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IELTS materials and resources to complement your learning

12 Nov, 2020
IELTS materials and resources to complement your learning

In this article, we’re going to learn more about what IELTS is, and look at some of best materials and resources available to help complement your preparation.

What is IELTS?

The International English Language Testing System, or IELTS, is a test of English language proficiency for non-native English language speakers. It is jointly managed by the British Council, IDP: IELTS Australia and Cambridge Assessment English. Since its introduction in 1989, it has become one of the most trusted forms of English-language assessment and is accepted by over 10,000 universities, employers and immigration organisations worldwide.

IELTS training is an internationally recognised system for testing English language ability in four categories: Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking.

There are two different types of IELTS test:

  • Academic IELTS is for international students who would like to study at a UK university or join an institute of higher education.
  • General IELTS focuses on English survival skills and social and workplace language, and is aimed at those who are hoping to move to an English-speaking country.

IELTS Materials & Resources

The IELTS exam generally requires preparation. Alongside in-person or online preparation courses, there are many preparation books and online resources which can complement students’ learning.

There’s a wealth of information out there — from online blogs and YouTube channels, to books and smartphone applications. There are many free IELTS materials available online, and also some great apps or books that you can purchase.

It can be overwhelming to know where to start looking for the most useful resources, so we’ve put together this guide featuring some of our favourite IELTS preparation materials and IELTS practice materials, as recommended by our expert English teachers.

Resource type #1: IELTS websites

Resource type #2: YouTube channels

Resource type #3: IELTS apps

IELTS Preparation with Kings online and in-class

Ready to take your IELTS exam?

Resource type #1: IELTS Websites

There are hundreds of websites out there that offer materials and resources to help you prepare for your IELTS exam online. Most websites are totally free to access, although some have paid options to ‘unlock’ more exclusive content or join live lessons.

Here, we describe some of our favourite IELTS websites and tell you why we like them.

IELTS.org

This is the first port of call for anyone who wishes to learn about the IELTS exam. It is a comprehensive website from the IELTS parent organisation that provides clear and accurate information on all aspects of the exam. The IELTS.org website contains extensive information about the IELTS test itself, as well as plenty of advice and useful links about taking IELTS for migration, study and work.

The website covers everything you need to know about the IELTS test, from detailed information about the test format, timings, and scoring method, to videos with useful tips to help you perform well in all 4 sections of the test — reading, writing, speaking and listening. It has many sample questions for students to try, for all sections of the exam.

In terms of practical information, the IELTS.org website also tells you how to book your IELTS test and get in touch with your local Test Centre.

Why we like it:

The IELTS.org website contains information that would answer almost any query one might have about the exam!

Where to access:

Access free at: ielts.org

Ideal for:

  • Students who want to book an exam or need to find out more about IELTS for migration, work or study purposes.
  • Teachers who need to have a thorough understanding of all aspects of IELTS, as well as being a source of sample test papers with answers that can be used with students.

IELTS-Simon.com

IELTS-Simon is run by an ex-IELTS examiner who aims to provide the best information about the test from an examiner’s perspective.

It consists mainly of free daily lessons designed for self-study. Close to 3,000 short daily lessons concerning each part of the IELTS exam can be found on site. On the homepage you will find sections including About the exam, IELTS General Writing, IELTS Listening, IELTS Writing Task 1 and IELTS Writing Task 2.

Each lesson is compact and self-contained with information, tips and techniques, as well as tasks for learners to complete. Learners are then able to upload their answers to a comments section, where they can see other learners’ answers as well as Simon’s answer key. Lessons include useful links to other IELTS websites as well as audio files and videos, and there is also a full course of video lessons available on the site.

A member site, updated every week with video, audio and written lessons, is also available. These lessons are more in-depth and progress in a more organised, inter-connected way. Subscribers are able to join discussions and talk to Simon through this site.

Why we like it:

  • The site offers a large selection of short, easy-to-use lessons, each based on a discrete skill or language point.
  • The tasks are well designed and the videos are enjoyable and informative.
  • The inclusion of a members’ section provides the option of more in-depth materials and support.

Where to access:

Access for free at: ielts-simon.com

Ideal for:

  • Students studying alone, teachers and learners enrolled on a course who are looking for supplementary practice and training.
  • Learners who are looking for a greater degree of interaction with their IELTS training site.

IELTSLiz.com

IELTSLiz.com is an IELTS preparation website designed by a specialist (called Liz, as you may have guessed!) with ‘many years teaching experience of IELTS test preparation around the world’. Her website includes tips, model answers, practice lessons, topics and helpful videos.

The website has dedicated sections for each of the four exam papers. Each section contains essential tips, practice lessons designed by Liz, videos, practice exams papers (in both paper and online formats), and an extensive range of materials.

There is a useful section containing vocabulary for the exam topics, as well as lessons about paraphrasing and idioms. An additional area focuses on ‘On The Day Tips’ which let the candidate know what to expect on the actual day of their IELTS test, and how they should prepare for it. It includes specific advice for what you should do in the week leading up to the test to ensure you’ve covered all bases and are feeling confident and ready-to-go.

Why we like it:

  • Ieltsliz.com contains a wealth of high-quality material for both learners and teachers alike.
  • The tips on how to achieve the best possible score are extremely helpful and the videos are well-presented and easy to understand.
  • There are clear guidelines about marking criteria and the lesson design is superb.
  • The range of IELTS speaking topics is impressive and the IELTS writing resource includes over 100 essay questions.

Where to access:

Access for free at; ieltsliz.com

Ideal for:

  • The IELTSLiz site is ideal for students and candidates who are looking to achieve a score of Band 7 and above, or need an IELTS Band Score of 6 or above to be accepted into their university of choice.
  • The website is perfect for students who want to self-study at home as it’s clearly presented and easy to follow instructions.

IELTSBuddy.com

IELTSBuddy offers simple and easy-to-understand overviews of the four exam papers in both the IELTS Academic and IELTS General Training modules. These overviews provide a useful guide to exam formats, question types, timings, numbers of speakers (listening), genres (reading) and essay types (writing). As well as overviews, each section contains the following:

  • IELTS Writing paper: tips and strategies and lessons for task 1 and 2, model scripts with feedback, practice tests and IELTS-focused grammar lessons.
  • IELTS Speaking paper: tips and strategies, lessons, practice tests, sample speaking answers for the 3 parts of the paper and audio of a complete mock speaking exam.
  • IELTS Reading paper: lessons, tips and strategies, and practice tests.
  • IELTS Listening paper: lessons, tips and strategies, and practice tests.

There is also a section on IELTS vocabulary which includes Academic Word List exercises, topic vocabulary for 9 common IELTS topics, along with examples of model essays that include vocabulary for each topic. It also features idioms, collocation and phrasal verbs, explaining why they are important for IELTS, how to learn them and offering practice exercises.

Why we like it:

  • Attractive animated videos outline requirements for Writing Task 1 and give an overview of Task 2 question types.
  • Exam training is clear and easy to follow.
  • Forums and comments sections for the different exam papers so that people can share ideas, learn from each other and give each other helpful feedback.

Where to access:

Access for free at: ieltsbuddy.com

Ideal for:

  • Students studying independently, as well as teachers and learners enrolled on a course who are looking for supplementary practice and training.

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Resource type #2: IELTS YouTube channels

YouTube channels offer students a wealth of video resources, and there are many which focus on IELTS. Most are free to view, and can be accessed whether you’re at home or on the go, making them a hugely useful resource.

Here, we describe some of the most comprehensive and tell you why we like them.

IELTS Official

This channel has an excellent range of video content relating to all of the exam components, provided by IELTS experts, as well as students who have already taken the exam.

Videos included on the IELTS Official channel include Q and A sessions with experts, tutorials on computer delivered tests, information about the different exam components, sample writing and speaking tests, stories from previous test-takers, and advice on preparing for the IELTS exam from both students and teachers.

Why we like it:

  • As the official IELTS channel content is relevant and up-to-date, and videos include speakers from a range of English-speaking countries.
  • The range of video content is wide, and there is something suitable for all students— no matter which area of the exam they need most support with.
  • This channel gives students a useful overview of the exam as a whole, not just the specific parts within it – and the doors you can open with a qualification.

Where to access:

youtube.com/c/IELTSOfficial

Ideal for:

  • Students preparing for the exam alone, or who are enrolled on a course and need supplementary practice and training.
  • Students who are deciding which English language exam to take and who would like more information.

IELTS Advantage

The IELTS Advantage YouTube channel is a great resource for IELTS test takers who are looking for additional tips and advice on how to get the best possible IELTS score.

This channel has a wide range of content for students of all levels. Much of the content is separated out by band, making it more specific to the test taker than other channels with IELTS tips and support.

Content includes advice from IELTS examiners and experts, mini lessons on vocabulary, as well as mock speaking tests. There are also more general IELTS related posts, such as a video looking at the pros and cons of the computer-based IELTS test.

Why we like it:

  • It has lots of real-life examples, such as looking at students' writing and going through how to improve their essay.
  • They give lots of good tips about how to improve writing techniques for the exam and for life.

Where to access:

youtube.com/c/Ieltsadvantage/

Ideal for:

  • Students learning alone, or who are looking for supplementary practice and training.
  • Students who would like a level of interaction with the content provider — comments on videos are encouraged so that there is plenty of engagement with students.

IELTS Liz

The IELTS Liz YouTube channel complements the main website, detailed above, in providing useful tips and lessons for students preparing for the exam.

Specific video content includes input from Liz on IELTS speaking techniques, how to answer questions, and useful vocabulary for part 1, part 2 and part 3 of the speaking test. The channel covers all parts of the test though, with specific playlists for Listening, Writing Task 1, Writing Task 2 and Speaking. There is a further playlist which features a selection of her most popular lessons.

Why we like it:

  • There is a huge range of video content, and the delivery is always very clear.
  • The range of IELTS speaking topics in particular is very impressive.

Where to access:

youtube.com/c/IELTSLiz789/

Ideal for:

The channel is perfect for students who need IELTS study material to work through remotely as the content is delivered clearly and concisely.

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Category #3: IELTS Apps to download

There are many apps available today that offer learning resources to help you prepare for your IELTS exam online. Apps mean that you can learn whenever and wherever you want, and with content that is constantly updated and simple to view and use,

Here, we recommend three great apps for any IELTS test takers out there!

IELTS Test Pro 2020

The IELTS TestPro app is great to use in conjunction with an IELTS preparation course, and gives you access to free IELTS practice tests, sample questions, flashcards, and score reports with detailed analytics.

The app features over 3,000+ questions written by expert tutors which cover all sections of the International English Language Testing System exam: Grammar, Vocabulary. Listening section, Reading section, Writing section, Speaking section.

There is detailed statistics on your progress for every question.

Why we like it:

As you practice questions on IELTS Test Pro, the app tracks your performance and highlights your test strengths and weaknesses, helping you establish what you need to focus on in order to boost your IELTS test score.

Where to access:

On Google Play
On the Apple app store

Ideal for:

  • Students who need a resource platform which enables them to study on-the-go.
  • Anyone who is looking for a highly focused method of study, and regular reviews on progress.

IELTS Word Power

Developed by British council, this app is an excellent resource for improving your vocabulary, and therefore your IELTS Reading, Writing, and Speaking band scores.

The Word Power app was specially designed as an aid for test-takers to improve the range, as well as the complexity, of their vocabulary. It features a series of vocabulary-building games, for a range of levels to ensure it is appropriate for each user.

Why we like it:

It is easy to use, and a perfect for using if you just have a short amount of time for additional study

Where to access:

On Google Play
On the Apple app store

Ideal for:

  • Students looking for level-specific vocabulary input
  • Those will short blocks of time available for additional study

BBC Learning English

Available on Android device and iOS, the free BBC Learning English app is a great resource for any student preparing for IELTS.

The app has daily updates of fun and topical lessons, transcripts and quizzes.

Audio programmes are available to download so that you can listen to them as often as you need — even offline.

You also have the choice to watch or listen to each programme without using the text support. You can then watch or listen again using the built-in transcripts and subtitles. Once you've practised your listening and reading skills, you can use the quizzes to test understanding.

Why we like it:

There is a huge range of content on this app, and the fact that programmes are downloadable makes it very accessible to learners everywhere.

Where to access:

On Google Play
On the Apple app store

Ideal for:

  • Students who would like access to very topical material, and to resources which allow them to test their comprehension.
  • Students who may not always have reliable internet access.

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IELTS Preparation at Kings: online or in-school

At Kings we offer a range of IELTS preparation programmes to suit all needs.

This includes an online preparation course, ideal right now as countries around the world deal with the ever-changing norms around life and learning brought about by Covid-19.

The Kings Advantage

Our expert teachers are highly experienced in teaching and preparing for IELTS, and our consistently small class sizes mean that students benefit from a very personalised learning experience, which in turn assures them the best possible progress.

Online IELTS SmartClass

IELTS SmartClass is an immersive online learning experience. It provides expert preparation for the exam through specialist IELTS-focused lessons.

The course can be followed for a minimum of 1 week. It is open to students of Kings level 4 and above (lower intermediate), and includes 22.5 hours of study per week, 12. 5 of that being live teacher-contact time.

Find out more

IELTS Preparation Course

The IELTS Preparation Course enables you to develop core English fluency and get expert preparation for the exam through specialist IELTS-focused lessons.

The course is offered across all four UK locations: Brighton, Bournemouth, London and Oxford and can be followed for a minimum of 2 weeks. It is open to students of Kings level 4 and above (lower intermediate), and includes 8 lessons per week focused on preparing for the IELTS test, including

  • Working under exam conditions
  • Understanding what the examiner expects
  • Planning and reviewing your answers
  • Preparing mentally for exam day
  • Managing your time through practice tests
  • Familiarising yourself with all 4 sections of the academic IELTS test

Find out more

Intensive IELTS Preparation Course

The Intensive IELTS Preparation Course offers you development in core fluency in English and fast, effective preparation for the exam through specialist IELTS-focused lessons and weekly exam practice.

The course is offered at our Oxford school and can be followed for a minimum of 6 weeks. It is open to students of Kings level 4 and above (lower intermediate), and includes 12 lessons per week focused on preparing for the IELTS test.

Find out more

Super Intensive IELTS Preparation Course

The Super Intensive IELTS course focuses completely on preparation for the exam.You’ll maximise the skills needed for exam success in just 2 or 3 weeks.

The course is offered at our Oxford school and can be followed for a minimum of 2 weeks. It is open to students of Kings level 5 and above (intermediate), and includes 32 lessons per week focused on preparing for the IELTS test.

Find out more

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Ready to take your IELTS exam?

Kings Oxford is an IELTS Test Centre.

It has been the IELTS Testing Centre for the Oxford region since 1996. Since then we have tested around 50,000 people.

We currently test around 2,000 people per year.

For more information on taking the test, including how to book, visit the IELTS test centre page on our website.

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