How to find trustworthy, reliable and free IELTS preparation materials online

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by Shelly Grimes

ILAC ESL Instructor and IELTS Enthusiast

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Have you decided it is time for IELTS preparation?  You will be happy to know that there are many useful resources available to you!  Whether you are just getting started or trying to perfect some of the skills to help you improve your score, we have some great resources and ideas to share with you here.

It's important to be prepared for your IELTS test and use reliable sources to do so.

Overview of preparation types

Initially, you do not have to look too far for IELTS Preparation.  A quick search online will show you that free resources are widely available.  Sites like IELTS Worldwide, British Council IELTS, IELTS Toronto, or IDP IELTS Canada are wonderful places to begin.  

You can also find videos, blogs, and social media accounts that are also focused on helping you improve from educators all over the world.

Furthermore, there are some paid options such as subscriptions that you can sign up to.  More and more people looking for IELTS Preparation are joining these free online communities every day with success!  

That being said, we strongly advise you to be careful with what accounts you follow, particularly on social media.  Not every website or Instagram account has reliable information and therefore, might not be providing you with the best tips for IELTS.

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Free preparation materials and help guides can be found in different formats, from YouTube videos to blogs.

Sourcing trustworthy IELTS preparation materials

If you want to make sure you don’t start following the wrong account, a good place to begin your IELTS preparation is with some of the reliable and legitimate publishers, like the owners of IELTS.

IELTS is jointly owned by the British Council, IDP, and Cambridge Assessment English.  Using trusted sources like these, or information provided by an Official IELTS Test Centre means you will find the most recent updates about the IELTS test.

Once you become more familiar with what sources are trustworthy, you will start to notice that not every blog, Youtuber or TikTok account is equal.  There are some IELTS preparation sources out there that might not give the best advice.  Perhaps you will notice grammar and spelling mistakes or be able to recognize someone who has no professional experience with the IELTS exam.  

If you are in doubt, remember that the information provided by the IELTS owners or any Official IELTS Test Centre are safe bets to rely on because they are closely affiliated with the official IELTS exam and receive all the latest updates.

IELTS and social media
Check out ILAC’s socials via the links below for the latest information, updates and tips about IELTS!
black iphone 4 on brown wooden table
Be careful with what accounts you follow, particularly on social media. Anyone can post on the internet, but not everyone has reliable information.

Scams are real

You will likely find other videos and blogs that offer more tips and advice on social media.  There are a lot of great creators online who are excited to share their knowledge about IELTS preparation.  Unfortunately, you also need to be wary of the websites that offer a “too good to be true” solution. 

Crash courses and subscription services

The IELTS exam requires hard work, and a high score is in demand around the world.  For this reason, watch out for people who see this as an easy way to make money.  Be careful of a website or “crash course” that offers you a high score for a certain amount of money or to “achieve your dream IELTS score in 30 days“.  Reliable IELTS sources know that with IELTS, you just can’t make these kinds of promises to students.  The truth is, increasing your IELTS band score takes as much time as it takes, and nobody can guarantee you an increased score within a small amount of time.  (Note, that doesn’t mean it’s impossible to improve quickly with hard work!)

Buying and selling fake reports

In addition, avoid any posts “selling” the official IELTS results transcript (known as the “Test Report Form“).  Particularly on Facebook groups, there is an increasing abundance of scammers claiming they can exchange an existing Test Report Form, or issue a new one, with the test scores that you want to show.  In most cases, these scammers will take your money and never issue you with the Test Report Form as promised.  Others will print a fake report, which will later be detected as a fake and may result in you being rejected from the country you are immigrating to, or the organization you are applying to.  You may also be temporarily banned from taking the IELTS test legitimately (at a test centre) for up to 2 years.

Try checking out sources like ILAC’s Instagram page for up to date information, and the trustworthy sites we have mentioned so far.  These sites will provide practice, advice and tips without asking for your credit card information.   

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Ignore and report scammers online who will attempt to sell you a fake IELTS Test Report Form.

Consider an IELTS preparation course at a reputable school

To really be sure you are getting the best advice and feedback on your IELTS preparation, you can always try out a reputable school and take IELTS Preparation classes to learn the necessary skills for the exam.  Classes may be most beneficial for students who have lots of time to prepare, work best with structured guidance, and are not high-level or native English speakers.

While these classes do cost time and money, you will have a teacher ready to answer your questions and help you achieve your goals.  They can point you in the right direction and help break any bad habits you might have formed.  You will also have the benefit of learning alongside like-minded students from around the world who share your goals.  

At the time of writing this post (February 2022), ILAC’s IELTS Preparation programs are available through virtual group classes with ILAC Kiss at a variety of times to suit your schedule.  You do not need to be physically located in Canada to take these classes, as ILAC offers various class start times to suit all schedules and time zones. 

Contact the friendly team to learn more and speak to an IELTS Preparation Advisor.

Learn more about IELTS Preparation at ILAC​
Improve your IELTS essay writing skills in a one of our group preparation classes, or speak with an advisor to learn more!
laptop screen showing online ielts class
Virtual group IELTS Preparation classes are available through ILAC"s KISS program.

To sum up, there is a great deal of information available out there for students looking for IELTS preparation.  Make sure you find trustworthy content that works best for you.  There is no shortcut to success with IELTS, so steer clear of scams or misleading resources and take time to look at some of the reliable sites we recommend or consider an IELTS Preparation course to give you the skills you need to succeed on the IELTS test.  

Contact the ILAC IELTS test centre in Toronto, or comment below to ask any questions you have.