Teacher Charlie's news and adventures from the world; Korea to Germany and all points in between!

Monday, April 05, 2010

Free IELTS preparation directory


One of the things I like to do on this site is point you in the direction of the best IELTS on the internet. On this page you will find links to some of the best sites I have found for IELTS preparation. These are not necessarily exam practice sites, but places where you can go for good advice and help with your language skills.

I should add that I have only included non-commercial sites here and have ignored commercial sites that advertise themselves as being free but only exist to sell you a product.

If you are looking for exam practice materials, you will find them on these pages:

Listening test practice sites

Reading test practice sites

Sample essay questions and sample essays

Speaking sample questions

The official IELTS website

This is without doubt the place to start for any serious IELTS candidate. The one problem is that the site is huge and slightly hard to navigate, so here are a few suggestions for you:

Download the candidate booklet: this is a must read. You will find here a clear guide to all the modules and answers to FAQs on the test procedure.

Free sample questions: you will find here sample writing, reading and speaking questions.

The application form.

University and academic English sites

A good place to look for IELTS resources are university sites, particularly if you are intending to go to university.

Hong Kong University English Language Centre: a huge site with some fantastic resources for IELTS. Yu can’t access all of the resources as they are dedicated to the students at the university but the site is still worth exploring

Hong Kong Polytechnic/CILL: another huge site with lots of resources worth exploring. Be warned some of it is only available to students at the university.

UEfAP: a truly wonderful site with 100s of interactive exercises for all 4 skills

Nottingham University – Self Access Centre: this is not a dedicated IELTS site but it still has a range of excellent resources and exercises for academic English which are very good for academic IELTS candidates

University of Victoria – ELC – Study Zone: another site with many, many interactive exercises helpfully arranged by level.


Forums can be a great way to find advice and resources. They are also good for the soul because you find people there who have exactly the same problems as you. There is also the possibility of finding someone to practise with.

AIPPG IELTS forum: there are lots of IELTS forums, this is undoubtedly the best – you’ll find me here as “teacherdominic”

IELTS Exam Forum: this forum appears not to accept any new postings but there is a lot of useful material on it.

Esolasia: a much smaller forum but it has some excellent IELTS material on it.

Test Prep Forum: this another smallish forum but the advice on it tends to be excellent.

Using English: this is a general English forum where you can ask teachers questions about grammar and vocabulary. It is a useful site to check out if you are looking for a specific answer to a specific question – a lot of teachers use this site. If you search “IELTS”, you will find some excellent articles written by Alex Case on reading skills.


IELTS Simon: a great blog with daily IELTS lessons from Simon at the University of Manchester

English for University: this is a blog for academic English, but you will find lots of good links here to online resources as well as good writing advice.

IELTS IELTS : English Ryan’s blog on IELTS. It hasn’t been updated for a while but it is still excellent.

Englishtrainer: this is a well-written English language blog from the Philipines with some excellent IELTS advice and some practice material too. You’ll find some good interactive exercises as well.

A Teacher’s Odyssey: this is another excellent IELTS blog from the Philipines. You will find some writing makeovers here which are very well done and well worth a view.

IELTS Bangladesh: This blog specialises in tips and tricks for the exam.

IELTS videos – the best of Youtube

Naturally the place to start here is Youtube but not all you find there is top quality, so here are some suggested channels:

Passport to English – superb training videos showing format of the exam and how to approach each task

voxguru: many excellent videos with top advice on all four skills

English Ryan: some excellent videos on the process of writing essays

dominiccole2000: yes, these are my videos!

I will be adding to this list shortly by picking out other top videos for you and I hope soon to have a special IELTS video page.

Other IELTS sites

British Council – Professionals: the best dedicated IELTS site on the internet

British Council – English Online: a series of excellent articles giving advice on how to prepare for the exam

World English: you will find a series of excellent test guides from the Homlesglen Institute here – very well worth looking at.

Parapal: you will find here a range of very well-made online interactive exercises: the vocabulary exercises are absolutely brilliant. For me, this is much the best site of its kind.

Yasi-Kouyu: this is a mix between a blog and a website written for Chinese IELTS candidates by a former IELTS examiner. While it is not the easiest site to navigate, you will find lots of good material and advice here.

Free Practice Sites

Wiziq: this is a very interesting concept. Wiziq is a free video conferencing program. If you sign up for it, you’ll find a variety of teachers offer online lessons or tutorials.


The Economist – Daily Chart: a practice resource for academic part 1 writing

Language to describe Graphs: clever resource page for graph language for academic part 1 writing

Writefix: this is an excellent site with advice on essay writing in general; it also has some IELTS speaking materials

Essay map: this is a useful tool for learning how essays can be planned

Thesis Builder for persuasive essays by Tom March: a very interesting tool for making a thesis statement for essays and understanding how essays are structured

English for Students- Social letters: You will find here some of the standard letter writing conventions with a wide range of sample letters.


Eyercize: a good site to help you with speed reading

Shaks.ws: another interesting site to practise your speed reading

ESL bits: excellent general reading resources with different question types

Google News Timeline: allows you to read news connected stories related to a topic of your choice

BBC Learning English – Words in the News: superb selection of news stories with vocabulary explained and audio script


Passport to English: you will find here a high quality series of 3 sample speaking videos with transcripts to download.

Voxopop: an online speaking community website where you can listen to questions and record your answers: I have my own group there “Dominic Cole’s IELTS speaking practice”

Splendid Speaking: subscribe for free and get exam speaking advice with transcripts as well as daily vocabulary exercises.


English Central: pronunciation practice by listening to videos and recording yourself.

Cambridge animated pronunciation: if you are familiar with the phonemic chart , this is a very useful site that gives you practice on making the correct sounds in English.


Academic Word List from Nottingham University: the academic word list is one of the key tools for IELTS candidates. This site gives an excellent introduction to it and has a good range of exercises too.

Academic Word List exercises: this is another excellent AWL site with several interactive exercises.

Flo Joe Word Bank: set of daily activities to improve vocabulary (comes in 3 levels)

Verbalearn: vocabulary learning website where you can build your own wordlist

Just The Word: this is an excellent tool for improving your vocabulary: it shows you good word combinations – vital.


Wordnik: I have a new favourite online dictionary. You need to go and visit this dictionary: it does everything you can think and then a little bit more.

Macmillan Online Dictionary: for me the best second best of the online dictionaries. The benefit of this dictionary is that all the words in the definitions are hyperlinked.

Cambridge Online Dictionary: another truly excellent and wholly free online dictionary. The benefit of this dictionary is that it has both an advanced and a learners’ dictionary.

Visuwords: if you are a visual thinker, this dictionary/thesaurus will be great for you.


ESL about: if you are looking for one site for grammar, this is probably the place to go first.

Cloze test creator: this could be filed under vocabulary or reading as well. It is a fantastic resource for checking your vocabulary/grammar/reading.


Faisal Usman said...

I was checking details about ielts exam that is coming next month. I selected British Council for my test. I was searching blog from where I can get some tips regarding practice test of ielts and found your blog simply awesome. I must say that you have provided really good information. I will follow your tips and surely I will get good result. Thanks for your blog and help!!

Priya said...

Good post. I learn something totally new and challenging on blogs I stumble upon on a daily basis. It will always be interesting to read articles from other authors and practice something from their websites...

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C Peterson said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
C Peterson said...

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