IELTS Marking Criteria

If you’re taking the IELTS exam, it’s important to understand what the examiners are looking for and how they grade you.

Each IELTS paper is 25% of the overall grade, no one paper is more important than another.

IELTS Writing Test Criteria

  1. Task Achievement (Task Response)
  • Make sure you address the task fully.
  • Follow the instructions and answer all parts of the question.
  • Practice planning your essay to make sure you cover all the points required.
  1. Coherence and Cohesion
  • Organise your ideas in a clear and logical way.
  • Use linking words and phrases to connect your sentences and paragraphs.
  • Practice planning your work to create a flow of ideas throughout your essays.
  1. Lexical Resource (Vocabulary)
  • A range of vocabulary is as important as accuracy.
  • Avoid repeating the same words; use seynonyms and different word classes.
  • Build your vocabulary and practice using new words. Spelling is important.
  1. Grammatical Range and Accuracy
  • Use a variety of grammatical structures.
  • Pay attention to the accuracy of your grammar and punctuation.
  • Practice using different tenses and complex sentences in your writing.

Tips for Writing

  1. Time Management: Practice writing timed essays. In the Writing Test, Task One is worth 33% and Task Two is worth 66%, which is why we suggest that you spend 20 minutes on Task One and 40 minutes on Task Two.
  2. Read and Follow Instructions: Make sure you read all the instructions carefully and highlight the keywords which tell you what to do so you can easily check that you’ve addressed each part.
  3. Plan: Spend up to 5 minutes planning each essay before you write. Students often feel they don’t have time to plan but a good plan will actually save you time when writing.
  4. Proofread Your Work: Leave some time at the end to check your writing for spelling and grammatical mistakes. It really helps to know the kind of mistakes you usually make so you can check these very carefully.


IELTS Speaking Test Criteria

  1. Fluency and Coherence
  • It is natural to pause and hesitate when speaking but you mustn’t use too many pauses or hesitations.
  • You need to organise your ideas so your answers are easy to follow.
  1. Lexical Resource (Vocabulary)
  • Use a variety of words to express yourself. Both range and accuracy are important.
  • Avoid repeating the same words, try use synonyms and paraphrase.
  1. Grammatical Range and Accuracy
  • Use a range of tenses and sentence structures.
  • Pay attention to accuracy as well as range.
  1. Pronunciation
  • It’s not important to sound like a native speaker, you just need to speak clearly so the examiner can understand you.
  • Practice pronouncing challenging words.

Tips for Speaking

  1. Record Yourself: Set yourself IELTS tasks from practice tests and record yourself speaking.
  2. Be Confident: Don’t worry too much about making mistakes, focus on communicating your ideas. There are no right or wrong answers, the examiner isn’t interested in whether what you say is actually true.


IELTS Reading Test Criteria

  1. Understanding the Main Idea (Content)
  • You need to be able to identify the main idea of a reading passage.
  • Look for key information that helps you understand the main point of the text.
  • Practice summarising the main points in your own words.
  1. Locating Information (Details)
  • You need to be able to locate specific details in a text.
  • Look for keywords and phrases that lead you to the answer.
  1. Understanding Logical Argument (Inference)
  • Think about what the author implies or suggests.
  1. Recognising Writer’s Opinions and Attitudes (Opinion)
  • Look for words that express feelings or attitudes.
  • Practice distinguishing between facts and opinions.

Tips for Reading

  1. Practice reading regularly and read a variety of texts.
  2. Ask Yourself Questions when you read and try to summarise what you’ve read in your own words.
  3. Highlight keywords and phrases in both questions and texts, this will help you locate and check answers quickly.


IELTS Listening Test Criteria

  1. Understanding Main Ideas
  • You need to be able to identify the main ideas and key information in the passages.
  • Practice summarising what you hear in your own words.
  1. Locating Information (Details)
  • Listen for specific details such as names, numbers and dates.
  • Pay attention to keywords that signal the answers.
  1. Understanding Attitudes and Opinions (Opinion)
  • You need to recognise the feelings and opinions expressed.
  • Pay attention to tone and intonation.
  1. Following the Development of Ideas
  • It’s important to understand how ideas are connected so you can follow how the text develops.
  • Listen for transitions and changes in topic.

Tips for Listening

  1. Listen Actively. Focus on the audio and avoid distractions.
  2. Take Notes. Note down key points and keywords while you listen.
  3. Practice with Various Accents. Listen to recordings from different English-speaking areas to familarise yourself with variations.