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IELTS Practice Tests: Where to Find IELTS Sample Tests

The best way to get familiar with the IELTS format and its questions is to take a full-length IELTS practice test. These tests are a good resource to assess your English level as well as to estimate your IELTS score. Additionally, you can find out your weakness by reviewing answers and then make plans to improve. So how do you fit an IELTS sample test into your overall prep timeline? Most importantly, where can you find an IELTS sample test?

Read on, for the answers to all of these questions, and more!

Table of Contents

  • Why You Need to Take an IELTS Practice Test
  • When to Take an IELTS Practice Test
  • Where to Find IELTS Practice Tests
  • Ielts practice test

    Why Should I Take an IELTS Practice Test?

    1. To test your communication skills and academic ability

    Yes, the IELTS is a test of your English skills. But the IELTS also assesses your communication abilities and academic skills. The IELTS General Training exam has extra emphasis on communication skills. In this version of the IELTS, you face a series of communication-related questions in both Reading and Listening. Then, when it comes to academics, the IELTS Academic test deals with a variety of undergraduate university-level content.

    2. To test your test-taking ability

    Like all standardized exams, the IELTS also tests your test-taking ability. It may seem strange to think of an exam as a test of your skill in taking exams. But it does make sense when you think about it. On any exam, good test strategy skills are an important key to success.

    To pass the IELTS, you need to master multiple-choice strategy, exam note-taking techniques, pacing in test sections, etc..

    In regular English practice materials, you don’t necessarily get practice in IELTS communication skills, academic content, or strategy. To practice all of these things at the same time, you really need to take an actual IELTS practice test.

    3. To simulate the testing experience

    IELTS test centres don’t feel much like a regular classroom or study hall. The “feel” of a real, full IELTS test can be a shock. Some IELTS exam takers find the real test to be harder than they imagined. This can cause them to lose confidence, focus, and points from their score.

    There’s no way to duplicate the test-day experience perfectly, but under the right circumstances, you can replicate the situation with an IELTS sample test. The trick is to find a well-designed IELTS practice test, and take it under test-centre like conditions (use a timer, sit at a desk, minimize background noise, and so on).
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    Ielts sample test

    When Should I Take an IELTS Sample Test?

    So when should you take your IELTS practice test? You should take one practice test at the very beginning of your studies. This will help you figure out your “baseline” IELTS ability. Your baseline ability is the ability on the IELTS that you already have, before you start practicing. Once you see the score on your IELTS sample test, you’ll have an idea of how much more practice you need in order to reach your target score.

    It can also help to take practice tests periodically throughout your IELTS prep. Sometimes you’ll want to take just one part of a an IELTS practice test. (Either an IELTS practice test Listening section, an IELTS practice Reading test, an IELTS practice test Writing section, or an IELTS Speaking interview.) At other times, it’s useful to set aside a few hours and complete a full-length practice exam in one sitting.

    For an example of how to schedule your IELTS practice exams, see Magoosh’s one-month study schedule for the academic IELTS. Or for more short-term study, check out the way practice tests are used in our one-week IELTS study schedule.
    Ielts sample test

    Where Can I Find IELTS Practice Tests?

    The answer to that question? All over the web! A quick Google search will pull up tons of IELTS practice tests. Of course that’s only a partial answer. The trick is to find IELTS sample tests that are of truly good quality. Not all IELTS practice tests have questions that are like the ones on the real test. Truly IELTS-like practice questions are important. If you take a practice IELTS test that’s not much like the real one, you won’t be prepared for the actual exam.

    Free Resources: IELTS Online Tests

    As I mentioned, the Internet is an excellent source of free IELTS practice tests. The best IELTS online tests are the ones from the official IELTS websites. You can use the British Council’s page of IELTS practice tests.

    There are also IELTS sample tests on IELTS.org, another official IELTS site. As you go through IELTS.org, remember that this site doesn’t offer a whole test all in one place. Instead, the site has a separate IELTS sample test PDF for each section of the test. So on this site, you can get — for example — an IELTS General Training Reading practice test PDF with answers, or an IELTS Academic Writing section, etc…. Combine these separate resources, and you can create the equivalent of a full IELTS practice test.

    Finally, you can get some free full IELTS practice tests on the Cambridge IELTS website. This site has many IELTS practice test free downloads. Accessing them can be little tricky, though. For details on how to access the IELTS sample test PDFs on Cambridge.org, see my previous post on how to use the official IELTS websites.

    There are some good unofficial IELTS practice tests out there too. IELTS Liz is a website made by a former IELTS examiner. Liz has enough materials for at least one entire IELTS practice test. And there are some high-quality unofficial IELTS practice tests on the Canadian immigration website as well.

    Paid Resources: Cambridge Books

    Cambridge publishes all official IELTS books. And the majority of Cambridge’s IELTS books contain full-length practice exams. These exams are truly authentic, with questions that are taken from real previous IELTS tests.

    I especially recommend the practice tests in three particular Cambridge IELTS books: Official IELTS Practice Materials Vol. 1, Official IELTS Practice Materials Vol. 2, and the Official Cambridge Guide to IELTS.
    Ielts sample test

    Whether you are taking advantage of an official IELTS practice materials free download, or purchasing an IELTS book, IELTS practice tests are an important part of your complete IELTS test prep. But of course, it’s important to use these IELTS practice tests alongside other good practice activities and materials. For information on the best practice tests and the best general prep materials, see our guide to the best IELTS books and resources.

    And be sure to pay special attention to IELTS Writing and Speaking. These sections are a lot harder to self-score, because they don’t come with an answer key. Use the IELTS band descriptors for Writing Task 1, Writing Task 2, and Speaking. These give good descriptions of the score levels for these two sections.

    Right here on the blog, we have some nice material to help you master these two sections of your IELTS practice tests. There is our complete guide to IELTS Writing Task 1 and our similar guide to IELTS Writing Task 2. Then there are our best IELTS Speaking tips.

    In the coming weeks, we’ll be making more IELTS resources that can help you on your IELTS practice tests, and on the real exam. Come back for those updates, and best of luck on your IELTS practice test (and the real one too!).

    By the way, sign up for our 1-week free trial to try out Magoosh IELTS prep!

    One Response to IELTS Practice Tests: Where to Find IELTS Sample Tests

    1. Catherine Roberts September 13, 2016 at 11:43 pm #

      Great.
      Thank you so much.


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