How to Prepare for The IELTS Exam for Free

January 26, 2018 by Angela Rutherford

Your IELTS exam is coming up and you know that it’s important but you just don’t have the money right now for a preparation course.

How can you get yourself ready for the test without spending a dime?

Luckily, there are some really amazing websites out there that you can use to get your test and English skills in shape for maximum performance. All you need to invest is time.

You can find out exactly what examiners are looking for in the writing and speaking sections, review grammar, improve your writing, pick up your reading speed and even practice your pronunciation - all online, and all for free. In fact, with everything that’s available out there, it’s hard to know where to start.

In this blog, I’d like to share a selection of reputable sites that successful candidates are using. Some of these are dedicated to IELTS prep and others offer practice to help you become more fluent.


You’re reading this IDP website blog, so you already know about the great resources available at IELTS Canada Test . For example, you can get up to 25 hours of online study and a free official practice test. That’s a great deal and a perfect place to start.

Next, go to which claims to have gathered the best free IELTS exam preparation materials and I have to agree. You’ll find a substantial collection of sample test questions and model answers on the site. In addition, the grammar and vocabulary exercises are designed to help you reach higher levels.

Plus, you can get a lot of practice with each Reading, Listening, Writing and Speaking module and you can familiarize yourself with the test format and question types.

If you prefer to watch and listen, go to IELTS Liz . This friendly and easy to follow teacher has created a fabulous selection of videos to assist with the Listening, Writing and Speaking components of the exam.

In fact, there are many excellent teacher/tutor run sites out there that provide free preparation materials and advice. Here are four highly recommended ones to check out:


Your performance on the IELTS exam will showcase your ability to clearly communicate in and understand English. Exercise your skills before the exam using some of these great websites:


centredes to practice using a variety of structures with confidence in your writing and speaking.


This is a Cambridge English service where you can choose a topic, write about it in English and get instant feedback to help you improve.

Listening and Reading

A variety of short and simple reading and listening activities centred around common topics you might find on the exam like money, science and technology, and nature.

If you don’t know about this resource then today is your lucky day. Here you will find a huge variety of topics by speakers from all over the world - you can listen to interesting talks and read along to check your understanding or read first and then listen for pronunciation. So much fun and learning is possible with Ted Talks.

Learning English with the BBC has much to offer the language learner including this collection of dramas that you can listen to, read along and learn vocabulary from.

I can’t say enough about Randal Davis’ excellent site that offers so many listening topics for different levels of learners. In addition, the activities are well thought out to support your understanding and strengthen your listening skills.

Reading speed

Sign up for a free teleprompter, load in a reading passage, set the reading speed and condition yourself to read faster. This will help you get through the Reading section of the exam with more ease and time to answer the questions.


Find a language partner at italki and spend time talking face to face with someone fluent in English.

Warm up your mouth for more clear pronunciation with BBC Learning English’s Pronunciation Tips.

Finally, for more tips on how to improve your English for free using your iPhone specifically, check out my blog here.

Now you have everything you need to set yourself up for success on your IELTS exam and still have money left in your pocket to celebrate with afterward. Invest your time wisely, have fun and good luck!



Angela Rutherford is an experienced English teacher and exam preparation coach who lives and works in Toronto, Canada. After a career teaching in Ontario public and international private schools, she established her own tutoring business and enjoys working exclusively with IELTS candidates who want to do their best on the exam.

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