10 Best Books For IELTS Preparation

What are the best books for the IELTS exam? If you are getting ready for the IELTS test, look at some of the top test preparation options below. 

IELTS stands for the International English Language Testing System, and the British Council runs it. This is a standardized test typically recommended for non-native English speakers to prove proficient English. The exam takes less than three hours, and it tests your ability to speak, write, read, and listen to English.

It is a challenging exam, so it is vital to prepare accordingly. General training and IELTS practice tests can be helpful, but you may also benefit from IELTS practice books.

Popular Books For IELTS 

Best Books For IELTS Preparation

Take a look at some of the best books for the IELTS exam below.

1. The Official Cambridge Guide To IELTS

One of the best books for IELTS preparation is The Official Cambridge Guide to IELTS. This book provides a lot of helpful hints and tips from people who have passed the exam themselves.

The book is also conveniently laid out with a step-by-step guide that will help you prepare for the exam. The book covers everything from how to tackle different types of questions to how to ensure your mind is ready for test day. It contains materials that will help score well on everything from the IELTS writing test to the IELTS speaking test.

Some of the most significant advantages of this book include:

  • The book contains helpful test-taking tips from people who have taken the exam themselves.
  • This book has materials to help you prepare for all test sections.
  • The package comes with a DVD with listening and speaking tests.
  • There are eight full-length IELTS practice exams to help you prepare. 
The Official Cambridge Guide to IELTS for Academic & General Training with Answers with DVD-ROM (Cambridge English)
  • Cullen, Pauline (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 402 Pages - 04/01/2014 (Publication Date) - Cambridge English (Publisher)

2. Simone Braverman’s Target Band 7

If you want to achieve the highest score possible, you might be interested in Simone Braverman’s Target Band 7. While this study package contains a lot of tutorials, strategies, and materials, everything is explained clearly in a way the average learner can understand. It includes solutions to common obstacles, challenges, and pitfalls you will probably encounter on exam day.

In addition, the package contains a lot of tips from former students and reviews from prior users who all endorse it as one of the best materials for IELTS preparation. Even though it does not have any complete IELTS exams, it is still valuable study material. 

Some of the top advantages of this study package include:

  • The book gives you a detailed breakdown of using your time effectively on exam day.
  • All of the material has been presented in an easy-to-read and understood format.
  • The book was written by someone with experience taking the exam themselves. 
Target Band 7: IELTS Academic Module - How to Maximize Your Score (second edition)
  • Braverman, Simone (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 80 Pages - 07/03/2012 (Publication Date) - Simone Braverman (Publisher)

3. The Barron’s IELTS Superpack

The Barron’s IELTS Superpack comes with various strategies and tips to help you crush the test. This is ideal for beginners, academic students, and professionals because it contains study materials that address everything on the exam from various angles. This allows you to customize your study strategies to meet your needs. 

Some of the top benefits of using this super pack include:

  • The package comes with two full-length practice exams.
  • Two audio CDs can help you with the listening portion of the test.
  • The super pack contains a list of essential words to help you get the most value for your study time.
IELTS Superpack (Barron's Test Prep)
  • Lougheed Ph.D., Lin (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 1696 Pages - 06/04/2019 (Publication Date) - Barrons Educational Series (Publisher)

4. Cambridge IELTS 15 Academic Student’s Book With Answers

An authentic examination paper will give you a firm idea of what you should expect when you arrive on exam day. The Cambridge IELTS series is one of the most well-respected study options, and this is one of the most recent versions – released in 2020. This book is explicitly aimed at IELTS academic students.

The package contains four tests in addition to a meticulous answer key. This will help you prepare for every exam section, clearly explaining why specific answers are correct and other answers are not. The tips are also organized clearly, allowing you to prepare individually for the IELTS listening, speaking, reading, and writing sections. 

A few advantages of this Cambridge study material include:

  • All exam tips are broken up into sections, helping develop a strategy to address each exam portion. 
  • The study material explains how to address different styles of questions to enhance your preparation.
  • This is one of the most detailed study materials available. 
IELTS 15 Academic Student's Book with Answers with Audio with Resource Bank: Authentic Practice Tests (IELTS Practice Tests)
  • Language: English
  • Publisher : Cambridge University Press
  • Cambridge University Press (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 144 Pages - 07/01/2020 (Publication Date) - Cambridge English (Publisher)

5. IELTS Trainer

The best way to prepare for the IELTS test is to take practice exams. The IELTS Trainer will give you a helpful in-depth study guide containing step-by-step advice on addressing specific questions and papers. Then, it will share tips from other successful test-takers that you can apply to your study habits.

This is one of the best books for IELTS preparation because it contains six full-length practice tests that will also help you build up the mental endurance to tackle the IELTS exam. It has questions of all types, a detailed breakdown of how to answer them, and common mistakes and pitfalls you need to avoid.

A few advantages of this study option include:

  • It contains audio CDs for listening tests.
  • The package comes with full-length practice tests that address all facets of the actual exams.
  • The exams also come with the answer key to see why specific answers are correct, and other answers are wrong.
  • The package comes with a guide to help you address test papers. 
IELTS Trainer Six Practice Tests with Answers and Audio CDs (3)
  • Hashemi, Louise (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 240 Pages - 04/11/2011 (Publication Date) - Cambridge English (Publisher)

6. The Road To IELTS

If you are more of a visual or an interactive learner, you may be looking for an IELTS online course. The Road to IELTS provides you with access to tutorial videos, mock papers, and numerous other interactive exercises. The lesson will keep you engaged, preventing you from zoning out as you read through your study materials.

If you register to take the test through the British Council, you will also access numerous other videos and activities. The package includes an online course, nine practice tests with answer keys, and hundreds of activities that can help you enhance your learning.

Some of the advantages of this option include:

  • It gives you nine practice tests that help you see what the actual test is like.
  • This is an engaging study option that will hold your attention. 
  • You can access countless other free study materials if you register through the Britsh Council. 

7. Check Your English Vocabulary For IELTS

Even though Check Your English Vocabulary for IELTS does not come with any practice papers or full-length exams, it is still a beneficial tool to have in your arsenal. This vocabulary book will help you quickly and easily expand your glossary before the exam. It contains a lot of vocabulary words, and it is suitable for anyone from beginners to advanced learners.

Keep in mind that this is not comprehensive study material, so you will need to use other resources to help you prepare for different portions of the test, such as practice tests and audio CDs.

Some of the advantages of this test preparation book include:

  • This is a simple tool you can use to help you expand your vocabulary.
  • All of the words have been laid out with short definitions that are easy to understand and remember.
  • It is suitable for beginners, intermediate learners, and advanced learners. 
Check Your English Vocabulary for IELTS (Check Your Vocabulary)
  • Wyatt, Rawdon (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 128 Pages - 03/13/2012 (Publication Date) - A&C Black (Publisher)

8. The Mometrix IELTS Book For General Training And Academic 2021 – 2022

The Mometrix IELTS Book for General Training and Academic 2021 –  2022 is one of the most comprehensive study guides. It contains helpful tips and comprehensive strategies to help you pass the exam. The package also includes video tutorials, practice test questions, and advice from prior test-takers. 

All of the information is incredibly detailed and laid out in a way that is easy to understand. As you go through your study sessions, you can organize the tips, apply them to specific questions, and learn from your mistakes. This can help you maximize your score on exam day. 

A few advantages of this test preparation option include:

  • It covers all four areas of the actual IELTS exam.
  • There are detailed video tutorials to help you master complex exam topics.
  • It gives you a breakdown of the different types of questions and how to answer them successfully. 
  • All of the information has been laid out in a way that is easy to understand. 

9. IELTS 5 In 1 Actual Tests eBook Combo

If you are looking for an eBook, the IELTS 5 in 1 Tests eBook Combo is one of the most comprehensive options available. It contains five separate eBooks that will cover all four sections of the IELTS exam. Each academic module will address a different test area, including listening, speaking, reading, and writing.

All of the answers have been provided by IELTS experts who have experience taking the exam themselves. Furthermore, this is an interactive study material that will hold your attention. It will go through different tips and tricks you can use to avoid common mistakes and raise your score on test day.

A few advantages of this test preparation option include:

  • It contains 35 reading tests and 41 listening tests, all of which come with detailed answers and explanations.
  • There are a few essay ideas that you can use to practice papers.
  • The package comes with dozens of questions and answers for writing task one and writing task two.

10. Focus On IELTS Foundation: Foundation Coursebook

If you are a beginner, you need to develop the skills necessary to do well on the exam. FOCUS on IELTS Foundation is a comprehensive coursebook that contains everything you need to know to go from no knowledge to enough knowledge to pass the test.

It comes with a critical language bank, ancillary study materials, and projects to help you progress on test day and outside the classroom. It also contains a list of comprehensive strategies to ensure you do well on the exam. It is a study material that has been designed for learning in the classroom, but it could be a helpful test preparation option as well.

Some of the advantages of this study material include:

  • It comes with a listening CD that will help you prepare for the IELTS listening test.
  • It is also beneficial for practicing English outside of the IELTS exam.
  • This package comes with complete projects that will help you apply your knowledge to other areas. 
Focus on IELTS Foundation Coursebook: Industrial Ecology
  • O'Connell, Sue (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 176 Pages - 09/14/2006 (Publication Date) - Pearson Education ESL (Publisher)

The Final Word On The Best Books For IELTS

The IELTS exam is challenging, and you need to do everything you can to put yourself in the best position to pass the test on the first attempt. Therefore, you should use the study materials above to develop a comprehensive strategy.

Everyone has a slightly different learning style, so you need to compare the benefits and drawbacks of each option to figure out what works best for you. As long as you have a strategy in mind, you can increase your score, expand your knowledge base, and prepare accordingly for test day. 

FAQs About The Best Books For IELTS

How Do I Study For The IELTS Exam? 

The best way to prepare for the exam is to practice questions. Before you can do so, you need to build a strong foundation in the English language. These test preparation materials will help you do that.

What Is On The IELTS Exam?

The exam is broken up into four different areas. There is a listening, reading, writing, and speaking section. You need to develop a test preparation strategy to help you do well in all four areas if you want to pass the exam. 

What Should I Expect On Test Day? 

The exam itself is still administered using pencil and paper. In total, it takes two hours and 45 minutes.

You should expect to hear modules on different topics with English speakers with various aspects. You will also have a face-to-face interview with an examiner during the test. 

Further Reading

If you enjoyed this list of the best books for IELTS, you might also enjoy our round-up of the best essay writing apps for students and academics

You may also be interested in our guide on great essay writing topics for students

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  • Bryan Collins is the owner of Become a Writer Today. He's an author from Ireland who helps writers build authority and earn a living from their creative work. He's also a former Forbes columnist and his work has appeared in publications like Lifehacker and Fast Company.