Download PDF File - How to Interpret Scores on the Sample AR Sections.pdf

IELTS Academic Reading papers contain 40 questions and each correct question is awarded
one mark; the maximum raw score a candidate can achieve on a paper is 40. Band scores
ranging from Band 1 to Band 9 are awarded to candidates on the basis of their raw scores.
All IELTS test materials are pretested before being used in live tests but there are inevitably
minor differences in the difficulty level across the large number of tests administered each
year. In order to equate different test versions, the band score boundaries are set so that all
candidates’ results relate to the same scale of achievement. This means, for example, that
the Band 6 boundary may be set at slightly different raw scores across test versions.

Table 1 below indicates the average Academic Reading raw scores achieved by candidates
at Bands 5-8. It provides an indication of the number of marks typically required to achieve a
particular band score.

Within each Academic Reading paper, sections are targeted at different levels of overall
difficulty. A useful indication of the relative difficulty of questions is the facility value: the
proportion of candidates giving the correct answer to a question. Both sample Sections A and
B have appeared in live tests and thus the facility values of their questions can be judged to
be representative of the candidature as a whole. Table 2 below shows the average facility of
each section. These figures show that the candidates found sample Section B more difficult
overall than sample Section A.

Although sample Section B proved more difficult overall, there is a range of questions at
different levels of difficulty within both sample sections.

The question facility values in Tables 3 and 4 show the proportion of candidates who
answered each question correctly; 43% of candidates responded correctly to question 1 on
Section A and 25% of candidates responded correctly to question 1 on Section B.

The figures in Tables 3 and 4 give an indication of the relative difficulty of the questions within
each sample section: the most difficult question in Sample A is question 8 while in Sample B
question 2 is the most difficult.

Table 5 below shows the number of questions on a typical Academic Reading section that
candidates at different IELTS bands would be expected to answer correctly.

Further examples of Academic Reading test material can be found in the IELTS Specimen
Materials pack. This contains a full copy of practice tests with answers for each of the six
modules. Copies are available for purchase from Cambridge ESOL, IDP: IELTS Australia
and IELTS test centres. See www.ielts.org

IELTS Quick Links

An Introduction to IELTS

Setting Standards

Marking and Interpreting Scores

Listening

Academic Reading

General Training Reading

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General Training Writing

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