Migrating to work or study in another country can provide a lot of opportunities. However, there will often be a few requirements you’ll need to fulfill before you can start. One of these might be proficiency in English, which is measured through IELTS. But how will your IELTS score be calculated?
The final International English Learning System (IETLS) score is the average mark achieved across the four test sections. These sections are; Listening, Reading, Writing, and Speaking. Each section is scored out of nine, with higher numbers showing greater English skills. All the sections are weighted equally.
Knowing how the scoring system works will give you the best chance of getting a passing grade. Because of this, you should have a good grasp of what each section of the IELTS is looking for. Read on to learn more about how your IELTS score will be calculated.
How to Calculate Your IELTS Score
This test will take place over four sections. These are:
- Listening. This section tests whether you can hear an English phrase and understand its meaning.
- Reading. There will be a series of excerpts. You’ll need to read each one and select the most important information.
- Writing. This will be in two parts. First, you will need to respond to a situation or piece of information. In the second part, you’ll need to present an argument.
- Speaking. This is a face-to-face portion with the examiner. They’ll test your language skills in a range of settings.
If you want to learn more about how the IELTS is structured, check out this article.
In each of these sections, you will be given a numerical score from one to nine. If you are score lies in the middle of the band, you can get a half-point. The higher your score the better your performance was.
At the end of the test, the results from each of these sections will be averaged. Each of these sections carries equal weight. So, you simply need to add all the individual scores and divide by four. This is the number that will be your final IELTS score.
To get a better idea of how this would work, let’s look at an example. Imagine you had the following scores:
- Listening: 4
- Reading: 6
- Writing: 3
- Speaking: 5
In this case, your final score would be 4.5.
If you have a score that ends in .25 it will be rounded up. So, if you had a score of 7.25, your final score would be 7.5. If the score ends in .75 it would be rounded up to the next band. For example, if your average score was 6.75, your final score would become 7.
It should be noted that it is impossible to fail this test. You can only get a score of 0 if you didn’t attempt the IELTS.
Types of IELTS Tests
There are two IELTS tests you can take. First, you can take the Academic IELTS. This might be required when you are entering a university or other training institution. It ensures that you will be able to keep up with complex topics.
On the other hand, you might opt to take the General IELTS. This measures your ability to engage in conversational English. This is often the test that will be required if you are planning on migrating to an English-speaking country.
In both tests, the scoring system is the same. The Speaking and Listening portion will the same, though the Reading and Writing portion will be slightly different.
How Is The Reading Portion Of The IELTS Scored?
First, let’s look at the reading portion of the IELTS. The type of material you will be reading will depend on the type of test you are taking. Each of these versions is 40 questions long. You get one point for every answer you get right. You won’t lose any points if you get a question wrong.
The general and academic versions of these tests will be graded slightly differently. Here is the grading system used for the general test:
|IELTS Score||Number of Correct Answers|
Here is how the academic version of the reading portion of the IELTS test will be scored:
|IELTS Score||Number of Correct Answers|
It should be noted that in both of these areas you will be able to get a half-point if you land in the middle of the band.
How Is The Listening Part Of The IELTS Scored?
This section of the test is divided into four parts, with the questions based on the audio clips you are listening to. In total there will be 40 questions. The number of questions you answer correctly will determine the overall score you receive from the listening section.
Each of these questions will be rated equally. It should also be noted that you won’t lose any points for getting the answers wrong.
This table shows what band you will land in:
|IELTS Score||Correct Answers in the Listening Section|
It should be noted that you will be able to get part scores in each of these areas. For example, if you get eight questions right you will get a score of 3.5.
How Is The Writing Section Of The IELTS Scored?
The writing portion of the IELTS test will consist of two written tasks. These are:
- In the academic version, participants will be asked to explain a graph or table. For the general exam, you’ll need to respond to a situation.
- This will require a short essay, presenting a point of view.
Your writing will be assessed by examiners. They will be grading you against the following criteria:
- Grammatical accuracy
- Lexical skills
- In part one, they will be looking at whether you successfully completed the required task
- In part two, they will be looking at how you responded to this question
You will be getting a score in each of these criteria. These areas are all equally important. So, your grade for each section will be the average of the individual score you get in each criterion.
It should be noted that these tasks are weighted differently. The first task can get you a maximum of three points. The second task will be worth six points. Because of this, the total section will be worth nine points.
How Is The Speaking Part Of The IELTS Scored?
This is the face-to-face component of the IELTS. The assessor will be basing your result on a few important elements. These are:
- Whether you speak coherently
- Grammatical accuracy
- Lexical skills
Each of these criteria is of equal importance. The examiner will give you a score in each area, rating you out of nine. The average of these individual scores is taken to give you an overall speaking score. This is what will count towards your IELTS score. An important thing to note is that IELTS score is valid only for 2 years.
This section will take place in three parts. In total, it should take between 12 to 20 minutes to complete. This article goes into more depth about the speaking portion of your test and what you can expect.
What Does The IELTS Score Mean?
The IELTS is scored from one to nine, with a higher score indicating more proficiency in this area. Here is what each of these bands represents:
|1||No ability to use English|
|2||Great difficulty understanding the language|
|3||Understands general meanings, but in a limited number of circumstances|
|4||Basic competency, in a limited range of circumstances. Unable to understand the complexities of the language|
|5||Partially understands the language. While they might make mistakes, they should be able to perform basic communication|
|6||Effective command of the language. Should be able to understand complex situations|
|7||Operational control. Should be able to grasp most complexities and understand nuances.|
|8||Handle complex and detailed arguments well, full operational command of the language.|
|9||Accurately uses English, is fluent, and shows complete control|
What IELTS Score Do You Need?
Universities will require a minimum score of 6.5. Most institutions will need between 7 and 7.5. If using the score for migration, Australia requires a minimum score of 6 while New Zealand requires 6.5. England requires between 4 and 7 and Canada requires a minimum overall score of 5.
Most of the time, you will be taking an IELTS test to prove that you have a strong grip on the English language. This will often be part of migration tests. In this area, what score you will need to achieve will depend on the country that you are planning on migrating to.
There are a few countries that use this test to determine your proficiency, these are:
- Australia. You can use your IETLS score when applying for a visa. But you will need to have a minimum overall score of six.
- Canada. This score varies a little, depending on the type of visa you are applying for. But in most cases, you will need to score a minimum of four in reading and writing. You will need to have a minimum of five overall.
- New Zealand. English skills will be required when applying for a skill-based visa. There is a minimum level of 6.5.
- England. If you are planning on staying for the long term, you’ll need to show a strong IELTS score. Depending on the visa, you will need between four to seven.
This article has more information about how you can use the IELTS score for immigration.
It should also be noted that you can use IELTS to get into universities. This might be a requirement if English is your second language, providing that you are able to keep up with the complexities of the course.
The exact score you will need will depend on the college you are applying to. The minimum score is 6.5. This will be good enough to get you into Purdue University and the University of Southern California.
More prestigious colleges, though, will have higher entrance requirements. For example, you need to have an 8.0 IETLS score when applying for an undergraduate program at Brown University. This site lists the top universities in the US and their entrance requirements. Though it’s best to double-check the requirements with the university.
Can I Dispute IELTS Score Results?
It is possible to dispute an IELTS if the participant thinks a mistake has been made. During the dispute, the test will be regraded by a senior examiner who is unaware of the original mark. If a mistake is found, a new Test Report Form (TRF) will be created.
Sometimes, you won’t be happy with your IELTS score. Though the process has been designed to be as independent as possible, sometimes there will be mistakes made. This is most common with the Writing and Speaking components, as these will be graded by an instructor.
If you feel there has been a mistake, you can request a remark. If you do, your test paper will be handed to a senior examiner, who doesn’t know your original scores. They will then remark the paper.
How much you will need to pay for this service will depend. You will need to pay a fee to have the test re-examined. If it turns out the original results were inaccurate, though, you will be refunded the money you paid.
Should your results change, you will be given a new Test Report Form, which supersedes the original and makes the new results official. You can expect to wait between two to 21 days to get your new results.
Check this blog to know more about How much can IELTS preparation Cost?
For many people the IELTS test is an essential requirement, allowing them to study in higher education. For others, it will be a necessity for immigration, proving that you know have a firm grasp of the English language.
The good news is that the scoring system of this test is fairly easy to understand. Each section scores you between one and nine, where nine shows the greatest English skills. The final result is the average of all four sections. Hopefully, you now have the confidence needed to take on this test, if not check out one of the other IELTS articles on our site to learn more.