Are Free Online Practice Tests Worth It?

Taking a mock or practice test to prepare for the IELTS exam is not something new. Students from Singapore and all over the world have been using this method as part of their study plan since the test’s inception in 1989. However, these days most mock tests are held online, and this shift comes with a few extra benefits than using a hard copy test. Currently, there are thousands of sites that claim to offer authentic IELTS practice tests and resources, meaning that the task of finding the online resources that suit your needs can be extremely time-consuming. In this article, we will discuss the advantages of using online mock tests and give you some insights about both the free and paid for IELTS practice tests. Hopefully, this information will help you make those all-important IELTS preparation decisions.

What is an IELTS Mock Test?

A mock IELTS test is a test that mimics the exact conditions of an actual IELTS exam. This means that it contains the same structure, times, content and level of difficulty that you would find in the real test. Taking such a test is useful with familiarizing yourself with the IELTS test as well as gauging your current levels of proficiency. If you have completed a fair amount of preparation for the IELTS exam, then taking a mock test can also give you a reasonable estimate of the IELTS band score you can expect to achieve.

Should You Opt For A Free Or A Paid Mock Test?

I think that this depends greatly on the reasons you are taking the test. If you are just curious about the IELTS test is like, then taking a free version of the test might be useful. You can get a good idea about the format, tasks and timings of the test and decide if this is something you are capable of doing.

However, if you are serious about taking the exam then I recommend taking a paid for mock test.

Here’s why:

Fake IELTS Exam Online Practice Tests

There are far too many fake free tests with badly written questions or wrong answers. Many of these answers are themselves riddled with grammatical errors and branded as band 8 or our English 9 model answers.

Using such inauthentic materials can give the incorrect impression about the level of difficulty of the IELTS exam or give you an over-inflated sense of your English Language capabilities.

Comprehensive IELTS Practice Test Analysis

Most free mock tests do not offer any sort of feedback to test takers about their writing or speaking answers. They simply offer the answers for the listening and reading sections of the test. A detailed analysis of your answers along with individual band scores is only given out to students who pay for these services

Most good mock test sites give comprehensive and complete results if you pay some amount to access the full results.

From my point of view, opting for paid coaching classes with options for taking multiple mock tests makes better sense, since this often includes personalised coaching and unique preparation and practice materials developed by certified English language experts.

Jonathan has been teaching students to prepare for the IELTS and PTE Exams for more than 10+ years. He's taught English to students in various countries in the world including Singapore, China, Australia, Canada and Colombia.