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

IELTS Listening 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 Listening 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.

Average Listing Raw Scores IELTS AVC

Within each Listening 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 slightly more
difficult overall than sample Section A.

Average Facility Of Sample Listening Sections IELTS AVC

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. For instance, 63% of candidates answered question 21 on
Section A correctly and 61% of candidates responded correctly to question 11 on Section B.

Tables 3 and 4 also give an indication of the relative difficulty of the questions within each
sample section: the most difficult question in Sample A is question 27 while in Sample B
question 13 is the most difficult.

Sample A Facility Values IELTS AVC

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

Expected Number Of Correct Responses On A Typical Listening Section IELTS AVC

Further examples of Listening 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

IELTS Quick Links

An Introduction to IELTS

Setting Standards

Marking and Interpreting Scores


Academic Reading

General Training Reading

Academic Writing

General Training Writing


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