There are four official IELTS websites to find official IELTS practice materials online:
Each of these websites is distinctly different, although there is some content overlap across all four official IELTS websites. IELTS.org, IELTS IDP, and the British Council all tell you how to register for the exam anywhere in the world, give general information on how to prepare for the exam, and offer information about how the IELTS is scored.
The Cambridge IELTS website stands apart from the other three official IELTS websites, since the practice materials are somewhat hidden and require registering on the website. Despite these extra steps, Cambridge offers a wealth of official IELTS practice materials, including numerous free excerpts from their print books.
How to Use IELTS.org
IELTS.org has a really great selection of IELTS practice questions, and one full-length IELTS practice test!
Let’s start with the IELTS.org practice test. It is a full-length practice test, and you can find it here. Notice that the page has a menu bar for the different possible sections you can take: Listening, Academic Reading, General Training Reading, Speaking, Academic Writing, and General Training Writing. Click your mouse on a given section, and links to the PDF for the section will come up. In the case of Listening, you’ll also get links to audio files, and the Speaking section will include links to video examples of IELTS Speaking interviews.
Next, we arrive at the sample practice questions. These are organized by section, like the questions in the IELTS.org’s full-length test. But there are some differences.
For one thing, the practice questions come in two formats: there is a set of practice questions for the paper-based IELTS, and a second set of practice questions for the IELTS Computer-Delivered Test (IELTS CDT).
While these questions are arranged by test section, similar to the questions on the full-length test, once you click a given section, the sample questions are further organized by question type. Essentially, these pages of IELTS questions are meant to give you examples of all of the major question types that you might see on test day.
How to Use IELTS IDP
If you just explored IELTS.org’s practice materials above, you may have noticed IELTS.org does not have all of the question types they list on the IELTS CDT practice page; fortunately, IELTS IDP fills these gaps! If you go to the IELTS IDP practice materials page for IELTS on computer, you’ll see additional IELTS CDT question types.
IELTS IDP also has a page for paper-based IELTS practice questions. However, this page simply duplicates paper IELTS practice material that is also available on IELTS.org.
Perhaps the most distinguishing feature of IELTS IDP is not its practice questions (although those are great!), but its tutorials, tips, and tricks. If you click the “Prepare” menu at the top of the IDP homepage, you’ll get a wide variety of guide to the wat the IELTS works, IELTS prep tutorials, video lessons on how to score well, free webinars, paid prep resources such as scored practice tests, and more.
How to Use British Council IELTS
The main landing page for the British Council’s IELTS website has a variety of links, including links to the IELTS Indicator (the online version of the IELTS exam), information about test structure, links to the webinars that are also available through IDP, and so on.
So, let’s look at the practice resources page for the British Council IELTS website. This again will include may of the same resources you’ll see on ILTS IDP. But the British Council’s IELTS practice page also has a link to the BC’s two free full-length IELTS practice tests. These tests are wholly unique to the British Council website, different from the sample questions and test sections seen on the other three major official IELTS sites. Like the other official practice resources, this page includes separate sections for General Training and Academic IELTS.
How to Use Cambridge IELTS
The Cambridge IELTS is something you might call “a horse of a different color.” That means it’s very different from the other websites.
- To access the official IELTS practice materials on Cambridge.org, you need to start by registering for a Cambridge IELTS account.
- Once you’ve registered, make sure to log in to Cambridge IELTS.
- After signing in, go to the Cambridge English Resources page, and you’ll be able to download a wide variety of materials, including practice questions and skill-building exercises.
- Note that you can download some materials form the English resources page without registering or logging in, but the very best resources– the actual practice questions– do require you to be signed in to the site.
This is where all the free goodies are: IELTS question sets, full IELTS practice tests, IELTS video presentations, and exam audio. However, all of these free, official IELTS practice materials can only be viewed if you have an account with Cambridge.org and are logged in. This content is completely unique to Cambridge.org, and getting a Cambridge.org account is free. So spend a few minutes registering for an account. It’s well worth the effort.
Other Places to Find Official IELTS Practice Materials
Official IELTS Practice Materials on Your Phone
IELTS practice materials aren’t limited just to the official IELTS websites. You can also get official IELTS practice materials on your phone.
- The two official IELTS phone apps are among the best apps for IELTS students.
- The British Council offers an IELTS vocabulary app called IELTS Word Power.
- Cambridge offers a mobile video and text preview of their Official Cambridge Guide to the IELTS.
Official IELTS Practice Materials in Book Form
With IELTS books, things finally get simple. There’s just one source: Cambridge University Press. On the Products tab of the Cambridge IELTS website, you can view all of the official IELTS books that are currently in print. Together, these books contain the majority of official IELTS practice materials out there. Some books focus on general test prep or practice exams, while others focus on specific IELTS skills, such as grammar and vocabulary.
For other options to supplement these official IELTS practice materials, check out our post on the best IELTS books and resources.