Are you attempting to ace the IELTS test and looking to better grasp how your answers will be assessed? Understanding the IELTS marking criteria is the key to achieving a good score. The IELTS marking scenario will be explained in detail in this comprehensive guide because it ensures that you are prepared to fulfill the standards set by the examiners. IELTS, a test of English proficiency that most countries accept, assesses your skill in four key areas: speaking, reading, and writing. Moreover, we’ll go into further depth about the distinct marking policies that each section uses, and strategies to get the maximum output.

IELTS Marking criteria

When discussing the IELTS Marking Criteria, it is vital to realize that each section is equally significant and has an individual assessment. To know about the actual scenario, read the following passages.

Q. Which band does the IELTS exam need the highest score?

A band score of 9.0 on the IELTS test indicates an “Expert User” level of English proficiency.

1. Listening and Reading

The Listening and Reading sections of the IELTS test your ability to comprehend and interpret English language texts. The marking scheme for these sections is straightforward. Each correct answer earns you one mark, and these raw scores are then converted into the IELTS 9-band scale. It’s essential to note that there are no half marks in these sections, so every answer counts.

In the Listening section, you’ll encounter various question types, including multiple-choice, matching, plan/map/diagram labeling, form/note/table/flow-chart completion, and sentence completion. Each question type requires a different approach, but the marking remains consistent – one mark for each correct answer.

The Reading section, too, presents a range of question types, such as multiple-choice, identifying information (True/False/Not Given), matching info, matching headings, matching features, matching sentence endings, sentence completion, summary completion, note completion, table completion, flow-chart completion, and diagram label completion. Again, each correct answer awards you one mark.

2. Reading calculation

For the IELTS Reading test, each correct answer gives you one mark out of 40 questions. The raw score is then converted to the IELTS nine-band scale. On the other hand, the Academic and General Training Reading tests are graded on the same scale, with Academic Reading possibly featuring more challenging vocabulary and complexity of style. The number of marks required to achieve a particular band score in Listening and Reading varies slightly across test versions. For example, to achieve a band score of 7 in Listening, a test taker must score 30 out of 40 marks.

3. Listening calculation

The IELTS listening score ranges from 1 to 9, with 1 being the lowest and 9 being the highest band score. The listening test contains 40 questions; each correct answer gets one mark. The raw score, the number of correct answers, is then converted to the IELTS nine-band scale. The band score for the listening section is calculated based on the number of marks obtained out of 40, with specific raw score ranges corresponding to different band scores.

4. Writing

The Writing section of the IELTS is evaluated more subjectively, based on four criteria: Task Achievement (for Task 1) or Task Response (for Task 2), Coherence and Cohesion, Lexical Resource, and Grammatical Range and Accuracy. Each of these criteria contributes 25% to your overall Writing score. Task Achievement or Task Response assesses how well you answer the question. Are you addressing all parts of the task? Are your ideas relevant and well-developed? These are the questions that this criterion answers.

5. Coherence and Cohesion

These factors evaluate your ability to organize and link ideas. It involves the logical sequencing of information, cohesive devices (such as connecting words, pronouns, and conjunctions), and the overall clarity and fluency of your writing.
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Q. How do coherence and cohesion help in getting good marks in IELTS?

Coherence and cohesion improve the structure and clarity of ideas in IELTS speaking and writing challenges. A well-organized and coherent response enhances comprehension and indicates linguistic skills, contributing to higher grades.

Q. How to enhance Coherence and Cohesion in writing?

Improve logical organization, apply linking words, and maintain a clear structure.

6. Lexical Resource

This element looks at your range of vocabulary. Are you using a variety of words and phrases? Are you using them appropriately and accurately? This criterion evaluates these aspects.

7. Grammatical Range and Accuracy

As the name suggests, consider your use of English grammar. It assesses the range and accuracy of the grammatical structures you use.

8. Writing calculation

The IELTS’s listening, reading, writing, and speaking components are each given a score between 1 and 9, which is the starting point for calculating the writing scores. Calculating the average of these four values yields the band score overall. Each module may have full-band (5.0, 6.0, and 7.0) or half-band (5.5, 6.5, and 7.5) results. The total of the four individual band scores is divided by four to determine the overall band score. The score rounds to the next whole band if the average is more than 0.75 and to the previous entire band if it is less than 0.25.

Q. Is it essential to include complex vocabulary in IELTS writing?

While an expansive vocabulary is encouraged, simplicity and appropriateness are more important than complexity. To avoid mistakes, choose the language you are familiar with.

9. Speaking

Your Speaking abilities are evaluated based on four similar criteria: Fluency and Coherence, Lexical Resource, Grammatical Range and Accuracy, and Pronunciation. Each of these contributes 25% to your overall Speaking score.

10. Fluency and Coherence

Fluency and coherence assess your ability to speak at length with a natural flow and connect ideas. It considers your ability to express and develop ideas without undue hesitation.

11. Lexical Resource

Lexical Resource evaluates your use of vocabulary. It looks at the range and accuracy of the language you use and your ability to paraphrase to demonstrate your lexical resource.

12. Grammatical Range and Accuracy

Like in the Writing section, these elements also assess your grammar usage. It looks at the range and accuracy of the grammatical structures you use.

13. Pronunciation

As the name suggests, pronunciation considers how clear your speech is. Additionally, it assesses your ability to produce an understandable address for most regular English speakers.

14. Speaking marks calculation

Half scores (such as 6.5 or 7.5) are also achievable for the band scores, which range from 0 to 9. The band scores for all four talents together make up the total band score. Experts compute the total score to the closest complete band score or 0.5, whichever is more intimate. The total score, for instance, will be rounded down to 6 if it is 6.1. Additionally, the number will be rounded up to 7 if it is 6.85. Similar to how it will grow from 6.5 to 6.5 if the average is 6.25 and from 6.75 to 7 if the standard is 6.75.

Strategies for Success

Now that you understand the IELTS marking criteria, it’s time to strategize for success. Here are some tips to help you maximize your score:

1. Understand the Question Types

Familiarize yourself with the different question types in the Listening and Reading sections. Moreover, practice answering these questions to improve your speed and accuracy.

2. Answer All Parts of the Task

In the Writing section, ensure you answer all parts of the task. Furthermore, develop your ideas fully and provide relevant examples where necessary.

3. Use a Range of Vocabulary and Grammar

Show off your lexical resource and grammatical range in the Writing and speaking sections. Use a variety of words, phrases, and grammatical structures accurately.

4. Practice Speaking English

Improve your fluency, coherence, and pronunciation by practicing speaking English. Try to talk at length on different topics, connect your ideas logically, and work on pronunciation.

5. Review and Revise

Regularly review and revise what you’ve learned. It will help you remember the material and improve your performance on the test.


Examiners evaluate test takers according to specific IELTS marking criteria to determine their language competence level. Examiners consider the following four crucial factors: Task Achievement, Coherence and Cohesion, Lexical Resource, and Grammatical Range and Accuracy. A clear grasp of the assignment, logical thought processes, the use of a variety of language, and proper grammatical use are all necessary to receive a high grade. Lastly, you may improve your chances of succeeding on the IELTS exam by being familiar with these requirements and IELTS marking criteria. So, set high standards for yourself and approach the test with confidence.