The best IELTS book depends on your individual circumstances, but based on my experience, I can recommend a few great book. Feel free to ask questions about these selections below. If you have any favorites that I have not listed here, I would love to add them to the list! Post a comment!
(Updated July 30, 2015)
The Best Books for Most Students
1. The Official Cambridge Guide to IELTS (2014) is the absolute best book for most students. Published by the people who actually produce the IELTS, it includes a great overview and introduction to both the General Training and Academic Modules. It includes eight practice tests, and the included DVD contains videos of the speaking test being administered. Individual chapters of the book really focus in on specific skills necessary to get a high score. You can’t do much better than this one.
2. Barron’s IELTS SuperPack (2013) is a great value. You get the guide to the test, a test collection (six tests) and a fairly useful vocabulary book. The guide to the test is quite detailed and is almost as useful as the official guide. The vocabulary book includes exercises that you can follow to develop your vocab before test day.
3. Target Band 7: IELTS Academic Module – How to Maximize Your Score (2012) is a short and sweet overview of the test. It is also quite cheap. It doesn’t include audio or practice tests, so I can’t recommend it all by itself, but if you have a bit of extra money to spend it complements the above books quite well by providing some extra tips and suggestions. Don’t be scared off by the short length, as independently published books like this one usually cut out all of the general introductory crap that no one really needs.
1.Barron’s IELTS Practice Exams (2013) contains six academic and six general tests, delivered on CD. A good value is to purchase this as part of the SuperPack, above. There isn’t much by way of instructional material, but the tests are pretty realistic.
2. Cambridge IELTS 10 Student’s Book with Answers (2015). As of right now this is the latest official collection of practice tests from Cambridge. You get four good practice tests… and not much else. If you already have one of the above books to give you an overview of the test (and strategies to score well) this is a pretty good value. Cambridge publishes one of these every few years and they stay in print, so you can probably buy volumes eight and nine as well. Used copies of the even older volumes are usually available (and are a nice value).
The Best Books for Writing Practice
1. IELTS Writing Section (Academic): How To Achieve A Target 8 Score (2013) is very short and is independently published, but I do recommend it. It focuses on structures and patterns and will show you step-by-step how to answer the writing questions on the IELTS. It also includes as lot of helpful sample answers. The best writing-only book I’ve yet encoutered.
2. Cambridge Vocabulary for IELTS Advanced Band (2012) is a great way to ensure that you’ve got the vocabulary skills necessary to deliver solid written responses. It includes a lot of activities that should improve your overall vocabulary before test day as well as your ability to paraphrase. It handles collocations quite well, which is an area that a lot of students struggle with.