View a selection of IELTS Speaking test samples of different band scores with examiner comments included.
What speaking ability does a score of IELTS Band 5 represent?
This test taker is able to keep going and is willing to give long answers, but coherence is occasionally lost through hesitation while she searches for words and ideas. She uses a good range of connecting words and markers (actually; in this way; I think the most important reason; as an example; as we know). Vocabulary is the strongest feature of her performance. She is able to discuss topics at length and demonstrates some awareness of style and collocation (contemporary society; casual activities; temporarily forget; a moment just for yourself; time and resources). While she does make errors, these do not interfere with communication (for your healthy). Her grammatical control is less strong, although she does produce some complex structures, such as subordinate clauses, accurately. Her control of verb tenses is variable and she has recurring difficulty with subject/verb agreement (you shouldn’t to be too addict; they’re too focusing on; he need to). Despite these errors, her meaning is usually clear. She uses a range of pronunciation features but with variable control. Her rhythm is at times affected by syllable-timing but stress and intonation are used to some good effect (our life is not just for working – we should enjoy our lives as well). Some individual words and sounds are mispronounced, particularly ‘th’, but this has no significant impact on intelligibility and she can generally be understood without effort. This test taker’s vocabulary is a slightly stronger feature but this is not enough to lift her score above Band 6.
What speaking ability does a score of IELTS Band 5.5 represent?
This test taker is willing to speak at length but he loses coherence at times owing to repetition and self-correction, e.g. when comparing famous people in the present and in the past. He uses a range of markers, linking words and phrases (hopefully; like; actually; if we can talk about; as well; that’s why), but not always appropriately. Coherence is also affected by problems with word order. Although he has a wide enough vocabulary to discuss topics at length, he often confuses word classes (give you famous instead of ‘give you fame’; doing social workers instead of ‘doing social work’). Despite this, his meaning usually comes through. The grammatical aspect of his performance is affected by poor control of word order, which sometimes causes comprehension problems. He uses both simple and complex sentence forms but structures frequently contain error (it’s depend; there will always be welcome of you; this is one reason can be). He can produce some acceptable features of pronunciation but overall rhythm is affected by his rapid speech rate. Intonation is generally too flat, apart from rising pitch at the end of sentences, which is not always helpful. This, combined with phonemic problems (vork for ‘work’; vell for ‘well’; evryting for ‘everything’), makes some patches of speech hard to follow. This test taker’s problems with grammar and pronunciation restrict his rating to a 5.5.
What speaking ability does a score of IELTS Band 6 represent?
This test taker is willing to speak at length but there are moments when coherence is lost as a result of repetition, self-correction and hesitation and he is unable to answer the question about why people need a hobby.
He is able to use a variety of markers to link his ideas (first of all; I guess; like; it depends; at least; so), although these are not always used appropriately. Limitations in his performance are evident when he falls back on fillers such as how to say; how do you say. He has a wide enough vocabulary to discuss topics at length (China opening up to the world; cut down the working shifts; more work opportunities), but while he uses some natural colloquial expressions (some other guys; that’s sweet), there are also some collocation errors (broaden your friendship; kill the spare time; in the past times; make more troubles). These rarely cause comprehension problems. He produces a mix of short and complex sentence forms with a variety of grammatical structures. However, overall his grammatical control is variable and errors recur (you are make trouble to the society; people like spend; in the past … people work more … there is a period; may go travel round; we have also get), although these do not impede communication. His pronunciation is generally clear and he divides the flow of his speech into meaningful word groups with good use of stress and intonation (normally we work eight hours a day, five days a week – that’s forty hours in total). Generally he can be understood, but occasionally some words are hard to catch because of mispronunciation of sounds (bose for ‘both’; yoursels for ‘yourself’; cupper years for ‘couple of years’; zen for ‘then’; word for‘world’). This test taker is a good example of a Band 6.
What speaking ability does a score of IELTS Band 7 represent?
This test taker can speak at length without noticeable effort or loss of coherence. He does, however, demonstrate some language-related hesitation, repetition and self correction. He develops topics appropriately, using a range of markers and linking words to give cohesion (lately; in my opinion; if I’m not wrong; maybe you know; actually). He has a good vocabulary and shows some awareness of style and collocation (working for peace; internal problem; people in need; in conflict; a border city) but he sometimes makes the wrong word choices (if I do something very queer; to be in-between everyone). He has good grammatical control and produces many error-free sentences, using both simple and complex structures (more easily than before; without being treated differently). However, there are some problems with tenses (they bring instead of ‘they brought’; if I will like to read; I can be famous instead of ‘I could be famous’; I prefer my privacy instead of ‘I would prefer my privacy’), with articles (they don’t have private life) and with word order (even you can upload). There are many examples of very natural pronunciation and he can be easily followed, as he uses intonation and stress to good communicative effect. There are just a few problems with the production of individual sounds but, overall, his accent is slight and has very little impact on intelligibility. This test taker is a clear example of a Band 7.
What speaking ability does a score of IELTS Band 8 represent?
This test taker speaks fluently and is able to give quite long and detailed responses without any loss of coherence. Hesitation is usually content-related and only occasionally to search for language. She uses fillers (you know; I mean) to cover this. Linking words and markers are used very naturally (that’s not the case; I’m fine with that). Her vocabulary resource is wide and it allows her to talk about a range of topics with some flexibility and precision. There are plenty of examples of stylistically appropriate language (political pressure; into corruption; today’s world; offensive; promote the product; a money-making business) with only occasional inaccuracies (do a meeting; in a right/wrong manner). She uses a wide range of structures with a high level of accuracy. She makes only occasional minor errors. She uses pronunciation well to reinforce meaning, with rhythm, stress and intonation all used appropriately (at times I do like). There are only occasional lapses in word stress and in the formation of ‘th’.
What speaking ability does a score of IELTS Band 9 represent?
This test taker speaks fluently, with only rare repetition or self-correction. Any hesitation is not to search for language but to think of ideas. Her speech is coherent, with fully appropriate cohesive features (if you’re talking about; other than that; I think it’s more; as you can see). She uses vocabulary with full flexibility and precision in all topics with a wide range of idiomatic language (have a tendency; be exposed to; the world is becoming more globalised; the norm; strikes a chord; communication tool; actors that sponsor; materialistically; cool gadgets; grasp of people’s mindset). Her grammatical structures are precise and accurate at all times. She uses a full and natural range of structures and sentence types and makes no noticeable errors. She uses a full range of phonological features with precision and subtlety. The rhythm of her language is sustained throughout and stress and intonation are invariably used to good effect. This and her very clear production of individual words and sounds result in her being effortless to understand.