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IELTS speaking: how is your band score calculated?

February 25th, 2013 in IELTS

If you know how the IELTS speaking band score is calculated, you can avoid many mistakes. This post gives you a brief outline of the grading criteria.

The four factors that are taken into account while grading your speaking samples are:

  • Fluency
  • Pronunciation
  • Range of vocabulary
  • Range of grammar


Fluency is your ability to speak clearly and without hesitation. Examiners are interested in testing whether you are able to express your ideas clearly and coherently. If you pause too often or take longer to give your answers, you might be penalized.


Your pronunciation skills are equally important. The examiner should have no difficulty understanding your speech. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to sound like a native English speaker. Instead, what matters is your ability to pronounce words correctly. You must also be able to stress the right words in a sentence. Don’t worry about your accent because it is not considered while grading your answers.


Examiners will try to assess how accurate and varied your vocabulary is. Don’t repeat the same words.  Instead, demonstrate your range of vocabulary by using a variety of words and structures.

Grammatical accuracy

Your grammatical accuracy is another factor that examiners take into account while grading your answers. You have to give your answers in grammatically correct English. Failure to do so will result in a low band score.

Bottom line

Speak as naturally as possible, but pay attention to your grammar and vocabulary. Note that in the speaking module, there are no right or wrong answers. All answers are correct and will earn marks as long as you say them in good English.