Confused by the language of IELTS? This glossary of key IELTS terms and their meanings should help.
Academic – The version of the IELTS test used for college and university entry. (See also: General Training)
Band descriptors – In the Writing and Speaking modules of IELTS, your scores are calculated according to which of the descriptions they match closest in the band descriptors. Public versions of these can be downloaded freely from the main IELTS website.
Band score – IELTS scores are divided into ten bands from 0 (non-user) to 9 (expert user). Half band scores are also awarded.
Candidate – A person taking an exam such as IELTS.
Coherence – How well you stick to the question in the Writing module of IELTS. This means each paragraph should include one main idea and you should not go off topic by introducing details unrelated to that idea. Your argument or opinion should also be coherent, i.e, clearly and consistently presented.
Cohesion – How well you link ideas within a sentence, paragraph or essay. This includes articles (the), pronouns (this), determiners (such) and logical links (on the other hand).
Criteria – The band descriptors each consider four criteria. These are important things the examiner is reading or listening for in order to determine your score.
Examiner – The person marking the IELTS test or asking the questions in the Speaking module.
Fluency – In IELTS speaking, how well you can string your ideas together and use filler expressions to avoid silence.
General Training – The version of the IELTS test used for immigration and employment purposes. (See also: Academic)