IELTS invests heavily in the continued development of its test and the processes by which scores are marked, to ensure a fair assessment for all test takers and a reliable result for the organizations that depend on IELTS as a measure of English language skill. IELTS is unique in that it allows the choice of an Academic or General Training test. Both types of IELTS test measure your skills in reading, writing, speaking, and listening, however, the questions are a little different and one test might suit you more than the other.
The IELTS Writing test is marked by qualified IELTS examiners who are intensively trained and monitored to ensure consistency and quality of marking, no matter where in the world the test is taken. A minimum of two examiners will mark your Writing test, and sometimes even up to three or four – we do this to ensure the highest level of accuracy and fairness possible.
Your Writing test response is scored in the areas of ‘task response’, ‘coherence and cohesion’, ‘lexical resource’, and ‘grammatical range and accuracy’. To understand what each of these means you can view the Writing band descriptors, which have detailed information about each phrase and how they relate to the different band scores that are possible.
The Speaking test in IELTS is just like a conversation that you would have in everyday life. In the test, you will sit in a private, quiet room with a qualified examiner who will engage you in a conversation. While it can be difficult to speak to a stranger, make the most of it! With IELTS, the examiner can slow down for you, speed up or even repeat or rephrase a question if you like – all you have to do is ask. The examiner is there to enable you to perform at your best.
Your speaking skills are marked against a number of criteria, including ‘fluency and coherence’, ‘lexical resource’, ‘pronunciation’, ‘grammatical range’, and ‘accuracy’.
In the Reading test, you will answer 40 questions. A variety of question types are used, e.g. multiple-choice, True/False/Not Given, matching, and sentence completion. Your answers are either correct or incorrect, so the marking is a little different from the Speaking and Writing tests. You will receive one mark for each correct answer, with the total number of marks determining your band score.
In the Listening test, you will answer 40 questions that relate to audio clips that will be played to you. Your answers are either correct or incorrect, so the marking is a little different from the Speaking and Writing tests. You will receive one mark for each correct answer, with the total number marks determining your band score.
The Overall Band Score is the average of the four component scores, rounded to the nearest whole or half band. The component scores are weighted equally.
If the average of the four components ends in .25, the Overall Band Score is rounded up to the next half band, and if it ends in .75, the Overall Band Score is rounded up to the next whole band. If the average ends with a fraction below .25 or .75, the overall score is rounded down.