Getting ready for the IELTS exam may be time-consuming and challenging, but you can always make things less complicated through the power of fantastic prep books! Plenty of guides can help you gear up for the test, and all you need to do is choose the best ones.
However, there is no need to worry about choosing because we can assist you with that matter.
This article will present nine of the best IELTS exam preparation books that you can use for your review period. We will provide an overview of each book, including details about its content, price, format, and latest editions.
- What is IELTS?
- Why Invest in Good Book Guides?
- 9 Best Books For IELTS Exam Preparation
- 1. The Official Cambridge Guide to IELTS
- 2. Mometrix IELTS Exam Secrets Study Guide
- 3. Barron’s IELTS with Audio CDs
- 4. Makkar Guide to IELTS
- 5. Objective IELTS Intermediate Student’s Book with CD ROM
- 6. Focus on IELTS Foundation Coursebook: Industrial Ecology
- 7. Ace the IELTS: IELTS General Module – How to Maximize Your Score
- 8. The Ultimate Guide to IELTS Speaking
- 9. Kaplan’s IELTS Prep Plus 2019-2020: 6 Academic IELTS + 2 General Training IELTS + Audio + Online
What is IELTS?
The International English Language Testing System, mostly known as IELTS, is a structured examination specially designed for people who want to study in universities, work, or migrate to English-speaking countries.
It is a test that assesses one’s ability in the four core skills:
The IELTS has a grading system that ranges from a band score of 1.0 to 9.0.
Established in 1989, the British Council, Cambridge Assessment English, and IDP: IELTS Australia manage this test today. Over 11,000 institutions, organizations, and professional bodies currently trust the IELTS.
Why Invest in Good Book Guides?
Even though the IELTS is not the most challenging exam one may encounter, some questions are tricky, and even native speakers become confused. If you do not prepare enough for the test, you can receive low scores.
Nonetheless, investing in an excellent and reliable prep guide can help you achieve your desired band score.
Since IELTS is all about English grammar usage and comprehension, you cannot survive the exam without reading materials. You cannot entirely depend on videos and such; that’s why you will need some prep books with you. Additionally, a book can help you improve your vocabulary and reading comprehension.
A reliable prep book can assist you in understanding the concepts and formats of the IELTS, the score requirements, and the specific skills you need to pass the exam. It also enables you to try practice tests and answer questions to improve your knowledge.
Lastly, a prep guide can also give you a vision of the actual exam, so why not invest in an excellent one?
9 Best Books For IELTS Exam Preparation
Listed here are the best prep books for the IELTS. Ensure to check and read all the details to gain information about each book.
1. The Official Cambridge Guide to IELTS
The Official Cambridge Guide to IELTS is a must-have prep book due to its detailed and informative content. Authored by Pauline Cullen, Amanda French, and Vanessa Jakeman, this guide contains many things you need to learn for the IELTS exam. Read the following information to know more about this book.
The Official Cambridge Guide is popular for test-takers who want to achieve a 6.0 band score or higher. It has clear and precise lessons regarding both Academic and General Training.
The first part of this guide includes the summary of the most general information about the IELTS, giving you an overview of what the test looks like in actuality. You can see essential reading, speaking, writing, and listening lessons in the following parts.
In addition to that, this guide also has eight practice exercises with instructions and answer keys for assessment.
Furthermore, this book has audio and video contents on the CD attached. There are also recording script files for the listening section. If you do not want to purchase this book, you can find and download them in Google Play and App Store.
You can buy the Official Cambridge Guide to IELTS on Amazon for only USD 24.97 to USD 77.83. If you want cheaper ones, you can look for them for USD 10.34 to USD 17.61.
However, please remember that more affordable books may have lesser quality, and some may not contain CDs.
Unfortunately, this book did not have any other version after its first edition in 2014.
2. Mometrix IELTS Exam Secrets Study Guide
Written by the IELTS Exam Secrets Test Prep Team, the Mometrix IELTS Exam Secrets Study Guide has also been famous for its accurate and understandable content. Here are some basic details and information about this guide to provide you with an overview of its content.
This guide can boast a detailed and thorough English language review that can surely boost your English proficiency. It contains a separate set of lessons for each core skill.
The listening section includes voice changes, getting main ideas, and interpreting them. On the other hand, the reading part focuses on reading comprehension, literary genres, critical thinking skills, and different types of passages.
Lastly, the writing part comprises activities on picking the main ideas, brainstorming, and constructing essays and articles, while the speaking section has story-telling. Worry not about the complexity of the language used, because this guide is entirely understandable and accessible for everyone.
The Mometrix Guide to IELTS has a price range of USD 39.32 to USD 57.85 on Amazon. Please remember to check the details of the product before purchasing. Some stores mention the quality of the book and its inclusions.
This book’s latest edition is the IELTS General Training and Academic Secrets Study Guide 2020 & 2021, published in 2019, under the Mometrix Media LLC. You can find this edition for USD 7.89 to USD 28.95.
The Mometrix Guide to IELTS is only available in the paperback book version. However, you can get free content and lessons on their official YouTube channel.
3. Barron’s IELTS with Audio CDs
Written by Dr. Lin Lougheed, the Barron’s IELTS with Audio CDs is one of the most complete and understandable prep books. It contains essential lessons and practice questions to help you achieve a good band score. This book is also suitable for you if you wish to immigrate to Canada through Express Entry.
The Barron’s Guide to IELTS covers all parts of the IELTS, including numerous question types, two practice tests for General Training, and four practice Academic tests. Aside from that, it also contains audio CDs for all the activities, tests, and lessons in different sections.
The Barron’s Guide can enable you to assess yourself after taking the practice questions and tests because there are answer sheets, answer keys, and explanations on the latter part. Lastly, it is perfect for test-takers who want to achieve a 7.0 band score or higher.
The Barron’s IELTS with Audio CDs is available for USD 2.97 to USD 58.67 on Amazon. However, as stated in the previous prep books, some cheaper versions are low quality and may not include the CD ROM.
Ensure to check the descriptions first before placing your orders.
The latest edition of Barron’s Guide to IELTS is the Barron’s IELTS with MP3 CD, 4th edition. You can purchase this book on Amazon for USD 5.65 to USD 67.07.
Barron’s Guide to IELTS editions is only available in paperback book versions.
4. Makkar Guide to IELTS
The Makkar Guide to IELTS can make your scores skyrocket with its six books: two for General Training and four for Academic practice. Written by Dr. Kiranpreet Kaur Makkar, the Makkar book series contains detailed information in each book, addressing all core skills and knowledge you need to obtain.
Here is an overview of this guide:
Since the Makkar Guide to IELTS has six books, here is the overview of the content of each book.
- IELTS General Training – Readings for Exam Practice
Written with Sudipto Mukherjee, this book contains 20 reading tests with answer keys for assessment. The reading exercises improve reading comprehension and skills in answering questions about a passage. This guide can also develop your vocabulary with its different vocabulary words.
- IELTS General Training – Essays and Letters from Past Exams
What more do you need to find when this book already has different articles and letters with over 300 solved essays? This prep guide includes descriptions and details about various written papers and writing modules. After each lesson, there are also practice questions from the previous actual IELTS tests.
- IELTS Graphs from the Past Exams
This book starts the Academic practice book series. Perfect for Academic Writing Task 1, this guide includes more than 200 diagrams with descriptions and rules on constructing them. This part is understandable, detailed, and concise.
The graphs presented in this book are from the past actual IELTS exams and people’s experiences in taking the test. Note that the writers did not take any diagrams from other books or materials.
- IELTS Academic Essays from the Past Exams
This book is suitable for practicing Academic Writing Task 2. Since this writing task is more complex than any other, this guide can help you with 300 solved academic essays. It presents different articles and tips on writing literary works.
Aside from that, the lessons and activities can also improve your grammar proficiency and vocabulary.
- IELTS Academic Readings for Exam Practice
Following its successful first volume in 2019 with 20 theoretical texts, questions, and answer keys, this book had its second volume containing 60 academic passages. There are also tips and strategies regarding reading comprehension.
- IELTS Speaking from the Past Exams
Lastly, this book is perfect for practicing Guesswork Parts 1, 2, and 3. It contains 78 various topics describing different things and issues. Moreover, there are also speaking parts and questions to answer.
We offer you this list to guide you with the respective prices of the Makkar books.
- IELTS General Training – Readings for Exam Practice – USD 12.96 to USD 12.98
- IELTS General Training – Essays and Letters From Past Exams – USD 14.91 to USD 41.63
- IELTS Graphs from the Past Exams – USD 11.64 to USD 16.99
- IELTS Academic Essays from the Past Exams – USD 34.37
- IELTS Academic Readings for Exam Practice – USD 11.96 to 11.98
- IELTS Speaking from the Past Exams – USD 19.63 to USD 20.03
If you want to purchase these Makkar books in a set, here is the price list:
Dr. Kiranpreet Kaur Makkar has written and published the 2021 versions of her Makkar IELTS book series on January 1, 2021, under the Makkar Publishing House.
The Makkar Guide to IELTS is available in the paperback book version only.
5. Objective IELTS Intermediate Student’s Book with CD ROM
Authored by Michael Black and Wendy Sharp, Objective Guide to IELTS is a 2-level preparation course, including comprehensive Academic and General Training practice. The following are the details about this prep guide.
The Cambridge Learner Corpus formed this book from the actual IELTS candidate papers. It contains a test, writing, and separate grammar folders to improve vocabulary and grammar proficiency. There are also 80 units with a variety of topics you can try.
Aside from that, this guide also includes additional writing workouts, making it an IELTS module perfect for writing practices. Assessing yourself after every activity is possible with the answer keys provided in the book.
Lastly, you can also find the CD for each level to help develop your vocabulary, grammar, and pronunciation.
Feel free to purchase the Objective IELTS Intermediate Student’s Book with CD ROM on Amazon for USD 12.00 to USD 65.04. If you want to have the Advanced version of this book, you can find it on Amazon also for USD 12.52 to USD 78.00.
This book’s only edition is the 1st edition, published in 2006. However, if you want to move levels, you can find the Objective IELTS Advanced Self Study Student’s Book with CD ROM. The Intermediate Student’s Book is for everyone who wishes to have a 5.0 to 6.0 band score, while the Advanced is for those who want to achieve 6.0 to 7.0.
These books are only available in the paperback book versions.
6. Focus on IELTS Foundation Coursebook: Industrial Ecology
Sue O’Connell had made an excellent prep guide when she wrote the Focus on IELTS Foundation Coursebook if you want to know why you should read the following information about this book.
List down all the language and skills you need because this book is ready to give you all of that! With its Vocabulary Builder and Academic Word Study sections, you can learn different new words essential for the IELTS. You can also have an overview of the exam through the exam link boxes in the book.
Aside from that, there are also writing topics, graded reading texts, writing practices, and error hit lists. These sections can improve your critical thinking, reflective learning, and answering questions while avoiding the common mistakes in IELTS.
You can purchase this book’s first edition on Amazon for USD 6.25 to USD 54.86. On the other hand, you can find its Focus on IELTS New Edition for USD 18.46 to USD 61.23.
Sue O’Connell published a newer version of this book, the Focus on IELTS New Edition. It has more updated and better content with more practice questions and lessons.
You can only find this book in the paperback book version.
7. Ace the IELTS: IELTS General Module – How to Maximize Your Score
While Simone Braverman fulfills her goals of helping people learn English with short modern techniques, she formulated the Ace the IELTS: IELTS General Module – How to Maximize Your Score. To give you an overview of this book, here are some details and information.
If you want to finish studying in a few weeks, this book is one of your must-have prep guides. It contains tips, strategies, advice, and techniques for achieving excellent band scores in computer-delivered and paper-based IELTS exams.
In addition to that, this book also has full-length IELTS practice tests with answers and sample responses. They are easy to understand, detailed, and concise. Moreover, you can also find practical tips on improving task-solving speed while avoiding common mistakes.
Lastly, buying this book also comes with links to online practice tests. However, you can only find these links if you have the book.
You can go to Amazon to find this book’s 4th edition for USD 18.36 to 25.76. If you want to have its 3rd edition, you can buy it for USD 19.69 to 33.80.
The Ace the IELTS: IELTS General Module has its newest edition published on May 15, 2021.
The only format available is the paperback book version of this prep guide.
8. The Ultimate Guide to IELTS Speaking
Authored by Parthesh Thakkar, the Ultimate Guide to IELTS Speaking remains one of the best Speaking Guides for the IELTS. It is a comprehensive textbook that can sharpen your speaking skills. To know more about this book, read the following information below.
The Ultimate Guide to IELTS Speaking comprises speaking activities, interview questions, and cue cards essential for practicing speaking skills. It also provides necessary materials to learn different tips and strategies in formulating English sentences on the spot. Moreover, it also lets you answer practice tests to gain confidence in answering the actual IELTS exam.
Furthermore, this book has vital sections, including the overall generic questions, answering interview questions, activities for independent practice, two categories of cue cards, and answer keys for assessment. These sections enable you to try the real-time experience of IELTS speaking activities.
You are always welcome to purchase this book on Amazon for USD 10.89 to USD 32.44. Meanwhile, if you want to check the Ultimate Guide To IELTS Writing, you can find it for USD 11.32 to USD 32.28.
This book only has one edition: the 1st edition from 2009. However, you can match this book with the Ultimate Guide To IELTS Writing. This book includes Academic and General Training tasks, different types of questions and how to answer them, and tips on avoiding common mistakes in answering IELTS.
This book is only available in paperback format.
9. Kaplan’s IELTS Prep Plus 2019-2020: 6 Academic IELTS + 2 General Training IELTS + Audio + Online
The Kaplan Test Prep boasts its IELTS prep book: Kaplan’s IELTS Prep Plus 2019-2020: 6 Academic IELTS + 2 General Training IELTS + Audio + Online. It is one of the best prep guides when improving your English proficiency. Here are some details about the Kaplan guide to explain the content better.
The Kaplan’s Guide to IELTS has well-structured practice tests that go best with one or more official practice exams. You won’t need to worry about the complexity because many tips and strategies can help you. The questions are also understandable and concise.
On the other hand, you can learn many things regarding the four core skills. You can speed up your reading skills, figure out contexts in listening activities, practice pronunciation skills in speaking and develop grammar proficiency, diction, and punctuation in writing.
There are also eight full-length practice exams: two for General Training and six for Academic. Lastly, you can also use the CD provided.
Feel free to find Kaplan’s IELTS Prep Plus 2019-2020 on Amazon for USD 16.98 to USD 93.75. However, please remember that you can still choose the book’s quality to control your expenses.
This book’s latest edition is the IELTS Prep Plus 2019-2020: 6 Academic IELTS + 2 General Training IELTS + Audio + Online, published on October 2, 2018.
The Kaplan’s Guide to IELTS is only available in paperback format.
There are plenty of IELTS prep guides you can find in different libraries and online stores, but only a few of them are informative and reliable. Since investing in a prep book and preparing for the test can determine your band score, it is better to carefully choose which one you will use for the preparation.
Aside from the quality and reliability, it is best to consider these things when buying one: your preferences, learning style, budget, target band score, number of days allotted for the preparation, and of course, your current level of English proficiency.
If you think a single book cannot help you with everything you need, you are welcome to choose another one! You only need to ensure that the guides you choose can make your band score go higher.
Preparing for the IELTS exam can give you a lot of pressure and challenges, but an excellent prep guide can lift the weight you feel. When you choose the right one, you also go on the right path.
Additional Reading — IELTS Exam Preparation Books
- Book Review of “The Official Cambridge Guide to IELTS”
- Book Review of “Mometrix IELTS Book for General Training and Academic”
- Book Review of “IELTS Superpack (Barron’s Test Prep)”
- Book Review of “Makkar IELTS Guides and Books”
- Book Review of “Objective IELTS Intermediate Student’s Book”
- Book Review of “Focus on IELTS Foundation Coursebook”
- Book Review of “Ace the IELTS”
- Book Review of “The Ultimate Guide to IELTS Speaking”
- Book Review of “Kaplan’s IELTS Prep Plus 2019-2020”