You decided to take an IELTS exam, so there are the best sources to check your progress and estimate your level? Mock tests can help you to prepare for IELTS format, define your weaknesses and give you the possibility to check your level periodically in your learning way. In this article I collected several sources you can use for emulating exams. The first options in this list I checked myself, but at the bottom of the list, you will find sites I didn't examine. Nevertheless, I put sites on my list only if I saw several complementary and not advertised comments about them. See them all and find the best one for you.
IELTS Tests Sources
Many people consider Cambridge English IELTS books as the best source for preparing for the exam. Sometimes you can find this book with Academic and General exams in one book, and sometimes they are separated. Each book contains four full tests with Reading and Listening sections (actually the first ten books have only the Academic part with full four tests, General part has only two Reading tests). Also, they have several good-written essays and Writing task 1 and several examples of the Speaking part. In my opinion, it should be your first source for IELTS preparation. I can't give you any links because these books don't have an online version, but it is worth trying to find all of them in your book store or asking your friends to lend you these books. On September 19, 2020, there are 15 editions/books for the General exam and 15 for Academic with four tests in each book. Some people consider the first editions as outdated a little, so it is wise to start from them and finish with the most relevant and modern versions.
The next recommendation is to use official sample tests from IELTS. You can find several samples here. There are not many tests, but you can be sure that their difficultness matches the real exam.
Computer-Based Training Tests
After starting a computer-based exam, several centers decided to share with students one familiarisation test for free (listening, reading and writing). If you are going to pass a computer-based test, you should not miss this opportunity. There are several sites where you can find a training test. I didn't check if they all give you the same test or not. You can check it yourself and write a comment about it. Therefore I will be able to improve this article. There are some sources I found:
- Australian IDP IELTS
- IDP IELTS Middle East
- SI IELTS Russia St.Petersburg
- British Council IELTS
- Another British Council IELTS
Some people say this test a little more complicated than the real exam. I even saw comments on what these tests try to catch you on some silly logical mistakes which you never find in official exams or sometimes give inaudible samples in the Listening part. Despite all these drawbacks, most comments are positive, and I can recommend using these tests in your preparation.
Exam English is a straightforward site with IELTS exam samples for all parts of the test. I didn't check the quality of these samples.
This site is dedicated to IELTS samples. I didn't check it either.
You can find samples for any section here. I didn't check it either.
This is the first source in this list where you have to pay for samples. The first one you can try for free, but the others you have to buy. I didn't check it because I had a lot of free options and bought Cambridge Books.
You can find Listening and Reading tests here. I didn't check it.
Another source with free Listening and Reading tests. I didn't check it.
One more online school for IELTS preparation and several samples for training. Many people from different places recommend it, so give it a shot.
Don't forget that, after all, you have an official IELTS Progress Check test. You have to pay for this test, and it is not cheap, but authorized IELTS centers will check you. You don't have to go anywhere because the whole test will be on your computer. The drawback of this test is the price. For this price, I prefer to go for a real exam and have a real certificate.
Writing and Speaking
Ok, now you know where to practice your IELTS. But maybe you noticed that for Listening and Reading sections it is easy to check yourself just by comparing your answers with key answers but it is not true for Writing and Speaking. How can you estimate your score for these activities? The answer is that it is impossible without a trustworthy teacher with an IELTS background (have several IELTS certificates or was an examiner for a long time). Of course, you can try to check your writing using Grammarly or record yourself using Google Translate, but in my experience, both these couldn't give me an adequate assessment.
In the end, I hope you can help me rearrange these sources by the quality of materials and add more new sites, preferably free on this list. I hope this was helpful, and I hope you will pass your IELTS on the best mark!