How Are Words Counted In IELTS ?

Word count plays a very important role in IELTS. Be it listening, writing or reading. While answering questions there is a word limit that need to be taken care of and an exceeding or less word limit might lead to you losing marks. But, the bigger question is how are the words counted in IELTS. Do we even count the prepositions or only the big meaning words are counted. Today, let us figure out how words are counted in IELTS.

  1. Numbers, dates and time are counted as words. So, for example, 20-November-2012 was a day. The statement consist of 4 days.
  2. Dates written with both numbers and words are counted differently. For example, 20 November will be counted as one word and one number.
  3. Everything written inside a bracket is also counted. For example, in the given sentence – There are only 10 people present(out of 20). The sentence consist of 9 words.How Are Words Counted In IELTS
  4. Compound nouns written as one word are counted like wise. So, blackboard is one word. While writing it make sure you don’t put a space between them.
  5. Hyphenated words are counted like one word. Example, eye-opener is considered one word.
  6. Everything, irrespective of whether it is preposition or any other small word, it is counted.
  7. Symbols are not counted. So, 55% is considered as one word but if you write 55 percent, it will be considered as two words.

Make sure you read the question properly before answering. So, if it is clearly mentioned, NO MORE THAN THREE WORDS, make sure you don’t write more than three.



  • hi,
    Thanks for the info.
    I have been told in one of the seminars by some experts that the repeated words are not counted in writing task. i.e. if I have used certain common words like to be forms, articles, prepositions and even nouns which get repeated often are counted only once. Hence even if we write an essay of about 300 words, it makes it of only around 240 or 250 or even less than that. Just wanted to know whether this is so or not. Is there any official way to get this confirmed?

  • how are the words counted? are repeated words count again or they are counted for one time only?

  • Hello,

    Words like In addition, On the other hand, In other words, In conclusion etc are they counted as one word. THANKS

  • How many words in 35-40 degrees

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *