Preparing for IELTS can be daunting for international students. To help them, there are many free resources and test materials on the internet. However, nothing compares to good IELTS books in which you can take practice tests and learn study tips. In this article, I will discuss four different IELTS preparation books, their advantages and disadvantages, and what they include.

As you probably know, there are two different types of IELTS: general and academic. Because this site focuses on bachelor’s degrees and above, this article will discuss IELTS books for academics. Some of the books that I will recommend have great tips for IELTS general, just to let you know.

Which Books for IELTS Should I Buy?

There are two categories of IELTS books, which are practice tests and study guides. I would recommend buying one book from each category at least. However, I know that some people cannot buy two books due to financial restraints. In this case, you should buy the practice test book rather than study guides because practicing for IELTS is essential in getting a high score. If you can though, you should buy at least one book from each category. Also, if you need the extra practice and can afford to do so, consider buying all four books.

Check Also: Available Programs for International Students


IELTS Books for Practice Tests

As mentioned above, these books for IELTS practice tests are essential for your getting a high score. Why? Because you need the practice to familiarize yourself with the test format, time restraints, and types of questions. These books contain many practices tests that are designed to be like real IELTS tests.


1. The Official Cambridge Guide to IELTS Student’s Book with Answers with DVD-ROM (Cambridge English)


If you can purchase one book, you need to purchase this book for IELTS. It contains EIGHT IELTS practice tests with answers! The book comes with a DVD, which contains the listening part for the IELTS. Also, it contains a decent amount of studying tips, which are very useful.

The preparation book is designed by Cambridge English, which is known for its solid reputation for its English tests such as IELTS and TOEFL. If you need a good IELTS prep book, this is it!



  • Decent Study Material
  • EIGHT Practice Tests
  • Extra practice materials other than practice tests
  • Audio DVD



  • The study guide is not as thorough as the study books below


I highly recommend this book to those who are going to take the IELTS test. This book is the best book on the market for IELTS practice tests, and many customers also agree with this statement. To see the customers’ reviews from Amazon for this book, visit this link!



2. Barron’s IELTS with MP3 CD, 4th Edition 4th Edition

If you are looking for extra practice tests, Barron’s IELTS Preparation book does its job! It contains 7 practice exams, which are formatted exactly like the IELTS test! The advantage of Barron’s is that it is almost half the price of the Cambridge book. Although personally, I think that Cambridge’s book is slightly better than Barron’s, Barron’s is pretty accurate about its test too! If I were you, I would buy the Cambridge book first, then Barron’s if you need the extra practice.



  • Cheaper Price
  • 7 Great Practice Exams



  • Study Tips are not great in my opinion


If you would like to see what other customers say about this book on Amazon, visit this link!


IELTS Study Guide

This type of preparation book for IELTS focuses on how to take the test, rather than giving practice materials. The study guides in these books are much more detailed than the study tips in the practice tests section. However, they do not provide much practice, which is essential in getting a high score. So, by themselves, these study guides books won’t raise your IELTS score considerably. However, combined with the practice tests books, these study guide books will increase your score significantly. Why? Because you can practice the tips that you’ve learned from these books in the practice tests to sharpen your skills.


1. Target Band 7: IELTS Academic Module – How to Maximize Your Score (Third Edition) Paperback 

Do not let a novice-looking book cover fool you. Although the cover is not great in my opinion, Target Band 7 was written by a form IELTS taker with lots of experience. The author does a good job of dividing each section into small parts. For example in reading, the author divides the reading section into true/false/not given, multiple-choice, and gap tasks and also gives detailed strategies on how to solve them. For writing task 2, the author divides the section into an argument, hidden argument, and situation kind. She does this to all of the sections, so make sure to check this book out!

The main criticism that this book had was the lack of practice tests. Because of this criticism, the latest edition has included a practice test. In my opinion, however, one practice test is not enough for your IELTS preparation. It is vital that you have other books that have many IELTS practice tests so that you can have much practice as possible.

The book itself has great strategy guides, and if supplemented with practice tests, it would be sufficient. I highly recommend this book. To see the great reviews from buyers on Amazon, visit this link.



  • Best book in the market for strategy
  • A detailed explanation of what to do with each question type
  • Helps students answer questions effectively and with less time


  • Only one test included



2. IELTS General Training & Academic Study Guide: Test Prep Book & Practice Test Questions for the Listening, Reading, Writing, & Speaking Components on … English Language Testing System Exam 


If you want to have a comprehensive study guide on each section of the IELTS, then this book is for you! It explains in detail test-taking strategies, which are extremely detailed and thorough. You will know exactly what types of questions are in each section and how to approach each type of question. Other useful information such as common spelling mistakes and grammar mistakes will help the student even more!



  • A detailed explanation of each section
  • Bonus content such as vocabulary, common grammar mistakes, and common spelling mistakes



  • Not many practice tests


If you want to see what other customers have to say about this book on Amazon, visit IELTS General Training & Academic Study Guide Review.


I hope that this guide has helped you in choosing which are the best books for IELTS. To know more information on studying abroad, check out the Available Programs for International Students.