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IELTS speaking: what else to expect

In the Reading or Listening sections it is quite easy to predict what will be your IELTS score. You do some tests at home, count how many questions you answered correctly, do the math – for example 34 out of 40 equals approximately Band 7.

But how do you measure yourself when it comes to the Speaking test – that’s the question!

And here comes answer: using the same criteria your examiner is going to use. I was looking for that information and found it in the IELTS official site (of all places :))

So basically this is what they say:

You belong to a Band 5 level if you

  • Keep sentences coming slowly (without pauses), repeat words and correct yourself.
  • Can use simple sentences easily, but the complex ones are difficult for you and it shows (you stop, get confused or start to repeat yourself).
  • Cannot say the same thing in a different way (rephrase) or use a synonym for a word.
  • Use grammatically correct simple sentences most of the time. It is rare that you use more complex sentences and when you do – you make grammatical errors or it is difficult to understand what you’re saying.
  • You belong to a Band 6 level if you

  • Can speak for some time keeping the right speed (like in your first language), with little difficulties when you repeat words, correct yourself or get lost in words and stop making sense.
  • Use some connective words, even if they are not always appropriate.
  • Can discuss topics (familiar or not) for a long time, using wide vocabulary and making yourself clear.
  • Successfully rephrase and use synonyms.
  • Mix simple and complex sentences when you speak, but the in complex ones you make lots of mistakes. Those mistakes are mostly grammatical and the examiner can still understand you.
  • You belong to a Band 7 level if you

  • Have no problem speaking for some time keeping the right speed (like in your first language), your speech is smooth and easy to understand, it is rare that you pause and look for a word to say, repeat or correct yourself.
  • Can discuss any topic using a lot of smart words, and you use English expressions correctly.
  • Use complex sentences without many grammatical errors. There are many more correct sentences in your speech than incorrect.
  • I gave you here the descriptions of Bands 5,6 and 7 because these are the IELTS bands most people want to know about, but you can see the full description of all bands here.

    6 thoughts on “IELTS speaking: what else to expect”

    1. Hello,
      I am planning to write IELTS on 8th april, I believe that, after reading your article, I believe that I can 7.5 band with listening and reading. But, please suggest me, for getting 7 bands in speaking and writting, how should I practise. And tell me, which section I should attend first so I can get overall 7 band.
      Thank you.

    2. Well, I have some really helpful posts right here in this site about how to prepare for Speaking and Writing. It will be a waste of time to re-write them all over again, so just go ahead and read them – in “Speaking tips” category. All the Speaking tips are in these 3 posts:

      IELTS Speaking?what to expect (Interview)
      IELTS Speaking?what to expect (Speech)
      IELTS Speaking?what to expect (Discussion)

      The latest post, “IELTS speaking: what else to expect“, is for you to measure your progress as you practice. Use it to classify yourself ? what band do you think you belong to.

      Now about Writing ? too bad you didn?t mention what kind of IELTS you?re practicing for, General or Academic, because the Writing section is different in these two. Anyway, if it is General – go ahead and read these tips in the following posts in this site:

      Writing tips for IELTS General module
      More Writing tips for IELTS General module

      In two words – you need to learn the rules of IELTS writing and practice. Read samples, write a lot of essays/letters/reports and improve your technique, language and speed.

      In both cases ? Writing and Speaking – what you need to do is to read the posts, remember the tips, try to use them while practicing and the links to practice tests are in the right side-bar.

      If you?d like I could help you with your Writing by evaluating your essays/letters. You can send them to me and I will give you my opinion, tips and suggestions.

      It seems to me that if you need overall 7 and your Reading and Listening are 7.5, you HAVE TO get 7 in both Speaking and Writing ? there are no half scores there, remember? This is why you CAN NOT get 6.5 in Speaking and Writing, 7.5 in Reading and Listening and the average will be 7.

      Anyway, if you have more questions or need any help ? don?t be shy; drop me a letter to And thanks for this comment ? I think many people are looking for the same answers as you do :).

    3. Thank you very much for giving me details about how can we scored in speaking and writting. Like, as you told me, If I send you written article, you can check and feedback me, I think this is the best, so, please let me know, how should I sent my written article?
      Thanking for your moral and indirect support.

    4. can u help me in IELTS speaking & writing ?coz last time i secured band 7 in speaking & 6 in reading & writing,& coz of this my overall band was 6.5 &required was 7,now its my 3rd attempt & now half band also started in speaking & writing,i m scared that now i can get 6.5 in speaking with overall band 7,& this z useless for me ,as i require 7 in speaking &overall 7 also,

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