Lindsay McMahon
"The English Adventurer"

Today I’ll explain what the IELTS band scores mean for your Speaking Exam.

Click here for a complete mock speaking test and examiner feedback.

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So, what do the band scores mean, and why do examiners give these specific scores for Speaking?

As an IELTS Examiner of 14 years, I can tell you exactly what they mean!

Firstly, congratulations to 3 Keys student Laurita, who got an overall 8 on her recent exam!

Band 6- Competent

This is the ‘widest band’, as this is the most commonly awarded score.

This student can talk about almost any topic, but not in a deep or impressive way.

They still have some hesitations, and do not use a wide variety of linking words.

Basically, they still sound like a student. There isn’t much, or any, impressive or interesting vocabulary.

They also still have a lot of grammar mistakes, but none so bad that I can’t understand what they mean.

They also still have an accent from their first language.

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Band 7- Good

This person has gone a bit beyond just sounding like a student, and is using some features that are native and natural.

They can talk about anything, and offer some deeper, more solid supporting ideas.

Also, they have some noticeably interesting vocabulary, and have some complex/compound sentences that have no mistakes, and many perfect simple sentences as well.

Plus, they sound expressive, but still retain some first language accent.

Band 8- Very Good

This person can talk about anything in an intelligent, deeper way, and uses a lot of impressive words and phrases, just like a native speaker.

However, they still have a few mistakes in vocabulary collocation and grammar, here and there.

Their first language accent is almost gone.

Band 9- Expert

This is the perfect score!

There is a lot of impressive vocabulary with no mistakes, and many different sentence structures with no mistakes.

No matter what IELTS throws them, they answer immediately with fluid, intelligent ideas and language.

Their pronunciation also sounds ‘native’, and fully expressive.

What do you think of today’s explanations?

Share your thoughts in the comments section below!

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