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What is the IELTS Speaking Assessment Criteria?

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IELTS Speaking Assessment Criteria

IELTS Speaking is something where most of us face the problem. English not being the first language plays an important role here. 

We have to drill the whole thing down to determine how the IELTS Speaking is evaluated and marked. 

Knowing the assessment criteria for your Speaking test is the first step to achieving a high score. Let's take a look at the details.

So basically you are marked in 4 criteria:

  1. Fluency and Coherence (25%)
  2. Lexical Resource (25%)
  3. Grammatical Range and Accuracy (25%)
  4. Pronunciation (25%)

So we have cracked down our numbers, like where do we have to concentrate in order to achieve the desired score.

IELTS Speaking Assessment Criteria

BandFluency and CoherenceLexical ResourceGrammatical Range and AccuracyPronunciation


- Speaks fluently with only rare repetition or self-correction;

- Any hesitation is content-related rather than to find words or grammar;

- Speaks coherently with fully appropriate cohesive features;

- Develops topics fully and appropriately.

- Uses vocabulary with full flexibility and precision in all topics;

- Uses idiomatic language naturally and accurately.

- Uses a full range of structures naturally and appropriately;

- Produces consistently accurate structures apart from ‘slips’ characteristic of native speaker speech.

- Uses a full range of pronunciation features with precision and subtlety;

- Sustains flexible use of features throughout;

- Is effortless to understand.


- Speaks fluently with only occasional repetition or self-correction; hesitation is usually content-related and only rarely to search for language;

- Develops topics coherently and appropriately.

- Uses a wide vocabulary resource readily and flexibly to convey precise meaning;

- Uses less common and idiomatic vocabulary skilfully, with occasional inaccuracies;

- Uses paraphrase effectively as required.

- Uses a wide range of structures flexibly;

- Produces a majority of error-free sentences with only very occasional inappropriate or basic/non-systematic errors.

- Uses a wide range of pronunciation features;

- Sustains flexible use of features, with only occasional lapses;

- Is easy to understand throughout; L1 accent has minimal effect on intelligibility.


- Speaks at length without noticeable effort or loss of coherence;

- May demonstrate language-related hesitation at times, or some repetition and/or self-correction;

- Uses a range of connectives and discourse markers with some flexibility.

- Uses vocabulary resource flexibly to discuss a variety of topics;

- Uses some less common and idiomatic vocabulary and shows some awareness of style and collocation, with some inappropriate choices;

- Uses paraphrase effectively.

- Uses a range of complex structures with some flexibility;

- Frequently produces error-free sentences, though some grammatical mistakes persist.

- Shows all the positive features of Band 6 and some, but not all, of the positive features of Band 8.


- Is willing to speak at length, though may lose coherence at times due to occasional repetition, self-correction or hesitation;

- Uses a range of connectives and discourse markers but not always appropriately.

- Has a wide enough vocabulary to discuss topics at length and make meaning clear in spite of inappropriate;

- Generally paraphrases successfully.

- Uses a mix of simple and complex structures, but with limited flexibility;

- May make frequent mistakes with complex structures though these rarely cause comprehension problems.

- Uses a range of pronunciation features with mixed control;

- Shows some effective use of features but this is not sustained;

- Can generally be understood throughout, though mispronunciation of individual words or sounds reduces clarity at times.


- Usually maintains the flow of speech but uses repetition, self-correction and/or slow speech to keep going;

- May over-use certain connectives and discourse markers;

- Produces simple speech fluently, but more complex communication causes fluency problems.

- Manages to talk about familiar and unfamiliar topics but uses vocabulary with limited flexibility;

- Attempts to use paraphrase but with mixed success.

- Produces basic sentence forms with reasonable accuracy;

- Uses a limited range of more complex structures, but these usually contain errors and may cause some comprehension problems.

- Shows all the positive features of Band 4 and some, but not all, of the positive features of Band 6.


- Cannot respond without noticeable pauses and may speak slowly, with frequent repetition and self-correction;

- Links basic sentences but with repetitious use of simple connectives and some breakdowns in coherence.

- Is able to talk about familiar topics but can only convey a basic meaning on unfamiliar topics and makes frequent errors in word choice;

- Rarely attempts paraphrase.

- Produces basic sentence forms and some correct simple sentences but subordinate structures are rare;

- Errors are frequent and may lead to misunderstanding.

- Uses a limited range of pronunciation features;

- Attempts to control features but lapses are frequent;

- Mispronunciations are frequent and cause some difficulty for the listener.


- Speaks with long pauses;

- Has limited ability to link simple sentences;

- Gives only simple responses and is frequently unable to convey a basic message.

- Uses simple vocabulary to convey personal information;

- Has insufficient vocabulary for less familiar topics.

- Attempts basic sentence forms but with limited success, or relies on apparently memorised utterances;

- Makes numerous errors except in memorised expressions.

- Shows some of the features of Band 2 and some, but not all, of the positive features of Band 4.


- Pauses lengthily before most words;

- Little communication is possible.

- Only produces isolated words or memorised utterances.

- Cannot produce basic sentence forms.

- Speech is often unintelligble.


- No communication possible;

- No rateable language.



- Does not attend.


If you are still unsure about the speaking assessment criteria, talk to one of our IELTS speaking experts who will evaluate your speaking ability and show you how to quickly achieve your target score!

We have also developed a free mock test for speaking where you can answer the IELTS speaking questions and record them. 

You can submit those answers online through the same portal and out expert IELTS Trainers will review them and get back to you with the right feedback. 


Thank You: Keep Scoring High!

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