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The four criteria used in IELTS Speaking to assess candidates are as follows.

Fluency and Coherence
Lexical Resource
Grammatical Range and Accuracy

Fluency and Coherence:

This refers to the candidate's ability to talk with normal levels of continuity, speech rate and effort, and to link ideas and language together in coherent, connected speech..

Lexical Resource:

This refers to the candidate's ability to talk with normal levels of continuity, speech rate and effort, and to link ideas and language together in coherent, connected speech.

Grammatical Range and Accuracy:

This refers to the range of structures available to the candidate and how accurately and appropriately s/he can use them. Assessment takes into account the length and complexity of utterances as well as the effect of grammatical errors on communication.


This refers to the candidate's ability to produce comprehensible utterances and to use a range of pronunciation features to communicate meaning. Assessment takes into account the amount of strain caused to the listener, and the notice ability of L1 influence.


The IELTS results are graded/banded using a 9 BAND scale. The candidate will be given a Test Report Form on which they will find a full or half band for each part of the test and a final full or half band along with details of the candidate's nationality, first language and date of birth. The 9 bands correspond to a series of descriptions that relates to the candidate's English ability at that level. These band descriptors for the IELTS results are as follows:

BAND 9: Expert User has fully operational command of the language: appropriate, accurate and fluent with complete understanding.

BAND 8: Very Good User has fully operational command of the language with only occasional unsystematic inaccuracies and inappropriacies. Misunderstandings may occur in unfamiliar situations. Handles detailed argumentation well.

BAND 7: Good User has operational command of the language, though occasional inaccuracies, inappropriacies and misunderstandings in some situations. Generally handles complex language well and understands detailed reasoning.

BAND 6: Competent User has generally effective command of the language despite some inaccuracies, inappropriacies and misunderstandings. Can use and understand fairly complex language, particularly in familiar situations

BAND 5: Modest User has 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.

BAND 4: Limited User Basic competence is limited to familiar situations. Has frequent problems in understanding and expression. Is not able to use complex language.

BAND 3: Extremely Limited User Conveys and understands only general meaning in very familiar situations. Frequent breakdowns in communication occur.

BAND 2:Intermittent User No 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.

BAND 1: Non User Essentially has no ability to use the language beyond possibly a few isolated words.

BAND 0: Did not attempt the test. - No assessable information.

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