If you’ve been searching for a free IELTS practice test online, well done! It’s a great idea to practice for the exam using full-length tests. After all, on test day, you won’t just do a handful of problems at a time—you’ll have to answer many in a row. But you can train yourself for this by building endurance! How? By taking IELTS sample tests.
Written by our exam experts, this IELTS sample test is exactly like what you will see on test day.
Table of Contents
- Why You Should Take an IELTS Practice Test
- **Magoosh’s Free IELTS Practice Test PDF**
- How to Take an IELTS Practice Test
- How to Score Your IELTS Sample Test
- Learning from Your Mistakes in IELTS Sample Tests
- Where to Find More Full-Length IELTS Practice Tests
- Before Your IELTS Sample Test…
- Grading Your IELTS Practice Test: Answers & Explanations
Before we take you to the test, let’s take a quick look at all the great things about IELTS practice, just in case I haven’t already convinced you.
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More info will appear here!
Why You Should Take an IELTS Sample Test
When you’re studying for the IELTS, practicing specific skills is important. However, you won’t know if you’re fully prepared to succeed on the exam until you take a full-length IELTS sample test. Building your endurance is an important part of IELTS exam practice: not all skills you’ll need on test day are related to IELTS Reading practice or IELTS Listening practice! In fact, it is so important to take these tests that you should make them a cornerstone of your IELTS review.
Now, you may be asking: how many IELTS practice tests should you take? About one each week is ideal.
I know, I know! It sounds like a lot. And it is a lot. But just think about everything you can learn from taking and reviewing these exams…
If you’re a beginner, you’ll see an IELTS exam sample, and you’ll know what to expect on test day. The sample exam can also act as an IELTS diagnostic test, showing your strengths and weaknesses. If you’re in the middle of your prep, an IELTS sample paper can show you what’s working in your preparation and what’s not. And if you’re about to take the exam, taking an IELTS practice test can give you an idea of what IELTS score range you can anticipate getting (although remember that tests vary and factors like anxiety may make your actual score different).
Convinced now? I thought so! Without further ado, let’s take a look at Magoosh’s IELTS free test.
Magoosh’s Free IELTS Practice Test PDF
What exactly is it you ask? Well, the Magoosh IELTS Practice Test is a full-length exam. Inside this PDF (and at the bottom of this post), you’ll find questions that reflect what you’ll see on test day.
Here’s an example:
There’s an IELTS Reading sample test, an IELTS Listening practice test, and even IELTS Speaking practice and IELTS Writing practice. In terms of IELTS preparation online, you’ve just hit the jackpot!
Now, the big question becomes…
How to Take an IELTS Mock Test
You’ll want to take all of your IELTS practice tests correctly. By this, I mean you’ll need to take the practice tests under the same conditions as the real IELTS exam.
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Use the Correct IELTS Test Structure
Here’s a quick refresher of what your IELTS test day will probably look like, as well as the item counts and distribution you’ll see on the Magoosh IELTS mock test!
|Listening Practice Test||Academic||General Training|
|Number of questions||40||40|
|Number of audio tracks||4||4|
|Type of audio tracks||2 conversations, 2 monologues||2 conversations, 2 monologues|
|Time Limit||30 minutes to answer questions, 10 minutes to transfer the questions over to your answer sheet|
Computer test: 30 minutes to answer questions, 2 minutes to check answers after the last recording
|30 minutes to answer questions, 10 minutes to transfer the questions over to your answer sheet |
Computer test: 30 minutes to answer questions, 2 minutes to check answers after the last recording
|IELTS Reading Practice Test||Academic||General Training|
|Number of questions||40||40|
|Number of reading passages||3 long academic passages||3|
|Type of reading passages||Long academic passages||Section 1: daily life reading material (menus, signs, announcements, etc) |
Section 2: workplace reading material (notes, memos, policies)
Section 3: 1 long journalistic or academic passage
|Time Limit||60 minutes||60 minutes|
|IELTS Writing Practice Test||Academic||General Training|
|Number of tasks:||40||40|
|Types of tasks:||TASK 1: essay that summarizes info from a chart or table|
TASK 2: academic opinion essay on a social issue
|TASK 1: write a formal or informal letter |
TASK 2: formal opinion essay on a social issue
|Task lengths:||TASK 1: minimum of 150 words|
TASK 2: minimum of 250 words
|TASK 1: minimum of 150 words |
TASK 2: minimum of 250 words
|Time limit:||60 minutes||60 minutes|
|Speaking Practice Test||Academic||General Training|
|Type of task||3 part interview||3 part interview|
|Number of questions||approximately 13 (5 short questions in part 1, 2 long questions and 2 short questions in part 2, 5 short questions in part 3)||approximately 13 (5 short questions in part 1, 2 long questions and 2 short questions in part 2, 5 short questions in part 3)|
|Time limit||11-14 minutes||11-14 minutes|
|Interviewer||In the IELTS Speaking section, you'll be interviewed by an actual human being. To correctly practice the interview, find a speaking partner if possible.||In the IELTS Speaking section, you'll be interviewed by an actual human being. To correctly practice the interview, find a speaking partner if possible.|
IELTS Sequence: In What Order Should You Do the Practice Sections?
At most IELTS test centers, the sequence of the sections is the same as the list immediately above. You will complete the Listening section, followed by the Reading section. Then you’ll complete your two IELTS Writing tasks. And finally, you’ll enter the IELTS Speaking interview.
However, the Speaking section’s place in the sequence can be different at different test centers. While most IELTS test sites give the Speaking interview last, some centers handle Speaking very differently. You may be asked to complete the interview first, before the remaining three sections. And some centers, you may even sit the IELTS Speaking interview on a different day or week than the rest of the exam.
Obviously, you’ll want your sequence for Speaking to match your real exam. Talk to your test center to see how they schedule the Speaking section, in relation to the other IELTS sections.
IELTS Practice Tests: When to Take Breaks
There are no breaks during the first three sections of the IELTS test. For a truly IELTS-like practice test, you should go straight from Listening to your IELTS practice test Reading section, and then straight from Reading to the IELTS Writing section.
There will usually be a break between IELTS Speaking and the rest of the exam. To know how long that break will be, check with the exam center where you’ll sit your IELTS. Then use the correct break time in your own IELTS sample tests.
Timing Your IELTS Practice Tests
On test day, two things will help you keep an eye on your IELTS section time limits: a wall clock, and the invigilator, or proctor. The invigilator is the person who supervises students during the exam.
The invigilator will announce the time limit at the beginning of the test. Then, the IELTS exam invigilator will announce time checks during the test section. The invigilator tells students when there is 40 minutes left, 20 minutes left, and 5 minutes left. They also announce when the time is up. And during all this, you can of course also look at the wall clock.
Obviously, you won’t have an invigilator present during your practice tests. But that added detail isn’t necessary. What’s most important is that you have some kind of timer system that matches the IELTS time limits.
During your practice tests, keep a clock in plain view. Use that clock with an timer app such as Google Timer. For your virtual timer, set 30 minutes for Listening, 10 minutes for transferring Listening answers to the answer sheet, 60 minutes for your IELTS mock test Reading section, and so on.
Learn to monitor your own time, without glancing at the clock too frequently. With enough practice, you’ll get a strong sense of the IELTS time limits. By test day, you may not even need the proctor’s guidance at all.
Pacing and Endurance on Your IELTS Sample Test
Time-consciousness is good. But there’s more to time management than just watching the clock.
On your IELTS practice tests, you should also practice pacing skills. This means making the best use of the time you’re given for a section or task. It also means learning how to work quickly enough to finish all the questions on time, without rushing and making mistakes.
Remember though—answering IELTS questions well and answering them quickly are not the same thing. Accuracy and pacing are two separate skills. Of these two skills, accuracy is the most important. You can give your answers as quickly as you want. But if you’re not giving good answers, no amount of speed will get you a good score.
So when you first start doing IELTS practice tests and IELTS practice questions, don’t stop when your time is up. Instead, take as long as you need. This allows you to focus on accuracy—the most important IELTS skill—first.
For instance, if you get to 60 minutes in an IELTS practice test Reading section and you’re still not quite done yet, keep working. You should even take time to go back and double check your Reading answers if you need to. To give another example, in your first few IELTS practice test Writing sections, keep writing until you are sure you’ve written both tasks well.
Make note of how long your first IELTS practice tests take you. If you’re over time, keep practicing. As you get more comfortable with the IELTS questions and tasks, you’ll also get faster. Soon, you’ll be ready to hold yourself to the time limits. But you don’t need to follow them at first.
The same is true of your endurance skills—that is, your ability to work on the IELTS without getting tired and needing breaks.
When you first start doing practice tests, stop and rest if you absolutely have to. Make note of how much that slows you down. Then learn to take slower breaks as you get more comfortable. By test day, be ready to do the first three sections without breaks.
“The practice tests and the explanation videos provided in Magoosh helped me a lot. The reading and listening sections had a variety of questions spanning across all difficulty levels which was helpful as I didn’t get intimidated on the exam day.”
– Magoosh IELTS student, band score 8.5
How to Score Your IELTS Sample Test
Once you’ve successfully taken a full-length IELTS sample test, the next step is to score it. There are a number of good tools out there for scoring your IELTS practice test. Read on!
IELTS Review: Scoring Your IELTS Practice Test Reading and Listening Sections
To score your IELTS practice test Reading and Listening sections, check the answers and explanations page after you finish your practice IELTS test. After checking your answers, refer to the score chart and scoring video, which will help you find your raw score. The raw score is the number of questions you got right.
Once you have your raw scores for Listening and Reading, you can convert them into IELTS band scores. The IELTS itself does have an official chart to do this. You can find this on the “IELTS Scoring in Detail” page from IELTS.org.
Unfortunately, the official score conversion chart for IELTS Listening and Reading is incomplete. The chart only covers some of the bands, without showing raw score conversions for the highest and lowest IELTS bands.
That’s frustrating, but there is a fix. In my experience, the unofficial IELTS Raw Score Calculator website is pretty accurate for scoring either an IELTS test sample for Listening or an IELTS practice test Reading sample. You can enter your raw scores into that website. Or you can look at the following very useful chart, based on the website:
Scoring Your IELTS Sample Test: IELTS Practice Test Writing and Speaking Sections
The IELTS practice test Writing and Speaking sections don’t come with an answer key, but that doesn’t mean we don’t help you out! The Writing test comes with high-scoring sample essays. Plus, you can record your Writing and Speaking answers in the Magoosh IELTS online product, which will help you grade them at a later date. You may also 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.
To score your IELTS Speaking practice section and IELTS practice test Writing section, you can look at the band descriptors on your own. However, it’s hard to assess your own English. If possible, IELTS essays and speech should be reviewed by a tutor or uploaded to an IELTS forum such as the IELTS Network. For your IELTS practice test Writing and Speaking sections, it’s always best to have someone else help you estimate your band scores.
Estimating your Whole-Test Score for an IELTS Practice Exam
The first step to getting your whole test score is to calculate your individual scores for IELTS practice test Writing, Listening, Reading, and Speaking sections (as described above).
Once you have those four scores, average them together. Then round up or down to the nearest 0.5. For example, if the average of your four sections is 6.25, that rounds up to a band 6.5 for your IELTS practice test. Following that pattern, a 6.125 would round down to 6, and a 5.75 would round up to Band 7.
“The lessons on the platform are perfect for exam oriented study and are tailor made for those who are short on time. The questions in the Practice module are representative of those I came across during the exam.”
– Magoosh IELTS student, band score 8
Learning from Your Mistakes in IELTS Sample Tests
You can always learn from mistakes. But the best time to learn from your mistakes is before test day. An IELTS sample test is a chance to make mistakes, risk free. Learn from your mistakes now, and you won’t make as many mistakes once you’re sitting in the real IELTS test center.
So keep an error log. What’s an error log, you may ask? It’s just what you’d expect. It’s a log, or record, of the errors and mistakes you make on your IELTS practice test.
When you get a wrong answer in IELTS Listening or Reading, make note of this in your error log. Write down the question number, and note the IELTS Reading question types or IELTS Listening question types that you’ve missed. Be sure to also make note of what concepts and skills were tested, such as word meaning, listening for number words, and so on. Finally, make note of what you could do in order to avoid similar mistakes in the future. (EX: notice the context around an unfamiliar word, work on distinguishing between the sound of “17” and “70,” and so on.)
For Writing and Speaking, and error log will work a bit differently. In these sections, record any problems you might have with pacing, organization, pronunciation, grammar, and so on. You can adjust your studies based on the log, focusing on your weaknesses in these two sections.
Where to Find More Full-Length IELTS Practice Tests
Of course, we recommend taking many IELTS practice tests before your official exam—which means that just one IELTS practice test isn’t going to be enough? So once you’ve completed this exam, where can you find more IELTS sample papers?
The answer to that question? All over the web! A quick Google search will pull up tons of IELTS practice tests, and many an IELTS practice test free download. (Most of these come in the form of an IELTS practice test PDF, but there are many other formats too.)
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.
Here are even more practice and diagnostics from Magoosh.
Free Resources: Official and Unofficial IELTS Online Tests
The Internet is an excellent source of free IELTS practice tests. And there are certainly some good full length IELTS sample tests out there, if you know where to look.
The best IELTS online tests are the ones from the official IELTS websites. Every website offers a free IELTS practice test PDF, or rather multiple IELTS practice test PDFs. Below, I’ve gathered links to the official free IELTS practice tests, with some notes on how to use these resources.
- One full practice test for Academic, one full practice test for GT
- The Academic and General Training Tests share the same questions for Listening and Speaking.
- PDFs focus on question types rather than test sections.
- PDFs can be combined to make one full Academic or GT practice test.
- Sections and full tests for both GT and Academic.
- Free registration and login required for access.
- The website and practice questions are made by a former IELTS examiner.
- Practice questions are not organised into full tests, but there is enough material for at least one practice exam each for Academic and GT.
More Details on How to Access the Official Tests Above (and How to Access an Official IELTS Course Material Free Download)
Putting together the material for your free official tests can be tricky, especially on IELTS.org and Cambridge. For more information on how to use these free practice exam services, see our blog post on how to use the official IELTS websites.
And remember, these websites also give you access to support material for your IELTS test sample. Follow the instructions in the linked article above, and you’ll be able to get an IELTS course material free download from each website, in addition to your IELTS practice test free download.
Paid Resource: 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.
There are other IETLS books out there, of course, but they vary in quality.
Before Your IELTS Sample Test…
As you dive into your IELTS practice test experience, remember not to be discouraged by your early results. They’re only reflective of what you would get on the exam if you took it today. Instead of focusing on the score, focus on areas in which you can improve…and taking IELTS practice tests will become less of a chore and more of an experience that provides interesting insights into your language skills!
Grading Your IELTS Practice Test: Answers & Explanations
Congratulations! You finished a full-length IELTS practice test. Now it’s time to see how you scored.
Ready to take the next step towards your goal IELTS score? Sign up for Magoosh IELTS Prep.