IELTS Cutoff 2023 - Scores Accepted at Universities Abroad, Good IELTS Score

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Samarpita Goswami logo

Samarpita Goswami
Updated on Mar 29, 2023 5:07 PM IST

Looking to apply to top universities abroad with an IELTS score? Check out this page to understand what the average IELTS score cut-offs are at some of the top universities in the world. Thoroughly go through the page to understand the minimum IELTS scores you are required to present as an international student.

This page highlights the university-wise IELTS score requirements that you will be required to meet, especially at some of the top universities in countries like the US, UK, Canada, Germany and Australia. You can also find the section-wise IELTS score requirements that you need to attain in order to become eligible for admissions abroad.

IELTS Cutoff 2023

Scored on a scale of 1 to 9, IELTS cutoffs for leading foreign universities such as Harvard, Stanford, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Oxford, among others, range between 7 and 8. Usually, universities that accept IELTS 2023 scores pre-set the overall and sectional IELTS cutoff for different courses when evaluating an applicant's English language proficiency. In fact, the university-wise minimum IELTS score requirement is considered as the IELTS 2023 cutoff.

The conducting body of IELTS does not define the cutoff for the IELTS test. It only releases IELTS 2023 scores in the form of a 'Test Report Form'(TRF). The report contains the scores obtained by candidates in all four sections of IELTS (namely, IELTS Reading, IELTS Writing, IELTS Speaking, IELTS Listening) in a band score ranging between 1-9 in each section. However, the cutoff for IELTS is determined by the respective university as per their requirements.

Institutions, government organisations, and employers across the world accept IELTS scores to analyse the proficiency level of a prospective candidate. Some of the leading international universities include the University of Dayton, Auburn University, Arizona State University, Stanford University, University of Leeds, and more.

Want to Apply to Leading Universities Accepting IELTS Scores?

What is a Good IELTS Score?

While there is no specific cutoff for IELTS scores, different universities set their own minimum band score requirements or IELTS cut-offs to accept students for admission in various courses. The minimum score required in IELTS 2023 also varies between different courses. Top universities have higher IELTS requirements than other educational institutes. Generally, an overall IELTS  band score and sectional score above 7.0 is required for admission to top universities. IELTS 2023 score ranging between 6.0 to 7.0 is apt for admissions at most universities abroad.   

 Candidates who want to understand what a good IELTS score is can check the following table for reference:

IELTS Band Score

Language Skill Level

9.0 - 8.1


8.0 - 7.1

Very good

7.0 - 6.1


6.0 - 5.1


5.0 - 4.1


4.0 - 3.1 

Below Average

3.0 - 2.1


2.0 - 1.1

Did not Attempt the Question

1.0 - 0

Did not Attempt the Paper

From the above table, aspirants can figure out that a score above 5.0 out of 9.0 can be considered a good IELTS score. Most institutes accept IELTS scores above 5.0.

FAQs on IELTS Cut-offs

How is IELTS cut off calculated?

The overall IELTS score acceptable at an institution is the average of all the IELTS test sections. Each institution and its respective department has separate standards and score requirements based on which they define the IELTS cutoff. The mean of the four test components is used to get your overall band score (Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking). Each component's score is weighted equally. Your total band score is rounded to the closest full or half band.

When is the IELTS cutoff released?

IELTS Cutoff is not released by the conducting body. However, the minimum IELTS score acceptable by a specific institution for admissions is usually pre-defined by the respective departments of a university. The IELTS test results will be accessible online at 12:00 AM GMT on the 13th day after the exam. The IELTS Life Skills results will be accessible online at 12:00 AM GMT on the seventh day following the test.

Who determines the IELTS cutoff?

 IELTS cutoff is determined by individual institutions for admission in a specific course. Individual universities or colleges determine the IELTS requirement for admission to a certain programme. Each portion of the test (Writing, Reading, Listening, and Speaking) is graded on a scale of 1 to 9. Universities can set a cutoff for overall score as well section-wise scores.

What is the minimum IELTS score needed for admissions at a good university abroad?

An IELTS score between 6.0 to 9.0 bands is considered a decent score for admissions at a good university abroad. However, for all other undergraduate programmes, the minimum IELTS score needed for admission at a good university will demand a 6.5 band, and all other postgraduate programmes will require a 6.5 to 7.0 band score.

What is the IELTS cutoff?

IELTS Cutoff is nothing but the minimum IELTS score acceptable by specific institutes for admissions. The conducting body does not define the IELTS cutoff. For top colleges, the IELTS cutoff varies from 7 to 8 bands. For each area of the IELTS exam, universities have a predetermined sectional cutoff. Harvard, Stanford, MIT, California Institute of Technology and other world-class colleges demand an IELTS score of at least 7 bands.

Is 7 a good score in IELTS?

Yes, 7 on the IELTS is considered good for many top universiteis across the world.

What is the passing score for IELTS?

There is no passing score for IELTS. Students should simply make sure that you meet the university's IELTS cutoff or minimum marks requirement.

What is the average score for the IELTS?

The typical IELTS score is from 6.5 to 8 bands approximately on a scale of 9. The average IELTS band score is determined by analysing all four areas, which are Reading, Listening, Speaking, and Writing. Below are the average scores for IELTS exam:

  • Speaking: 7.5 bands

  • Writing: 7 bands

  • Listening: 8 bands

  • Reading: 7.5 bands

Do universities abroad require section-wise IELTS cut-offs?

Yes, some universities may require applicants to meet section-wise IELTS cutoff score. Universities generally have an overall minimum IELTS score requirement. Nowadays, universities also specify section-wise cutoff score for IELTS. This is done especially in the case of international students. Some department may like to see a certain skill level of the applicant and hence, may ask for a separate cutoff score for IELTS Speaking or IELTS Writing section. This can be found more commonly for MBA programmes.  

What is the best IELTS score?

The best score on the IELTS exam is 9.0 bands, which is the highest score as IELTS scores are reported on a 9-band scale. So an "acceptable" total score is 7.0 bands or higher. In reality, a band 7.0 is referred to as a "good user," a band 8.0 is referred to as a "very good user," and a band 9.0 is referred to as an "expert" user. However, even a 6.0 is considered a "capable" user.

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