Today, I am going to share with you some of the best free IELTS resources online. I know that there are lots of websites offering free IELTS ebooks these days, but unfortunately most of them are illegal copies of books that should not be given away for free. Others are just rubbish 20-page books written by people who are not experts.
In this article, I will give a brief review of a few books that have been made freely available by their authors. This is very important. When you download books illegally, you are stealing from hardworking people and supporting thieves. However, the kind teachers who have written the books below have generously made their work freely available to the public.
Highly Recommended Free eBooks
Below, I will list what I consider to be the best free IELTS ebooks, with a short review/overview for each. I will also include a link. Please use these links in order to support the authors of the books. Do not download them from other sources.
An Ex-Examiner’s Guide to the IELTS Band Descriptors
Shelly Cornick is a former IELTS examiner and she runs probably the best IELTS website, MyIELTSClassroom.com. I have highly recommended it here.
Her free e-book has a slightly misleading name because it seems as though it is a guide to all parts of IELTS, but actually it is only for the writing test band descriptors. Still, it is an excellent resource. In fact, I would go as far as to say that it is essential reading for all IELTS candidates.
The purpose of her book is to demystify IELTS writing by showing what is really required. If you are a regular reader of my website, you already know that I frequently complain about the nonsense that most IELTS tutors spread. As a former examiner, Shelly is in a unique position to give information is that reliable and important.
Honestly, this is a superb book that I think would help increase any writing candidate’s score. It covers some rarely discussed issues such as using fake statistics, unclear referencing, and some surprising information about punctuation.
If you are struggling with IELTS writing (and most people do!) then you should definitely grab a copy of this free ebook:
Magoosh Guide to IELTS
This book is a pretty thorough overview of IELTS that could be really useful for someone who has no prior knowledge. It starts at the most basic level (what is IELTS?!) and then gets more detailed, offering guidance on dealing with time management for the writing test, etc.
Once the book gets into the nitty-gritty of the various IELTS sections, you will find practical guidance on dealing with tough questions and information about what really does and doesn’t matter. Their advice about IELTS speaking part 3, for example, is really helpful. They also have some practical examples on differentiating formal, semi-formal, and informal language.
This is a very long book (163 pages!) and so you could spend many weeks reading it. I think that it would made a good starter text and could certainly help anyone looking to do self-guided study.
The one thing I don’t particularly like is that they’ve put a lot of promotional materials right at the front, but of course this is a free ebook and they are trying to promote their course, so it is understandable that they do this.
Other Free IELTS Books
Those were the best two free ebooks. Unfortunately, there aren’t any others that I would really classify as top quality, but below I will include some others that you may want to download. These free IELTS ebooks that are not quite as good as the ones above but still possess some value. I will offer a short review of each and some explanation of their value.
Ace the IELTS and Target Band 7 by Simone Braverman
First of all, I should note that these are free ebook samples and that you have to pay for the full books. However, the samples are substantial and valuable.
These books are extremely in-depth and tell you pretty much everything you need to know about IELTS. One issue is that they are perhaps too in-depth and therefore quite overwhelming for some IELTS candidates. Still, there is a wealth of information available.
I like that she has offered realistic and helpful IELTS strategies for time management and for dealing with the instructions to various question types. Her views on attitudes towards IELTS are also important.
If I had to quibble, I would say that the books contain some errors in grammar that are a bit off-putting for me and her website is quite spammy and misleading, but the actual information contained in these books is great, so consider downloading the free trial versions and purchasing the full editions if you find them useful.
IELTS Language of Change
This is a free ebook from exam-practice.com. It is pretty short and basic and doesn’t look very good because it is so minimalistic, but the information contained within it is reasonable. It could teach you some useful language for doing task 1; however, much of the advice is not well explained and so it might not be helpful for everyone.
There are also some cases of imperfect language. I noticed that the people who wrote this book do not really understand commas. However, as you will learn from Shelly Cornick’s book (above), this is not the most important part of IELTS writing and so even a few punctuation problems would not really affect your grade.
IELTS Vocabulary Improvement Plan
This is a free ebook from IELTS Advantage, a well-known training school run by Chris Pell. It is an extremely short and basic book that they use to get sign-ups for their mailing list, but it has some value. Undoubtedly, the advice that they offer is useful. However, the cynic in me says that it is all just common sense…
Still, it looks good and contains genuinely applicable advice for learning new words. If you want to boost your vocab, you can sign up for their mailing list and download the book. (You could also just read this, which contains basically the same advice.)
(You need to visit their mailing list sign-up form at the bottom of any page on their website.)
There is an expression in English: “You get what you pay for.” It basically means “free stuff is usually lower quality than expensive stuff.” Of course, that is not always true, but the best IELTS resources usually cost some money. As such, you may want to look into books that are paid and written by professional authors with a team of educational experts supporting them.
I have a video guide to the best IELTS books here:
and you can also download my paid ebooks here
I also have a free ebook of sample essays that you can download.
Do you know of any others? Put them in the comment section below and I will add them to this list if they seem worthwhile.