Top 15 Best IELTS Preparation Books in 2021: Get the Highest Score

Top 15 Best IELTS Preparation Books: Get the Highest Score Possible

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Getting a very high score in the IELTS exam is possible. However, you need to be well prepared. The preparation process can feel intense, especially if you are not familiar with the test format, and you are just getting started. But, you can get past this stage with patience, the will to learn, lots of practice, and of course – IELTS preparation books. 

You can take several steps to prepare for the IELTS exam, and IELTS preparation books are a must-have resource you need to succeed, especially if you are looking at self-study and are aiming for the highest score possible.

Preparation gives you a better understanding of what the IELTS exam entails and how to approach it. The sample test and answers, tips, and techniques in these books will help you obtain a high score and give you an edge over the crowd. 



There are tons of options available online, so to make your decision easier, we put together a list of the best IELTS preparation books. Read our informed review and find out which ones suit your needs.

Let’s get on with it!


BEST FOR INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS
The Official Cambridge Guide to IELTS for Academic & General Training with Answers with DVD-ROM (Cambridge English)
IELTS 15 General Training Student's Book with Answers with Audio with Resource Bank: Authentic Practice Tests (IELTS Practice Tests)
BEST FOR CANADA EXPRESS ENTRY
IELTS Superpack (Barron's Test Prep)
The Official Cambridge Guide to IELTS for Academic & General Training with Answers with DVD-ROM (Cambridge English)
IELTS 15 General Training Student's Book with Answers with Audio with Resource Bank: Authentic Practice Tests (IELTS Practice Tests)
IELTS Superpack (Barron's Test Prep)
BEST FOR INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS
The Official Cambridge Guide to IELTS for Academic & General Training with Answers with DVD-ROM (Cambridge English)
The Official Cambridge Guide to IELTS for Academic & General Training with Answers with DVD-ROM (Cambridge English)
IELTS 15 General Training Student's Book with Answers with Audio with Resource Bank: Authentic Practice Tests (IELTS Practice Tests)
IELTS 15 General Training Student's Book with Answers with Audio with Resource Bank: Authentic Practice Tests (IELTS Practice Tests)
BEST FOR CANADA EXPRESS ENTRY
IELTS Superpack (Barron's Test Prep)
IELTS Superpack (Barron's Test Prep)

#1. Best IELTS Preparation Books: Top Pick for Canada Immigration IELTS Preparation – Barron’s IELTS Superpack

IELTS Superpack (Barron's Test Prep)

The Barron’s IELTS Superpack is appropriate for both professionals and academics and one of the best general IELTS preparation books. This is our top pick if you are preparing to take the IELTS test for the purpose of immigrating to Canada, such as Express Entry.

It is a comprehensive four-book set that combines all the necessary Barron’s IELTS material into one convenient pack. That is why it’s called an IELTS superpack! It includes: 

  • Barron’s IELTS: This contains four academic module practice exams, two general training practice exams, online audio tracks, and a well-detailed subject review.
  • IELTS Practice Exams plus MP3 CD: This set contains six academic module practice exams, six general training practice exams with explained answers, and audio material on CD and online.  
  • Essential Words for IELTS: This set contains the 600 words that appear the most often on IELTS exams, audio CDs, and online audio access. You can broaden your vocabulary by learning these words. 
  • IELTS Strategies and Tips with MP3 CD: Here, you can learn expert techniques to answer exam questions and get access to the audio material online and on CD.

What We Like About It:

  • It is very comprehensive.
  • The Essential Words in the pack are excellent for pointing your IELTS preparation in the right direction. 
  • It gives students a full picture of the test and valuable tips for its preparation.
  • It helps students build up their confidence level as the level of difficulty starts from easy to challenging.
  • Those who have used this book have rated it at the top rank as the best book for IELTS preparation guidance and advice.
  • It also provides the essential reading, writing, and listening sample practice & exercise sheets.
  • Overall, this beneficial book contains all the important study materials for the IELTS test preparation and offers great value for the money. 

What could be Improved:

  • Although it contains a lot of information, which makes it a good value for the money, those on a budget may consider it expensive. If you fall into this category, a cheaper alternative will be for you to get Barron’s IELTS Singlepack.
  • The book could be better designed with complete beginners in mind.

Barron’s IELTS Test Preparation Books – Superpack


Barron’s IELTS Test Preparation Books – Singlepack


#2. Best IELTS Preparation Books: Top Pick for International Students – The Official Cambridge Guide to IELTS

The Official Cambridge Guide to IELTS for Academic & General Training with Answers with DVD-ROM (Cambridge English)

The Official Cambridge Guide to IELTS book is suitable for both academic and general training. It is prepared to help you achieve a high IELTS score through tips and advice from previous test-takers. 

It contains step-by-step guides for all the sections and eight practice tests that’ll improve your knowledge and help you plan, prepare for your test, and achieve the best scores possible. Finally, you will get video and audio CDs for all the practice tests and listening exercises.

What We Like About It:

  • It prepares you for all the sections of the IELTS exam.
  • It gives you relevant and practical strategic advice.
  • The book uses information collected from people who have previously taken the IELTS test.
  • It provides well-explained answers for all the eight practice tests.
  • The pack includes a DVD with speaking and listening tests. 

What Could be Improved:

It’s better for learning the structure and format of the exam than learning new things.   


#3. Best IELTS Preparation Books: Top Pick for Practice Test Materials – Official IELTS Practice Materials

Official IELTS Practice Materials 2 with DVD

Official IELTS Practice Materials are a series of test materials in different volumes written by official IELTS partners⎼ the British Council. It contains sample test questions from all sections of the exam and their answers. These sample test questions familiarize you with the kind of questions to expect on the test day.

It also explains how each IELTS test section is assessed and offers important study tips. Apart from students, teachers who help students prepare for the IELTS exam can also benefit from the book.

What We Like:

  • Both students and their teachers can benefit from the book.
  • The British Council is the IELTS exam’s official partner, so information in the book can be taken as coming from the horse’s mouth. 
  • All the volumes of the book include an audio CD/DVD for practicing the listening test.
  • It also includes ‘examiners’ comments.

What Could be Improved:

  • It is expensive.
  • It does not have ample practice material. 

#4. Target Band 7 – IELTS Academic Module, How To Maximize Your Score

Target Band 7: IELTS Academic Module - How to Maximize Your Score (Third Edition)

This is one of the best IELTS preparation books for individuals aiming at a high score in their IELTS exam.

Target Band 7 is written by Simone Braverman, a previous test-taker. She composed the book to be easy to understand and with straightforward, practical tips and techniques. Since the author of the book has taken the test herself, the book’s information and techniques are out of personal experience and analysis. 

It contains solutions to problems she faced when taking the IELTS test. This book has helped many users achieve success, and they’ve, in return, reviewed it as the best literary book for IELTS preparation. 

What We Like About It:

  • It is easy to read and very clear.
  • The author is someone who has formerly written the test. 
  • It contains excellent tips on test techniques, such as how you can use your time more effectively and become more efficient.  
  • It’s excellent for people targeting a high IELTS score. 

What Could be Improved:

  • It doesn’t include full IELTS exams.
  • There are some sample tests in the book that don’t have answers. 

#5. Cambridge IELTS 15 Academic Student’s Book with Answers 

IELTS 15 Academic Student's Book with Answers with Audio with Resource Bank: Authentic Practice Tests (IELTS Practice Tests)

Cambridge IELTS 15 is the most up-to-date version of the respected Cambridge IELTS Academic Series published July 1, 2020. The book targets IELTS Academic students and contains four tests and a great answer section to assist with our IELTS preparation and improvement. Authentic examination papers give you an incredible idea of what to expect regarding your IELTS exam.

What We Like About It:

  • The book explains the different question types clearly, which aids your preparation. 
  • It divides the excellent tips up by section.
  • It is well-detailed

What Could be Improved:

  • The book is not appropriate for complete beginners because they didn’t brilliantly layout the information. 

#6. IELTS Practice Tests Plus 2 with Key and CD Pack

IELTS Practice Tests Plus 2 with Key and CD Pack by Judith Wilson (10-Nov-2005) Paperback

The IELTS Practice Tests Plus 2 is an excellent practice book for all four tests. It also covers techniques that’ll help you achieve a high score. It is one of the best IELTS preparation books that are ideal for both academic and general training exams, especially with how it analyses the components of a correct and a wrong answer. Its audio scripts and useful tips will also facilitate your improvement.  

What We Like About It:

  • The book contains sample answers with explanations and annotations.
  • It is easy to use
  • It includes six full tests. 
  • The book contains several ideas about strategies to achieve a high score.

What Could be Better:

  • To get the most out of your preparation, you have to combine the book with other IELTS preparation books. 
  • It only focuses on the test strategy and nothing new. 

#7. Ace the IELTS: IELTS General – How to Maximize Your Score

Ace the IELTS: IELTS General Module - How to Maximize Your Score (3rd edition)

This ‘Ace the IELTS Book’ covers the general overview of the IELTS exam structure and the type of questions to expect. It is the third edition by the popular writer Simone Braverman who is a former IELTS test taker. This third edition covers the comprehensive aspects of the subjects covered and also contains sample tests and questions. 

The users of the book have highly rated it as easy to understand and one of the best IELTS books that can be used by any aspiring candidate. Therefore, every student looking to achieve the desired success in their IELTS exams with IELTS preparation books must have this book. 

What We Like About It:

  • It is suitable for candidates focusing on the IELTS general module.
  • You can learn how to increase your IELTS scores.
  • The book has a grammar, and essay writing eBook included.
  • It contains useful tips from the University of Cambridge
  • It contains effective ways you can improve your skills in only few weeks.

What Could be Improved:

  • No sample papers or listening CDs 

#8. IELTS Trainer

IELTS Trainer Six Practice Tests with Answers and Audio CDs (3) (Authored Practice Tests)

IELTS Trainer by Cambridge English contains six full practice tests as well as exam tips that help you build up to success in your exams. It is one of the best IELTS preparation books because it contains easy-to-follow, expert advice. 

The first two papers contain step-by-step advice on how to solve each paper. The additional practice activities are influenced by series of real test takers’ exam papers, and they center on areas where students would usually need the most assistance.

What We Like About It:

  • It includes answers to the questions.
  • Step-by-step guidance through two test papers. 
  • It comes with audio CDs for the listening tests and sample exams for the other areas.

What Could be Improved:

  • It doesn’t concentrate on grammar.
  • It is only ideal for Academic IELTS preparation. 

#9. Kaplan’s IELTS Prep Plus with 8 IELTS Practice Tests (2019-2020)

IELTS Prep Plus 2019-2020: 6 Academic IELTS + 2 General Training IELTS + Audio + Online (Kaplan Test Prep)

If you are looking for one of the best IELTS preparation books that present the test’s best strategies, the Kaplan’s IELTS Prep Plus with 8 IELTS Practice Tests is a superb resource. It contains well designed unofficial practice exams. A combination of Kaplan’s practice test and one or more official practice exam would make a great set of resources for self-study. 

What We Like About It:

  • It contains excellent practice questions that overall helps you improve your English language proficiency.
  • Reasonable difficulty levels.
  • It contains helpful tips that will help you with the test.

What Could be Improved:

  • Some users have complained that there were some grammar and punctuation mistakes.

#10. Mometrix IELTS Book for General Training and Academic 2021 – 2022

IELTS Book for General Training and Academic 2021 - 2022: IELTS Secrets Study Guide for All Sections (Listening, Reading, Writing, Speaking), Practice ... Video Tutorials: [Includes Audio Links]

Mometrix IELTS Book for General Training and Academic 2021 – 2022 is a fantastic book that increases your chances of passing the IELTS exam. It includes practice test questions, tips, techniques, and video tutorials.

What We Like About It:

  • It is affordable
  • The video tutorials make it easier for you to master challenging topics.
  • It covers the test’s four sections.  

What Could be Improved:

  • The book has no affiliation or endorsement by any testing organization.

#11. Cambridge Vocabulary for IELTS

Cambridge Vocabulary for IELTS Advanced Band 6.5+ with Answers and Audio CD (Cambridge English)

This is the advanced version of the ‘Cambridge Vocabulary for IELTS book. It stands out among other IELTS preparation books as it focuses on vocabulary for students aiming for 6.5 and beyond. The book contains useful tips on how to treat tricky IELTS exam tasks.

What We Like About It:

  • It contains useful vocabulary-building techniques and tips for students aiming for 6.5 band and above. 
  • The book contains practice exam tasks for every paper.
  • It covers tricky vocabulary areas like collocation and paraphrase.

What Could be Improved:

  • It is mainly for academic tests.

#12. Cambridge Grammar for IELTS

Cambridge Grammar for IELTS Student's Book with Answers and Audio CD (Cambridge Books for Cambridge Exams)

When it comes to grammar, the ‘Cambridge Grammar for IELTS’ book is one of the best IELTS books that cover that aspect. It also helps you build your listening skills. The book contains several tasks from the Academic and General Training, Listening, Reading, and Writing modules. You’ll also find the grammar explanations and grammar glossary helpful.

What We Like About It:

  • The book contains realistic and practical exercises that are similar to what you’ll meet in the exam.
  • Useful for self-study or for final preparations.
  • It includes grammar explanations and a grammar glossary.

What Could be Improved:

  • Some users have complained that it does not include enough practice materials for academics.

#13. English Collocations in Use

English Collocations in Use Intermediate Book with Answers: How Words Work Together for Fluent and Natural English

This book is suitable for intermediate and advanced IELTS learners. It helps you improve your spoken English style and make you sound like a native speaker. With this book, you’ll have access to 60 lessons on several topics, with each containing two pages for the practice exercises and theory with more than 1,500 collocations overall. 

If you aim to get band 6.5+ for IELTS, the English Collocations in Use is one of the best IELTS preparation books you’ll find for this.

What We Like About It:

  • The book is designed to help you achieve a band 6.5+.
  • It is an excellent book that brings you closer to the natives.
  • It is useful as a self-study.

What Could be Improved:,

  •  It is a little too expensive.

#14. New Insight into IELTS

New Insight into IELTS Student's Book with Answers (Insights)

‘New Insight into IELTS’ is one of the IELTS preparation books that provides comprehensive IELTS preparation and practice. It helps you build up the techniques, language, and test strategies you need for the IELTS test over time. Academic and general training candidates as well as students whose current band level is around band 6, will find this book helpful. 

What We Like About It:

  • This book contains a comprehensive introduction to the test and a complete answer key. 
  • It is suitable for both classroom use and self-study.
  • It contains helpful tips and strategies.

What Could be Improved:

  • Some users have complained that it gets delivered without a CD.

#15. Road to IELTS

Road to IELTS is technically not a book. It is an interactive digital course that offers tutorial videos, mock papers, and other interactive exercises. It is available in three versions:

  • The first version is the free IELTS practice papers. You can download this to get a general view of what the IELTS test entails.
  • The second version is the Last Minute version. It is available to candidates who registered for the IELTS test through the British Council. If you fall in this category, you can access nine free videos, 100 interactive activities, advice, tutorials, and two practice tests for each of the four areas. 
  • The third is the full version. With a $50 payment, you can access the full version which includes more than 300 activities, a complete online course, and nine practice tests. 

What We Like About It:

  • It contains excellent practice exams.
  • There are several free features. 
  •  It is engaging and very interactive. 

What Could be Improved:

  • The full version is a little expensive when compared to other IELTS preparation books. 
  • Even on the paid full version, you can only get 90 days of access. 

Tips to Prepare for Your IELTS Test

  • Familiarize yourself with the test format. You can do this by going through the questions and task types for each test section. Also, read the IELTS rules and regulations found in the application form’s “Notice to Candidates and Declaration.”
  • Practice and complete sample test materials. Doing this will give you an overview of what you’ll meet in the Listening, Reading, Writing, and Speaking tests.
  • Consider taking a preparation course. There are language schools and IELTS centers worldwide that could assist you with test preparation. This is not compulsory, but a lot of test-takers have found attending a preparation course helpful. Your local IELTS test center can give you more information. 
  • Register for your test as soon as possible. The number of test takers allowed to take the test on a certain date may be limited, so the earlier you register, the better.

How to Choose the Best IELTS Preparation Books for You

When selecting one of the IELTS preparation books above, keep in mind what you hope to benefit from it. Some of the best IELTS books provide general training, while others are more academic. Academic IELTS preparation books provide greater information than the general training books. 

BEST FOR INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS
The Official Cambridge Guide to IELTS for Academic & General Training with Answers with DVD-ROM (Cambridge English)
IELTS 15 General Training Student's Book with Answers with Audio with Resource Bank: Authentic Practice Tests (IELTS Practice Tests)
BEST FOR CANADA EXPRESS ENTRY
IELTS Superpack (Barron's Test Prep)
The Official Cambridge Guide to IELTS for Academic & General Training with Answers with DVD-ROM (Cambridge English)
IELTS 15 General Training Student's Book with Answers with Audio with Resource Bank: Authentic Practice Tests (IELTS Practice Tests)
IELTS Superpack (Barron's Test Prep)
BEST FOR INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS
The Official Cambridge Guide to IELTS for Academic & General Training with Answers with DVD-ROM (Cambridge English)
The Official Cambridge Guide to IELTS for Academic & General Training with Answers with DVD-ROM (Cambridge English)
IELTS 15 General Training Student's Book with Answers with Audio with Resource Bank: Authentic Practice Tests (IELTS Practice Tests)
IELTS 15 General Training Student's Book with Answers with Audio with Resource Bank: Authentic Practice Tests (IELTS Practice Tests)
BEST FOR CANADA EXPRESS ENTRY
IELTS Superpack (Barron's Test Prep)
IELTS Superpack (Barron's Test Prep)

One other thing you should do is select a book that picks your interest. This way you’ll be motivated while preparing and not get bored.


FAQs on IELTS Preparation Books


Final Thoughts on IELTS Preparation Books

Overall, preparing with books that suit your needs and your learning style is the best approach. Using one of the best IELTS preparation books will make it easier for you to achieve the desired success.

You may consider working with a tutor for the writing and speaking tests, if you need someone to hold your hands. A tutor can give you personalized feedback ⎼ something you can’t get from books.

Do not forget that little bits of practice would go a long way. Once you pass your IELTS test excellently, you can move further in your immigration journey.


Did you prepare for your IELTS test with the aid of an IELTS preparation book?

If yes, please share your thoughts by commenting below. I bet others would love to hear about your experience.

2 thoughts on “Top 15 Best IELTS Preparation Books: Get the Highest Score Possible”

    1. Louisa,
      Thanks for letting us know which one of the best IELTS preparation books you bought. Congrats on acing your IELTS exam! We wish you all the best with your future endeavours.

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