Free vs Paid IELTS Preparation Resources

Discover free and paid IELTS preparation resources. Get high scores with tailored strategies, expert guidance, & comprehensive study materials for IELTS exam.

Published on: Jul 1, 2024

Migrating to Australia for either study or work merely requires an individual to have a basic knowledge of the language. The commonly known and spoken language in the territory is English and hence if you have no fluency in it, it can be daunting for you to survive further. Before even planning, the first thought that comes to mind is the test which is essential in depicting the proficiency in English language and is even accepted by the Australian universities and the government. The IELTS exam is amongst the various English proficiency exams which are used to evaluate your English based on certain marks called “Bands”. Therefore to achieve the highest score you need to research the sources or the preparation materials to cater to diverse needs and preferences. 

Let us, with the help of this blog, discover the various free and paid IELTS preparation resources that can be utilized by aspiring individuals.

Comprehending the IELTS exam 

The International English Language Testing System (IELTS) is a critical component for individuals aspiring to study, work, or migrate to English-speaking countries, specifically Australia. The exam is well-known across the globe and is used to evaluate an individual’s listening, writing, speaking, and reading, which are eventually the four main areas in any language. Scoring high on the test counts as a testament to your application and getting admission to any one of the prestigious universities in Australia, enhances career prospects, and facilitates immigration processes.

Other than having four major areas to be evaluated the test is divided into two main versions: the General Training IELTS test and the Academic test. Each serves distinct purposes and caters to different groups of test-takers. 

1. IELTS Academic Test: It is designed for students who are planning to pursue higher education in an English-speaking country. It is essential as it assesses whether the candidate is ready to begin studying or training in an academic setting where English is the medium of instruction.

2. IELTS General Training Test: Unless you are a student you can take up the general training text as it assesses an individual’s general speaking skills and is best for an individual looking to migrate to an English-speaking country to gain work experience or to undertake the training programs. 

This is just the synopsis of what the IELTS exam is all about. But to score high, you need to plan and prepare accordingly. To achieve more, you need to put in effort and be determined to perform well while preparing for the exam. 


IELTS Preparation Needs

As any other exam requires you to be truthful and focused, IELTS too is an exam that requires you to understand the key areas: Listening, Reading, Writing, and Speaking. All these sections carry different weightage and significance to analyze the English Language proficiency of an individual. 

You need to understand and self-analyze the areas where you need to improve and the area you are good at. Being unable to do so can put you in consequences, as you won’t be able to prepare effectively then. 

Here’s how you can approach this:

1. Listening:  Understand whether you can understand the different accents as here you would be asked to listen to the speaker and then answer. You can practice this by utilizing various audio materials, listening to the dialogues, watching English films, and noting the areas requiring attention, such as understanding fast speech or recognizing specific details.

2. Reading: It is advised to read newspapers and books, and if you are interested in binge watching then you can read through subtitles in the below, all this to assess your skills in skimming, scanning, and understanding complex information. Identify how well you can comprehend different types of texts. 

3. Writing: Writing IELTS academic or general involves sharing your opinions in a structured manner and on a sheet of paper. Reviewing the samples of your written material can help you identify common mistakes in grammar, vocabulary, and structure. You must practice essays and letters, focusing on organizing your thoughts clearly while using appropriate language.

4. Speaking: Most non-native speakers get stuck here, and it becomes a little difficult to arrange your thoughts and speak grammatically correctly. To overcome this you can practice by recording yourself speaking on various topics and seek feedback from language experts, or someone proficient in the language.

These are the ways where you improvise based on your personal needs and preferences and follow up the preparation strategies. Else there are options available to choose between free resources, paid courses, or a combination of both for IELTS preparation. 


Free IELTS Preparation Resources

You are not supposed to spend plenty of your money in preparing for the IELTS exam. There are indeed a few resources available for candidates to initiate their IELTS preparation journey on their own and without any expenses. Here's a look at the different types of free resources an individual can utilize:

1. Online Practice Tests and Quizzes: Numerous online websites and service providers help you in navigating online practice tests and quizzes, just to simulate the exam experience, and allow you to become familiar with the test format and timing. Websites such as, British Council, and IDP offer free practice tests that cover all four sections: Listening, Reading, Writing, and Speaking.

2. YouTube Tutorials and Webinars: YouTube these days is the best source to acquire adequate knowledge in whichever field you are interested in. For IELTS preparation as well, you can come across experienced educators and former IELTS examiners offering tutorials, tips, and strategies through video lessons. IELTS Liz, E2 IELTS, and IELTS Official are a few channels that provide comprehensive coverage of all aspects of the exam. Additionally, there are live webinars, streaming, and Q&A sessions that can provide real-time interaction and personalized advice.

3. IELTS Preparation Websites and Blogs: Some websites and blogs offer a wealth of resources such as IELTS Simon, IELTS Buddy, and Magoosh IELTS. The study material can be downloaded and used as per your flexibility. These platforms often include forums where you can connect with other test-takers, share experiences, and seek advice.

4. Free Mobile Apps: Most of the time we are on our smartphones, now is the time to make effective use of them. You can download apps to help your practice go on continuously. Apps like IELTS Prep by British Council, IELTS Practice Band 9, and Magoosh IELTS offer features such as vocabulary building, listening practice, and speaking exercises.


Pros of Free IELTS resources

1. Cost-effective: These resources are free of cost and allow an individual to access materials that are of the highest quality to effectively enhance their score in the IELTS exam. Resources such as YouTube, websites, and blogs are effective in eliminating spending money, beneficial for students and individuals on a tight budget who need to allocate their funds elsewhere.

2. Flexibility: You can access these resources without any time constraints and at your flexibility. It is accessible to you from anywhere, at any time. You specifically need not require a component for Online practice tests, YouTube tutorials, and mobile apps, it can be accessed by your computer, tablet, or smartphone. Whether you’re commuting, taking a break at work, or relaxing at home, you can conveniently continue your IELTS preparation. 

3. Variety: A great variety of free resources are available to the candidates, from practice tests and quizzes to video tutorials, blogs, and mobile apps. You can practice from another resource when one of them ain’t available. If you wish to indulge in an interactive exercise, visual learning, and comprehensive guides you can within a few clicks access these. 

4. Community Support: You can indulge in groups that discuss the key elements of the IELTS exam. Some of the preparation platforms provide support through forums and discussion groups. You can get feedback, seek pieces of advice, share your experience, and take tests throughout these discussion groups. 


Cons of Free Resources

1. Quality inconsistency: The quality can be deprived in comparison to the paid resources. These can be old format or content available or the recorded videos can be from past years which can not be effective in the preparation journey. This inconsistency can lead to confusion and may hinder your progress if you rely on inaccurate or subpar materials

2. Time-consuming: There is no external help for you, hence you solely have to put effort into understanding and invest time into it. You can not randomly rely on the resources available on the internet, therefore, careful selection and evaluation consume time but it eventually ensures that the materials you use are trustworthy and effective. 

3. Difficulty in tracking progress: There is no one to evaluate your performance each day and also unavailability of an expert can hinder an individual in seeking advice and guidance. Without the proper plan and schedule, you can not track your progress and the topics you are covering. A structured learning path, typically provided by paid courses, guides you through a systematic approach to preparation, helping you stay on track and measure your improvement over time.


Paid IELTS Preparation Resources

Very illustrative of the fact that these resources require you to invest a bit from your income or savings. These are more comprehensive and detailed than the free resources to help you achieve your desired score on the exam. Since these are expensive the support offered is more than expected. Here's a look at the different types of free resources an individual can utilize:

1. Online Courses and Workshops: The most typical way to prepare for the IELTS exam is by getting admission to Online or offline courses and workshops. You get guidance from an instructor and seek advice on any kind of query related to the test. It typically includes video lessons, practice tests, interactive exercises, and access to expert tutors. Platforms like Kaplan, IELTS Advantage, and Magoosh offer comprehensive courses that cover all sections of the exam in depth. 

2. Private Tutoring and Coaching: Another common way to score the best in the exam is by regularly visiting the physical location of a coaching center. You can get into group discussions and assess your capabilities in comparison to other candidates. Then there are the private tutoring services which provide focused instruction, targeted practice, and detailed feedback on your performance.

3. Premium Mobile Apps and Software: There are some paid apps and software programs that offer advanced features and detailed resources including interactive exercises, practice tests with detailed feedback, vocabulary builders, and speaking practice tools. Apps like IELTS Prep by British Council and Magoosh IELTS, are best in use against their free counterparts.

4. Official IELTS Preparation Books and Materials: At the last, you can purchase the books and other materials for effective IELTS preparation. Official IELTS preparation books published by Cambridge University Press and other reputable publishers offer structured study guides and practice materials. Additionally, these are up to date as per the format and content of the actual IELTS test. 


Pros of Paid IELTS Resources

1. Organized Learning: The paid resources bind an individual to follow a certain way of learning. They offer structured learning paths and organized study plans. They involve the strategic approach of learning a new language, covering all the topics and skills systematically. Thus, helping you to manage time, stay on track, and progress steadily towards the main goal. 

2. High-quality study material: The study material offered is up to date and consists of the format and the content that is expected to be part of the actual test. Also, the tutors are experienced, and their pieces of advice and guidance can impact the overall score of an individual. Paid courses, books, and apps are often developed by experts in the field and undergo rigorous quality checks, to meet the suitability of the exam. 

3. Personalized feedback: Though these resources are expensive, the tutors or instructors are there to follow up and provide personalized feedback for any kind of improvement or mistake. Through this, you get the chance to understand your mistakes and make significant efforts to work on them and learn from them. This includes one-on-one tutoring, detailed critiques of your practice tests, or interactive online courses, to help you identify specific areas where you need to improve. 

4. Access to expert instructors: With extensive experience and professionalism these instructors can offer valuable insights, tips, and strategies. Their expertise can help you navigate challenging aspects of the test, understand complex topics, and develop effective study techniques. 


Cons of Paid Resources

1. Cost: The main issue is with the expenses in relevance to assessing these resources. Enrolling whether in online or offline course you need to pay a certain fee to assess the services and the guiding material for exam preparation. The cost factor can be a barrier to a few students with limited budgets; preventing them from accessing high-quality preparation resources, and potentially limiting options for those who cannot afford them.

2. Fixed Schedules: There are timings and consistency in accessing these services, especially in the case of live online courses or private tutoring sessions. You can not utilise them anytime or from anywhere, you have to adjust your daily routine as per the specific time slots which can be challenging if you have other responsibilities such as work, school, or family obligations. 

3. Dependency: You get used to the books or the study materials offered by institutes or coaching centers. While expert guidance and high-quality resources are beneficial, it’s essential to develop independent study habits and critical thinking skills rather than simply relying on them. It’s important to balance the use of paid resources with self-study and practice to ensure a well-rounded preparation approach.



Preparing for the IELTS exam requires utmost dedication and appropriate resources. Without these, an individual won’t be able to move on to the path of effectively clearing the test with high scores. The resource includes both free and paid resources, both having advantages and drawbacks. You can either use one of them or balance them both to make the best use of them, as free resources are excellent for initial preparation, familiarising with the test format, and accessing a variety of practice materials, whereas, paid resources provide more structured learning, personalised feedback, and expert guidance. In the end, it solely depends upon the individual needs, goals, and circumstances to opt for any one option. Assess your strengths and weaknesses, consider your budget, and evaluate your learning preferences to determine the most suitable resources for you. 

To get further details about the IELTS exam, and its components you can read more blogs below. And, in case of any academic help related to assignments and proofreading you can contact us at OZ assignments! If you have any college assignments that need assistance, simply upload your assignment details through our "Upload Assignment" feature, and our experts will guide you through it.

Similar Blogs

Excel in the IELTS Listening Test with our effective strategies and practic...

Learn how to manage stress and anxiety during IELTS preparation. Discover p...

Discover free and paid IELTS preparation resources. Get high scores with ta...

Discover if TOEFL or IELTS is necessary for admission to Australian univers...

Unlock study abroad opportunities in Australia with a high IELTS score. Lea...

Ace the IELTS exam with expert tips! Fuel your dreams, score higher, and fl...

Explore IELTS, PET, TOEFL, SAT: Learn their formats, scoring, and how they ...

Discover the array of English exams beyond IELTS for studying in Australia....

Get ready for IELTS 2024 with insights into the General Training module. Le...

Prepare for the IELTS General Training module with expert tips, common ques...

Unlock success in IELTS General Training Writing! Explore topics, strategie...