IELTS examiners use assessment criteria to award a band score for each of the four criteria:

  • Fluency and Coherence
  • Lexical Resource
  • Grammatical Range and Accuracy
  • Pronunciation

Calculate your IELTS band score for Speaking

Each criterion will be assessed by IELTS examiner with a band score from 2 to 9. The criteria are weighted equally and the Speaking band score is the average.

Fluency and Coherence descriptors — IELTS criteria

Fluency and Coherence Band 9 (C2 level)

  • speaks fluently with only rare repetition or self-correction;
  • any hesitation is content-related rather than to find words or grammar
  • speaks coherently with fully appropriate cohesive features
  • develops topics fully and appropriately

Fluency and Coherence Band 8 (C2 level)

  • speaks fluently with only occasional repetition or self-correction
  • hesitation is usually content-related and only rarely to search for language
  • develops topics coherently and appropriately

Fluency and Coherence Band 7 (C1 level)

  • speaks at length without noticeable effort or loss of coherence
  • may demonstrate language-related hesitation at times, or some repetition and/or self-correction
  • uses a range of connectives and discourse markers with some flexibility

Fluency and Coherence Band 6 (B2 level)

  • is willing to speak at length, though may lose coherence at times due to occasional repetition, self-correction or hesitation
  • uses a range of connectives and discourse markers but not always appropriately 

Fluency and Coherence Band 5 (B1 level)

  • usually maintains a flow of speech but uses repetition, self-correction and/or slow speech to keep going
  • may over-use certain connectives and discourse markers
  • produces simple speech fluently, but more complex communication causes fluency problems

Fluency and Coherence Band 4 (B1 level)

  • cannot respond without noticeable pauses and may speak slowly, with frequent repetition and self-correction
  • links basic sentences but with repetitious use of simple connectives and some breakdowns in coherence

 

 

Lexical Resource descriptors — IELTS criteria

Lexical Resource Band 9 (C2 level)

  • uses vocabulary with full flexibility and precision in all topics
  • uses idiomatic language naturally and accurately

Lexical Resource Band 8 (C2 level)

  • uses a wide vocabulary resource readily and flexibly to convey precise meaning
  • uses less common and idiomatic vocabulary skilfully, with occasional inaccuracies
  • uses paraphrase effectively as required

Lexical Resource Band 7 (C1 level)

  • uses vocabulary resource flexibly to discuss a variety of topics
  • uses some less common and idiomatic vocabulary and shows some awareness of style and collocation, with some inappropriate choices
  • uses paraphrase effectively

Lexical Resource Band 6 (B2 level)

  • has a wide enough vocabulary to discuss topics at length and make meaning clear in spite of inappropriacies
  • generally paraphrases successfully

Lexical Resource Band 5 (B1 level)

  • manages to talk about familiar and unfamiliar topics but uses vocabulary with limited flexibility
  • attempts to use paraphrase but with mixed success

Lexical Resource Band 4 (B1 level)

  • is able to talk about familiar topics but can only convey basic meaning on unfamiliar topics and makes frequent errors in word choice
  • rarely attempts paraphrase

 

 

Grammatical Range and Accuracy descriptors — IELTS criteria

Grammatical Range and Accuracy Band 9 (C2 level)

  • uses a full range of structures naturally and appropriately
  • produces consistently accurate structures apart from ‘slips’ characteristic of native-speaker speech

Grammatical Range and Accuracy Band 8 (C2 level)

  • uses a wide range of structures flexibly
  • produces a majority of error-free sentences with only very occasional inappropriacies or basic/non-systematic errors

Grammatical Range and Accuracy Band 7 (C1 level)

  • uses a range of complex structures with some flexibility
  • frequently produces error-free sentences, though some grammatical mistakes persist

Grammatical Range and Accuracy Band 6 (B2 level)

  • uses a mix of simple and complex structures, but with limited flexibility
  • may make frequent mistakes with complex structures though these rarely cause comprehension problems

Grammatical Range and Accuracy Band 5 (B1 level)

  • produces basic sentence forms with reasonable accuracy
  • uses a limited range of more complex structures, but these usually contain errors and may cause some comprehension problems

Grammatical Range and Accuracy Band 4 (B1 level)

  • produces basic sentence forms and some correct simple sentences but subordinate structures are rare
  • errors are frequent and may lead to misunderstanding

 

 

Pronunciation descriptors — IELTS criteria

Pronunciation Band 9 (C2 level)

  • uses a full range of pronunciation features with precision and subtlety
  • sustains flexible use of features throughout
  • is effortless to understand

Pronunciation Band 8 (C2 level)

  • uses a wide range of pronunciation features
  • sustains flexible use of features, with only occasional lapses
  • is easy to understand throughout; L1 accent has minimal effect on intelligibility

Pronunciation Band 7 (C1 level)

  • shows all the positive features of Band 6 and some, but not all, of the positive features of Band 8

Pronunciation Band 6 (B2 level)

  • uses a range of pronunciation features with mixed control
  • shows some effective use of features but this is not sustained
  • can generally be understood throughout, though mispronunciation of individual words or sounds reduces clarity at times

Pronunciation Band 5 (B1 level)

  • shows all the positive features of Band 4 and some, but not all, of the positive features of Band 6

Pronunciation Band 4 (B1 level)

  • uses a limited range of pronunciation features
  • attempts to control features but lapses are frequent
  • mispronunciations are frequent and cause some difficulty for the listener