Are you interested in going to an international university or working for a global company? If so, then you may need to take the International English Language Testing (IELTS) exam.
The IELTS testing system is an internationally recognized English language testing system that tests a student’s ability to use accurate English skills in listening, reading, writing, and speaking. So, what do universities and businesses consider a good IELTS score?
How is the IELTS Test Scored?
The IELTS testing system is scored using an overall band score to gauge a person’s English proficiency. The highest IELTS score is 9, and the lowest is 1.
Each part will be scored from 1 to 9. You can receive a 0.5 score, as well. The IELTS score requirements include all sections of the test to give you your overall IELTS scores.
The IELTS listening portion requires you to listen to 4 conversations between speakers. You will be asked 40 questions about the conversations you listened to.
For the IELTS reading part, you will be required to answer 40 questions based on reading passages.
In the writing section, you will be asked to complete two writing tasks. The speaking part of the test will be given to you by an examiner. You will be required to showcase your skills by answering the examiner's questions proficiently.
What is an IELTS Band Score?
The IELTS band scores range from 1 to 9. According to the British Council, the band score descriptors are used to determine your general training level.
|Native-like fluency in understanding and producing the language
|Very good user
|Near-native fluency with only a few mistakes
|Skilled user but not entirely native level
|Test-taker is strong in English but performs best in familiar situations
|Test-taker has partial command of English
|Test-taker cannot use complex language
|Extremely limited user
|The user only understands English in its most simplistic form
|Users can understand a small amount of English but with difficulty
|The user only understands a few words and phrases in English
How are IELTS Band Scores Calculated?
The IELTS writing and speaking sections are scored based on a rubric. The IELTS examiner uses the rubrics to calculate a band score.
There are no raw scores calculated first. The rubrics are not published, but a scorer uses the band descriptors to determine a person’s ability.
To calculate your overall score, you should take your score from each section, add them together, and divide by 4.
Is the IELTS Test Hard?
The IELTS testing system is generally considered to be a challenging exam. Language skills are tested using a reasonably difficult rubric with sections that many non-native English speakers struggle with. 
With an average score of 6 for general testing, it is possible to achieve a good score, but you should prepare for at least three months before taking the exam. You should not attempt the test until you are fully prepared. Most students who took the exam last year scored a 5 overall or higher in each test portion.
The listening portion of the test is considered to be the hardest for students. The listening passages are often quite long, so you will need to remember quite a bit of information before proceeding to the questions. It can be difficult for students to achieve a higher score for this portion of the test.
The English speaking section is considered to be the easiest section. Students taking the IELTS usually have practiced this portion at great length since they know they will need to speak with an examiner.
What is a Good IELTS Score?
Let’s take a look at what some of the top international universities consider a good IELTS score. IELTS results are generally considered “good” if you receive an overall band score of 7 or higher.
For example, most of the top international universities, such as Harvard, Oxford, and Massachusetts Institute of Technology, require at least a 7 or higher in each task achievement section. To be considered truly competitive, a score of 7.5 or higher is recommended.
If you plan to go to a university in Australia, they expect test-takers to receive a score of 6 or higher. Some universities in Canada require students to have a score of 6.5 or higher. It would help if you looked at the IELTS requirements for the higher education institutes you plan to apply to.
In general, if you score a 7 or higher on your IELTS test, you are considered to have excellent operational command of the language. The best way to get a good IELTS score is to prepare and learn how to pace the test.
In this guide, we have armed you with the information you need to understand your overall score using the IELTS rubric. We explained how the scores are calculated to see if you achieved the minimum score required to enter the university or country of your choice.
We also helped you understand the speaking, writing, reading, and listening parts of the exam. We hope our guide has helped you develop a plan of attack for achieving a good IELTS score to get your dream job or university degree.
Here's our list of top 5 IELTS preparation courses worth checking out.
About the author