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How IELTS Speaking is Scored

What you will learn


IELTS Speaking Evaluation: How it Works!

How does the IELTS Speaking evaluation really work?

You are evaluated on 4 parts of your spoken English 

  • Fluency
  • Vocabulary 
  • Grammar 
  • Pronunciation 

Each part carries 25% of the mark.

You are not evaluated your ideas or opinions. Your accent is also not important and is not evaluated, so long as you use the pronunciation features of English effectively. What is important is the English you use to communicate effectively.

Pronunciation Features IELTS Speaking

Understanding the IELTS Speaking Band Descriptors

The examiners use a criteria sheet called the Band Descriptors to evaluate IELTS speaking.

There is a publicly available version, and you can see it below.


The IELTS speaking band descriptors are a bit technical, but here they are in simple English

You are evaluated  in 4 areas as you can see below.

For each area, the band descriptors tell you what aspect of that area you need to focus on.


  1. Effort or Ease of speaking
  2. Hesitations
  3. Use of connectives and discourse markers 
  4. Ability to develop a topic 


  1. Range of Vocabulary 
  2. Accuracy 
  3. Use of idiomatic vocabulary / collocation
  4. Paraphrase 


  1. Simple and/or complex structures 
  2. Flexible use
  3. Mistakes and impact on understanding


  1. Range of features 
  2. Control of features
  3. Easy to understand 


Click on the image below for more detail.

Watch this video to see each of the 4 parts of the IELTS Speaking Evaluation

Use the Band Descriptors to Improve your English

You can use the band descriptors to evaluate yourself.

You can do this as follows…

Record yourself practicing a part 2 answer.

  • Choose a topic.
  • Time yourself preparing for a minute.
  • Record yourself speaking for 2 minutes – time yourself!
  • Then listen to yourself and always look back at the Band Descriptors.
  • Transcribe (write out) what you said. Both Microsoft and Apple have good dictation functions for Word/Pages, but your pronunciation need to be pretty good!  
  • Try to see where you did well and where you need to improve.

Start Practicing your IELTS Speaking Answers

Remember the secret is in the practice.

Don’t just read about this – act on it!

Now is a good time,

Go for it!

Now you know how IELTS Speaking is evaluated, go and find out about the Part 1 of the exam and how best to prepare for it. 

Better English

Better Answers

Higher Score

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IELTS Speaking Success - Get a Band 7+ GOLD