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IELTS SCORES: What Is A Good Score in IELTS?

IELTS SCORES: What Is A Good Score in IELTS?


“IELTS Scores”

Tens of thousands of people worldwide are getting ready to take the IELTS, and each of them will have a target score in their mind. Their personal objectives will determine what that score is, but 7 seems to be the most popular goal. Does that imply a band score of 7 is a good one? What exactly qualifies as a good IELTS score?

I’ll explain a few things in this article to make sure you understand. I will demonstrate the various IELTS scores, how your target score might change depending on your objectives, and whether or not IELTS is actually a good predictor of English ability. Does a high IELTS score actually indicate that you speak English well enough to succeed in an environment where the language is spoken?


When you take the IELTS exam, you will receive a score between 0 and 9, with 0 indicating that you did nothing and 9 denoting that you have a very strong command of the English language. So it should be obvious that 9 is the highest you could get.

IELTS Scores Range

However, you do not have to be the best to receive a good grade. Most people aim for 7, and as we can see from the score range above, band 7 is considered to be “a good user” of English. As a result, the majority of immigration offices, academic institutions, and employers appear to think that an applicant with an IELTS score of 7 has a solid command of the English language. Therefore, we can say that a score of 7 is a good IELTS score.


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IELTS is taken by people for a variety of reasons, including work, immigration, education, and more. IELTS is “accepted by more than 3,400 colleges and universities in the USA” and 11,000 other institutions worldwide, according to the official IELTS website. Yes, it appears that the main motivation for taking this test is education.

I assist thousands of students with their preparation for the IELTS writing section, and about 70% of them are preparing to study abroad. The remaining 30% consists primarily of people who want to work abroad, with a small percentage joining their families.

In any case, the majority of my students need at least a 6.5 in each section in order to achieve a 7 overall. The better it is, of course, the higher the score.

Looking online, we can see that many universities all over the world accept an IELTS score of at least 6.5. Here are a few examples:

  • Cambridge University
  • Dundee University
  • Harvard University
  • Manchester University
  • Sydney University
  • Toronto University
  • Western University

Why then do so many people strive for  7?

As you can see, all of these are minimum standards, and some of these universities have high standards for admission. You are less likely to be accepted if you have the minimum score and other applicants for your course have higher scores. Therefore, while a band score of 6.5 may be technically acceptable, it is insufficient.

Additionally, keep in mind that if you have a low IELTS score, some universities may require you to take additional courses. It is frequently necessary for students to steer clear of these courses because they typically cost money and take several weeks or months. Many of the universities where I have personally worked have admitted students with low IELTS scores (band 5) and then required them to take summer English-language courses. This could cost a lot of money.


We’ve seen that a  7 IELTS score is generally considered to be a good score. But does that actually imply that your English is strong? Or, to put it another way, is IELTS a reliable indicator of English proficiency?

IELTS is a pretty good English language test, but it has some drawbacks, in my opinion. The fact that students almost never perform better than their actual English proficiency level makes it beneficial for universities, employers, and immigration authorities.

But is a student with a  7 score truly proficient enough in English to succeed at a university in a country where English is the language of instruction?

This topic has been the subject of several studies, which we will review here:

STUDY #1 By [ Amanda Bayliss and D.E. Ingram from the University of Melbourne ]

First, they made a very clear observation:

People may perceive their language levels very differently than what their IELTS test results suggest.

In other words, IELTS candidates may believe that the test is flawed and that their grade is unfair. But they assert that this is untrue because, the language behavior of students during the first six months of their study program can be predicted fairly accurately by IELTS scores.

This leads us to the conclusion that IELTS scores are very helpful to universities because they enable them to accurately determine a student’s actual English level, even if the student believes they are more proficient than they actually are.

Ielts scores1

STUDY #2 By [ Dr. Dorothy A. Yen and Dr. Joanne Kuzma at the University of Worcester ]

At the University of Worcester, researchers Dorothy A. Yen and Joanne Kuzma examined Chinese students’ academic performance in a paper. You can see from my table that Worcester will accept students with an extremely low IELTS score (4.5), but they must enroll in a 10-week language course.

It’s interesting to note that students who receive a band 6 score lack the English language proficiency needed to comprehend lectures. As stated by one lecturer:

Even the students in Chinese do not comprehend what I said. One of my students requires a personal interpreter in order to comprehend the lecture material.

The scientists found:

Students with an IELTS band of 6.0 are expected to be able to use English competently, even though the IELTS system has been used as a valid authentication to identify and verify students’ level of English. The knowledge gained from WBS indicates that this might not be the case.

Therefore, it is clear that a band 6 is not a good score.


The researchers’ findings after looking at students with various IELTS scores were as follows:

Based on quantitative data gathered from Chinese students here at the University of Worcester, the results of this study support the existence of a positive correlation between academic performance and IELTS scores. It demonstrates that students with low IELTS scores may be at risk for receiving lower grades, particularly if their Listening and Writing scores are low.

In other words, IELTS is a reliable indicator of one’s ability to succeed in an academic setting where English is the primary language.


We can therefore conclude that while a 7 is a good IELTS score and a good indicator of English proficiency, a score above this will not only help you get into a good university but will greatly increase the likelihood that you will succeed there.

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