How To Find Reliable IELTS Preparation Materials Online
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So, you’ve booked your test (or you’re thinking about it). The next step is the overwhelming world of IELTS preparation. “Where can I find trustworthy advice?” This is one of many questions English language learners often ask.
When searching for online practice material there is a lot to think about:
- Is the practice material authentic?
- Is the source information up-to-date?
- Does the author of the material have relevant experience?
Therefore, having concerns during this process is understandable. That is why we, here at ILAC, would like to offer you a few tips to guide you through this challenging process.
The Problem With Online IELTS Materials
In the past, the problem was often a lack of preparation material available. These days, however, students have the opposite problem. There is an increasingly complex list of IELTS preparation options available at the click of a button, including video blogs, webinars, and mobile apps. Why? Well, the internet has vastly improved options for students and more and more of them are turning to online sources. In some ways, this is a positive development. However, others believe that this is a problem.
So, why is this a problem?
The key reason is reliability. Almost anyone can set up a blog, post a video, or list advice on a website, even though they have very little experience with the topic. The author often has limited experience with IELTS examinations, and commonly those practice tests are outdated or have little relevance. Therefore, it isn’t easy to know if we can trust the source.
Learning about legitimate publishers like British Council IELTS, IDP IELTS Canada, and IELTS Vancouver should be the first stage on any test taker’s journey to finding reliable IELTS preparation materials online.
The Official Partners of IELTS
Knowledge about IELTS as an organization will help when trying to find trusted materials for IELTS preparation.
IELTS is jointly owned by:
As of April 2022, IELTS is accepted by over 11,000 organizations worldwide, including universities, colleges, regulatory bodies and governments. This makes IELTS globally trusted and its owners’ websites are sources of reliable preparation materials.
There are also ‘official vendors’ and tests centres that have been entrusted to assist in delivering guidance, legitimate materials, and the implementation of official tests, like us here at IELTS Vancouver*. Official vendors and affiliated test centres may offer:
- Free and legitimate practice tests for IELTS Listening, Reading, Writing, and Speaking sections.
- Videos and blogs from people with real-life experiences, such as IELTS experts, universities, and former test-takers.
- Webinars, workshops, advice articles, and answers to commonly asked questions.
(*Both IELTS Vancouver and IELTS Toronto are registered Official IELTS Test Centres offering legitimate tests in close partnership with IDP Education. ILAC operates, maintains and staffs its own IDP-approved test facilities, and test papers are provided by IDP Education.)
Beware of IELTS Scams
It’s increasingly difficult to safely navigate the internet; this is also true when looking for online IELTS preparation materials or booking a test. Therefore, security is another reason why it is essential to use the sources from official IELTS partners.
The IELTS test is an important step to achieving a life goal, whether for education or a future career. Buying a fake certificate or using fake material can have long-lasting effects on your future. It is important to be aware of online scams, illegitimate “shortcuts” or unethical business practices in general.
What kind of IELTS scams are out there?
Scams usually come in the form of fake advertisements on search engines, social media, and unofficial tips websites. You may also see paid preparation courses with a “teacher” who has very little experience with IELTS examinations. Most notably, scammers on social media platforms boast paid IELTS certificates without the need to take a test. Often, these scammers will simply steal your money. Other times, you may receive a fake certificate.
Consequently, knowingly or unknowingly falling for these scams could result in numerous negative effects. Similar to passports, all official IELTS reports have unique identifiers that can be recognized by organizations and governments who will check the legitimacy of your certificate. If you are discovered submitting a fake certificate, you may be permanently banned from applying to that organization (or country).
Therefore, to keep your money and goals secure, be sure to use official materials and book your test with official test centres, schools and organizations such as British Council IELTS, IDP IELTS Canada and their pre-approved vendors.
Evaluating If a Source is Reliable
Students commonly complain about the amount of contrasting information out there, specifically the different information about the structure of the test and how to approach the 4 sections (Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking).
So, how can a potential test taker trust the information they are reading? A good question. The answer is to evaluate the course material, ask questions, or have a reliability checklist. For example, make sure that:
- the website or organization is reputable;
- it is an official IELTS vendor/partner (click here to search for IDP-approved test venues);
- there are professional affiliations or credentials on the website or material;
- the spelling and grammar on the website are correct, to your knowledge.
It’s always recommended to do your research into author names or the organizations themselves. If in doubt, do not rely on that information to assist in IELTS preparation.
Find a Reputable School
It is tempting to rely on sources like websites that offer free advice or materials. However, with ineffective or inaccurate IELTS preparation materials, advice guides from unqualified teachers, and potential scams, it is a big risk. The cheapest and quickest approach is not always the most effective way to get advice or to prepare for a test.
If you are looking for a preparation program, it is true that legitimate courses take more time and can cost more money. Yet, choosing a reputable school such as ILAC is often the safest, most reliable, and most effective way. Classes are guaranteed to have the most up-to-date information, with access to experienced and qualified teachers and no chance of being misinformed or misled.
This brings us back to the most important factor when preparing for IELTS examinations – reliability. Reliability means materials and teachers you can trust, which in turn leads to confidence, and confidence leads to success. Not everyone chooses or needs an IELTS preparation course, but if you do, feel the benefits confidence brings by choosing a reputable school.
Summary & Recommended Sources
So, what have we learned about the world of online IELTS preparation?
- We know that although there are thousands of potential preparation sources online, there are also many unreliable sources and potential scams.
- We have demonstrated the importance of being aware of scams and how to evaluate the reliability of online sources.
- Meanwhile, we’ve highlighted that the best way for you to reach your IELTS goals is to learn more about legitimate IELTS partners, use official accredited sources and practice tests and locate a reputable school to get expert advice and, therefore the best chance for success.
Check out our recommended resources for reliable IELTS materials: