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Best Books for IELTS Preparation

These are some of the best books for IELTS preparation which are specifically written for self-study.

So this will mean you do not need a teacher to use the books.

The books can be bought on Amazon UK or the IELTS buddy books can be purchased here. 


IELTS Practice Tests
(practice tests only - no guidance)

Cambridge IELTS Self-study Packs

These come with one Book with Answers and 2 Audio CDs. They are official examination papers from University of Cambridge ESOL Examinations. There are currently 16 IELTS books in this series.

They are definitely some of the best books for IELTS preparation as each contains four authentic IELTS papers from Cambridge ESOL. There is no teaching, but it provides excellent exam practice because the materials are from real tests.

The Student's Book with answers contains four complete tests for Academic candidates, plus extra Reading and Writing modules for General Training candidates. 

A comprehensive section of answers and tapescripts makes the material ideal if you are working partly or entirely on your own.

IELTS 5 Practice Tests - Academic and General 

There are several books in this series for general and academic.

Each contains 5 full length IELTS practice tests (no. 1-5).

They are supposed to be as authentic as the real IELTS papers, and and can be taken at home  to estimate your real IELTS score. 

  • 5 full-length Academic IELTS practice tests with answers
  • Listening recordings (downloadable mp3) with transcripts, locations of answers in sentences are underlined
  • Sample speaking test recordings (downloadable mp3) with examiner’s report on every student’s performance and an approximate Band score
  • Reading Answer Help chapter shows why correct answers are the right ones and where they are located in the passages
  • All writing tasks have model answers provided


IELTS Practice Tests
(practice tests with guidance & tips)

IELTS Practice Tests Plus 2

There are a total of 6 practice tests with this IELTS book and a CD. The practice tests have all the modules with answers: writing, reading, speaking and listening. 

It is one of the best books for IELTS preparation as it provides tips and strategies alongside the tests, sample answers for the writing with explanations  of why the writing would get a high or low score, and guidance on grammar and topic related vocabulary.</p>

This is the second book in the series, but there is also a previous book: IELTS Practice Tests (Practice Tests Plus)

IELTS Trainer

This book is included in the best books for IELTS preparation list as it has six full practice tests (reading, listening, writing and speaking) and includes guidance and exam tips. 

The first two tests are completely guided with step-by-step advice on how to tackle each paper. There are also extra practice activities, example exam papers from real candidates, and tips that focus on areas where students usually need most help. 

It has all the answers, audio CDs with all the listening activities from the tests as well as an explanatory key with model answers for the Writing paper.

IELTS Trainer 2

This books comes with six IELTS practice tests with details of the test format, the differing question types, the scoring system, and guidance and tips. There is also a version for General Training.

There is training and guidance in the first two practice tests, followed by the final four tests to develop your exam technique.

There is grammar, vocabulary and writing practice exercises and downloads for the audio for the Listening tests, audioscripts, the answer key and model writing answers.

Books for IELTS Writing

IELTS Made Easy: Step-by-step guide to writing a Task 1

One of the best books for IELTS preparation self-study is our own eBook on the writing task 1

It's designed for self-study and it's packed full of tips and special strategies to help you master the writing.

It includes line graphs, bar graphs, pie charts, tables, maps, processes, and tips on describing multiple data sources.

It can be used by beginners and more advanced students as it works from the basics up to more complex writing.

IELTS Made Easy: Step-by-step guide to writing a Task 2

This is IELTS buddy's own eBook on the writing task 2

Like the Task 1 book, it's designed for self-study and can be used by beginners and more advanced students as it works from the basics up to more complex writing. 

It explains how to analyse IELTS essay questions, brainstorm, plan, and write paragraphs quickly and effectively. 

There is a special section on opinion essays and a section on coherence and cohesion.

Writing for IELTS (New Edition)

This book is for those who are around the 5 – 5.5 level and want to score a band 6 or higher. 

It is divided into 12 units and each one focuses on a different IELTS topic and related vocabulary.

Make sure you are buying the new edition, which has been  updated and improved - it's now in full colour, has a new layout and a series of brand new features.

IELTS Advantage Writing Skills

This book can again be used for self-study and is geared towards those wanting a band 6.5 or higher.

It tackles task 1 and task 2 of the test. Each unit has a model essay and a general interest reading article to help you generate ideas and vocabulary for your writing.  There are grammar exercises too.

Also included are real writing samples by students with comments by an examiner to show what is needed for a band 6.5 or higher.

IELTS Model Essays

Another IELTS buddy eBook, the IELTS Model Essays book. This is one of the best books for IELTS preparation as it is packed full of high-scoring IELTS essays so is an excellent resource for studying how to write IELTS essays - from understanding the types of topics that come up to structuring your essay and presenting your ideas. 

Each essay has tips and advice to help you understand the approach to writing it and why it was a good essay. 

The chapters of the eBook are divided up into the common types of questions that appear in IELTS for easy reference, which are:

  • Agree / Disagree
  • Discuss Two Opinions
  • Causes (and Effects; Solutions; Pros/Cons)
  • Problems and Solutions
  • Advantages and Disadvantages
  • Other Types of Questions

Barron's Writing for the IELTS

Barron's is a comprehensive book that is built around the marking criteria for IELTS of Task Achievement, Coherence and Cohesion, Lexical Resource and Grammatical Range and Accuracy.

It's on the best books for IELTS preparation list as it's a comprehensive and popular guide. 

Each section leads you step-by-step through the process of writing a task 1 and task 2, providing opportunities to apply what you’ve learned, get to know the types of questions, and complete responses within the time limits.

Get Ready for IELTS Writing

This is one of the best books for IELTS preparation for those at a lower level as it's aimed at those currently at band 3-4.

Another self-study IELTS book from Collins with a guided-learning approach.

There are 12 units with key grammar and vocabulary in each unit.

The book also highights common errors and provides model answers and full answers keys.

Books for IELTS Reading

IELTS Academic Reading eBook

This is IELTS buddy's IELTS Reading eBook. 

The book is designed so that you can practice all the different types of reading questions you may get in the test. Each test has 3 readings so that is a total of 12 readings.

When you make a purchase, you will get three eBooks. The first has the tests, the second has tips and the third goes thoroughly through each test and all the answers so you can understand why an answer is correct and why yours may have been wrong. 

Get Ready for IELTS Reading

This book is aimed at those who currently have a low level of reading skills, around band 3-4.

The book takes into account the specific language needs to learners at this low level.

The book is divided into units with tips, strategies and practice for the reading question types you will come across on the exam.

Common errors are highlighted and there is a full reading practice test.

Books for IELTS Listening

IELTS Listening Strategies

This book claims to be able to get you to a band 8 in a short space of time.

This seems unlikely if you are currently at a much lower band score but the tips and strategies are still sure to help you increase your score and any practice and tips are important.

The book claims to give you all proven formulas, tips, tricks, strategies, structures, listening language, and vocabulary and explanations to help you easily achieve an 8.0+ in the IELTS Listening.

Get Ready for IELTS Listening

Again this listening book in the 'Get Ready' series is aimed for weaker students, so it may be the best books for IELTS preparation if you are at around a band 3-5.

It has twelve units of graded material for lower level students with clear examples. It has key IELTS grammar and vocabulary in each unit plus exam tips.

Common errors made by learners in the IELTS Listening test are also highlighted. Four review units check and consolidate understanding of key language and skills for the IELTS Listening test.

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