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You have decided to take the IELTS exam and you are now finally registered? It is time to set your action plan to be fully prepared for your exam.

In this article, you will learn everything you need to know about how to prepare for the IELTS exam. We will take you through :

  • the best training books
  • the best websites
  • the advantages and disadvantages of online and paper trainings
  • the best blogs

Ready to choose what is the most suitable option for you?

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The Best Resources for Preparing for the IELTS Exam Online

If you are taking the IELTS test, preparation is (almost) mandatory. Now that you have registered for IELTS, the question is: how to find the best resources for your training? Take a look at the accredited IELTS test center before choosing a test date.

Many websites offer IELTS online preparation courses, although not all of them are good quality. After going through several resources, we came up with a list of the best resources for your training, should it be active or passive. Indeed, there are two different ways of training:

  • Active training, or direct exam preparation, helps you assimilate essential grammar and vocabulary, along with the test format;
  • Passive training helps you improve your English level in a more general way, by improving your overall understanding of the language and enhancing your vocabulary while relaxing, without doing any IELTS standard exercises.

For instance, watching National Geographic videos, or listening to BBC podcasts to become used to the different English-speaking accents that you will hear during the Listening test. Reading international press (including The Economist, The New York Times, The Guardian) is also a good option to help you acquire more vocabulary, useful for the first essay (150 words) of the Writing section.

Improving your English level thanks to “passive training” is good, although in this article we will give you some hints on which of all the resources are the best for an “active training”.

notebooks and coffee on a table

IELTS Exam Preparation With the Best Training Books

Our expert read many official IELTS books, and here is the list of the ones we prefer:

Complete IELTS from Cambridge

This book covers every part of the IELTS exam and is one of the best IELTS material you can find on the book market. It includes exercises and examples based on real exams. This is a great book series for students but also for teachers.

There are also different levels depending on the book you choose, so you can find what is the most suitable option for you. They cover both IELTS General Training and IELTS academic papers.

In the Complete IELTS from Cambridge, you will learn more about the writing and speaking skills that are required for the test and will also be able to enrich your grammar and vocabulary thanks to great examples. The training for the IELTS Listening parts will be available with exercises on CDs that are sold with the book.

More importantly, you will have access to revision units so you can track your progress as you go further in the training.

Aside from the courses, the Complete IELTS offers advice on how to approach the questions. In the case you do not wish to carry a book with you, you can also download the ebook version.

IELTS Trainer

IELTS Trainer will help you deconstruct the structure of the exam, what the test looks like, the type of questions of every section, how to develop your answers and on what is based the scoring system.

This book contains 6 full tests to help you get familiar with the IELTS. The first two tests will give you tips on how to answer the question and the other four will help you practice in exam conditions in order to be fully prepared.

You also have the option to choose the book with answers and the book without answers and the General Training or Academic one.

Finally, the book comes with 3 CDs containing the tests of the Listening part.

Collins English for IELTS

Collings English created a series of books, each of them focusing on one section of the IELTS exam : Reading section, Writing, Listening and Speaking. This way, you can target the area you feel like you should practice more and make sure you develop a great understanding of what is asked of you in each and every one of them.

Note that the Reading and Writing books focus on the Academic test of IELTS.

IELTS Life Skills by Cambridge

The IELTS Life Skills by Cambridge is made of A1 and B1 levels and focuses only on the Speaking and Listening areas of the test. This book contains 4 practice tests with answer keys. It is made for you if you need to prove your English speaking and listening skills as part of a visa or immigration application.

Cambridge English IELTS

This is the official guide to IELTS from Cambridge publishing. This is a great book to get familiar with the whole exam as it covers both General Training and Academic tests. You will have access to the main type of questions, some tips and how to approach everything, based on the four sections.

Barron’s IELTS

This book will offer extra practice for the modules with explanatory answers, in-depth review of all the IELTS questions, some tips and advice to pass the test with success. You will of course be able to train with their practice tests based on real exams.

IELTS 15 General Training or Academic

You can find out more details about those books and advice on how to choose between them in the article IELTS books.

Both books contain 4 examination papers and their scoring system, audios, and videos that you will be able to access thanks to QR codes printed on the books. Make sure to choose the right book for you, depending on if you want to study, join a professional institution or just move abroad in an English-speaking environment and be able to communicate.

We have also written an article gatering the IELTS exam fee per country.

The Best Websites for Preparing for the IELTS Exam Online

Some websites are fully dedicated to IELTS, and give you some sample exercises with corrections. Sometimes the websites even allow you to download vocabulary lists, juste be careful when you are browsing, most of the websites are not good quality. Here with our top 5 of websites for IELTS training:


  • Evaluate yourself in real conditions and find out your score with our IELTS practice exams.
  • Train, learn from your mistakes and improve quickly with our corrected exercises.
  • Choose the IELTS course that suits your goal and stay motivated with our personalized courses.
  • Follow your progress in real time until the big day thanks to our progress tracker.


You can find 300 pages of free IELTS lessons and tips on IELTS Liz and more specifically : model answers, scoring info, lessons, videos, advice.


On IELTS Buddy, you will find model graphs and essays with their answers for all questions types, practice tests for every section, lessons, a forum, training videos, free download material and an updated blog.

IELTS Mentor

IELTS Mentor offers four sections : preparation, sample questions, blog and tips. In each section, you will dive into the practice of every module of the IELTS exam.

Magoosh IELTS

Magoosh IELTS helps you practice with graded writing assessments, mock tests, expert video lessons, custom study schedules, over 600 practice questions and accurate score predictor. The advantage : you can ask all your questions to an expert by email.

Check out other best websites for your preparation that can help you achieve a high IELTS band score. We made this list after reviewing them, so you can feel comfortable. Among the websites, you’ll see that some of them offer a Premium version, with a tutor that can correct your IELTS Writing tasks and IELTS Speaking parts, and give you personalized advice and feedback.

Which are The Best IELTS Preparation Materials? Online Or On Paper?

We are going to go over the differences between using paper and online resources.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Choosing a Book

Choosing a book can be a difficult task : you will come across a thousand IELTS trainings (depending on which specific exam you want to take) whether it is in a library or on the internet. You can easily get lost or you might have to buy several IELTS books to make sure you are fully prepared for every section of the IELTS.

But if you do good research, you can find some pretty good IELTS study material from universities, such as Cambridge, with the real exam practice. You cannot fail your test if you choose a book from the top list.

Be careful of choosing a book with up-to-date information.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Choosing a Website

Choosing a website might appear like the easiest solution when training for the IELTS. The advantage is that you can find really complete programs you can subscribe to that are offering everything you need to successfully pass your test. You can also choose to train only one module. It often makes more sense than a shelf of books as those websites are clearly constructed so you can see all the options you have in one page.

Moreover, you do not have to carry any book.

But you have to be careful with the website you choose, because it can be a scam or not good enough for the level of IELTS you need.

computer and decorations on a table

Another Way To Prepare For The Test IELTS Online: Top 5 Blogs

Please find below the top IELTS blogs to help you in your preparation:


  • Evaluate yourself in real conditions and find out your score with our practice exams.
  • Train, learn from your mistakes and improve quickly with our corrected exercises.
  • Choose the course that suits your goal and stay motivated with our personalized courses.
  • Follow your progress in real time until the big day thanks to our progress tracker.


This website is filled with the expertise of writers, teachers and exam experts who base their material on real candidates’ test performance. They combine the experience of the University of Cambridge – Cambridge Assessment English and Cambridge University Press.

Keith Speaking Academy Blog | IELTS Speaking Tips

This website is based on speaking skills with a way of teaching based on excitement, useful skills and opportunity. You will learn how to speak confidently and fluently.

Superingenious | IELTS

Superingenious offers free English learning materials and lessons, created by a team of professionals. They have trainings for every international language exam.

IELTS Intellect

IELTS Intellect will explain the advantages and disadvantages of the computer-based tests, deconstruct the myths related to some sections of the exam, and provide in-depth training videos. You can also book sessions with experts and start with a free demo session.

Free Sample Practice Tests on GlobalExam’s Online Platform

GlobalExam is an online platform 100% dedicated to language tests such as the IELTS preparation course. We offer sample exercises and mock exams that can be done in real exam conditions thanks to a timer, and the platform will explain how does the IELTS score work and give you your IELTS score immediately after the exercise is done.

There are many exercises per section of the test (Listening, Reading, Writing, and Speaking). There is of course a detailed correction as well, with explanations. All the answers are saved in the statistics, that you can check at any time to follow your progress. To complete test takers training, vocabulary and grammar study sheets are available to help you address immediate gaps, along with other useful information such as tips and tricks for your training or testimonials.

GlobalExam has a trial version that allows you to take a free sample IELTS test and access to IELTS E-book by Global Exam before buying a Premium version. You can register online to have access to the free trial.

Good to know: you can sit for IELTS in any test centre, here is a list of some countries where it is possible to take the test: