One of the things I like to do on this site is point you in the direction of the best IELTS on the internet. On this page you will find links to some of the best sites I have found for IELTS preparation. These are not necessarily exam practice sites, but places where you can go for good advice and help with your language skills.
I should add that I have only included non-commercial sites here and have ignored commercial sites that advertise themselves as being free but only exist to sell you a product.
What are you looking for?
Official IELTS website
University and academic English sites
Youtube IELTS videos
Other IELTS sites
Free practice sites
Video sites with subtitles
Online academic lecture courses
If you are looking for exam practice materials, you will find them on these pages:
The official IELTS website
This is without doubt the place to start for any serious IELTS candidate. The one problem is that the site is huge and slightly hard to navigate, so here are a few suggestions for you:
Download the candidate booklet: this is a must read. You will find here a clear guide to all the modules and answers to FAQs on the test procedure.
Free sample questions: you will find here sample writing, reading and speaking questions.
University and academic English sites
A good place to look for IELTS resources are university sites, particularly if you are intending to go to university.
Learn Higher: excellent resources on all aspects of academic English with listening, reading, making notes and academic writing
ELC: a huge site with excellent advice on preparing for all 4 skills. You will also find high quality practice exercises there.
UEfAP: a truly wonderful site with 100s of interactive exercises for all 4 skills
Nottingham University – Self Access Centre: this is not a dedicated IELTS site but it still has a range of excellent resources and exercises for academic English which are very good for academic IELTS candidates
University of Victoria – ELC – Study Zone: another site with many, many interactive exercises helpfully arranged by level.
English for University: this is a blog/website for academic English, but you will find lots of good links here to online resources as well as good writing advice.
Mojamatura: a site for Croatian school leavers that has links to many excellent resources and exercises on the internet
Forums can be a great way to find advice and resources. They are also good for the soul because you find people there who have exactly the same problems as you. There is also the possibility of finding someone to practise with.
AIPPG IELTS forum: there are lots of IELTS forums, this is undoubtedly the best – you’ll find me here as “teacherdominic”
IELTS Exam Forum: this forum appears not to accept any new postings but there is a lot of useful material on it.
Test Prep Forum: this another smallish forum but the advice on it tends to be excellent.
Using English: this is a general English forum where you can ask teachers questions about grammar and vocabulary. It is a useful site to check out if you are looking for a specific answer to a specific question – a lot of teachers use this site. If you search “IELTS”, you will find some excellent articles written by Alex Case on reading skills.
IELTSanswers: an excellent site with particularly good and practical advice on writing – although all the site is worth exploring
Yes IELTS: this site is run by Tish Kirkland. You need to set yourself up with a Moodle account and then you should find lots of good thing inside.
IELTS essay check service: this site is particularly good on academic task 1
My IELTS teacher: great advice to be found here and some excellent material to download, including a set of very useful IELTS preparation tips.
Scoopit: IELTS and English Skills: a very interesting innovation. There are various new newspaper type sites on the net. I use this one to pick out for you the pick of the IELTS and English language news. You’ll won’t just find “news” about IELTS, but also excellent articles about learning English from different websites/blogs. Subscribe.
PWEnglish: Super duper. There is lots to explore here. Good advice and daily activities based on newspaper readings and he’ll give you a free level test if you join his site. Top recommendation
Simon’s FCE Blog: this site has truly excellent advice for writing letters.
IELTS IELTS : English Ryan’s blog on IELTS. Ryan is now back in business and he has a collection of excellent sample letters and essays based on recent IELTS questions.
Englishtrainer: this is a well-written English language blog from the Philipines with some excellent IELTS advice and some practice material too. You’ll find some good interactive exercises as well.
A Teacher’s Odyssey: this is another excellent IELTS blog from the Philipines. You will find some writing makeovers here which are very well done and well worth a view.
IELTS Bangladesh: This blog specialises in tips and tricks for the exam.
Best IELTS test online: An excellent blog with some very practical advice for the different skills.
IELTS Simon: daily 2/3 minute exercises mostly in IELTS format. The speaking advice is good.
RLI Berni’s Blog: this is written by Berni of Gapfillers and from time to time has good advice on IELTS preparation.
EFL4u: super resource with lots of lessons plans to download
Alex Case: this is probably the ultimate resource for finding exam English materials written by the inestimable Alex Case. The best
IELTS videos – the best of Youtube
Naturally the place to start here is Youtube but not all you find there is top quality, so here are some suggested channels:
Passport to English – superb training videos showing format of the exam and how to approach each task
voxguru: many excellent videos with top advice on all four skills
English Ryan: some excellent videos on the process of writing essays
dominiccole2000: yes, these are my videos!
Goodatesl: a series of very professionally made videos with good advice on the exam format
You can also find more speaking videos on my IELTS speaking videos page.
Other IELTS sites
British Council – Professionals: the best dedicated IELTS site on the internet
British Council – English Online: a series of excellent articles giving advice on how to prepare for the exam
World English: you will find a series of excellent test guides from the Homlesglen Institute here – very well worth looking at.
Parapal: you will find here a range of very well-made online interactive exercises: the vocabulary exercises are absolutely brilliant. For me, this is much the best site of its kind.
TOEFL iBT: okay so this isn’t IELTS, but the worlds of IELTS and TOEFL are close enough for you to find lots to learn at this the best of the TOEFL sites.
Free Practice Sites
Wiziq: this is a very interesting concept. Wiziq is a free video conferencing program. If you sign up for it, you’ll find a variety of teachers offer online lessons or tutorials.
English Club – Skypers online: a group of IELTS candidates who are looking for someone to practise their English with online. Join and you can find a friend!
Video sites with subtitles
22 frames: this site shows videos in different categories including serious topics which you can watch and read subtitles at the same time. Excellent practice for listening.
TED: another similar site with videos on a variety of topics that you read the subtitles as you watch.
The Economist – Daily Chart: a practice resource for academic part 1 writing
Language to describe Graphs: clever resource page for graph language for academic part 1 writing
Writefix: this is an excellent site with advice on essay writing in general; it also has some IELTS speaking materials. Top recommendation and recently upgraded. Look at the short form essays for IELTS.
Essay map: this is a useful tool for learning how essays can be planned
Thesis Builder for persuasive essays by Tom March: a very interesting tool for making a thesis statement for essays and understanding how essays are structured
The University of Manchester Phrase Bank: an excellent resource for academic writing. You will find series of phrases for a series of functions including introductions and conclusions. This is not exam English but true academic English.
University of Toronto Writing Guide: another excellent university site with advice on academic English. I particularly recommend the section on EFL which has some guidance of common writing problems for second language learners.
Eyercize: a good site to help you with speed reading
Shaks.ws: another interesting site to practise your speed reading
Cueprompter: another online program that can help you read more quickly
ESL bits: excellent general reading resources with different question types
Google News Timeline: allows you to read news connected stories related to a topic of your choice
BBC Learning English – Words in the News: superb selection of news stories with vocabulary explained and audio script
Guardian Weekly EFL: each month they publish an article with a series of student exercises based on the reading
New Scientist: an online newspaper magazine with academic articles on the environment, health and science for the general reader – excellent practice.
Science Daily: another online magazine with mainly scientific articles
The Economist: news on political and economic topics
The Guardian world news: articles on topics of general interest from around the world
IELTS Speaking Advanced: this may look like a young site, don’t be fooled. It is a superb resource made by the people who produce Splendid Speaking and is particularly helpful with the vocabulary you will need for the test. Top recommendation.
British Council China Interview Skills: a series of MUST watch videos for anyone to see before their speaking exam. The advice is clear, correct and beautifully presented. A complete must.
Video and learning audio experiment: a set of videos with commentary that show the format of each part of the speaking exam with a particularly interesting section of “don’t do” videos which demonstrate some common mistakes.
Passport to English: you will find here a high quality series of 3 sample speaking videos with transcripts to download.
Voxopop: an online speaking community website where you can listen to questions and record your answers: I have my own group there “Dominic Cole’s IELTS speaking practice”
Splendid Speaking: subscribe for free and get exam speaking advice with transcripts as well as daily vocabulary exercises.
English Central: pronunciation practice by listening to videos and recording yourself.
Cambridge animated pronunciation: if you are familiar with the phonemic chart , this is a very useful site that gives you practice on making the correct sounds in English.
Manythings: there is a super set of simple exercises here. The idea is you listen to 2 similar sounds. Identify the correct sound. Then listen and repeat. Not perfect but excellent practice.
Listening and podcasts
BBC 6 minute English: weekly podcast with listening questions, reading transcript, vocabulary help and suggested further reading. There is also a huge archive of past podcasts you can listen to. Absolutely perfect for IELTS candidates who need daily practice. Very highly recommended.
Free practice listening tests: this is a selection of over 20 free practice tests
ELLLO: almost certainly the best English language online listening site with listenings split into levels and with transcripts to read as you listen.
BBC podcasts: excellent listening material to download as MP3 on a wide variety of topics
Randall’s ESL Cyber Listening Lab: another helpful resource centre for listening with 100s of listenings divided into easy, medium and hard
Academic Word List from Nottingham University: the academic word list is one of the key tools for IELTS candidates. This site gives an excellent introduction to it and has a good range of exercises too.
Academic Word List exercises: this is another excellent AWL site with several interactive exercises.:
A year’s worth of words: a selection of words commonly found in SAT and GRE exams with interactive quizzes
Go English idioms: idioms are great for speaking. Try this index of words commonly found in idioms.
Just The Word: this is an excellent tool for improving your vocabulary: it shows you good word combinations – vital.
Laufer and nation vocabulary test: a fairly simple site that allows you to test your vocabulary at different levels. Good for spelling as you need to type the words yourself.
Longman academic vocabulary website: this gives you practice using some very advanced vocabulary for different academic disciplines.
Longman vocabulary website for word parts: essential for any serious student of vocabulary with excellent graded exercises to help you build your vocabulary with lots of exercises on word parts.
Professional word web: another site that helps you learn topic vocabulary in selected academic areas (engineering, law, social work etc). It’s superb because it gives you the words in context. There are also games for you to practise!
Verbalearn: vocabulary learning website where you can build your own wordlist
Vocabulary profile: a really interesting tool that can help you with your vocabulary learning. It shows you in colour which words are common words (the words you must know), which are AWL words (words that are useful for IELTS) and which are less common (words that you may need to recognise but not produce).
Daily word exercises
Daily word from the Academic Word List: these are my exercises on the AWL with several exercises on every word to help you with collocation and usage.
English club: a series of excellent daily exercises on phrasal verbs, idioms and sayings with links to other related words. Most recommended.
English online idioms: an idiom a day with short definition and example
English online words: a word a day with short definition and example
Flo Joe Word Bank: set of daily activities to improve vocabulary (comes in 3 levels)
Gapfillers word of the day: an excellent site with lots of good free things. You can sign up for a new word or idiom to be sent to your inbox everyday.
Phrasemix: a very intelligent site with good advice on learning general English. Most days of the week a new phrase is posted with explanations of how to use it.
Superkids: several different word a day exercises split into different levels. Despite the title this is a challenging site
Wordnik: I have a new favourite online dictionary. You need to go and visit this dictionary: it does everything you can think and then a little bit more.
Macmillan Online Dictionary: for me the best second best of the online dictionaries. The benefit of this dictionary is that all the words in the definitions are hyperlinked.
Cambridge Online Dictionary: another truly excellent and wholly free online dictionary. The benefit of this dictionary is that it has both an advanced and a learners’ dictionary.
Oxford collocations: a good place to look to find phrases and collocation
Visuwords: if you are a visual thinker, this dictionary/thesaurus will be great for you.
I have two excellent sites to recommend to you here, both of which should help with listening and for spelling skills even if they are not in IELTS exam format. Don’t worry too much about using the keyboard, you can always do it with pencil and paper first.
dictationsonline: there are graded dictations here – although the listenings are quite short, they make for excellent practice even at the lower levels
Listen and write: another similar site which will test your spelling and listening
Grammar girl: the most interesting of the grammar sites on the net. Regular updates on common language problems with clear and user-friendly explanations. Top pick
British Council grammar movies: if you are looking for one site for grammar, this is probably the place to go first.
Cloze test creator: this could be filed under vocabulary or reading as well. It is a fantastic resource for checking your vocabulary/grammar/reading.
Movie segments to assess grammar goals: a terrific site. You get ideas for learning and teaching grammar from short bits of movies.
Online academic lecture courses
Open culture: an absolutely brilliant site where you can listen to/watch free lecture courses on a huge variety of academic subjects. THis is why the internet was created! If you are serious about learning, don’t just study IELTS go here.
ABC radio national: an Australian radio station listing of free audio lectures with the added advantage of tape scripts that you can read as you listen. Excellent for IELTS preparation
Academic Earth: amazing what you can find for free. Lecture courses from top academics in a range of different fields. Check it out.
Guardian University Guide: profiles of all the universities in the UK and the courses they offer with league tables (to be taken with a slight pinch of salt!)
i-student life: read about the experiences of students studying abroad