Know your level
Make a study program
BooksWebsites can be good, but so are books – particularly fort organised learning. There are any number of good IELTS books. Here are a few of my special recommendations for people studying by themselves. These links will take you to Amazon (I’ll add that there is no affiliation!)
- The Cambridge Exam Books: you want to get at least one of these books for the most authentic practice. They are by no means perfect as they give you little or no help in training. They test, they do not teach. Don’t overdo them.
- Insight into IELTS: this book is not the regular course book. Rather it looks at each paper/skill separately. For me this makes complete sense.
- IELTS writing skills: writing is the skill that many/most candidates stress about. This is a super book and I can also heartily recommend almost any IELTS book written by sam McCarter. He’s good.
- 101 and 202 for IELTS: I see that there is now 404 too (which I haven’t used). These books are slightly different again as the focus in more on hints and strategies – closer to the typical internet experience.
- Grammar and vocabulary for IELTS: For me, these two are easily the best IELTS grammar and vocab books on the market. (I dislike the red vocabulary book). They are in many ways just general vocabulary and grammar books (that’s IELTS), but all the exercises are in context – meaning that you get useful exam/language practice at the same time.
- IELTS org: you need to visit here to understand the test format and formalities. At the vey least you should download the candidate booklet
- British Council: they help make the exam. Their preparation materials are very professional – the only downside to this site is that is slightly dull.
- BBC Learning English: this is the ultimate English language learning site. If you need persuading, the sort of language you will find here is exactly the sort of language you need for the exam. I particularly recommend Words in the News.
- ELC: a huge site with very generous resources and excellent suggestions for exam preparation