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For many who plan to study or work in a Western country like the United States, Canada, or Australia, preparing for the IELTS (Academic or General test) will be one of several steps in the journey to study or work abroad.
To help you conquer this step of your study abroad or immigration journey, we've purchased and spent months thoroughly reviewing several IELTS preparation courses on the market.
This way we can give you our strongest recommendation for the IELTS prep courses that will best satisfy your preparation needs and get you the high band score you desire.
Given the varying needs of different IELTS test-takers, our selections show the best IELTS course in different categories based on the lesson quality, practice material quality, student support, customer policies, and price.
Just tell me, what’s the best IELTS prep course for 2022?
Our best overall pick consistently scores high across the critical areas essential for a high IELTS band score. In addition, the learning platform is also designed in such a way that it caters to a broad population of IELTS test-takers.
So, if you're here for our best recommendation, we suggest you begin your IELTS prep today with Magoosh IELTS.
Our Top Picks
Best Overall: Magoosh
Best Practice Material: BestMyTest
Best for Individual Tutoring: English Online by The British Council
Best Overall Support: E2Language
How We Chose Our IELTS Course Picks
Our test prep experts have first-hand experience using dozens of IELTS prep resources from reputable IELTS prep providers.
To give our readers a genuine recommendation, we first tested all the features available in each course and rated each course on a scale of 5 in four core areas. These core areas include lesson quality, practice material quality, student support, and customer policies.
When curating our list of the best IELTS prep courses of 2022, we're primarily interested in identifying the top notch courses. Thus, we only admit IELTS prep courses that have an overall score of at least 3.5 out of 5 into our top picks.
Our Best IELTS Prep Courses of 2022
Magoosh - Best Overall
What we liked
Price Range: $109 - $129
Access: Up to 6 months
Payment Plans: Available
Score Guarantee: Yes
What Makes Magoosh Stand Out?
- Compared to all other self-paced IELTS prep courses, Magoosh IELTS does the best job of providing very detailed answer explanations for all practice questions on their platform
- Users of the Magoosh IELTS course can study on the go with mobile apps that are designed for IELTS prep. These include the Magoosh IELTS prep app and the Magoosh IELTS Vocabulary Flashcards app. Both of these apps are available on the iOS and Android platforms.
- Magoosh allows you to pause your IELTS course subscription, which could save you from wasting any unused access time. In addition, they have the most flexible customer policies, with generous score increase guarantee requirements and a reasonable 7-day money-back refund.
Magoosh IELTS Course Content and Features
This is an entirely self-paced IELTS course, where all the lessons are presented in a video-based format. You will find about 80 short-form video lessons dedicated to strategies on different sections of the IELTS and over 50 short-form video lessons on English grammar.
Magoosh’s bank of practice questions is quite large, with over 800 practice questions and tasks covering all 4 sections of the IELTS. From this large bank of IELTS practice questions, users can generate up to 10 full-length practice tests. In the alternative to taking full-length tests, users can also complete custom practice sessions that focus on one or more sections of the IELTS.
As for the level of student support available, Magoosh provides graded Writing and Speaking assessments in addition to on-demand access to an IELTS instructor through their Ask-An-Expert feature. This online expert can help you with any questions you have that are related to the IELTS practice material.
How Magoosh IELTS Performed
We found Magoosh to be a well-rounded IELTS prep course as it consistently ranked high in all performance areas we evaluated.
The IELTS lessons are designed in a video-based format, where the learning material is presented using slides along with a voice-over from an instructor. While you can’t see the instructors, you can tell by their teaching style that they are very knowledgeable about IELTS test-taking strategies that result in high band scores.
In the area of student support, Magoosh outshines other self-paced only IELTS courses with its unlimited Ask-An-Expert feature. Every time we used this support feature, we received a detailed response to our question from the Magoosh instructor. Compared to other IELTS courses where the responses were rather superficial.
As for the quality of the practice material, we found the questions in the Reading and Listening sections somewhat more challenging than those on the real IELTS exam. In comparison, the questions in the Speaking and Writing sections were presented in a similar fashion to those on the real IELTS. So one thing is for sure, if you can ace the questions on Magoosh’s Reading and Listening practice material, you will find those on the real IELTS exam to be a walk in the park.
Reviewer Notes - what our expert thought: “The depth of answer explanations found in the practice material is quite impressive. I did not find this level of detail in any other self-paced IELTS prep course.”
Suggested Reading: See our complete Magoosh IELTS review to learn more.
Who Magoosh IELTS Is Ideal For
As a high-quality self-paced-only IELTS course, Magoosh is the ideal choice for those who like to study independently. And since the course includes video and text-based content, it appeals to both visual learners and those who prefer to learn via text.
BestMyTest - Best Practice Material
What we liked
Price Range: $39 - $199
Access: Up to 12 months
Payment Plans: None
Score Guarantee: Yes
What Makes BestMyTest Stand Out?
- Has the most number of realistic IELTS practice questions and full-length practice tests than any other provider
- Offers a flexible access period anywhere between 1 - 6 months
- Has the best performance analytics features, allowing users to effectively discover their weak areas and make improvements
BestMyTest IELTS Course Content and Features
With a large library of 200+ learning modules, BestMyTest covers a lot of helpful strategies applicable to all IELTS sections. In addition, you will find supplementary lessons on grammar building and vocabulary development.
With a ridiculously large bank of IELTS practice questions from which you can build up to 26 full-length practice tests, BestMyTest crushes all other IELTS prep courses. But that’s not all. They also have an additional set of 4 Simulated Practice tests that contain questions not found anywhere else on the platform. These Simulated Practice tests are designed to mimic the testing conditions of the computer-delivered IELTS exam more closely than their full-length practice tests.
As for the support features, a purchase of the course includes graded Speaking and Writing assessments, grammar corrections for the Writing essays, and unlimited access to an online instructor who can answer your IELTS-related questions.
How BestMyTest IELTS Performed
Where the BestMyTest IELTS course performs best is in the quality of its IELTS practice material. The IELTS questions you’ll find in this course compare very closely in difficulty and format to those on the official IELTS exam. So, you should feel confident practicing with their material.
Another area where BestMyTest IELTS excels is in its student support. When we received feedback on the Speaking and Writing practice tasks, we were quite pleased with the level of detail in the score reports. Unlike other courses where the Speaking assessment is provided in writing, BestMyTest will send you an audio recording from an IELTS instructor who plays back your speaking response and pauses to identify and correct your delivery. We found this method of feedback very effective.
Before describing the quality of the lessons in this course, it’s important to point out that BestMyTest is designed as a text-based course and not a video-based course. But with BestMyTest, the information is not presented in continuous paragraphs of text. Instead it is presented in the form of a chat between two people, and you have to continuously click on the screen to move the lessons along. This chat-like presentation style may not be ideal for some users.
However, in all lesson modules, BestMyTest supplements its text-based lesson material with videos from its YouTube channel. Thereby catering to users who prefer to learn by watching.
Reviewer Notes - what our experts thought: “I liked how the simulated practice test mimics the computer-delivered version of the IELTS very closely.”
Who BestMyTest IELTS Is Ideal For
Given the vast amount of their realistic IELTS practice material, we consistently recommend BestMyTest for “Practice Test Warriors.'' We coined that term to describe test-takers who like to prepare for an exam by completing several full-length practice tests while tracking improvements at each step of the way.
IELTS Coach from The British Council - Best Individual Tutoring
What we liked
Price Range: $175- $681
Access: Up to 3 months
Payment Plans: None
Score Guarantee: None
What Makes the IELTS Coach from The British Council Stand Out?
- The only teacher-led IELTS prep course that is endorsed by the makers of the IELTS exam
- Has a large and diverse pool of IELTS instructors not found in other IELTS prep companies
- Every user receives a private IELTS consultation session upon signing up for the course
- The only IELTS prep platform designed primarily for IELTS test-takers who desire personalized teacher support
IELTS Coach from The British Council IELTS Course Content
Compared to other IELTS course providers, the IELTS Coach from The British Council is designed primarily for IELTS test-takers who learn best through group or private coaching. This is why the majority of the learning material is found in teacher-led classes and not self-paced lessons.
On the platform, you will find about 48 live classes that are hosted on Zoom covering all sections of the IELTS, as well as teacher-led webinars on grammar and vocabulary building. And with an incredibly diverse list of teachers on the platform, users have the option of choosing an instructor based on cultural and background fit.
But instead of giving users access to every IELTS live class, they use a credit-based system. Which gives you the flexibility to only pay for what you need. As a result, each user can create an IELTS preparation pathway that best suits their needs. For example, let’s say you struggle with the Speaking and Writing sections, but you excel in the Reading and Listening sections. In that case, you can choose to spend your credits attending Speaking and Writing live classes in either group or private mode. Thereby getting more value for your money.
As for the student support available, each user of this course is required to attend a face-to-face Personal Needs Analysis meeting with an instructor after signing up. Another form of private student support features offered on the platform are the graded Speaking and Writing assessments. Both of which are optional.
How IELTS Coach from The British Council IELTS Performed
In the area of lesson quality, we found the live classes and teacher-led webinars on this course to be very engaging. The teachers frequently encourage the participants in the Zoom class to ask questions and interact with each other. We really liked how on occasion, the instructors would divide the participants in the class into break-out rooms, giving them an opportunity to complete a group activity and share ideas with each other.
The area of student support is where the IELTS Coach from The British Council really excels. With affordable access to an instructor either through group classes or private classes, you would not only get quick answers to your questions but you can also learn from the questions of other students. And when it comes to preparing for the IELTS Speaking and Writing sections, there is no better substitute for the face-to-face Speaking interviews and Writing tutorials conducted by the IELTS expert instructors on this platform. Not only would you receive immediate feedback when your session is complete, but you also get a detailed report emailed to you within 24 hours. We also liked the Personal Needs Analysis session, where an instructor will learn about your goals, evaluate where you are in your IELTS preparation, and provide suggestions for improvement.
But where this course falls short is in the small amount of realistic IELTS practice questions and the lack of full-length practice tests. With only 6 speaking mock tests and 6 writing tutorials, and no official practice material in the Reading and Listening sections, this course severely underperformed when compared to other competitors.
Reviewer Notes - what our experts thought: “The opportunity to connect with students from different parts of the world during the group class break-out session was pretty cool.”
Who IELTS Coach from The British Council Is Ideal For
This course is best for those IELTS test-takers who want more personalized attention from a teacher, particularly in the IELTS Speaking and Writing sections.
E2Language (E2 Test Prep) - Best Overall Support
What we liked
Price Range: $59- $339
Access: Up to 12 months
Payment Plans: Available
Score Guarantee: None
What Makes E2Language Stand Out?
- E2Language IELTS is the only course in our pick that offers a comprehensive library of self-paced lessons, live IELTS classes, and an optional 1-on-1 tutoring
- Their IELTS mock test simulates the real IELTS test-taking conditions better than every other platform
- They have the longest free trial-period you will find in any IELTS prep course
- Offers a pre-exam and post-exam consultation session that can help students perfect their strategy before and after the IELTS exam
E2Language IELTS Course Content
The structure of the E2language IELTS curriculum is different from other course providers in the sense that it offers full access to self-paced lessons and live online classes.
The self-paced course material contains about 50 on-demand video lessons where they teach tips and strategies on how to tackle each of the 4 IELTS sections.
The live online classes follow a sequence of topics that are covered every week. These topics include IELTS Writing, IELTS Reading, Spelling, Pronunciation, Grammar, IELTS Listening, and IELTS Speaking. During each live class, the instructor will focus on teaching a subtopic within any one of these major topics. As a result, you can expect to learn something new in any week that you attend a session.
How E2Language IELTS Performed
In the area of lesson quality and student support, E2 IELTS performs very strongly. When reviewing the lessons, we liked that the self-paced video lessons included short practice exercises, allowing students to test their understanding of the concepts in the moment. And when it comes to the quality of the test-taking strategies taught by the instructors, we learned some really unique tactics not taught in other IELTS prep courses we reviewed.
As for student support, students who attend a live class get a chance to receive some personalized attention from the instructor. Although not as much attention as the 1-on-1 private tutoring session. We could tell by interacting with their instructors that they genuinely care about their students' success. We also found the graded speaking and writing assessments very helpful. As the E2 Test Prep instructors break down your performance using the same grading rubric you will find in an official IELTS score report.
When it comes to the quality of the practice material, we really liked how well their mock/simulated practice test replicates the real IELTS testing condition. When you take the E2Language IELTS mock test, you will be required to complete the Listening, Reading, and Writing sections in one sitting. No breaks are given in between sections. Once this portion of the mock test is completed, you will be prompted to schedule a face-to-face speaking interview on another day with an E2 instructor. This is the only course where the speaking portion of the full-length simulated practice test is conducted face-to-face with an instructor.
However, the practice test experience on the 4 full-length practice tests is quite poor. Unlike their mock test, these 4 full-length tests are not designed to be completed in one sitting. Also, there are no countdown timers running while attempting each of the 4 sections of the test. In addition, the audio in the listening section can be paused, replayed, or sped up, which is unlike the real IELTS Listening section. So, don’t rely on any of their 4 full-length practice tests if you'd like to simulate the real IELTS test-taking condition.
Furthermore, the answer keys in the Reading and Listening sections of all practice tests lack detailed explanations. We found this to be a bad learning experience, as there were multiple practice questions where we needed clarification on why the “correct answer choice” was indeed correct.
Reviewer Notes - what our experts thought: “With the speaking portion of the mock test conducted face-to-face with an instructor, this is by far the best simulated IELTS test-taking experience. I wish there was more than 1 mock IELTS test on the platform.”
Who E2Language IELTS Is Ideal For
E2Language IELTS is a great option for someone who wants the flexibility of a self-paced learning material as well as the frequent support offered through teacher-led group classes.
Other Competing IELTS Prep Courses
Created by a top-rated Udemy teacher Keino Campbell, this course consists of up to 90 hours of video lectures broken into over 400 lectures covering test-taking strategies for both the General and Academic versions of the IELTS exam.
While this is primarily a self-paced course, the course instructor offers free monthly live classes discussing strategies for any one of the four sections of the IELTS. The course also includes access to additional resources like a list of common words that appear on the IELTS, 35 short graded quizzes, and other downloadable templates. And unlike most of the courses in our top picks, this course is sold with lifetime access.
In the area of lesson quality, this course performs quite well. We not only liked how comprehensive the self-paced video lessons were, but we found most of the tips and strategies in these lessons very practical. We also liked that the captions in the video lessons could be set to any one of 10 languages, making the course content appealing to a wide demographic of English as a Second Language learners. Some of the supported languages include Chinese, Portuguese, French, Spanish, German, and Dutch.
However, the course severely underperforms in the area of practice material quality and support. There are no full-length practice tests in this course, and the answer explanations found in the quizzes are not detailed. Given that the course is produced by a single individual, it should come as no surprise that there are no graded speaking and writing assessments or any other on-demand access to an instructor for assistance like there are on other IELTS prep courses with large support teams.
Overall, this prep course is a good choice for students looking for an affordable self-paced IELTS course. However, be prepared to supplement this course with official IELTS practice material and unbiased feedback as you practice the IELTS speaking and writing sections.
This is another IELTS prep course produced by the makers of the IELTS. And due to its endorsement from the makers of the IELTS, it is a popular resource that many students turn to when they begin their IELTS prep.
Compared to other courses on this list, the learning material in this course does not have detailed video lessons with strategies for each section of the IELTS. Rather, it is designed as a resource for IELTS test-takers looking for official IELTS practice material.
Depending on what package you purchase, you can get up to 36 practice tests, in addition to other resources such as printable study guides and a study planner.
When evaluating the practice material quality, we liked that the practice questions could be downloaded and printed, which is helpful for those test-takers looking to simulate the test-taking experience of the paper IELTS. And since these are official practice questions, you can rest assured that the questions that appear on the day of your exam will be similar to what you practiced with.
A few complaints we had about this resource were the lack of detailed answer explanations for the Reading and Listening practice material and the lack of personalized feedback for the Speaking and Writing sections. So, if you plan to prepare for the IELTS with this course, ensure you supplement your preparation with external feedback from a competent source. Especially in the Speaking and Writing sections.
Curated by English language experts from the University of Queensland, Australia, is the IELTS Academic Test Preparation hosted on the edX platform. As you can tell by the title, the course content is designed for test-takers preparing for the Academic version of the IELTS.
This course provides about 100 bite-sized video lectures spread across 5 - where the majority of the videos are under 5 minutes long. You will also receive handouts such as an academic word list, FAQs, and a glossary.
The self-paced course material is designed to be completed within 8 weeks in either an audit/free track or a verified/paid track. With the audit track, you get limited access to the course material, and you lose all access when the 8-week access period expires. In contrast, the verified track gives you full access to the course material and never expires. And like most courses on the edX platform, you can receive a certificate of completion with the verified track.
Overall, we found the lesson quality of this course to be satisfactory, but in other areas, such as student support and practice material quality, the course is quite weak relative to our best picks.
Why You Can Trust Our Reviews
At Sojourning Scholar, we personally purchase and review dozens of test prep resources in order to make strong recommendations for our readers.
To put together our top IELTS course picks, our team of experts performed in-depth reviews of courses from 11 IELTS prep course providers. Our top picks reflect the courses that ranked the highest in different key areas that are important to your success on the IELTS exams and your overall satisfaction as a buyer.
Note that our course rankings are subject to change as course providers continually make improvements to their prep course offerings over time.
How we evaluated these IELTS courses
- Lesson quality: The curriculum in an IELTS prep course should contain helpful test-taking strategies and skill-building lessons that can help you increase your band score in all sections of the IELTS. In addition, the lessons should be presented in a way that’s engaging to students with different learning preferences.
- Quality of practice material: The IELTS practice questions should be realistic. This means that what you practice with should have the same difficulty levels as those found on the real IELTS exam. In addition, the full-length practice test experience on the online course platform should be similar to the conditions on the computer version of the IELTS. Finally, there should be detailed answer explanations to all practice questions and tasks for students to have a well-rounded learning experience.
- Quality of student support: Given the subjective scoring of the IELTS Speaking and Writing sections, a good IELTS course should provide expert feedback to students in these sections of the course material. Furthermore, there should be on-demand access to a tutor either through chat features, live classes, or private tutoring sessions.
- User experience: With the majority of online activity occurring on mobile devices, the user interface of a good online course must be easy to navigate on both desktop and mobile devices. IELTS courses that perform well in this area go a step further by offering mobile apps dedicated to IELTS prep.
- Customer policies: A reputable test prep company champions the success and satisfaction of its users. In this area, we judge companies by the terms of their score improvement guarantee, the availability of free trials, and their refund policy.
How to Find the Right IELTS Prep Course for You
Choosing the best IELTS prep course is based partly on what you, the buyer, wants in your purchase. There really is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to test prep. Thus, our selections show the best in specific categories that we believe are very important for a high IELTS band score. Here are some important considerations you should keep in mind when looking for an IELTS prep course.
Are you a student who prefers to learn using audio/visual material, or do you prefer learning via text? For example, if you are an audio/visual learner, a video-based IELTS prep course will be best suited to your needs.
Another key consideration is choosing a learning environment where you’re adequately motivated. Self-paced courses are ideal for self-motivated learners who can thrive studying without company. But if you’re not a self-motivated learner, you might want to consider IELTS courses with group classes or one-on-one coaching.
Test preparation duration
How long are you willing to dedicate to your IELTS prep? If you’re someone who needs more time to prepare for the IELTS, you should consider an IELTS prep course with a longer access period, say between 3 - 6 months. On the other hand, if you’re confident in your English language abilities, you could perform just fine using a course with a short access period.
As you prepare for the Speaking and Writing sections of the IELTS, it’s best to receive independent feedback on your responses. Ideally, this should be from someone who is an IELTS expert instructor. So, choosing an IELTS course that provides graded Speaking/Writing assessments or 1-on-1 coaching with an expert IELTS tutor is critical.
Practice material requirement
When it comes to test prep, some students follow a strategy that’s heavily focused on practice tests. We coined a name for these folks - “Practice Test Warriors.” For these students, completing several full-length IELTS practice tests - while observing improvements in their overall band score - is a key confidence builder. While for other test-takers, improving section-specific skills is more important than cranking through several IELTS practice tests.
If you’re the “Practice Test Warrior” type, then it’s important to choose an IELTS course with a large library of realistic practice questions and simulated full-length practice tests that are comparable to the experience on the official IELTS exam.
How much are you willing to invest in yourself (or in that of your student)? The price of a course is a big deal for those preparing for the IELTS on a budget. For test-takers who struggle to afford a premium IELTS prep course, a basic IELTS prep course with little to no student support might be the best option.
Below is a summary of our top picks for the best IELTS courses of 2022
Best Practice Material
Best Individual Tutoring
Best Overall Support
FAQs about IELTS Preparation Courses
Which online course is best for IELTS prep?
After reviewing about a dozen IELTS prep courses, we found Magoosh IELTS to deliver the best overall value. However, for a certain group of students who desire more 1-on-1 attention from a teacher, the IELTS Coach from the British council will be a better option.
Can I prepare for the IELTS in one month?
A month of IELTS preparation should be enough if you’re not too far away from your target IELTS band score. A good way to estimate your prep time is to complete a diagnostic IELTS test when you begin your prep. If you find that you need to improve your IELTS score by more than one or more points, one month may not be sufficient.
Is one week enough to study for IELTS?
One week of IELTS prep might be enough for some test takers who already have a very strong command of using English in an academic or general setting and are confident that they will receive a satisfactory IELTS band score. However, for the vast majority of IELTS test-takers, one week of IELTS prep is not ideal.
How can I study for IELTS in 2 weeks?
Your best strategy will be to start by quickly assessing your scores based on a diagnostic IELTS exam and spending more study time in sections of the IELTS where you’re weak using high-quality IELTS books or top-rated IELTS prep courses.