International students interested in studying abroad will often have to complete their IELTS (International English Language Testing System) test. This test assesses English language skills across a series of exams focused on writing, reading, listening, and speaking.
Studying for a test like IELTS can be intimidating. An online search will show you a million different ways you can prepare, and it’s hard to know which is the most productive. While it’s important to use different methods to improve your English language skills, practice tests are one of the most effective ways you can prepare for your IELTS exam.
Taking IELTS practice tests can help you learn the format of the exam and calm your nerves. It’ll also give you the opportunity to see how well you do under pressure and show you if there are any areas you need to spend more time practising. After all, practice makes perfect!

    Read more: Why You Should Take a Practice IELTS Test

To help get you started, here are 5 of the best IELTS practice tests for international students:

1. Practice Test (Free) is an official hub for the IELTS test. This website provides complete IELTS information for all purposes and organizations.
Because of this, their practice tests look like the booklet you will receive for your actual exam. This is a great way for anxious test-takers to calm their nerves, so they can know what to expect the day-of. also has plenty of free sample test questions you can use to study for your practice test.

2. British Council IELTS Practice Tests (Free)

The British Council is an organization specializing in international cultural and educational opportunities, and one of the other owners of IELTS. Their website offers a straightforward look at what to expect when taking your exam, and how to book.
Booking through the British Council gives international students free access to the online “Road to IELTS” preparation course. They also offer great sample tests for all sections of both the Academic and General exams. The British Council does a fantastic job of explaining the most effective methods for writing your test, and what to expect for timing and marking.

3. Cambridge IELTS Academic Student’s Book or General Student’s Book ($53.10 each):

Are you more comfortable learning from a book? These two textbooks were created by Cambridge Assessment English, the third owner of IELTS.
At 144 pages each, these books are full of details on each section of the test and the scoring system. They also include four authentic examination papers that look exactly like the real thing.
The Cambridge IELTS Student’s Books come with answers, tapescripts, sample writing answers, and audio, so you don’t miss anything while you prepare.

Ready to get started? Find everything you need to prepare for your IELTS test on our blog!

You know you have to complete an IELTS (International English Language Testing System) exam to study abroad, but you begin to wonder whether or not you should take a practice IELTS test beforehand. Our answer: definitely.
While you may have spent a lot of time preparing for the actual exam, there is absolutely no harm in taking a practice test. You will get a chance to familiarize yourself with the format of the exam, see how well you work under pressure and see if you’re in need of more practice in certain parts of the exam. Whether it’s reading, writing, listening or communicating — the more practice you get, the better.
Successfully completing the IELTS test opens many educational doors. You will not only be able to apply to international schools but many employers, immigration authorities and professional bodies as well. IELTS is recognized as proof of English language proficiency by over 9,000 organizations in 135 countries, so it’s important that you practice before taking the real thing.
Here are five reasons why you should take a practice IELTS test before the real deal.

1. Calm your nerves

Naturally, you’re nervous. You’re worried you may fail even after practising so much. You’re stressing because perhaps your reading capabilities aren’t strong enough. You may feel as though you are going through an emotional rollercoaster. It’s important to recognize stress and anxiety as a vicious cycle.
While nerves cause some people to do better work, it isn’t this way for everyone. For most people nerves inhibit skills and their thought processes. You stress, you can’t focus — you can’t focus so you stress. You can avoid this negative experience entirely by simply taking a practice IELTS test. By doing so, you know it isn’t “the real thing,” you get familiar with the format and what will be asked of you, and as a result, you’re less nervous because what’s there to be nervous about? You know how it goes and you don’t have to take it so seriously.

2. Practice, practice, practice

Practice is your best friend. It is essential to obtaining a good mark. Taking a practice IELTS test promotes the virtue of “practice makes perfect.” If anything, it will only improve your marks. While a perfect score may be tough to achieve, when you take a practice IELTS test, you get familiar with your level and know in advance whether or not you are qualified.
Further, you know where your areas of improvement are and can focus specifically on practising those sections before taking the real exam. Finally, you don’t have to worry about re-doing the exam or wasting your time because you took the practice IELTS test and know what you’re capable of. You get the opportunity to review your test results and compare them with the model responses, or perhaps your last responses.

Are you wondering how you should best prepare for IELTS? Read our blog “What is IELTS and how do I prepare for it” for easy guidance.

3. Improve your communication skills

Perhaps your communication skills need to be improved. When you take a practice IELTS test you choose to practice all sections of the exam, one of them being communication. This is your chance to hash out the challenges you face and to better understand how to communicate with others. As a result, come test day, you will have no problem communicating and will surprise those marking your test.
Communication is a tough one largely because many non-native English speakers lack the courage to speak in a language that isn’t their own. The only way to truly get comfortable with it is to communicate with others in person.

4. Refine your multitasking and time management skills

With a practice IELTS test, you can refine your multitasking abilities. The more you strengthen your communication skills, the better your listening skills, writing skills, and reading skills become. You learn to work all sections into one, begin to solve tasks altogether and avoid distractions. Further, you begin to understand how each section helps the other; how reading and writing, and listening and communicating go hand-in-hand.
With time management skills specifically, you learn to manage your time well when it comes to certain parts of the exam. You gain a better understanding of how long it may take you to write a letter versus an essay, and how much time you should delegate for each. In the grand scheme of things, this allows you to better allocate time for various general assignments in school, and even more, essay questions in an exam setting.

5. New perspective on the skills gained

Finally, you gain a new understanding of how certain sections such as reading and listening come in handy while studying in Canada. Some think only communication skills are necessary to have a successful experience abroad. However, when you arrive in Canada you will quickly realize reading is essential, especially since everything is written in English (and French).
Sure, you may have good communication skills, but if you lack reading skills you may have a difficult time getting around the city, reading instructions, studying English courses, etc. Similarly, if you lack listening skills this could ultimately inhibit your communication skills. It all comes full circle and each section assists the other — something you will realize at the end.

Do you feel ready for the test? Register here to find your nearest test centre.