Step 3: The IELTS Speaking Band Scores

Welcome to 'Step 3 Online', which supports the exercises in your 'Roadmap to IELTS Speaking Success' ebook. Previously in 'Step 2' we focused on the structure of the IELTS Speaking exam. Today we'll look at the grading scheme - if you understand this you'll have a clear idea of where you need to improve.

Band Scores

vocabularyWe know that the examiner will assess you on 'Grammatical Range and Accuracy', 'Fluency and Coherence', 'Lexical Resource' and 'Pronunciation'. The examiner will award what is called 'a band score' for each of these criteria ranging from 1-9. Each criteria is given equal importance so the overall score will be an average of the 4 marks. So band scores of '6', '7', '7' and '6' would lead to an overall band score of '6.5'.

Today we'll use these band scores to assess the performance of other IELTS students. Hopefully this will help you to decide where your own English level is at present and what you need to do to improve. To do the lesson you'll need 'Step 3' of 'Roadmap to IELTS Speaking Success' and a copy of the band score descriptors from the IELTS website.

Task 1

Click the link below and scroll down to the very bottom of the page for the Speaking Band Descriptors:

Task 2

Watch the following 3 videos of students who appear on Youtube. They are answering questions on the subject of 'hobbies'. The teacher who uploaded the videos graded the students as Band 6, Band 7 and Band 8. Why do you think they were awarded these grades? What was it about their spoken English that led the teacher to grade them at his level?

Student A

Student B

Student C

Task 3

Now listen to the speakers again and refer to the Speaking Band Descriptors document. Can you see why the teacher may have given the speakers these grades? For example, was one speaker perhaps a 5.5 in grammatical range and accuracy but closer to a 6.5 in pronunciation? Did one student give more thought to questions and therefore give fuller answers and showcase their use of English?

Task 4

Record yourself answering the same questions. You’ll need to create a Voicethread account to record yourself. Click the forward arrow at the bottom of the image to begin.

Task 5

Play the recording and decide how you compare to these three speakers. Which band score would you award yourself for each of the 4 criteria?

Look out for the Step 4 email

In 4 days time we'll send you the forth of our emails - tips on how to change your Speaking habits!