Best books for IELTS exam preparation


12 December 2019 • 5 min read

When it comes to getting the highest score you can in your IELTS exams, preparation is key. Yes, it can feel a bit overwhelming at times, especially if you’re just getting started with the language, but lots of little bits of practice can make a huge amount of difference.

There are lots of things you can do to prepare for your IELTS exams, and IELTS books are a resource. Most of them will cover all aspects of the exam, give you sample test and answers and give you some useful tips and strategies to help you conquer your nerves on exam day.

Read on to discover our round-up of the top 5 best IELTS preparation books

1. The Official Cambridge Guide to IELTS 

Suitable for both IELTS Academic and IELTS General Training.

Designed to help you achieve a high score in your IELTS exam, this book gives you hints and tips from people who have done the course themselves. Step-by-step guides will help you plan, prepare for and pass your IELTS exam with the best grades possible.

Why we like it:

  • It’s based on information gathered from people who have taken the IELTS test themselves.
  • Will help you prepare for all the sections of the IELTS exam.
  • Gives you strategy advice that is relevant and possible to implement.
  • Detailed answers are provided for all 8 of the full-length practice tests.
  • It includes a DVD with listening and speaking tests.

What could be better:

  • It’s better for getting to know the exam format and structure rather than learning new things.

2. Barron’s IELTS Superpack

Complete with strategies and tips

Ideal for both academics and professionals, this comprehensive IELTS preparation pack gives you literally everything you need to help you score highly in your IELTS exam.

Why we like it

  • It comes with two practice exams and 2 audio CDs
  • The Essential Words included are great for giving focus to your IELTS preparation
  • It’s got lots of information included and is great value for money
  • It’s very comprehensive

What could be better

  • It’s not designed for absolute beginners
  • The amount of information included makes it good value for money, but it’s still expensive

3. Simone Braverman’s Target Band 7

Great for those who want to achieve a high score in their IELTS exam

Easy-to-understand with clear tips and strategies that are easy to put into practice, this is a book written by someone who has taken and IELTS exam themselves. It gives solutions to problems you might encounter, loads of tips and it gets great reviews from students who have used this book for their own IELTS preparation.

Why we like it:

  • Gives you good tips on test strategy including how to use your time more effectively and work more efficiently
  • It’s clear and easy-to-read
  • It’s written by someone who has taken the IELTS tests themselves

What could be better?

  • Some of the sample tests don’t have answers
  • There are no full IELTS exams included

4. IELTS Practice Tests Plus 2 with Key and CD Pack

A great practice book which covers all 4 tests and the strategies you’ll need to score highly

Suitable for General Training exams as well as those studying towards their IELTS Academic, this is a great resource of practice exams, particularly as it goes through the analysis of what makes a correct and incorrect answer. It has useful tips and the audio scripts will really help you improve.

Why we like it:

  • It gives you lots of ideas about strategies
  • Sample answers with annotations and explanations
  • There are 6 full tests included
  • It’s really easy to use

What could be better?

  • It doesn’t cover anything new as it just focusses on test strategy
  • You’ll need to combine it with another guide in order to get the most out of your IELTS prep

5. Cambridge IELTS 13 Academic Student’s Book with Answers

Authentic examination papers give you a really good idea of what to expect when it comes to your IELTS exam

The most up-to-date version of this well-respected series, this book is aimed at IELTS Academic students it contains 4 tests as well as a really good answers section which is invaluable for helping with your IELTS preparation and improvement.

Why we like it:

  • Good tips which are divided up by section
  • It’s good at explaining the different question types which helps you prepare well
  • It goes into a lot of detail

What could be better:

  • Not ideal for complete beginners
  • The information isn’t brilliantly laid out

If you’d like to find out more about which books are best for you or to find out about taking an IELTS practice exam, speak to one of our experienced consultants today.

Log in