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How are overall band scores calculated?

Watch Nuria, a learner of English, discuss IELTS band scores and how IELTS results are calculated, with Pauline Cullen.
I’m here again with Pauline Cullen, and we’re going to talk about band scores. I know that IELTS band scores go from 1 to 9, and I also know there are half-scores, like 5.5, 6.5. But that’s all about I know. So, Pauline, to begin, can you tell us how the IELTS Academic Reading and Listening test are scored? Yes, sure. The Reading and Listening tests are marked by specially-trained people who have a really comprehensive list of all the possible answers. Both of those tests have a total of 40 questions. So you’re given a score out of 40, which is then converted into the band score.
And to give you an example of how that works, on average you have to score about 30 out of 40 to achieve Band 7 in both Reading and Listening. And what about the Speaking test? How does the examiner decide the overall score of it? Yeah. Well, a specially-trained examiner, as we saw in Week 2, uses four separate criteria to arrive at your band score for the Speaking test. And the Speaking tests are recorded so that the score can be checked at any time if it’s necessary. What about the Writing test? Well, as we also saw earlier in the course, again, there are four separate writing criteria that a trained examiner will use to assess your writing.
And you’re given a score for each of the two tasks, and those two tasks - those two scores, are then converted into one overall score that gives extra weight to Writing Task 2. So it’s important to remember that Writing Task 2 is worth double the marks of Writing Task 1. So how is the overall IELTS score calculated then? OK, so you’ll receive a band score for all of the four papers. So that’s Listening, Reading, Speaking, and Writing. And the average of those creates your overall score. And so if, for example, your average score is 6.75, that would be an overall score of 7. So it’s rounded up to 7. Ah.
And if your average score is 7.25, that will be rounded up to 7.5. So that would give us your overall score. So it’s an average of the four scores. In the Listening and Reading test, can I just write my answers on the question paper? Yes. And it’s a good idea to do that, especially in the Listening test. But you do have to transfer your answers onto a separate answer sheet. In the Listening test, you’re given 10 minutes at the end of the recording to be able to do that. But in the Reading test, there’s no extra time given. So you have to do that within the one hour of the Reading test.
And what is the most common question you are asked about writing down answers? In the Reading test, the most common question I’m asked is is it okay to write the letters T, F, NG instead of the words ‘true’, ‘false’, ‘not given’ for those types of questions? And the answer is yes, it’s absolutely fine to write the letters. But you have to be really careful the way that you write your letters, because if your handwriting is not clear, the letters T and F can be quite similar, especially for some people in their handwriting. If your handwriting is not clear, you won’t be given the mark. So it’s probably safer to write the whole world. So ‘true’, ‘false’, and ‘not given’.
So what about if I make a spelling mistake on the answer sheet in Reading or Listening? Will I get half mark then? No. There are no half marks. If you make a spelling mistake, your answer will be marked wrong. So that’s why it’s really, really important in both the Listening and the Reading tests to make sure you transfer your answers very carefully onto the separate sheet. OK, thank you very much, Pauline. Thank you.
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