Essay For Ielts Band 6 Speaking

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If English isn’t your first language, then you’ll need to submit an IELTS score in order to be accepted onto a university programme taught in English. Most universities worldwide require an IELTS Band 6 score, with 6.5 being the most common requirement. So what is required to get IELTS Band 6?

A score of IELTS 6.0 or 6.5 shows that a person is ‘competent’, meaning they can cope in a classroom situation even though there may be some mistakes or misunderstandings with language. For students who need it, many universities provide short English courses of one to three months before the degree programme begins.

This article tells you exactly what you need to do to get a score of 6.0 or 6.5 in each of the four modules of IELTS. In the case of Listening or Reading, you need to get a certain number of answers correct. In Writing and Speaking, you can earn that extra 0.5 by slightly exceeding the minimum requirements here.

Your overall IELTS score is calculated as an average of the four module scores, or ‘sub-scores’.

IELTS Listening Band 6

  • Get 23 out of 40 answers correct for IELTS 6.0*
  • Get 26 out of 40 answers correct for IELTS 6.5*
  • Spell answers correctly
  • Not write more than the maximum number of words for each question

Read more about the IELTS Listening module, including scoring and exam techniques.

IELTS Reading Band 6 (Academic Module)

  • Get 23 out of 40 answers correct for IELTS 6.0*
  • Get 27 out of 40 answers correct for IELTS 6.5*
  • Spell answers correctly
  • Not write more than the maximum number of words for each question

Read more about the IELTS Reading academic module, including scoring and exam techniques.

IELTS Writing Band 6 (Academic Module)

  • Answer both questions adequately
  • Show good ability to organise an answer (e.g. paragraphs, linking words)
  • Attempt to use some higher-level vocabulary (even if not always accurate)
  • Provide an overview with supporting details in Task 1
  • Indicate a position and provide supporting arguments in Task 2
  • Make yourself understood (even if grammatical mistakes are made)

Read more about the IELTS Writing academic module, including scoring and exam techniques.

IELTS Speaking Band 6

  • Speak at length on certain topics
  • Use a range of linking words to connect ideas
  • Show good ability to paraphrase
  • Use both simple and complex structures
  • Speak with generally good pronunciation

Read more about the IELTS Speaking module, including scoring and exam techniques.

*The number of correct answers required to get IELTS 6.0 or 6.5 may vary slightly from test to test.

IELTS Listening, IELTS Reading, IELTS Speaking, IELTS Writing, ScoringIELTS. permalink.

How are IELTS speaking band scores calculated? This is an important question for any IELTS candidate because many mistakes can be avoided by knowing what the examiner is looking for and how your speaking is graded. This post gives you a brief outline of the grading criteria, how band scores are calculated and how examiners typically grade the speaking.

The 4 grading criteria

There are 4 criteria:

Fluency and coherenceHow fluently you speak and how well you link your ideas  together
PronunciationHow accurate your pronunciation is
Lexical resourceHow accurate and varied your vocabulary is
Grammatical range and accuracyHow accurate and varied your grammar is

What do these criteria mean?

This is IELTS and IELTS examiners are trained to interpret these criteria in a particular way. In theory it should not matter where you take your test as all examiners grade consistently. I suggest you should spend time understanding the detail here as that way you can avoid many common mistakes.

One main point is that in all the criteria a key idea is being clear. The main idea is whether you can express yourself clearly so that someone else can understand you.

Fluency and coherence

Fluency is a combination:

  1. speed of speech
  2. length of answer
  3. pausing correctly

Coherence is the ability to:

  1. expand your answers
  2. answer the questions directly
  3. add relevant detail to explain or illustrate your answers
  4. connect your sentences by using tenses and connectors

Common mistakes

You should note that very fast or very long answers are not necessarily good, as you may be penalised for poor pronunciation or lack of coherence. In the speaking the main point is that you are able to express yourself clearly.

Another common mistake is to not answer the question. This is where you will be penalised.


The main point here is that your pronunciation is easy to understand and whether your are able to make your meaning clear. Features of good pronunciation include:

  1. basic word pronunciation
  2. linked speech sounds
  3. correct sentence stress
  4. correct use of intonation (rising and falling)

You should note that there is no need to have a “British” or “American” accent.

Lexical Resource (Vocabulary)

Once again the key concept  here is clarity: do you have enough words to express yourself clearly? This is judged by your ability to:

  1. have enough vocabulary to discuss a range of topics
  2. to use vocabulary accurately
  3. be able to explain yourself when you do not have the right word

Common Mistake

A common mistake here is to use long words without really knowing what they mean.

Grammatical Range and Accuracy

There are two key key points to understand here:

  1. you need to avoid grammar mistakes especially with your tenses
  2. you need to use a range of grammatical structures and you should not just use simple sentences all the time

When are they graded?

All 4 criteria are judged throughout all 3 parts of the speaking test – so it is important to concentrate from beginning to end. Although your test will be recorded, you will almost certainly be graded in real time in the test by the examiner sitting in front of you.

How are band scores calculated?

All the criteria count equally

One mistake candidates make is to focus on one or other of the criteria or forget about one altogether (normally cohesion and coherence). Why is this wrong? They all count equally.

What happens is that you get a score out of 9 for each of the criteria, they are added together and then that score is divided by 4.

An example: So let’s take an example. Here is someone who has forgotten to think about coherence and hasn’t fully answered the question. S/he has good general English so does well in grammar and vocabulary, but sadly that is not enough.

  • grammar 7
  • vocabulary 7
  • pronunciation 6
  • coherence 4

7+7+6+4 = 24 and 24 divided by 4 equals 6. The message is grammar and vocabulary are not enough – you need to focus on all the criteria throughout the exam.

It is good advice to look at the public version of the grading criteria for yourself. You’ll find them here:

IELTS speaking criteria

Get more speaking advice


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