How are the IELTS writing and speaking tests assessed?
The IELTS test has 2 productive papers which are the writing and speaking parts. Both are assessed by examiners and both can be quite stressful.
In our experience, over 50% of students get lower writing and speaking band scores than listening and reading ones.
Now we’ll take a look at how these 2 tests are evaluated.
The writing test is assessed according to the following 4 criteria:
1) Task response/achievement = Did you FULLY answer the question and is your answer well-developed?
2) Coherence and cohesion = Does your answer develop naturally and are your paragraphs effective?
3) Lexical resource = Do you show a wide range of correctly used vocabulary?
4) Grammatical range and accuracy = Do you show a wide range of correctly used grammar?
The speaking test is assessed according to the following 4 criteria:
1) Fluency and coherence = Did you speak naturally without too much hesitation and did you use linking strategies to create longer answers?
2) Lexical resource = Did you use a good range of vocabulary selected appropriately?
3) Grammatical range and accuracy = Did you use a good range of tenses and structures selected appropriately?
4) Pronunciation = Were you easy to understand and did you use stress, intonation and pauses in an effective and natural way?
For each criteria you are awarded a score out of 9 and the total is then divided by 4 to give you an overall score.
Fluency & Coherence = 6
Lexical Resource = 7
Grammatical Range & Accuracy = 6
Pronunciation = 7
Overall score = 6.5
Both tests are assessed by trained examiners who know the difference between each band. Thus, they can see when a writing task is band 5 or 6 and can recognise when a student speaks like a band 6 or a band 7 candidate.
Understanding how you are being assessed is very important because it enables you to meet the required criteria so you can get your desired band score.