Man holding IELTS certificate TRF

Understanding your score

When you get your IELTS test results you will be given an overall test score of between 0 and 9 on the IELTS scale. You will also get a score for each of the four sections of the test – Listening, Reading, Writing, and Speaking. The IELTS scale helps organisations understand your level of English.

IELTS Band Score:

9 Skill Level: Expert

  • The test taker has fully operational command of the language.
  • Their use of English is appropriate, accurate and fluent, and shows complete understanding.

8 Skill Level: Very good

  • The test taker has fully operational command of the language with only occasional unsystematic inaccuracies and inappropriate usage.
  • They may misunderstand some things in unfamiliar situations. They handle complex and detailed argumentation well.

7 Skill Level: Good

  • The test taker has operational command of the language, though with occasional inaccuracies, inappropriate usage and misunderstandings in some situations.
  • They generally handle complex language well and understand detailed reasoning.

6 Skill Level: Competent

  • The test taker has an effective command of the language despite some inaccuracies, inappropriate usage and misunderstandings.
  • They can use and understand reasonably complex language, particularly in familiar situations.

5 Skill Level: Modest

  • The test taker has a partial command of the language and copes with overall meaning in most situations, although they are likely to make many mistakes.
  • They should be able to handle basic communication in their own field.

4 Skill Level: Limited

  • The test taker's basic competence is limited to familiar situations.
  • They frequently show problems in understanding and expression.

3 Skill Level: Extremely limited

  • The test taker conveys and understands only general meaning in very familiar situations.
  • There are frequent breakdowns in communication.

2 Skill Level: Intermittent

  • The test taker has great difficulty understanding spoken and written English.

1 Skill Level: Non-user

  • The test taker has no ability to use the language except a few isolated words.

0 Skill Level: Did not attempt the test

  • The test taker did not answer the questions.

Female professional looking right

Calculating your overall score

For each section of the test – Listening, Reading, Writing, and Speaking – you will be awarded a score on the IELTS scale. Your overall score is the average of your section scores, rounded to the closest half-point on the scale.

How long is my IELTS score valid?

We recommend that IELTS test results are considered valid for two years after a test has been taken. This is based on research into second-language loss. Organisations that accept IELTS can choose to accept results for a longer period, so you should check with them directly.