How is IELTS marked?

How is IELTS marked ?
On the day of the test, the speaking is marked by the examiner who interviewed the candidate. The writing is marked by another examiner. Listening and Reading are calculated by a clerk who is not a Speaking or Writing examiner. Therefore three different people evaluate one candidate's performance. Among other things, this reduces corruption as the examiners and clerical markers seldom know each other.
As we have just learnt, IELTS uses bands. Do you remember this candidate?
Listening 7
Reading 6.5
Writing 6
Speaking 6.5
Overall band = 6.5

Another candidate might get:
Listening 5.5 
Reading 5
Writing 5
Speaking 5
Overall band = 5

The majority of candidates have most skills or modules in the same band. if a candidate has one test that is two bands different from another, his or her paper is marked again, and the higher of the two marks becomes the new score.
For example: a candidate gets:
Listening 6
Reading 5.5
Writing 4
Speaking 6
Overall band = 5.5

If his or her writing is marked again and is still a four or becomes a 4.5, then the Overall Band remains a 5.5. If a four goes up to a five, then the new Overall Band is a six. All this happens before the final report is sent out.

Listening and Reading
These two test are made up of 40 questions each that are either right or wrong. There are no half marks. The marking of these is fairly easy, but they are marked twice for accuracy. There are multiple versions of the Listening and Reading test. Each version differs slightly in its degree of difficulty. They are all pre-tested. As you already know, Academic and GT Reading test are also different. Here's a guide to the scores needed for some bands for Listening and Reading. Since there are so many versions of these test, this table is approximate.

Writing and Speaking
As you can imagine, Writing and Speaking are harder to mark than Listening and Reading since each candidate will give different answer. Candidates will, however, have common features, which determine their level.
For Writing and Speaking, these common features are described by special criteria at each band. (Look up 'criteria' in your dictionary now.)
This book, McGraw-Hill's IELTS, is based on criterion marking, so it's important to understand how it works. A great many candidates prepare for IELTS without having any idea what they are being judged on, and so can't improve their performance effectively. Here, the criteria will be described and analysed. For example, pronunciation is a Speaking criterion, but it's likely you've got only a vague idea what pronunciation means. Once you've understood what many things really make up pronunciation, then you can start learning how to pronounce English well.
Remember this?
Listening 7
Reading 6.5
Writing 6
Speaking 6.5
Overall Band = 6.5

There's nothing about criteria on this report-nothing to tell you how the examiners reached their conclusions. A candidate knows only in a general sense that his Listening is stronger than everything else. He probably has no idea why his Writing got a Six.


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