Did you just decide that you are going to take IELTS? Then let us tell you one thing; you will come across the word “Band” in the next few days, more than anything else.
So what is this Band Score? How is it calculated? How does it decide your future? Let us find out.
What is IELTS Band Scores?
IELTS Band is a scale on which you are marked for your performance in the test. You will be given a score from 1 to 9 for each part of the test – Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking. The average produces your overall band score. You can score whole bands (e.g., 5.0, 6.0, 7.0) or half bands (e.g., 5.5., 6.5, 7.5) in each part of the test.
How is it calculated?
You will get a band score for your performance in each of the components (Reading, Listening, Speaking and Writing) and an overall band, which is nothing but an average of all your individual scores taken together.
The marking of Speaking and Listening is fairly straightforward because they are based on objective questions. Out of 40 questions you are marked for your correct answers. Following tables show what marks lead to what band:
Now let us see how Speaking and Writing is marked. Both Speaking and Writing have detailed rubrics for marking. This is because an essay or a speech doesn’t have a right or wrong answer.
IELTS Speaking is marked in four categories:
- Lexical Resource
- Grammar Range and Accuracy
Take a look at the following table to know the details about each criterion:
The Writing component has two tasks. Task 1 is about writing a response to a passage in 150 words and Task 2 is similar but you have to write the whole essay in 250 words.
The criteria for the entire Writing section are as follows:
- Task achievement(Task1)
- Task response(Task2)
- Coherence and Cohesion
- Lexical resource
- Grammar range and accuracy.
Both Task 1 and Task 2 have detailed rubrics. The detailed band descriptors of Task 1 are as follows:
- Task Achievement: To score well in this category, students must correctly follow the instructions in the prompt, answering the question or performing the task fully and clearly. All other categories tie into Task Achievement.
- Coherence and Cohesion: Coherence and Cohesion measure the structure of the student’s writing: how well-organized essays and paragraphs are, whether or not transitions are present, useful and clear, the relevance of the ideas and supporting details, and so on.
- Lexical Resource: This measures a test taker’s ability to use a good range of vocabulary words clearly, appropriately, and effectively.
- Grammatical Range and Accuracy: Here, test-takers should use varied sentence structure as needed, while also using grammar forms that are correct, appropriate, and clear. Check this for the detailed band descriptors for Task 2.
Once you are aware of the details of individual components, you must understand the detailed description of the overall band scores.
What is a good band score?
Now that you know the mechanics of IELTS marking, it is time to know what a good band score actually means. Every university and company has its own expectations. It is always advisable that you check the admission criteria of the university you are applying to or find out from the company you are interested in.
Generally, the minimum score expected by top Universities is Band 7. For Canada immigration, the higher you score, the better your opportunities get.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on IELTS Band Scores:
Q1.) What Band do I get, if I score 6.25?
Your score is rounded up or down to the nearest 0.5 or the whole score. Therefore if your score is 6.25 it will get rounded up to 6.5. Anything below and you will be down at 6.
Q2.) What if my score is 6.75?
If your score is 6.75 then it will get rounded up to 7, because that is the nearest whole score.
Q3.) Can I retake any one of the IELTS components?
No, you cannot retake any one of the IELTS components. If you wish to retake the test you have to register for the entire test and write all the four components.
Q4.) What is the validity of my score?
Your IELTS score is valid for two years from the day you get your scorecard.
IELTS follows a categorized procedure while marking your tests in order to ensure fair judgment. There is no way you can find any discrepancy. Your Band score will wholly and solely reflect your preparation. Therefore in order to get a higher band score, you must have a systematic and thorough preparation.