How to Use the Four Official IELTS Websites

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.

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.

Using Official Sources in Your IELTS Study Schedule

One final note: our students often email us to ask us what extra tests they can take, especially if they’ve worked at a faster than planned pace on one the Magoosh IELTS study schedules. The official material here is some of the best extra material you can find for study plans of any length, for our short one week IELTS study plan to our longer ones.

By the way, improve your IELTS score with Magoosh!

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Author

  • David Recine

    David is a Test Prep Expert for Magoosh TOEFL and IELTS. Additionally, he's helped students with TOEIC, PET, FCE, BULATS, Eiken, SAT, ACT, GRE, and GMAT. David has a BS from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire and an MA from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls. His work at Magoosh has been cited in many scholarly articles, his Master's Thesis is featured on the Reading with Pictures website, and he's presented at the WITESOL (link to PDF) and NAFSA conferences. David has taught K-12 ESL in South Korea as well as undergraduate English and MBA-level business English at American universities. He has also trained English teachers in America, Italy, and Peru. Come join David and the Magoosh team on Youtube, Facebook, and Instagram, or connect with him via LinkedIn!

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