The best books to prepare for the IELTS test

I have been teaching IELTS and preparing students to take the IELTS test successfully for quite a long time now – for 20 years, to be exact! During this time, I have been researching and trying out many different IELTS books in order to find the best that help students get good IELTS results.

So I have created a list of the best IELTS books which can help you self-prepare for the IELTS test. If you are an IELTS teacher, I suggest you to consider these books as I believe that they can help you teach IELTS better.

So here is a list with my 5 favourite IELTS books.

1. IELTS Test-builder (Macmillan) 1 & 2 + Audio

IELTS Test-builder provides valuable teaching material as well as 4 complete practice tests with detailed answers and explanation. Students can self-study or use it as supplementary material to prepare for the IELTS Academic training test. This book is useful for students aiming for a band score of 5.5 and above.

2. The Official Cambridge Guide to IELTS Student’s Book With Answers with DVD-Rom (Cambridge English) Student Edition

This preparatory book includes 8 complete official IELTS practice tests from Cambridge English for Academic and General training. You can also find useful tips and clear explanations to help you understand the features and format of the IELTS test. The Official Cambridge Guide has an analysis of common mistakes of test takers and videos of the speaking test. 

3. IELTS Cambridge Test Books Cambridge University Press

The 14 books in this series offer authentic examination papers just like the real exam. Each book contains 4 complete tests for exam practice plus 2 extra tests for General Training candidates. Audio CDs contain the listening material or students can access the downloadable Audio.

4. IELTS Express intermediate and Upper Intermediate Coursebooks

This two-level IELTS preparation course at Intermediate level (IELTS band 4-4.5) and Upper Intermediate level (IELTS Band 5 and above).  Both Levels of the IELTS Express series focus on building skills and providing essential exam practice. Each coursebook is accompanied by a Workbook containing useful grammar and vocabulary tasks, skills building tasks and exam practice tasks. 

5. IELTS Most Common Topics for Speaking & Writing

This book was written by me, Dina Panayi, to help students with relevant ideas to use in IELTS Speaking & Writing Task 2. In Writing Task 2 of the IELTS test, you only have 40 minutes to analyse the question, write a 250-word essay and leave time to check it for any mistakes. That doesn’t give you much time to think of relevant ideas for your essay. Similarly, in the Speaking test you may have a discussion on any kind of topic regarding the world around us. So you must be ready to give an extended answer. 

After analysing the most recent Speaking and Writing Task 2 exam questions, I came up with the topics that are most common in the IELTS test and I put them all together in this book with ideas and vocabulary for all of those topics. Each topic has a model Speaking and Writing question so you can practise your IELTS skills and achieve a higher band-score. You can buy it here on my website.

Final note!

There is a lot of useful (free and paid) material – online or printed – to prepare for the IELTS test at the comfort of your own home. Whether you prefer studying IELTS books or online courses, be sure you prepare well before applying for the IELTS test.

If you are an English teacher looking for IELTS material and the best ways to prepare your students for the IELTS test, we offer tailor-made IELTS teacher-training workshops. Contact us if you are interested to learn more information.