Which is the best study material for IELTS?


Many people who are learning English may be interested in or planning to take the IELTS test. If you know the basic information, characteristics, and trends of the exam in advance, it will be easier for you to study effectively. In order to prepare for a high score in a limited time, you will be able to improve your ability efficiently by knowing the countermeasures for IELTS and specific teaching materials.

Therefore, this time, I will introduce basic information that I would like to keep in mind for taking the IELTS exam and recommended study methods.

Table of contents
  • Basic information you should know when taking the IELTS test
  • 5 basic steps for IELTS measures
  • Summary of problem trends and countermeasures for each section of IELTS
  • Recommended teaching materials useful for studying IELTS
  • Conclusion

Basic information you need to know when taking the IELTS test

IELTS is a test that measures 4 English skills. The number of educational institutions used it for entrance exams has increased in recently. Many learners will be taking the IELTS test for the first time, even if they have taken the TOEIC and Eiken tests.

Here, we will introduce basic information such as exam outline, score guideline, study time, etc. that you should keep in mind before taking the IELTS test.

IELTS test overview

IELTS is an abbreviation of "International English Language Testing System" and is an English 4 skill test that has already been operated for 30 years. It is conducted all over the world, and more than 3.5 million people take the exam every year. Scores are scored in 0.5-point increments, with each section scoring a maximum of 9 points.

It is mainly conducted for those who wish to study abroad, work or immigrate to English-speaking countries such as the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

There are two types of IELTS, the IELTS Academic Module and the IELTS General Training Module. The Academic module is used when applying to universities and higher education institutions, and the General Training module is used when migrating to English-speaking countries. This article focuses on the IELTS Academic Module, which is useful for advancing to university or graduate school or registering for a profession.

Estimated score target

In IELTS, each section is given a grade from 1 to 9 in 0.5-point increments, which is called the "band score". The average score of the four skills of reading, listening, writing and speaking is called "overall".

The guideline for the score level is as follows.

Band score ~ 3: Level that allows you to convey and understand simple contents in English in your daily life Band score
~ 4: is a level that allows you to understand basic English if it is a familiar topic or familiar theme
~ 5: Level band score that allows you to understand and communicate most of your daily life in English
~ 6: Level band score that has basic English skills and can handle complicated situations, although there are misunderstandings and lack of expressiveness
~ 7: Although there may be discrepancies in recognition depending on the situation, a level band score that can generally handle complicated phrases
~ 8: A level band score that can handle complicated conversations and discussions even if some mistakes are seen
~ 9: Has English ability and comprehension close to that of a native speaker, and is fluent in correct English.

To apply for an educational institution, aim for a minimum overall of 6.5 and a band score of 6.0 or higher in all sections. By the way, 6.5 is the same level as graduating from 4th grade university.

Estimated study time

In the IELTS test, ability is evaluated in increments of 0.5 points, but if the decimal point of the score is 0 or more and less than 0.25, it is rounded down, and if it is 0.25 or more and less than 0.75, it is rounded up to 0.5 and 0.75 or more.

In order to increase the overall score by 0.5, it is generally recommended to study for 200 to 300 hours. For example, it would take about 16 to 25 hours a month to raise 0.5 over a year, and 33 to 50 hours a month for half a year.

5 basic steps for IELTS measures

When preparing for the exam, it will be easier to demonstrate your abilities if you take measures according to the questioning tendency and level. Here, we will introduce the basic measures for the IELTS test in five stages.

1. Solidify the basics with English words and grammar

By strengthening your vocabulary and English grammar and solidifying your basics, you will improve your basic English skills and become more effective in exams. First of all, it is recommended that you learn English words that are easy to be asked in IELTS in a short period of time, and then repeat the vocabulary that you have learned once until the exam by using commuting time. By strengthening your knowledge of English words, you will be able to understand more English in all sections, which will lead to higher scores.

If you are worried about basic grammar, first study junior high school English and then high school English. Reviewing high school level English grammar will cover almost all the basics.

2. Try to solve the official problem book once

Once you have confirmed the IELTS frequent vocabulary and basic English grammar, try solving the IELTS official workbook once. If you set a time limit and try to solve the problem in the same way as in the actual test, you can grasp the flow of the IELTS test. You should be able to see points such as "how fast do you need to solve the problem" and "how difficult is your level?"

Also, by solving the official problem once, you can understand your weaknesses and it will be easier to take countermeasures. Understand areas that take time and sections where you can't score, and know what to focus on for the rest of your study.

It is recommended that you select and purchase the official question book with a new publication date. All written in English, you can get used to the actual exam in this respect as well.

" IELTS 16 Academic Student's Book with Answers with Audio with Resource Bank (IELTS Practice Tests) "

Recommended level Beginner to advanced
author Cambridge University Press
the publisher Cambridge English
Price (tax included) 3,570 yen

3. Take measures for each section

If you can grasp the whole picture of the exam, your English level, and the tendency of your strengths and weaknesses from the official question collection, you can proceed with the measures for each section. The IELTS test is said to be difficult to get a perfect score even for native speakers and advanced English speakers. Develop a strategy for future learning based on the response and score results at the stage of solving the mock exam.

All four skills are measured and reflected in overalls, so it is recommended that you make a well-balanced study plan so that you can continue to score well in your area of expertise.

4. Strengthen areas of weakness

For areas that you are not good at, take measures so that you can develop your abilities efficiently in a limited period of time. You can improve your score efficiently by using reference books and problem books for IELTS, or by using the help of professionals such as English conversation schools and online English conversation.

IELTS writing and speaking are areas where it is difficult to get a score without special measures. However, it is also a section that can be easily scored if you prepare in advance, so take measures for IELTS regarding how to write and speak.

5. Solve the official problem book earnestly

After strengthening your basic skills such as English words and grammar, taking measures for each section and intensive study in areas you are not good at, it is recommended that you solve the official workbook by the exam date. Get used to the question format as much as possible so that you can complete the solution in time. It is important to set a timer and set the same time as the actual time.

Also, let's take time not only to solve once but also to answer and review. It is necessary to make a note of problems that you could not solve, words that you did not understand, grammatical matters, etc., and take measures again in reference books and problem books. If you're not sure why you made a mistake, ask a native speaker or English teacher and don't leave any doubts.

IELTS Problem trends and countermeasures for each section

The strengths and weaknesses of each section vary depending on the learner. By knowing the trends and countermeasures for each section, you will be able to effectively implement IELTS countermeasures.

Here, IELTS questioning trends and countermeasures will be introduced separately for listening, reading, writing, and speaking.


Many people who are learning English are not good at listening. In the listening section of IELTS, the sound is played only once, so some people are impatient and unable to demonstrate their abilities.

Here, we will introduce the outline of the listening section, the tendency and level of the problem, the study method, etc. so that you can know the basic information of the listening section of IELTS and take all possible measures.

Section overview

The IELTS listening test time is approximately 40 minutes. It is a common exam for the IELTS Academic Module and the IELTS General Training Module.

You are not allowed to leave the room for any reason during the listening test. Please note that if you leave the room during the listening test, you will not be able to resume the test.

There are two types of IELTS, paper-based exams and PC exams (Computer-Delivered IELTS, CDI), and there are differences in how to proceed with the exam and whether or not headphones can be used. If you want to take the CDI, please check the test flow on the official website before taking the test. The same is true for the reading and writing sections.

The listening test is divided into 4 parts and consists of 40 questions. Part 1 is a dialogue by two speakers, Part 2 is a speech by one speaker, Part 3 is a conversation by two or three speakers, and Part 4 is a speech by one speaker. There may be some error depending on the difficulty of the question, but in order to get a score of 6.5, aim for 27 to 29 correct answers.

Problem trends

The IELTS listening section tends to be more difficult from Part 1 to Part 4. Since the difficulty level will increase in the second half, it will be necessary to make sure to answer the questions that can be answered correctly from the first half. In addition, the first two parts deal with themes that assume one scene of daily life, and the second two parts deal with university scenes and specialized content.

The difficulty level varies depending on the learner, but even those who can get a high score on other exams such as TOEIC will often find it difficult unless they are accustomed to the IELTS question format in advance. In particular, in Part 2 and Part 3 in the middle, questions such as selection questions and matching questions are given, but it is necessary to listen to the details and understand the contents.

Listening Study Method: IELTS Learn Frequent Words

It is essential to improve your vocabulary in every section, but even in listening, it is difficult to understand the details accurately without vocabulary. Also, when you actually take the test, there are cases where you can hear the voice but cannot write the spelling and cannot answer correctly. By taking measures in advance for words that frequently appear in IELTS listening, you can prevent the regrettable mistake of not being able to write even though you can hear them.

Since there is a tendency for words to appear frequently in each part, it is also recommended to intensively strengthen the words that frequently appear in the part that you want to focus on. Let's train your vocabulary efficiently while using the gap time.

Listening Study Method: Practice how to take effective notes

Taking notes is also important when listening to IELTS. While listening, you need to be calm and listen to the audio and write down the information you need. It's a good idea to think about how to take notes from the listening practice stage, assuming the actual performance.

In order to take notes effectively, it is necessary to train your listening ability and have the ability to naturally distinguish important information and non-important information. Also, you have to write and output by hand while listening and inputting in an instant, so get in the habit of taking notes from your usual listening practice. It is difficult to write down everything during the production, so it is important to practice listening to and writing down the key information.

Listening Study Method: Get used to British English expressions and pronunciation

In the listening section of IELTS, expressions and pronunciations that are closer to British English are often used. You may find it easier to solve listening problems if you familiarize yourself with IELTS-specific reference books, British English reference books, and BBC broadcasts.

In listening, the voices of people of different genders and ages are used in a wide range of situations, from everyday life scenes to college scenes. For learners who are accustomed to American English, be aware that some unfamiliar accents and words may be used.

Listening Study Method: Study Dictation

Dictation is also an effective way to improve your listening skills. Dictation is one of the listening practice methods to write down all the sentences heard by voice. By writing down every single word, you can check whether you have an accurate grasp of grammar, wording, spelling, etc.

In the IELTS listening section, you will be asked to write out the words you heard in Part 1 and Part 4. It will be easier to solve the problem if you train your listening skills by dictation. By practicing with the official IELTS questions and reference books for IELTS, you can strengthen your focus on frequently-used words and expressions.


The reading section of IELTS has a lot of text volume and the question format is also characteristic. Even English learners who are accustomed to other exams may not be able to demonstrate their abilities without taking measures for IELTS.

Next, I will introduce the outline of the IELTS reading section, the tendency and level of problems, and how to study.

Section overview

The IELTS reading test time is 60 minutes. Unlike listening, which has time to copy the answer on the answer sheet, reading requires the answer sheet to be completed during the exam time. You can check the remaining time on the clock or the big screen, so use it as a guide for time allocation. In the reading test, except for the last 10 minutes, you can feel sick or temporarily leave the toilet.

The reading test of the Academic module consists of 40 questions, and 3 long sentences of around 900 words are given. The ability to read the content of the text in line with the argument and the skill to accurately grasp the intention, attitude, and purpose of the writer are required. Reading comprehension such as suggestive meaning and reading of details is also required.

Problem trends

The texts given in the IELTS reading are excerpts from actual books, academic magazines, and newspaper articles. The themes dealt with are wide-ranging, such as natural sciences, social sciences, and humanities. There are various forms of sentences such as book contents, newspaper articles, and academic magazines. It may also contain non-linguistic elements such as tables, graphs and illustrations. As questions, you will be asked a choice question, a correct/wrong question, a content match, and a fill-in-the-blank question such as sentences/tables.

The reading exams in the Academic module deal with academic content, such as those found in university classes. Professional knowledge is explained in the text, so you don't need to study specially, but you will need to become familiar with academic terms and texts.

Reading study method: Solve the official workbook repeatedly

As a measure for reading, it is recommended to purchase the official workbook early and explain it repeatedly. First, take a quick look at the problem, read three sentences within 60 minutes, and solve the problem. Let's keep track of the progress so that the time spent on one passage is not biased.

After solving, grade and read the commentary. It is effective to look up the words you did not understand and read the sentences again. If you feel that your vocabulary is insufficient at this stage, try to strengthen your vocabulary with a vocabulary book. However, no matter how much you learn a word, it is natural that you will come across a word you do not know. After learning to some extent, develop the ability to guess from the words and contexts you know.

Reading study method: Practice searching for keywords that lead to answers

Many test takers will be competing against time in reading. In order to finish solving a problem in a limited time, it is necessary to have not only speed reading but also skill to grasp the contents of sentences in a good manner while grasping keywords. Even if you don't read everything, you can often get points if the keywords that lead to the questions and answers are suppressed.

In the IELTS reading test, keywords may be paraphrased into synonyms or similar expressions. Since the expressions in the question sentence are not always written in exactly the same form in the text, let's acquire the skill to answer correctly while understanding the paraphrase. Also, concrete words and abstract words may be linked.

How to study reading: Practice paragraph reading

By practicing paragraph reading, where you read long sentences in chunks, it will be easier to read the flow and gist of the whole story. If you've never read a paragraph, start by grasping the content of a short paragraph. You can practice using all English sentences such as official workbooks, reference books, internet articles and newspaper articles.

Read the paragraphs all at once and take your eyes off the text. You can tell if you understand it by speaking out or writing out the content or abstract of the paragraph. Hone your paragraph reading skills to help you get the information you need to answer in time for the exam.

How to study reading: Learn scanning

Scanning is a skill that seeks out specific information in long sentences. This is an essential technique for IELTS reading, where you need to read a large amount of sentences and answer questions in a limited amount of time.

From the usual learning stage, it is necessary to acquire the ability to detect the keywords in the question and quickly search for the necessary information in the text. It is effective to practice scanning by deciding your own rules and methods, such as marking key information such as proper nouns and eras.


Even English learners who can get high scores on other English exams will often find the IELTS writing section difficult without certain measures. It is a writing measure that is psychologically difficult and tends to be postponed, but it is necessary to practice for IELTS before the exam.

Here, we will give you an overview of the IELTS writing section, problem trends and levels, and how to study.

Section overview

The IELTS writing test time is 60 minutes. There are two questions, and Task1 creates an essay that explains figures, graphs, and tables. Task2 is a question to express one's opinion on the presented task. Skills to explain facts and contents objectively and to express subjective opinions with persuasive power are required.

No time allocation is specified between the two tasks, and it's okay if you complete the two tasks within 60 minutes. The estimated time for Task1 is 20 minutes, and the estimated time for Task2 is 40 minutes.

During the writing test, you are allowed to leave the room temporarily due to poor physical condition or toilet. However, please note that you cannot leave the room for the last 10 minutes.

Problem trends

In Task 1 of the writing section, there is a specification to write with 150 words or more. Academic Task 1 is a report format that analyzes figures, graphs, tables, etc. and explains them in English. The content varies depending on the test, but there are many patterns that use bar graphs, pie graphs, line graphs, tables, diagrams, etc., so it is recommended to practice for each pattern. Be able to explain objectively while showing data and evidence.

Task2 will have 240 essays. Themes cover a wide range of topics such as culture, environmental issues, and education, but if you have a general education, you can answer them. There are several patterns of questions, and there are frequently asked questions such as pros and cons, opinions, advantages and disadvantages, explanations of causes, etc., so it is recommended to practice in advance.

To aim for a band score of 6.5, you need to write an essay logically. In addition to high English skills, acquire the ability to explain things logically in English while being aware of logical development and coherence.

Writing study method: Learn the words and expressions of academic writing

Learn and remember all the words and expressions you need to answer your writing tasks. Even if you can explain it verbally, there are cases where you cannot write it accurately because you have vaguely remembered the literary expression.

You don't necessarily have to use high-level wording and grammar. Let's increase the expressions that can be used with confidence and improve the accuracy of the sentences. When practicing writing, it is recommended that you check the dictionary or reference book to see if the words, expressions, and usage are correct, or have a native speaker look at them.

Writing study method: Practice planning

Planning is to think and organize the content before writing a sentence. For IELTS writing measures, it is effective to practice planning. For example, "What is the content asked in the question?" "What is the main claim?" "What kind of ideas can be used for concrete examples and explanations?" "My opinion, stance, and sentences Organize items such as "How to configure".

Creating a plan before you start writing will help you compose a logical essay and prevent shortages of words. If the planning is inadequate, the content will be ambiguous and the claim will be blurred, or you will not be able to understand what to write in the middle and your hands will stop. When studying writing, first get in the habit of planning in about 5-10 minutes.

Writing study method: Write repeatedly and get used to the essay

If you are not accustomed to writing an essay, it seems that many people find it difficult to put together their thoughts in time and write more than the specified number of words. Let's touch English composition many times so that you can write English composition without any resistance.

It is also effective to read the essay once written after a while. If you read it later, you may notice small grammar/wording mistakes and spelling mistakes from an objective point of view. Also, reading it again may bring up better expressions and logical structures.

In this way, you can improve the quality and composition of your writing by writing repeatedly and becoming accustomed to writing and rereading essays.

Writing study method: Receive corrections and grasp mistakes

You can use dictionaries and reference books to take measures for writing yourself, but if possible, have a native speaker or an English teacher correct it so that you can write more accurate sentences. If you point out mistakes, unnatural phrases, or points that don't make sense, you can improve your ability.

However, it is difficult to score according to the same criteria as the actual performance, so it is better to use corrections for the purpose of grasping points and mistakes that you are not good at and writing correct English rather than focusing on the score. If you don't have someone close to you to ask for corrections, we recommend using a simple online English conversation service. Get proper writing advice from a professional English teacher.


Speaking is a field where strengths and weaknesses are divided according to study abroad / overseas experience and whether or not you attend an English conversation school. At IELTS, interpersonal conversations test your communication skills.

Finally, I will give you an overview of the IELTS writing section, problem trends and levels, and how to study.

Section overview

The IELTS speaking test time is about 11 to 15 minutes. In some cases, the written exam will be held on the same day, and in other cases, speaking will be held on a different day. During the exam, audio will be recorded for fraud prevention and re-scoring purposes.

The exam will be divided into three parts: self-introduction, greetings, speeches, and discussions. There is no fixed answer and the IELTS examiner will score based on the scoring criteria.

The exam is conducted one-on-one with the examiner in a private room, so it will be adjusted to some extent according to the examinee's English proficiency and speaking pace. Also, if you do not hear the question, you can ask the question to be repeated.

Problem trends

In Part 1, the examiner introduces himself and then the examinee is invited to introduce himself. You will be asked about familiar themes such as identity verification, family, work, research, and interests. Part 2 will be handed a task card and will give a 1-2 minute speech on a particular subject. You will be given 1 minute of preparation time and can take notes. Also, I have some questions from the examiner. Part3 is a discussion format where other questions related to Part2 are given. Candidates state their opinions and general issues.

Speech can be difficult to reach in a short amount of time without some practice. Also, it is important to add explanations and concrete examples to improve the score, rather than answering short questions.

Speaking study method: Know the evaluation criteria of the exam

IELTS evaluates speaking using a criterion called "Band Descriptors". Knowing the evaluation criteria in advance will help you prepare for speaking efficiently.

There are four evaluation criteria, such as "Fluency and Coherence," "Lexical Resources," "Grammatical Range and Accuracy," and "Pronunciation." .. These items will be evaluated by changing the questions while watching the test taker's way of speaking. In particular, the way of speaking in Part 3 is said to have a great influence on the evaluation.

Speaking study method: Increase the expressions that can be used

Some people may not know what to say in speaking and the words may not come out of their mouth. In such cases, it is recommended that you list the expressions that can be used in the speaking section and learn repeatedly to make it your own.

It is convenient to update the list when you find an expression that you can use according to the questioning tendency of each part. If you remember expressions that express your opinions and feelings, you can apply them to various questions in production.

Speaking study method: Practice to write English quickly and verbally

As a measure against speaking, it is recommended to practice giving and explaining various themes quickly and verbally. Since you can write English sentences instantly, you will be able to speak English smoothly by mouth.

Even if you are good at writing English, you may not be able to keep up with the conversation unless you can change the language instantly. If you practice English writing while actually moving your mouth, you will be able to speak English fluently even in production. You will be able to respond quickly to your questions.

Speaking study method: Practice practice over and over again

It is effective to practice speaking preparation in a practical scene. Some people may be able to write when they are studying alone, but when they are in front of others, they may feel nervous and slow down in writing English.

It is recommended that you use an English conversation school or an online English conversation service to listen to the phrases you have created and practice conversations in practice. You can get new ideas and advice by asking a third party. You can get used to English conversation with a sense of speed, and you can talk calmly and confidently even in the actual performance.

Recommended teaching materials useful for studying IELTS

From here, we will pick up and introduce recommended teaching materials for IELTS test preparation. We will introduce you by purpose and section such as improving vocabulary and grammar, so you can effectively take measures by choosing according to the field you are not good at or want to strengthen. Use it to help you reach your IELTS target score in a limited amount of time.

Teaching materials for improving vocabulary

" IELTS Essential English Words 4400 " is a collection of vocabulary that allows you to learn the essential English words 3300 and English idioms 1100 in IELTS. He will acquire the vocabulary of IELTS not only for input such as listening and reading, but also for output such as writing and speaking. Words, example sentences making it easier to settle in your memory.

In addition, English voices are recorded in the voice, which is convenient when learning while traveling. Since the importance of English words is divided into levels, it is also nice to be able to concentrate on learning the necessary parts.

Recommended level Beginner to advanced
author Isao Hayashi, Hideo Kodama
the publisher Beret Publishing
Price (tax included) 2,970 yen

Teaching materials for improving grammar

" English Grammar in Use 5th edition Book with answers and interactive ebook " is a grammar material that is familiar to English learners. Learning English grammar in English will improve your overall English proficiency. It is recommended for those who want to focus on learning English.

Since the structure is simple and the explanation is easy to understand, it is also effective to concentrate on this one book for reviewing grammar. It's all written in English, so you'll find it difficult at the beginner's stage.

Recommended level Intermediate to advanced
author Raymond Murphy
the publisher Cambridge University Press
Price (tax included) 3,500 yen

Reference book for listening comprehension

" Practical IELTS Skill-Specific Question Collection Listening (with audio DL) " is a teaching material that allows you to learn how to become audible in the listening section of IELTS and to solve many problems and become accustomed to it. Since the features, progress, and solution of each part are explained, IELTS listening measures can be taken efficiently. You will learn the points to score in listening with careful commentary. By completing a large number of exercises, you can confidently go into production.

At the end of the book, there are two production-style mock exams, so it's perfect for checking your ability. From long conversations to monologues, you will definitely be able to understand English.

Recommended level Intermediate to advanced
author Yasunori Matsuzono
the publisher Obunsha
Price (tax included) 2,860 yen

Reference book for reading measures

" Perfect Strategy IELTS Reading New Edition " contains passages for 5 productions. You will be able to organize and study the 11 question types you want to keep in mind and aim to improve your score.

You can proceed with learning efficiently. Recommended for those who want to intensively strengthen their reading sessions and improve their abilities in a limited amount of time.

Recommended level Intermediate
author Tofru Seminar
the publisher Teyes Planning
Price (tax included) 2,640 yen

Reference book for writing measures

" IELTS Writing Thorough Strategy " is recommended for learning IELTS writing skills and improving your score. You can efficiently learn topics that are easy to ask and essential topics, and practice in preparation for the actual performance. You will be able to learn thematic vocabulary, essential phrases, paraphrase techniques, etc., so you will be able to acquire writing skills efficiently.

Important points about writing are summarized, the contents are enriched, and you can raise the level of grammar and wording that are useful for writing. Let's do the number of writing exercises while reading over and over again.

Recommended level Intermediate to advanced
author Ichizo Ueda, Nobuyoshi Kotani, Toshiko Ueda
the publisher Language Institute
Price (tax included) 2,640 yen

Reference book for speaking measures

" IELTS Speaking Complete Measures " is a useful reference book for speaking measures. IELTS measures can be taken by specializing in the speaking section. The point explanation is substantial, and specific strategies, scoring criteria, frequent topics, model answers, etc. are posted. As the title suggests, you will be able to take "complete measures" toward the speaking section.

The differences between important expressions and similar expressions are also explained carefully, so it is a good idea to create an answer for the production while looking at this book. It is recommended for those who feel that it is difficult to take appropriate measures for speaking with a comprehensive countermeasure book.

Recommended level Beginner-Intermediate
author Yuki Shimazu
the publisher DHC
Price (tax included) 2,420 yen


This time, we introduced in detail basic information and countermeasures for the IELTS test. IELTS is a world-class test, so it is useful for study abroad and training. In addition, the number of schools using IELTS for entrance examinations is increasing in worldwide.

IELTS requires a lot of study time even if the score is increased by 0.5 points. Therefore, if you use online English conversation, you will be able to efficiently learn output such as speaking while receiving appropriate advice.