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IELTS Band Description

The IELTS has band scales 0 to 9 with each band designating level of proficiency in the language.

IELTS scores are given on a scale from 0 to 9 denoting lowest to highest scores.

IELTS 9 Band Scale

 Band Score

 Level of Skill

Band Level Description

Band 0

Not attempted

The provided information is not assessable as the test is not answered by the candidate.

Band 1

Non user

Essentially the test taker has no ability to use English language except for possibly a few isolated words.

Band 2

Intermittent user

  • The candidate has great difficulty understanding written and spoken English.
  • Hence there is no possibility of real communication except for the most basic information using isolated words in familiar situations to meet immediate needs.

Band 3

Extremely limited user

  • The candidate conveys and understands only general meaning in familiar situations.
  • During normal communication frequent breakdowns may occur.

Band 4

Limited user

  • The candidate’s basic competence is limited to familiar situations and has frequent problems in understanding and expression.
  • The candidate is unable to use complex language.

Band 5

Modest user

  • The candidate has partial command of the language and can cope with overall meaning in most situations.
  • Though the candidate is likely to make many mistakes, he/she should be able to handle basic communication in their own field.

Band 6

Competent user

  • The candidate generally has an effective command of the language despite some inaccuracies and misunderstandings.
  • They are capable to use and understand fairly complex language, especially in familiar situations.

Band 7

Good user

  • The candidate has operational command of the language, though with occasional inaccuracies, misunderstandings and inappropriate usage in some situations.
  • The candidate generally handles complex language well and understands detailed reasoning.

Band 8

Very good user

  • The candidate has fully operational command of the language with only occasional unsystematic inaccuracies. The candidate handles complex and detailed argumentation well.
  • They might misunderstand some matters due to unfamiliar situations.

Band 9

Expert user

  • The candidate has fully operational command of the language.
  •  Their English usage is appropriate, accurate and fluent with complete understanding.

IELTS Marking and Band Score Conversion

Marking of IELTS Reading, Listening, Writing and Speaking tests All the four modules are marked by certificated IELTS examiners, who are regularly monitored to ensure reliability. All answer sheets, after being marked, are further analysed by Cambridge Assessment English.

Band score conversions


  • One mark is awarded for each correct answer
  • IELTS scores are awarded in whole bands and half bands
  • A Band Score conversion table format is presented for each module of the IELTS test which translates scores out of 40 into the IELTS 9 band scale.


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