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The IELTS test assesses your abilities in listening, reading, writing and speaking – in less than three hours.

There are two types of  IELTS:  Academic and General Training. Listening and Speaking are the same for both tests, but the subject matter of the Reading and Writing sections differs depending on which test you take.

The Listening, Reading and Writing sections of all IELTS tests are completed on the same day, with no breaks in between them.

The Speaking section, however, can be completed up to a week before or after the other tests. Your test centre will advise.

The total test time is 2 hours and 45 minutes.

Band scoreSkill levelDescription
9Expert userThe test taker has fully operational command of the language. Their use of English is appropriate, accurate and fluent, and shows complete understanding.
8Very good userThe test taker has fully operational command of the language with only occasional unsystematic inaccuracies and inappropriate usage. They may misunderstand some things in unfamiliar situations. They handle complex and detailed argumentation well.
7Good userThe test taker has operational command of the language, though with occasional inaccuracies, inappropriate usage and misunderstandings in some situations. They generally handle complex language well and understand detailed reasoning.
6Competent userThe test taker has an effective command of the language despite some inaccuracies, inappropriate usage and misunderstandings. They can use and understand fairly complex language, particularly in familiar situations.
5Modest userThe test taker has a partial command of the language and copes with overall meaning in most situations, although they are likely to make many mistakes. They should be able to handle basic communication in their own field.
4Limited userThe test taker's basic competence is limited to familiar situations. They frequently show problems in understanding and expression. They are not able to use complex language.
3Extremely limited userThe test taker conveys and understands only general meaning in very familiar situations. There are frequent breakdowns in communication.
2Intermittent userThe test taker has great difficulty understanding spoken and written English.
1Non-userThe test taker has no ability to use the language except a few isolated words.
0Did not attempt the testThe test taker did not answer the questions.

Overall Band Score Example

 ListeningReadingWritingSpeakingAverage of four components (total of the four individual component scores)Band score
Test Taker A6.56.5576.256.5
Test Taker B43.5443.8754
Test Taker C6.56.55.566.1256



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