iPass IELTS Blog

cover_eBook Download our eBook

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.

For example:

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.

Comment On This Post


If you need help to prepare for the IELTS speaking and/or writing test, we have specific training courses which specialise in these two skills.

Here are the links for more info:



Both courses include personal feedback from an iPassIELTS trainer.


By Jenny Bedwell on 2015 12 29

Your Details


Remember my personal information
Notify me of follow-up comments?


Davide - Italy

Davide - Italy

​I subscribed to the IELTS 7 course and even though you are supposed to finish it in 8 weeks, working hard, it can be done in 4 weeks.

This is what I did, achieving an overall 7.0 that allowed me to get accepted on an MBA course.

I took the IELTS the first time 3 years ago, achieving a 6.5, but the IELTS 7 course has allowed me to reach the 7.0.

I surely recommend this course if you are looking for a flexible course and you already have a medium/good level of English (depends what you want to reach).

Moreover, it has been a pleasure to chat via Skype with Nigel and write with the other teachers. All the teachers are very well prepared and the course is well structured.

Previous blogposts

What's new?

IELTS essay corrections - €12

Get your IELTS writing tasks assessed by an expert!

Know what you’re doing wrong and how to correct it.

Find out more

Get our weekly newsletter for top IELTS tips and exclusive course discounts!!

* required
Free Course Demo