Competent User Has generally effective command of the language despite some inaccuracies, inappropriacies and misunderstandings. Can use and understand fairly complex language, particularly in familiar situations.
Modest user 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.
4 Limited User Basic competence is limited to familiar situations. Has frequent problems in using complex language.
3 Extremely Limited User Conveys and understands only general meaning in very familiar situations.
2 Intermittent User  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.
1   Non User  Essentially has no ability to use the language beyond possibly a few isolated words.
0 Did not attempt the test No assessable information provided at all.

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Want to know more about the IELTS?

Nupur Verma Nupur Verma,
Study abroad expert.
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