Are Free Online Practice Tests And Exercises Useful For IELTS Reading Preparation?

Taking a free online practice IELTS reading test can be beneficial for your test preparation in many ways. It is obviously an easy way to reinforce the skills that you’ve learnt during your IELTS reading test preparation journey. However, while there are many other pros to taking practice tests, there are also a number of problematic issues that you need to be familiar with as well. In this article, we will take a look at a few vital pieces of information that test-takers, from Singapore and other parts of the world, need to take into consideration before taking any free online IELTS mock tests or reading practice exercises.

Why is it Important to Practice for the IELTS Reading Test?

There are a few reasons as to why taking an IELTS practice reading test is a great idea.

Firstly, if you are new to the IELTS reading test then taking a practice test can help you gauge your actual level of proficiency for that particular skill. Many students underestimate the difficulty of the test and overestimate their ability to score well. Taking a mock test can help you weigh out your true reading comprehension strengths and weaknesses. This will make it much easier to decide on the best way to move forward with your preparation. However, it’s important to note that simply taking practice tests will not help you improve in any way. This is merely the first step in determining the correct direction to move forward in regarding your IELTS preparation.

Once you are familiar with the strategies and skills required for either the IELTS academic reading test or the general training reading test, you can use mock tests can help you to check whether your preparation has been effective or not. Taking regular tests can also help you improve the time it takes for you to complete your tests.

The more tests you take, the more familiar you become with the types of tricks the examiners often include to throw students off. Remember that you won’t find exactly the same passages or questions as the IELTS reading test passages do not repeat.

Regular practice under exam conditions can help you overcome these particular issues so that you can complete your IELTS reading test with ease.

Why is it Important to use Official IELTS Practice Materials?

Make sure that you always practice with official IELTS Practice tests, from trusted sources. Using practice tests from reliable sources like the Cambridge Practice Tests or the IDP and British Council websites is important because there are far too many fake tests and practice materials which can give an incorrect impression of your actual level of preparedness for the IELTS test. Make sure that the mock test you use has the same structure, the same difficulty, the same marking, and the same timing as the IELTS test.

Which Type of  Online IELTS Reading Practice Test Should You Take?

It is important to choose a test that follows the same format and timing as an authentic IELTS test. The reading test should include 40 questions, divided into three sections over a 1 hour period. If you are considering practising using an online free IELTS test, then make sure that the way the test is displayed is similar to the way the Computer-based IELTS reading test is displayed. Meaning that both the passage and the questions are displayed at the same time.

As mentioned before, it is also important to use test material that is of the correct level of difficulty. Unfortunately, the internet is full of fake IELTS practice material that is much easier than an actual test. The best way to ensure your mock test accuracy is to use practice material that has been verified by either Cambridge, IDP or the British Council.

It is also important to use a test that provides a good analysis of your answers at the end of the test. Check your answers at the end of the test to determine your current level of proficiency.

Overall, a good IELTS mock test is a cost-effective way to ensure that you are well- prepared for the IELTS English exam before the actual test day. Keep in mind that the IELTS Exam costs around $250 dollars, and you have to pay separately each time you take the test. It can get quite costly if you do not get your required band scores and have to retake the exam multiple times.

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.