How the IELTS is scored

There is no Pass or Fail in the IELTS Test: everyone gets a score, from 0 to 9, for every Module. Your Overall Score is the average of the 4 Module scores, with fractional scores being rounded (up or down). The scores you achieve determines whether you can apply for a Visa and if you can, how many points you get in the Points Test:

  • a score of 6 in all Modules is the threshold score for Employer Sponsored and Skilled Migration Visas, except for Subclass 457, where the threshold score is IELTS 5.
  • a score of 7 in all Modules gives you 10 Points in the Points Test - you are deemed to have "Proficient English".
  • a score of 8 in all Modules gives you 20 Points in the Points Test - you are deemed to have "Superior English".

The terms "Proficient" and "Superior" are specific to the Australian Department of Immigration. The IELTS uses a different set of terms, from "Expert User" for someone with a score of 9 to "Non User" for someone with a score of 1, as shown in the table below:

    9Expert UserHas fully operational command of the language: appropriate, accurate and fluent with complete understanding.
    8Very Good UserHas fully operational command of the language with only occasional unsystematic inaccuracies and inappropriacies. Misunderstandings may occur in unfamiliar situations. Handles complex detailed argumentation well.
    7Good UserHas operational command of the language, though with occasional inaccuracies, inappropriacies and misunderstandings in some situations. Generally handles complex language well and understands detailed reasoning.
    6Competent UserHas generally effective command of the language despite some inaccuracies, inappropriacies and misunderstandings. Can use and understand fairly complex language, particularly in familiar situations.
    5Modest UserHas partial command of the language, coping with overall meaning in most situations, though is likely to make many mistakes. Should be able to handle basic communication in own field.
    4Limited UserBasic competence is limited to familiar situations. Has frequent problems in understanding and expression. Is not able to use complex language.
Limited User
Conveys and understands only general meaning in very familiar situations. Frequent breakdowns in communication occur.
    2Intermittent UserNo real communication is possible except for the most basic information using isolated words or short formulae in familiar situations and to meet immediate needs. Has great difficulty understanding spoken and written English.
    1Non UserEssentially has no ability to use the language beyond possibly a few isolated words.
    0No TestDid not attempt the test. No assessable information provided.


Find out how to apply for the IELTS Test...