Ielts Speaking Marking Criteria

The IELTS speaking test is marked by an examiner who assesses three aspects of your speech: fluency and pronunciation, vocabulary and grammar. Each part will be marked on a scale of 1–4 as follows:

(1) Fluency and Pronunciation – The flow of your language, the volume and tone used to achieve this, clarity of pronunciation and use of idioms.

Ielts Speaking Marking Criteria

Ielts Speaking Marking Criteria

The examiner will identify and mark specific criteria in your speech. The examiner will record their comments on the IELTS Speaking Band Scale, which is divided into 6 bands ranging from 1 to 5, with 1 being “no skill” and 5 being “native-like proficiency”.

At the end of your test, you will receive an overall band score out of 9 (from 0-9), plus a writing grade out of 9 (from zero to nine)

IELTS Speaking Band 8

A Band 8 speaker will:

  • Have a general command of the language with only minor errors in pronunciation, grammar and vocabulary.
  • Make limited use of appropriate formal register.
  • Demonstrate a good range of syntactic complexity, including sentence combining and subordination.
  • Demonstrate good control over spoken discourse features such as cohesion, coherence and variety in sentence length and types (including nominal groups) according to the topic being discussed.

IELTS Speaking Band 7

  • Fluency and pronunciation. The examiner will consider your fluency and pronunciation as well as the clarity of your speech.
  • Grammar, vocabulary and accuracy. The examiner will be looking for grammatical accuracy, appropriate vocabulary and effective use of idioms in your responses.
  • Organization of ideas. It is important that you organize your ideas clearly so that they make sense to the examiner when you are speaking. If you do not organize these ideas properly, it makes it difficult for an examiner to understand what you are saying and judge accurately whether or not there is a good level of relationship between your response and the question asked.

IELTS Speaking Band 6

The examiner will be looking for:

  • Your use of language.
  • Your confidence.
  • Your ability to think on your feet.
  • How you respond to questions and prompts.

IELTS Speaking Band 5

  • The candidate demonstrates a good command of the language, grammar and vocabulary are correct, pronunciation is clear and the sentence structure is varied.
  • The candidate speaks with confidence and is positive in tone throughout. They speak clearly and confidently with an enthusiastic tone to their voice.
  • The speaker engages well with their interlocutor; they are polite, courteous and respectful at all times. They respond appropriately to questions or comments from other speakers with eye contact, nodding etc., as appropriate for the context.

IELTS Speaking Band 4

A Band 4 score is awarded for a response that has the following features:

  • Repetition of ideas and key vocabulary. The candidate repeats key ideas and vocabulary, but not to an excessive extent. For example, they might say “I am a student” several times in their answer.
  • Repetition of phrases and sentences. The candidate repeats short phrases or sentences (e.g., “children learn by playing games”), but not to an excessive extent. For example, they might mention this idea twice in their answer (but it won’t be said four times).
  • Repetition of words and structures within the same sentence or clause where it makes sense grammatically – some repetition is necessary to make sure the listener can understand what you’re saying!

The examiner will identify and mark specific criteria in your speech.

An examiner will mark your speech on a scale of 1-9, with 5 being the highest score for an answer.

The examiner will identify and mark specific criteria in your speech. There are four types of marking that may be used:

  • A general comment on your performance overall, such as ‘Good’ or ‘Excellent’. This type of comment is often given at the end of the speech and it indicates that you have performed well within one or more areas (for example pronunciation or fluency).
  • A number of comments which give detailed feedback on various aspects of your performance, including pronunciation and fluency skills; grammar accuracy; vocabulary range/use; organization and coherence; use/appropriateness of language variety(s). These comments are usually written under each question or topic heading where appropriate questions were asked during the speaking test


I hope this post has helped you to understand how the examiner will mark your speech. IELTS Speaking is a challenging test and the examiner will look at many different aspects of your language use. The idea is that it’s not just about what you say but also how you say it. So make sure that you speak clearly, accurately and fluently with good pronunciation; avoid long pauses; show evidence of an expressive tone of voice; keep eye contact with your interlocutor throughout most of the conversation to show interest in what they have to say; use appropriate gestures for emphasis or contrast between words or parts of sentences.”

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