Preparation Material for IELTS
Top Five IELTS Preparation Materials
The best way to prepare for a test is to familiarise yourself with the pattern of the paper and then practice, practice, practice. There is an abundance of preparation material available these days, both offline and online. You can easily purchase whatever material you feel best suits your needs from either a bookstore near you or through the net.
Official IELTS Practice Materials
These are the only preparation materials that are endorsed by the owners of the test, namely British Council, IDP IELTS Australia and University of Cambridge ESOL Examinations. These materials are said to help you understand the format of the test the best as they are made by the conductors of the test themselves. The materials come in two volumes - Volume 1 and Volume 2. Both volumes have a number of Speaking, Reading, Listening and Reading samples. Volume 1 comes with a CD Rom that has a number of Listening tests in it. Volume 2 comes with a DVD that has Listening Tests as well as samples of Speaking Tests. You can consult this material to acquaint yourself with the pattern and the kinds of questions that are expected to come in the exam. A student can either obtain these from the official website or purchase them from his nearest test centre. The official website - www.ielts.org - also makes available free samples of their testing material. The link to the website for online purchasing is - http://www.ielts.org/test_takers_information/how_do_i_prepare.aspx
Cambridge IELTS Collection (Book 1 - 8)
Cambridge University Press publishes their IELTS Collection which has 8 books starting from Book 1 which is suitable to beginners and going up till Book 8 which would be suitable to users who already possess a reasonable level of proficiency in English. Most test tutors deem this to be the best prep source available today. These books come with a CD Rom or a Cassette that contains the Listening tests. Each set has four Listening and Speaking tests which are common to both modules - Academic and General Training. Apart from that, each book set has four Reading and Writing tests for the Academic module and two Reading and Writing tests for the General Training module. The books also contain the scripts for the Listening sets. Answer keys to all questions are given. The Cambridge IELTS Collection is quite easily available in bookstores but you can also purchase it online from www.amazon.com. It is also available for free download on some sites. One site on which you can view the entire Book 4 online is http://assets.cambridge.org/052154/4629/sample/0521544629ws.pdf.
New Insight into IELTS
This is another book that is a product of Cambridge University Press. It follows up on the Cambridge IELTS Collection and is for more advanced practise and expertise. The book presumes the user to have proficiency in English equivalent to six band and above. The book offers more intensive practice with a number of full length solved practice tests. The student has the option on focussing on whichever section he finds he has a weakness in. The workbook ends with a full length mock test and a key at the end to check your progress. An additional practice test is available on the website. The link to the website is - http://www.cambridge.org/us/esl/catalog/subject/project/item404890/New-Insight-into-IELTS/?site_locale=en_US.
IELTS Testbuilder Series
Testbuilder is a product of MacMillan English. The company develops preparation materials for almost all standardized tests under the brand name of Testbuilder . The company also develops and publishes the preparation material. They publish two books for preparation called IELTS Testbuilder 1 and IELTS Testbuilder 2. The book runs on more or less the same format as the Cambridge Collection with four complete Academic tests whose Listening and Speaking tests are common to the General Training module. It again has two full General Training tests. A detailed key is published for all tests. MacMillan retails from its website which is http://www.macmillanenglish.com/Product.aspx?id=24378 and also from most bookstores near you. The book is said to guarantee an above 6 band score.
404 Essential Tests for IELTS
AAPress is a company that produces a complete range of books to suit all your test preparation needs. One of the products in their range is the 404 Essential Tests for IELTS workbook. This is the only company that publishes separate workbooks for the Academic module and the General Training module. The materials are available in a set which comprise of one book and two audio CDs. The whole set will have four samples of Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking complete with the answer key. Apart from that, the book has useful tips on how to ace the exams and other advice on ways of improving your skills. AAPress retails from most bookstores and their website which is - http://aapress.com.au/ielts/english/products.html#404.
Apart from the ones listed above, there are many more preparation materials available in the market. For example, AAPress publishes 101 Helpful Hints for IELTS and 202 Useful Exercises for the test. MacMillan English publishes a book called Ready for IELTS which runs on the same format as the TestBuilder series. Most of the materials that are available in the market are available for free download as torrents. Some sites for free torrents download are:
Experts advise students not to focus on materials so much. Do not attempt to acquire all the materials. Buy a book or two and concentrate on preparing from that properly. Supplement your preparation by reading English newspapers and watching English movies. That way, you will not get bored of studying. At the end of the day, it is the quality of your preparation, and not how much material you go through that will matter.