What is a Good IELTS Score?

Before taking the IELTS exam, almost every test taker wondering about the single most important question: what is a good IELTS score? Because they want to set their target score based on the right answer to this question. Before taking preparation seriously, setting a target score for any exam, let alone for the IELTS test, is an important job. Hence, in this blog, I will answer this question with precise information and reasonable logic.

So, without any delay,  let’s deep dive..

Why People Usually Take IELTS Test?

IELTS is an exam, stands for the International English Language Testing System, that basically tests your English language ability in practical life. It is usually governed by either the British Council or the International Development Program (IDP).

People take this test primarily for two purposes: either for migration (General IELTS) or for international higher education (Academic IELTS). Sometimes people who travel a lot for their business purposes or have to work with foreign clients require a minimum IELTS band score.

Apart from these two types of IELTS exams, General and Academic IELTS, there is another version of IELTS which is called UKVI IELTS. If people want to study, work, or migrate to the UK, then this version of IELTS perfectly suits them. Except for the high cost, there is no difference between normal IELTS and UKVI IELTS. To know more about UKVI IELTS visit their official webpage.

Why we are discussing types of IELTS examination briefly in this blog? Well, A good score varies from one version of IELTS to another. If you don’t understand yet, then, keep reading.

IELTS Band Scoring: A Complete Breakdown

We all know that the IELTS exam has four major sections: Speaking, Writing, Reading, and Listening. In each of this four-module, a test taker gets a score between band 0 to 9. However, what does it mean? Do you realize that before?

From band 0 to 9, each band stands for something very precise and conclusive remarks for a test taker. But what it is? Well, If we look for this information on the British Council Official Website, we will get the best answer.

Simplification Of IELTS Band Score

IELTS Band ScoreSkill LevelsBrief Description
0Did not attempt the IELTS testYou did not take the test
1Non UserExcept for few words, You have no ability to use the English language
2Intermittent SkillSevere problem to use both spoken and written English
3Extremely Limited SkillYou understand and communicate via English only in a general way.
4Limited Level SkillYour ability in English is limited and you have problem sign for both
5Modest Level SkillYou have the partial ability over the English language. Many mistakes are still common and you should have avoided those.
6Competent Level SkillYou have effective control over the English language. Some inaccuracies are still common but your understanding of the complex case is good.
7Good Level SkillYou have the operational ability over the English language. Except for some occasional inaccuracy and misunderstanding, you have well reasoning skill and complex language understanding.
8Very Good Level SkillExcept for a few errors, you have full control over the English language. Your understanding and control over complex language are pretty well.
9Expert Level SkillYou are the master. You have full control over the English language. You are fluent and flawless.

Why A Good IELTS Score Matter?

We already know that IELTS test your English language ability in four different sections. So, a good IELTS score primarily indicates your good practical use of the English language in your daily life. Generally, a good IELTS scorer is capable to deliver his inner thoughts with fluency and coherently. He can speak and write well on different topics within a short span of time. His understanding of high-quality reading materials and listening capability to an academic lecture or dialogue between two gentlemen is compelling.

However, there are two important factors which directly comparable to the IELTS score. Those are:

  1. The Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR)
  2. The Canadian Language Benchmarks (CLB)

The Common European Framework Of Reference For Languages (CEFR)

The CEFR is a popular, international standard to measure English language ability. It is often termed as a European framework of the language standard. This system has six levels, from A1 to C2. Each of the six-level has a specific meaning. Interestingly, they have highly analogous to the IELTS scoring system. You can always check your CEFR level from your official IELTS score.

IELTS and CEFR both are highly standard measurement systems of the English language since they maintain fairness and the standard of their test. Here, an image describes the meaning of each level of the CEFR measurement system.

What is a good IELTS Score?


Let me show you a conversation table, from where you can convert your official IELTS score into CEFR level.

CEFR LevelComplementAnalogous IELTS Score Range
A1Beginner2.0 to 2.5
A2Elementary3.0 to 3.5
B1Lower intermediate4.0, 4.5 and 5.0
B2Upper intermediate5.5, 6.0 and 6.5
C1Advanced7.0, 7.5 and 8.0
C2Proficient8.5 and 9.0

Hence, we can conclude from the above table that if your overall IELTS score range is equal to or more than 6.5, then it will be a good score. Thus, you will be interpreted with an ‘Upper-intermediate’ or ‘Advanced’ tag from the CEFR measurement system.

The Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB)

The CLB is another highly popular English language measurement system that is very popular in Canada. In this system measurement, there are 12 levels of ability. It separates people based on their functional English capability. However, primarily it has three categories:

  1. Basic Level (CLB-1 to CLB-4)
  2. Intermediate Level (CLB-5 to CLB-8)
  3. Advanced Level (CLB-9 to CLB-12)

So, CLB calculation is very simple from here. Now, the main question is: how can we compare it to an IELTS band score? Well, let’s look at another table. I believe the below table clarifies your headache regarding CLB level and IELTS score.

CLB LevelIELTS (Listening)IELTS (Reading)IELTS (Writing)IELTS (Speaking)

What Level of CLB Is Good For An IELTS Test Taker?

Well, according to the Canadian government, if you want to enter Canada under their Federal Skilled Worker Program, you have to achieve Canadian Language Benchmark 7 (CLB-7). If we convert that into an IELTS score, then we can clearly conclude that you have to get at least a 6.0 band in every IELTS test module.

Besides, you may hear that CLB-9 is a dream level for a number of people who are aiming to migrate to Canada. Do you know why? The answer is that if you get CLB-9 (In IELTS, CLB-9 means: 8.0 band in listening and 7.0 in each of the remaining three), then your chance of getting permanent residency (PR) will higher than others. So, if your target country is Canada, then you should target at least CLB-7. Getting CLB-9 would be fantastic work for you though.

IELTS Score vs Top 20 University

Now, let’s see a table that describes the relation between the necessary IELTS band score and the top 20 universities of the world. I believe this table might help you if you are an ambitious person and want to study in the top abroad schools.

RankingUniversity NameRequired IELTS Band Score
1Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)7.0
2Harvard University7.0
3University of Cambridge7.0 (Minimum of 7.0 in each)
4Stanford University7.0
5California Institute of Technology (Caltech)7.0
6University of Oxford7.0 (Minimum of 7.0 in each)
7UCL (University College London)7.0 (Minimum of 6.5 each)
8Imperial College London7.0 (Minimum of 6.5 each)
9ETH Zurich – Swiss Federal Institute of Technology7.0 (Minimum of 7.0 in each)
10University of Chicago7.0 (Minimum of 7.0 in each)
11Princeton University8.0 overall
12National University of Singapore (NUS)6.0 overall
13Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (NTU)7.0 (Minimum of 6.5 each)
14EPFL (Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne)7.0
15Yale University7.0
16Johns Hopkins University7.0
17Cornell University7.0
18University of Pennsylvania7.0
19Kings College London7.5 (Minimum of 7.0 in each)
20The Australian National University7.0 (Minimum of 6.5 each)

Important Understanding: If you want to apply for the top 20 universities in the world, for your higher education, your aim should be an overall 7+ score and 7 in each of the four sections of IELTS.

IELTS Score For USA And Canada

If you want to apply for your higher study in the USA or Canada, you must have to take IELTS or TOEFL. In recent times, the popularity of the IELTS test in both country increase a lot. Previously, some of the universities of the USA only accept TOEFL scores, but now the scenario is different. Now, every University accepts IELTS score.

Apart from the top 50 University of USA, an overall IELTS band score of 6.5 (no band less than 6.0) is enough to meet the least requirement. However, an overall 7.0+ band score will facilitate your admission chance of getting a prestigious scholarship. Interestingly, if your speaking band score is 7.0+, it will strengthen your possibility to get a teaching assistantship (TA) in your postgraduate study.

In the case of Canada, CLB-7 (an overall 6.5 and no band score less than 6.0) is an obligatory requirement for both higher study and work. However, if you get CLB-9 ( Listening-8.0, Reading-7.0, Speaking-7.0, Writing-7.0), then it will put you in the highest echelon, in the elite group, and your probability of getting a scholarship or permanent residency will be increased.

What Is A Good IELTS Score For UK And Australia?

For postgraduate study, the requirement of the IELTS band score for a maximum top university in the UK is overall 7.0 or above. Some of the universities, e.g. Oxford University, ask at least 7.0 band in each of the four modules of the IELTS test. However, If we exclude the top-notch university, then, an overall score of 6.0 (no band less than 6.0) for undergraduate and an overall score of 6.5 (no band less than 6.0) for postgraduate study is enough to meet the requirement. If you have your family member in the UK and you want to move there, then, an overall score of 6.0 (4.0+ in both the speaking and listening module) will be enough for you.

In the case of Australia, an overall band score of 6.5 (no band less than 6.0) is enough to meet the necessary requirement. However, if you have an overall 7.0 band score or more in IELTS, you will get an advantage from some of the top universities of Australia, e.g. Melbourne University, Australian National University, Monash University, in the scholarship race.

The Safe Zone For Mediocre

Whether you want to work or study, a minimum 6.0 band score in all four modules of IELTS and 6.5 overall, are the necessary requirement. However, if you get an overall 7.0 band score and no band less than 6.0, then you will get the ticket to a safe zone. With an overall 7.0 band score and no band score less than 6.0, you can apply in almost all places, whether it is for work or higher study. The average IELTS score in the world is 6.0 to 7.5.

If Your IELTS Band Score Is Not Enough

If you get an overall IELTS score of 5.5 or less, then, it won’t help you in your higher study or work permit journey. So, without any further hesitation, take the IELTS test again and aim for at least an overall 6.5 band score (no band less than 6.0). While preparing yourself for your retake exam, analyze your previous mistakes, and work on your weakness.

What Is A Bad IELTS Score?

I hope you learn more about what is a good IELTS score? But in this section, I will discuss IELTS bad score. I saw many people take IELTS multiple times. They got more than 6.5, overall; even sometimes overall 7.0. But they couldn’t apply to their desire workplace or university with their score. What is the mystery here? Well, if we solve this mystery, then, we will our appropriate answer to the above question.

With utmost simplification, if you get an IELTS score less than 6.0 in any module among the four modules (Listening, Reading, Writing, and Speaking), then it will be remarked as a bad score. Your overall score won’t save you. Eventually, you cannot apply to your desire position. So, simple advice: get a 6.0 band in each module of the IELTS test and get an overall 7.0 band score and conquer the world.

Top 7 Tips To Improve Your IELTS Score

  1. Study deeply about the structure, detailed question patterns, and marking criteria of the IELTS exam. It will help you to solidify your plans properly and give you the right pathway of study.
  2. Always practice questions from the official materials. Official materials are gold. Practice from unofficial materials is a waste of time. Take a few mocks before sitting for your final IELTS test.
  3. Read an article every day from a famous news-portal, e.g. The New York Times, New Yorker, Aeon, Al daily. It helps you to build your reading habit and a better reading habit means a better IELTS score.
  4. Watch English TV series and listen to podcasts. Besides, you can listen to an English song with subtitles. It will increase your listening score. Also, practice on the listening answer sheet.
  5. Make a vocabulary notebook. Every time you read an article, magazine, and face any unknown words, put them as a list in your vocab notebook.
  6. Keep a journal. Start writing about something, e.g. movie review, your new thought, food review, book review, travel story, for just 25 minutes in your journal. Check your grammar after writing anything and learn from your mistakes. Learn complex English writing as you grow with your journal.
  7. Finally, think in English and speak loudly. Clear your pronunciation. Find a true friend and practice with him. It is not possible, then learn the shadow technique for English speaking and talk in front of your mirror.

In conclusion, the IELTS exam is one of the most popular English language proficiency test in the world. As an IELTS candidate, you should know what is a good IELTS score. If you get a good band score in IELTS, you have more opportunity than who has less score.


Is 7 a good score in IELTS?

Yeah, an overall 7.0 band score in IELTS is a safe score for both immigrants and students. However, you have to make sure that each band at least reach band 6.0.

Is 6.5 a good score in IETLS for Canada?

For Canada, an overall 6.5 is a good score indeed. But you have to make sure your each band score is 6.0. Because CLB-7 is the necessary requirement for anyone who aims to move to Canada. 

What is the average IELTS score?

According to the Global report, the average Academic IELTS score for a male is 5.97 and 6.0 for a female. The average General IELTS score, however, is slightly better: 6.5.

Is 5.5 a good score in IELTS?

Not really. Some Asian universities accept IELTS scores less than 6.0 but in almost 95% of cases, you find yourself in a dark room with an IELTS score of 5.5.

Can I get a 9 on the IELTS test?

Off course. Why not? But you have to master every module of the IELTS test with 0% inaccuracy. Not many people get 9.0 out of 9.0 in the IELTS test. So, if you want to get a 9.0 band score in IELTS, you have to be the top 1% IELTS test-takers in the world.