IELTS Speaking Assessment Criteria

The examiner asking questions to a candidate in the IELTS Speaking test

In the IELTS Speaking Test, your response to the questions asked is marked according to four IELTS Speaking assessment criteria.

As per the IELTS Speaking marking scheme, each of the four assessment criterion carries 25 percent of the total band score of 9. So, you need to take an average of the four scores to get the total Speaking band score.

Did you know?

Your Speaking test is recorded by the examiner who asks you questions. Then, a separate examiner evaluates your recorded audio. The score you receive in your report card is an average of the two scores given by the two examiners. This is done to eliminate human bias.

So, how is IELTS Speaking marked? Let’s look into details.

Fluency and coherence

In IELTS Speaking evaluation, fluency and coherence mean the ability to speak without hesitation or long pauses in a manner easily understood by the examiner.

Band scoreCriteria
5.0 and lowerA lot of repetition and self-correction while talking.
Uneven flow of delivery.
Over-reliance on certain repetitive words and phrases.
6.0Occasional hesitation and repetition.
Use of different words and phrases to connect thoughts and ideas.
7.0 and higherAbility to talk at length with very few hesitations.
Use of a range of connective words and transitions.
Development of ideas into short self-contained stories.

Lexical resource

This criterion evaluates the use of wide range of vocabulary to fit with specific contexts.

Band scoreCriteria
5.0 and lowerLimited range of vocabulary which is insufficient to convey all thoughts.
Very little paraphrase of the questions asked.
6.0Enough flexibility of words to communicate ideas clearly, but with minor errors.
Sufficient paraphrasing of the questions.
7.0 and higherKnowledge of a wide range of context-specific vocabulary to effectively communicate a variety of ideas.
Effective paraphrasing of the questions.
Inclusion of less-commonly used terms, idiomatic expressions, phrasal verbs, and collocations to precisely convey thoughts.

Grammatical range and accuracy

This refers to the skill of using complex and compound sentences of various structures with correct grammar.

Band scoreCriteria
5.0 and lowerOver-use of basic sentences.
Grammatical mistakes while forming longer and complex sentences causing hindrance to comprehension.
6.0Combination of simple, compound, and complex sentences.
Occasional mistakes in grammar but without hindering comprehension.
7.0 and higherA wide range of complex grammatical structures with only rare errors.


The criterion of Pronunciation judges your ability to produce English sounds as close to native-speakers as possible.

Band scoreCriteria
5.0 and lowerMispronunciation of words confuses the listener.
Inability to produce certain kinds of sounds common in English.
6.0Understandable pronunciation of most words.
Mispronunciation of certain types of words.
7.0 and higherPrecise pronunciation of words as good as native-speakers of English.
Easily understandable due to flexibility of sounds produced.
Note: Pronunciation and accents are two different things. The IELTS test does not require candidates to speak in the American or the British accent. However, knowledge of accents can help improve pronunciations as well.

The actual IELTS Speaking score calculator sheet used by IELTS examiners is not available publicly. However, to download the public version of the Speaking Band Descriptors from the official IELTS website, click here »

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