IELTS Band 5

How to Get IELTS Band 5 (5.0 or 5.5)

Would you like to study at a university overseas? If you’re planning to enter through a foundation or pathway programme, then your course may require IELTS 5.0 or 5.5. So what does this mean exactly and what should you do to get an IELTS Band 5 score?

IELTS is a test of English and a person with IELTS Band 5 is a ‘modest’ user, which doesn’t mean they are shy! Modest here means that the student can communicate in most situations but may struggle in an academic environment. That’s why a student with IELTS Band 5 will usually need to study English for a whole year at university before starting a degree course.

This article tells you exactly what you need to do to get a score of IELTS 5.0 or 5.5 in each of the four modules of the test. For Listening or Reading, your score is based on the number of questions answered correctly. In Writing and Speaking, there are more complex ‘scoring criteria’ required to get IELTS 5.0 (or 5.5 if you exceed the criteria a little).

Finally, your overall IELTS score is calculated as an average of these four module scores, or ‘sub-scores’.


IELTS Listening Band 5

  • Get 16 out of 40 answers correct for IELTS 5.0*
  • Get 18 out of 40 answers correct for IELTS 5.5*
  • Spell answers correctly
  • Not write more than the maximum number of words for each question

Read more about the IELTS Listening module, including how to improve your listening score.


IELTS Reading Band 5 (Academic Module)

  • Get 15 out of 40 answers correct for IELTS 5.0*
  • Get 19 out of 40 answers correct for IELTS 5.5*
  • Spell answers correctly
  • Not write more than the maximum number of words for each question

Read more about the IELTS Reading academic module, including how to improve your reading score.


IELTS Writing Band 5 (Academic Module)

  • Use vocabulary that is adequate for both tasks
  • Show some ability to organise an answer (e.g. paragraphs, linking words)
  • Attempt some complex sentence types (even if not accurate)
  • Include some details in Task 1
  • Indicate a clear opinion in Task 2

Read more about the IELTS Writing academic module, including how to improve your writing score.


IELTS Speaking Band 5

  • Show ability to talk about both familiar and unfamiliar topics
  • Produce simple speech accurately and fluently
  • Avoid long silences
  • Attempt more complex structures (even if not accurate)
  • Attempt to paraphrase (even if not accurate)

Read more about the IELTS Speaking module, including how to improve your speaking score.


*Note that exact scores needed to get IELTS 5.0 or 5.5 may vary slightly from test to test.


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