IELTS Reading Band Score - Marking Scheme, Calculate IELTS Reading Score

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Aarushi Jain
Updated on Feb 01, 2023 4:40 PM IST

As a component of the language proficiency test, the candidates need to understand how the IELTS Reading Band Score is calculated. This page highlights the different components, i.e. question types and tasks, that test-takers must complete in order to achieve the best score in the Reading section of the IELTS test.

With a total of 40 questions that need to be answered, candidates will have 60 minutes to go through the section and answer each question meticulously. Check out this page to better the Reading sections in IELTS Academic and IELTS General Training tests and what you need to score high in the section. You can also find out the Reading Band score for IELTS Academic and IELTS General here.

IELTS Reading Band Score Overview

The IELTS Reading test has 40 questions and the number of correct answers provided out of 40 determines the raw IELTS Reading score. In other words, if you correctly answer a question, you will receive one mark. In the IELTS Reading band score chart, the highest mark a candidate may receive is 40, and the lowest is 0. 

The IELTS Reading score is calculated on a scale of 0 to 9 based on the raw score and applicants will be given 60 minutes to answer all questions. The Reading band score chart calculates your score out of 40, and the percentage amount indicates how much your final score will be on a 9-band scale.

The Reading score is generated after testing a wide range of reading abilities on a variety of themes using a variety of question patterns. These include reading for gist, reading for main ideas, reading for detail, understanding logical arguments, skimming, and recognising writers' perspectives, attitudes, and purpose. 

The number of correct answers delivered by students determines the IELTS academic reading score. 

IELTS Academic vs IELTS General Training

Here is a basic breakdown of the two types of IELTS exams: IELTS Academic vs IELTS General Training, before we know further about the IELTS Reading band score:

  • IELTS Academic: IELTS Academic checks if your level of English language competence is appropriate for an academic setting. It assesses your readiness to begin training or learning by reflecting on the characteristics of academic language. Candidates can take this test if they desire to study anywhere in the world, apply for a student visa, or work for a professional organisation in an English-speaking nation.

  • IELTS General Training: IELTS General Training evaluates English language skills in a real-world setting. The exercises and assessments are designed to reflect both working and social circumstances. Candidates must take this exam if they intend to study or train below the degree level, work or pursue work-related training in an English-speaking nation, emigrate to an English-speaking country, or find another career away from their home country.

Know More About Different IELTS Requirements!

IELTS Academic vs IELTS General Training Reading Section

As previously said, the primary goal of Academic vs General IELTS is to assess a candidate's ability to read, write, listen to, and speak English. The speaking and listening components of the test are identical for individuals taking the IELTS General and Academic tests. The writing and reading components, on the other hand, are distinct.

Academic Reading

The Reading component of the Academic and General IELTS differs in some ways. The Academic Reading section of the IELTS exam consists of 40 questions which the candidate has to attempt in 60 minutes. The applicant is required to read several sections and respond to the questions that follow. This section is intended to assess higher education candidates or working professionals. The test requires you to read three large paragraphs, which might be factual, analytical, or descriptive. To prepare for the exam, one must read a variety of texts on various topics from:

  • Books

  • Newspapers

  • Journals

  • Magazines

General Training Reading

Similar to the Academic Reading section, the General Training Reading section of the IELTS exam also consists of 40 questions that are meant to assess a person's reading ability or skills. These must be responded to within one hour. This test is thought to be less difficult than the academic test. The passages contain terms that are often encountered. The questions in this section will assess applicants’ ability to comprehend information found in daily materials such as:

  • Newspapers

  • Notices

  • Advertisements

  • Handbooks

  • Brochures

Check out these articles to learn more about the IELTS:

IELTS Validity 2022 - IELTS Score Validity for Different Countries How Much Time is Required to Prepare for IELTS?
IELTS Advantage and Disadvantage Essays - Topics and Sample Questions IELTS Reading Multiple Choice Questions

How is the IELTS Reading Test Evaluated?

To understand the IELTS Reading band score, it is necessary to understand the pattern and types of questions that will be asked in the section. In the General and Academic Reading tests, applicants can expect a range of question styles, such as:

  • Matching features

  • Matching sentence endings

  • Multiple choice

  • Identifying information

  • Summary, note, table, flow-chart completion

  • Diagram label completion

  • Short-answer questions

  • Identifying a writer's views/claims

  • Matching information

  • Matching headings

  • Sentence completion

IELTS Reading score adheres to the standard of no score deduction in the event of an erroneous response. The IELTS band score is the average of the individual scores obtained in each unit. It is also the result of 40 questions, with each correct answer worth one mark. The overall IELTS Reading score of 40 is then converted into the Academic Reading band score. Here are some key points to consider:

  • A candidate may earn a score of ‘.5’, such as 7.5 or 6.5.

  • A '.25' score will be increased to a '.5' score. A 6.25 score, for example, will be rounded to 6.5.

  • A '.75' score is converted to the next whole number, for example, 6.75 is rounded to 7.0.

  • A '.1' IELTS academic reading score will be adjusted to a lower number, for as 6.1 becomes 6.0.

Note: Given that there is no time allotted for transferring answers for the listening exam, reading answers should be transferred concurrently. Following the verification of the reading module answers, raw scores are generated and compared to the matching IELTS Reading band score ranging from 0 to 9. If both Academic and General Training tests vary, certain slabs are noted for raw scores corresponding to IELTS bands, which we will discuss further.

IELTS Reading Raw Score Conversion

The below-highlighted tables will help test takers to understand better the IELTS Reading raw score conversion to IELTS band scores for Academic and General Training tests:

Academic Reading Raw Scores Conversion 

IELTS Academic Reading Band Score

Raw Scores






36 – 35


34 – 33


32 – 30


29 – 27


26 – 23


22 – 19


18 – 15


14 – 13


12 – 10


9 – 8


7 – 6


5 – 4

General Training Reading Raw Scores Conversion 

IELTS General Training Reading Band Score

Raw Scores






37 – 38




34 – 35


32 – 33


30 – 31


27 – 29


23 – 26


19 – 22


15 – 18


12 – 14


9 – 11


6 – 8

IELTS Reading Band Score Scale

The IELTS Reading scores are reported on a 9-band scale. They are intended to be simple and unambiguous. They are reported as band scores ranging from 1 (the lowest) to 9 (the highest). The same scoring system is used in all IELTS Reading sections in different IELTS formats. The table given below showcases the IELTS Reading band score chart:

IELTS Reading Band Score

Reading Skill level

Score Description


Expert user

The test taker has complete command of the language. Their use of English is appropriate, accurate, and fluent, demonstrating complete comprehension.


Very good user

The test taker has complete operational command of the language, with only minor inaccuracies and inappropriate usage. In unfamiliar situations, they may make mistakes. They are adept at handling complex and detailed argumentation.


Good user

The test taker has operational command of the language, albeit with some inaccuracies, inappropriate usage, and misunderstandings in certain situations. They can generally handle complex language and comprehend detailed reasoning.


Competent user

Despite some inaccuracies, inappropriate usage, and misunderstandings, the test taker has an effective command of the language. In familiar situations, they can use and understand fairly complex language.


Modest user

The test taker has a limited command of the language and can deal with overall meaning in most situations, but they are prone to errors. They should be able to communicate effectively in their field.


Limited user

The test taker has a limited command of the language and can cope with overall meaning in most situations, but they are likely to make numerous errors. They should be capable of basic communication in their field.


Extremely limited user

In very familiar situations, the test taker only conveys and understands the general meaning. Communication breakdowns occur frequently.


Intermittent user

The test taker struggles to understand spoken and written English.



The test taker did not respond to any of the questions.


Did not attempt the test

The test taker did not respond to any of the questions.

Tips to Improve Your IELTS Reading Band Score

To ensure that applicants can accurately answer a range of question types in the 60 minutes and achieve a higher IELTS Reading band score, they will need to manage their time. Listed below are some common preparation tips that will help applicants to manage their time and improve their Reading scores: 

  • Read the Passage Quickly: The IELTS Reading test section includes 3 different reading passages. Applicants can swiftly skim through the full section to get the gist. Reading every sentence in detail is time-consuming and useless. Look for headings and subheadings, as well as significant points that describe the passage. This will help later while looking for answers.

  • Take Special Note of the Introduction and Conclusion: The opening and conclusion of the passage frequently express the author's point of view. When applicants read these 2 sections of the reading passage, they can correctly answer the majority of the questions. After reading the introduction and conclusion, skim over the body of the passage.

  • Determine Keywords: A keyword will assist applicants or readers in identifying the notion related to the passage. When skimming through the passage, identify these terms and underline or highlight them. This can assist readers in answering the majority of the questions that follow the passage.

  • Go Through All the Questions Before Answering: Before applicants begin answering, it is always a good idea to have a glance at all of the questions. Remember that questions appear in groups of three, four, or more, so read that group before diving into the text. Make a point of emphasising essential information words in the questions, and because you have already reviewed the passage and recognised keywords, it will be easier to find answers.

  • Answer Every Question: Always remember to answer every question, even if the answer or option is tough to find. If one is running out of time, remember that no marks will be deducted if the answer is wrong, so make an educated guess and one may get the answer right.

  • Do a Final Check/Revision: Applicants can improve their IELTS Reading band score by checking their answers in the end. Applicants must ensure that they answer all of the questions and allow at least 20 minutes to check them.

Start Your IELTS Reading Test Preparation Today!

FAQs on IELTS Reading Band Score

What is a good IELTS Reading Band Score?

A good IELTS Reading band score varies from university to university and even course to course. However, a good Reading band score academic usually ranges between 6.5-7.0 or higher. The minimum IELTS band score accepted at most universities usually ranges between 6.0-7.0 or higher, therefore, if you have scored higher than that in your Reading section, then you have secured a good IELTS Reading band score.

What is a good IELTS Reading Band score for studying in UK?

Varying between different universities, a good IELTS Reading band score in the UK can range anywhere between 6.0-7.0 or higher. As most universities require international students to present a minimum IELTS band score of 6.0-7.0 (or sometimes even more), the minimum IELTS Academic Reading score often lies in the range of 5.5-6.0 in most universities in the UK.

What is a good IELTS Reading Band Score in Canada?

Students interested in pursuing higher education in Canada should get a good IELTS Reading band score of at least 6.0-7.0 on the IELTS band score chart in Canada. Some universities in Canada may ask applicants to present a minimum IELTS Reading band score of 5.5-6.0. Therefore, any score higher than 5.5-7.0 will be considered a good IELTS Reading band score for international students in Canada.

What is a good IELTS Reading Band Score in the USA?

Depending on the university you are applying to, a good IELTS Reading score in the USA can range anywhere between 6.0-7.0. Most universities in the USA require international students to have secured a minimum overall IELTS score of 6.0-7.0 or more with a minimum 5.5-6 band score in each section including the Reading band score. Therefore, if you have an IELTS Academic Reading score of 6.0-7.0, it will be considered a good score to study in USA.

What is a good IELTS Reading Band Score in Australia?

Each university in the country will define what a good IELTS Reading band score in Australia is for international students. Usually, a Reading band score Academic ranging between 6.5-7.0 or higher is considered a good score as most universities require a minimum IELTS band score of 6.0-7.0.

Is 7 a good IELTS Reading band score for aspirants?

Yes, a 7.0 is a good IELTS Reading band score for aspirants to study or settle abroad. It means that you are a good and proficient user of the English language (as a non-native English language user) and also possess good English language reading skills or abilities. 

Is 6.5 a good IELTS reading band score for aspirants to study abroad?

Yes, 6.5 is a good or a decent or rather a good IELTS Reading band score for aspirants to study, settle and work abroad. A score of 6.5 in the IELTS Reading section suggests that the test-taker is competent and will fare better in a classroom-based environment, notwithstanding a few small misconceptions or errors in the English language. Many overseas colleges need an IELTS Reading band score of 6 or 6.5 when screening applications.

What is the band score for IELTS Reading?

The band score for the IELTS Reading section/module is the same as the overall IELTS band score, which is 1 to 9, with 1 being the lowest and 9 being the highest. The IELTS Reading exam consists of 40 questions. Each right answer receives one point. The IELTS 9-band scale is used to convert scores out of 40. Scores are given in full and half bands.

What band is equivalent to the raw score of 30 in IELTS Reading?

A raw score of 30 in the IELTS Reading module is equivalent to an IELTS Reading band score of 7.0 in the Academic test (as it comes under the range of raw score, of 30-32) and an IELTS Reading band score of 6.0 in the General Training test (as it comes under the range of raw score, 30-31). One must remember that the test comprises 40 questions each worth 1 point in the raw score. 

What band is equivalent to the raw score of 35 in IELTS Reading?

A raw score of 35 in IELTS Reading is equivalent to an IELTS Reading band score of 8.0 in the Academic test (as it comes under the range of raw score, 35-36) and an IELTS Reading band score of 7.0 in the General Training test (as it comes under the range of raw score, 34-35). One must remember that the IELTS overall band score is calculated between 0 to 9 bands.

What band is 26 in IELTS reading?

A raw score of 26 in IELTS Reading is equivalent to an IELTS reading band score of 6.0 in the IELTS Academic test (as it comes under the range of raw score, 23-26) and an IELTS reading band score of 5.5 in the IELTS General Training test (as it comes under the range of raw score, 23-26). 

How do you get a 9.0 IELTS band score in reading?

In order to get a 9.0 IELTS reading band score, keep the below-mentioned tips in mind and follow them:

  • Skim over and watch for the answers. 

  • Learn how to efficiently manage your time.

  • Underline important points. 

  • Speak at length on certain topics.

  • Use a range of linking words to connect ideas.

  • Show good ability to paraphrase and restructure your sentences.

  • Use both simple and complex structures.

  • Speak with generally good pronunciation.

  • Pay attention to the details. 

  • Do not leave any blank boxes.

Why IELTS reading is tough?

The IELTS reading module is tough for many IELTS aspirants and test-takers because it is not enough for test-takers to only know how to read or to understand what the sections are about. The difficult part is determining the correct responses, which necessitates a unique set of skills.

What are some tricks that I can follow for scoring a good IELTS reading band score?

Here are some tricks that you should definitely follow for scoring a good IELTS reading band score: 

  • Skimming 

  • Scanning 

  • Focus on the ideas and not just the words 

  • Read between the lines to understand the theme

  • Improve your reading speed via vigorous practice

  • Find proof in the text, underline and number

  • Test different exam strategies, then choose a winner according to what works best for you

  • Do not leave any question unanswered

How long is the IELTS Reading test?

The IELTS Reading module or the Reading test lasts for 60 minutes and you will be asked around 40 questions. The test includes three long texts which range from descriptive and factual to discursive and analytical. These are taken from books, journals, magazines, newspapers and different other sources.

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