Best IELTS Preparation Books in 2023 

 July 10, 2022

By  Chuky Ofoegbu

books on a table

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After reviewing several IELTS preparation books on the market, we've compiled a list of the best IELTS books to help you on your journey preparing for the IELTS exam. We hope you find these recommendations useful in achieving your target band score.

Best IELTS Prep Book Overall - The Official Cambridge Guide To IELTS

Following our thorough research, we believe that the Official Cambridge Guide To IELTS is the best IELTS preparation book on the market.

It contains everything related to the IELTS academic and general sections. It offers tips, tricks, and advice from past examiners which help you perform well on your IELTS exam.

With eight official practice tests, this book covers all sections of the IELTS. These are the reading, listening, writing, and speaking sections. The first practice test contains step-by-step guidance and a thorough explanation.

Audios are also accessible for listening and speaking tasks. Video tutorials are available for detailed explanations of the answers through the DVD-ROM included.

Even though this book was published in 2014, it is still a fan-favorite amongst IELTS test-takers.


  • Fairly priced
  • Contains valuable tips and strategies
  • Covers all sections of the IELTS with practice tests
  • Contains audio and video usability


  • Some people have argued that this book contains more material in the academic section than it does in the general section. Thus, the general section is not as comprehensive.
  • E-book format is not available from the publisher's website

Runner Up - Barron’s IELTS Superpack

Our runner-up to the best IELTS preparation book is Barron’s IELTS Superpack, which features useful information to help you master your English proficiency exam.

It contains all the essential words and phrases that have been repeated in the tests over the years. As these words and phrases have a chance of being repeated, understanding them allows you to understand the questions clearly.

It features academic papers, general papers, and extensive answer reviews with thorough explanations. All questions contain structured answers with reasoning. An online audio component is also included that can be used for better understanding.

The book, overall, is applauded for its compilation of relevant and useful information. However, some users have complained that the online audio component in the latest version has some issues as it is not easily accessible.


  • Moderately priced
  • Contains all sections of the IELTS with practice tests
  • Helps your vocabulary with IELTS-centered words and phrases
  • Structured answers with reasonings


  • Issues with the online audio component
  • E-book format is not available from the publisher's website

Best Budget IELTS Preparation Book - Mometrix IELTS Book For General Training & Academic

Our best budget option IELTS preparation book is the Mometrix IELTS Book. It is reasonably priced and offers valuable information that can be found in more expensive books.

It contains valuable tips and tricks to help you master the exam concepts. Having the type of information the makers of the IELTS management of the IELTS wants you to know, you can be sure you are studying according to their standards.

It contains information about the reading, writing, speaking, and listening sections. The links found in the book give you access to audio samples, video tutorials, and in-depth answer explanations.

The book is formatted in a very user-friendly manner. Every topic leads you to the next section. This helps you stay engaged with the book and not get lost in the densely populated words.

While being the best budget book for you, it also has some flaws. Some test-takers have stated that the reading and listening sections are not according to the IELTS criteria.


  • Reasonably priced
  • Contains helpful strategies for performing the IELTS effectively
  • In-depth answer explanations, both in writing and through video tutorials
  • Easy to understand the format of the book
  • E-book format is available from the publisher's website


  • Reading and listening sections are not according to the IELTS criteria

Other Good IELTS Preparation Books

IELTS Trainer 2 

A book packing six IELTS practice tests, with an emphasis on the format and step-by-step guidance and instructions on how to perform the test. The first two tests contain step-by-step advice with detailed explanations for answers.

It contains grammar, vocabulary, and writing exercises. These help you increase and polish your vocabulary. The book also points out the common mistakes and gives practical strategies to avoid making those mistakes.

With downloadable audio, the book provides clear explanations about the concepts.

The IELTS Trainer 2 is highly acclaimed for its information, but the price tag is frowned upon as it is pretty steep.


  • Six IELTS practice tests with guidance and answers
  • Grammar and vocabulary exercise
  • Downloadable audio for different sections for better understanding.


  • High price tag
  • Only for the academic paper, no content for the general paper
  • E-book format is not available from the publisher's website but can be found through third-party sites

Cambridge Vocabulary For IELTS

This book is centered around vocabulary so there is no academic or general content for the IELTS. It is an excellent book for you to boost your language skills and word usage.

It enhances your vocabulary and helps you perform under the IELTS standard criteria. By offering you useful tips for the writing section, it helps you describe the concepts easily and efficiently.

Since vocabulary is the fundamental building block behind a language, this book does wonders for your overall English language skills. Mastering the vocabulary skills in this book will help you in the reading, speaking, and writing sections of the IELTS exam.


  • A great resource for increasing your vocabulary
  • Useful tips for the writing section
  • Helps you explain concepts using better and clear words
  • Fairly priced


  • No academic or general content of the IELTS exam
  • E-book format is not available from the publishers website but can be found through third-party sites

Cambridge IELTS 16 Academic Student’s Book With Answers

This book is the latest version of a whole series that is centered around the IELTS academic test. As the latest version, published in 2021, is the 16th, candidates usually buy two to three versions of the book for added practice.

This book contains four complete papers with answers and explanations. These solved tests are exactly in the same format as the real IELTS exams so it gives the exact practice you need.

With the help of QR codes in the book, you can access audio of answers with thorough explanations. This helps you understand the concepts more clearly. This feature helps you in the listening, speaking, and writing parts of the actual test.


  • The latest versions are released every year so the information stays up to date
  • Contains four complete tests with their answers
  • Audio of answers through the usage of QR codes


  • High price tag
  • Only for the academic variant, no content for the general variant
  • E-book format is not available from the publishers website but can be found through third-party sites

Official IELTS Practice Materials

With only one complete practice test, this book has faced some criticism. However, the complete practice test does include all the sections, with respective answer keys. A DVD is also available that allows you to perform the tasks of the speaking and listening sections.

It also contains useful tips on how to perform the IELTS effectively and achieve a higher score. As these tips are given by past examiners, the reliability of these tips also increases.

With only one complete test, users have complained that they can buy other books that are relatively cheaper and have more information to offer.


  • Useful tips from past examiners
  • Contains content of all the sections of the IELTS paper


  • High price tag
  • Only one complete practice test
  • E-book format is not available from the publishers website but can be found through third-party sites

Check Your English Vocabulary For IELTS

This is another book for polishing your vocabulary for the IELTS. This book is suitable for those with intermediate levels of English. They can benefit from it greatly.

It covers grammar and comprehension and features various exercises for practice. This builds the general and topic-specific vocabulary that is related to the IELTS. The vocabulary exercises are in a fun manner so that you do not get bored in any way.

The book includes the writing and speaking sections of the IELTS exam with sample answers. This helps you develop your answers according to the set standards. 

With an easy-to-use format, it is highly acclaimed in its effort to help the vocabulary of hopeful candidates. 


  • A great resource for polishing your vocabulary
  • Reasonably priced
  • Fun grammar and vocabulary exercises
  • Contains writing and speaking sections of the test with answers


  • Essentially only focused on vocabulary
  • E-book format is not available from the publishers website but can be found through third-party sites

Focus On IELTS Foundation 

This book focuses on the vocabulary and language skills of the potential candidate. It has useful tips and tricks which prepare you to perform your IELTS effectively.

It also teaches you about common mistakes and how to avoid them, which in turn helps you increase your score.

As this book only polishes your language skill and offers nothing to the other parts of the IELTS, you have to find other resources to go along as well.


  • Offers many tips for increasing your vocabulary
  • Teaches you how to avoid the common mistakes of the IELTS exam


  • Expensive if the book is bought brand new
  • Only focuses on the language part of the test, so you have to buy other books for the rest of the needed information
  • E-book format is not available from the publishers website but can be found through third-party sites

Collins English For IELTS

Collins English For IELTS is a great resource for helping you understand the types of questions asked in the IELTS. It also teaches you how to perform them effectively. By going in-depth on how the paper is checked, it tells you ways to increase your score effectively.

With the easy-to-use formatting of the book, sections are separately explained in detail.

It features practice tests, in the same format as the IELTS papers, with detailed answers and hints. It also offers tips on how to avoid common mistakes.

Audio accessibility is also provided online for listening and speaking sections.


  • Helps you understand the types of questions and their solving methods
  • Easy to use formatting
  • Different sections of the test are explained in detail
  • Practice tests with answers
  • Audio accessibility for listening and reading sections
  • Tips on how to avoid common mistakes
  • Fairly priced


  • Only the academic variant is highlighted
  • E-book format is not available from the publishers website 

Target Band 7

This book is authored by Simone Braverman, an IELTS test taker who passed the exam with flying colors. We believe this makes the content in this book significantly more credible!

It contains many tips, tricks, and techniques to solve the IELTS. These strategies will help you perform the test within time and make you less prone to making mistakes. 

As the tips are proven and tested by the author, the applicability and the success ratio of these tips and tricks are highly promising.

A full-length IELTS practice test with detailed answers is also included with model responses.


  • Fairly priced
  • Written by a past examiner with experience
  • Tried and tested tips and tricks for solving the IELTS paper are also included


  • Only one complete practice paper
  • No section-specific details are given
  • E-book format is not available from the publishers website but can be found through third-party sites

IELTS Practice Tests Plus 2 With Key & CD Pack

As this book was published many years ago, its credibility is debatable, which is why some test-takers do not entirely depend on it.

Regardless, this book contains six practice tests with an analysis of correct and incorrect answers. Checker reviews are also given which help you understand why the answer is wrong. Reasonings are given with every answer so you can understand the thought process behind the answer.

It contains a full description of exam strategies with various tips and tricks. It helps you utilize your paper time efficiently and teaches you methods of performing the questions within the time limit. 

It also details each section of the IELTS exam.


  • Contains analysis of correct and incorrect answers
  • Various tips and tricks on how to perform the IELTS effectively and efficiently
  • Offers descriptions for both academic and general variants of the IELTS


  • The book is older and has no latest versions
  • The book can be bought brand new but it is expensive
  • E-book format is not available from the publisher's website but can be found through third-party sites

Are you looking to take your IELTS band score up a notch? Check out our comprehensive review of the best IELTS coaching courses and classes that will suit your needs.

Chuky Ofoegbu

With almost a decade of experience pursuing higher education in the United States, I fully understand the pain points foreign students endure. I created this website to help foreign students successfully navigate their way through the challenges they will face while living in the United States.

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