Updated November 9, 2020
When looking to start a new career or a graduate degree in an English-speaking country, you will need a way to demonstrate your English fluency. The International English Language Testing System (IELTS) exam has become one of the most widely accepted language tests in the UK, US, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and beyond.
Your IELTS exam score shows employers and schools how well you can speak, read, write, and understand English, and it will go a long way to helping you start a life in the place of your dreams.
But to get that top score, you’ll want to prepare! That’s why we have researched the available methods of IELTS exam preparation and put together this list of the best IELTS online preparation courses on the market. Ranging from quick-hitting refresher courses for experienced English speakers to in-depth IELTS test preparation that dissects every section of the test, this list is full of great options for a variety of students.
So, let’s get started! Scroll down to see a breakdown of the best IELTS online courses that will teach you exactly how to do IELTS preparation.
Please note that several of the links included below are affiliate links. At no extra cost to you, we may earn a referral commission if you use one of the courses below. Only use the links if you have been helped by our review!
IELTS Prep Course Reviews & Exclusive Discounts
|COMPANY||Magoosh IELTS||BestMyTest IELTS||Kaplan IELTS||Udemy IELTS||IELTS Online||edX|
($99 for certificate)
|GUARANTEE||0.5+ Band improvement guarantee||1-2.5 Band improvement guarantee||Higher score guarantee||30 day money-back guarantee||30 day money-back guarantee||No|
|MULTIPLE COURSE SCHEDULES|
|SPEAKING REVIEW||*Master Plus only|
|WRITING REVIEW||*6 Month only||*Master Plus only|
|STUDENT SUPPORT||Ask an Expert||Chat & email support||Email support||Email support||Email support||Email support & discussion board|
|ONLINE ACCESS||3 Months –
|1 Week –
|6 Months||12 Weeks – Lifetime||180 Days||6 Weeks|
|MORE DETAILS||Read Full Review||Read Overview||Read Full Review||Read Overview||Read Overview||Read Overview|
|GET STARTED||Start Now||Start Now||Start Now||Start Now||Start Now||Start Now|
Quick Links to IELTS Prep Courses and Study Materials
IELTS Prep Course Rankings
#1 Magoosh IELTS Prep Review
- Affordable Magoosh IELTS Prep has the lowest starting price among the top course options and yet still ranks among the highest when it comes to practice questions, video lessons, and practice tests on offer.
- Mobile and Easy-to-Use Magoosh provides the best in mobile-friendly test prep and the IELTS course can be taken anywhere. With clear practice questions and hundreds of video lessons you can stream right from your Mac, PC, iPhone or Android device, you will never be without a way to study.
- Score Improvement Guarantee Although Magoosh’s guarantee that your score will improve by 0.5 or higher isn’t the biggest on the list, that’s still enough to make a difference and make your test results stand out.
- Flexibility Magoosh IELTS also offers pricing plans that let you decide how long you want your access to last, ranging from one month up to a full 6 months of access. This means you can find a plan that fits your budget as well as your availability.
- No Live Lessons Although there is a huge amount of self-paced content in terms of video lessons and practice materials, Magoosh IELTS does not offer any options for live instruction. With that said, at the low price on offer, adding in any live instruction would be a steal.
Magoosh IELTS Prep Features:
- 120 video lessons
- 600 practice questions
- Video explanations to practice questions
- Up to 4 full-length mock tests
- 1 month of access
- Email assistance from experienced tutors
- 4 graded essays
- Score guarantee
- 7-day refund guarantee
Bottom Line: If studying on-the-go is important and you are looking to prepare on a flexible budget, then Magoosh is the plan for you. From their 1-month option that helps you cram before the exam, to their 6-month plan that provides essay grading, email assistance, and a 7-day moneyback guarantee – Magoosh provides a great option for anyone that wants to tackle the IELTS one section at a time.
#2 BestMyTest IELTS Prep Review
- Speaking and Writing Reviews BestMyTest really takes your English speaking and writing seriously. After you submit your writing samples and speaking clips, BestMyTest reviews both and sends customized audio feedback to help you improve. Their approach and attention to detail in this regard sets them apart from the competition.
- Comprehensive Study Plans BestMyTest really takes the entirety of the IELTS seriously, with full sections devoted specifically to reading, speaking, and writing.
- Fantastic Student Support BestMyTest offers students Instant Messaging and Email assistance through 24/7 customer support as well as Ask-an-Instructor questions included in each plan
- The Most Practice Tests With 30 full-length test simulations, BestMyTest IELTS makes sure that you will go into your test day ready to face whatever the test throws at you.
- 1-2.5+ Band Score Improvement Guarantee While the standard plan offers students a guaranteed improvement of 1 band on their IELTS, the premium package (with extra instructor questions and corrections) offers a whopping 2.5 or more—easily the best on the list.
- Not Video Based BestMyTest focuses on practice questions and lessons and, although the lessons feature brief introductory videos for each section, the course focuses mainly on interactive test-based practice.
BestMyTest Course Features (Basic Plan)
- 1000+ IELTS practice questions
- 2000+ commonly used IELTS vocabulary words
- 50 full-length 3.5 hour IELTS test simulations
- 5 essay grammar corrections
- 10 Ask-An-instructor questions
- 3 IELTS speaking reviews
- 2 IELTS writing reviews
- 1+ band score improvement money back guarantee
Bottom Line: BestMyTest is for students who are looking for comprehensive IELTS prep. You should be someone who thrives on practice questions rather than instructional videos and willing to take advantage of the extra resources like Ask-an-Instructor questions and grammar corrections. If your goal is to be as familiar with the IELTS test format as possible, then you can’t go wrong with BestMyTest and its hundreds of practices questions and 30 practice tests.
#3 Kaplan IELTS Prep Course Review
- Number of Video Lessons With over 18 hours of video lessons Kaplan provides the third most on the list. Some of these videos are interactive, too, engaging you while you watch—and with 6 months of online access to these resources, you’ll have plenty of time to watch as many as you need.
- Live Instruction Kaplan is one of just two companies on the list to offer a live IELTS preparation course, run in partnership with Cambridge University Press and Cambridge Assessment English Promise. The course can be finished in 2-6 weeks and gives you direct online access to your IELTS instructor.
- No Score Improvement Guarantee Unlike the top choices on the list, Kaplan does not offer a score improvement guarantee with their IELTS preparation courses.
- Price Kaplan’s live course, the one that really sets it apart from other options on the list, starts at $160—much higher than the other courses available.
Kaplan IELTS Course Features:
- 4 authentic full-length practice tests
- 5,000 practice questions
- Personalized Score Reports
- Homework Assignments
- Email Support
- Available online 24/7 for 6 months
Bottom Line: Kaplan is best for students who are looking for IELTS prep options in several course formats. They offer lots of IELTS studying material that you can access through either an online self-paced course or through a live online course with group class sessions. If you need more guidance and interaction during your IELTS preparation, Kaplan is the course for you.
#4 Udemy IELTS Band 7+ Complete Prep Course Review
- Live Instruction This Udemy course is based around video lessons delivered by award-winning instructor Keino Campbell, who has assembled a prep course made up of over 30 hours of content designed to get you familiar with all aspects of the IELTS
- Lifetime Access Once you buy a plan, you have lifetime access to all of the lessons on-demand. What’s more, all lessons are available on computer and mobile, meaning you can take them anywhere and anytime you need a refresher
- Band 7+ Keino’s course is geared specifically towards helping students score in the 7-9 band range. By focusing on strategy and tactics, the course can help you learn the subtle ways of the IELTS to take advantage of your strengths and score higher.
- Not for beginners The course is specifically geared towards helping students with an intermediate English skill level make the final leap into the Band 7 and above range.
- No Score Guarantee This course offers some quality studying resources, but doesn’t come with the score guarantee that some other IELTS prep courses have—if you take this course and score worse on the IELTS exam than you did before, there’s no way to get your money back.
Udemy Complete Prep IELTS Course Features
- 30-Day Money-Back Guarantee
- 5 hours on-demand video
- 8 articles
- 48 downloadable resources
- 2 Practice Tests
- Full lifetime access
- Access on mobile and TV
- Certificate of completion (add-on)
Bottom Line: Udemy’s IELTS Band 7+ Complete Prep Course is for students who already have a decent grasp of English but are looking to take their skills to the next level and break into that 7-9 score range. The instructor spends a lot of time showing you the way the test works and teaching how to make the most of every opportunity. If you thrive on video instruction and a personal touch, Udemy might have just the course for helping you score in the top range on your IELTS.
#5 IELTS Online Prep Course Review
- Materials for All Four Modules IELTS Online covers reading, writing, listening, and speaking, all of the areas that you will be tested on when you take your IELTS. Plus, there are practice exams at the end of each section.
- Great “Plus” Features In the IELTS Online Master Plus plan, you get 90 days of access to over 100 hours of study materials, 260 activities, voice recording tools, audio recorded lessons, and individual feedback on writing AND speaking! Although this plan is the most expensive at $229, it is also by far the most personalized.
- Short Access The longest available plan for IELTS Online lasts for 90 days, well below the 6-month plans offered by other options on this list.
- No Guarantee IELTS Online does not offer students any guarantee for an improved score.
IELTS Online Course Features:
- Practice tests in all 4 modules – Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking.
- More than 260 activities in over 1000 study pages of content
- 500 pages of teaching material
- Over 5 hours of audio recordings
- Test tips and study strategies in all modules
- 90 Days Access
Bottom Line: IELTS Online provides a well-rounded study approach for students who have a basic level of English (around Band 5 suggested) and are looking to boost themselves to the next level. If you have the more than 100 hours available to dedicate to working through the entirety of IELTS Online’s resources, you will find a comprehensive plan that will give you the edge. Plus, if you aren’t working on too tight of a budget, the Master Plus course provides you with the most personal instruction and feedback of any other course on this list and might be the choice that secures your high score.
#6 edX IELTS Prep Course Review
- Free EdX doesn’t charge students to take its IELTS prep course, although you have the option of paying a fee of $99 to receive an instructor-signed certificate that you can share with schools and jobs to prove your qualifications.
- Partnership with University of Queensland The Edx IELTS prep course relies on the University of Queensland’s 20+ years of experience in English language teaching and training.
- Academic Only The IELTS exam comes in two forms: Academic and General Training. Each have different types of questions and help to train your English skills in different ways.
- No Score Guarantee EdX does not offer a score improvement guarantee with their free IELTS prep course.
- Limited Access:EdX doesn’t give you a whole lot of access to their course materials, allowing you only 8 weeks to study—this is the second shortest access period on our list.
edX IELTS Course Features:
- 5 hours of video lessons
- 3,000 practice questions
- Self-paced course
- 8 week duration
- Email support
Bottom Line: EdX is for students who are on a tight budget, are self-motivated, and who don’t have much prior experience with the IELTS test. EdX’s IELTS course will give you a basic rundown of the IELTS exam, with a study schedule you can take on at your own pace, without costing a dime.
BestMyTest vs. Magoosh IELTS Prep
When it comes to easy–to–use IELTS test prep courses, BestMyTest and Magoosh are some of the best options on the market. Magoosh is well known as a user-friendly interactive studying platform that offers courses for a large number of standardized tests. BestMyTest, on the other hand, focuses on providing quality test prep materials for English as a second language speakers, so they only offer prep courses about the TOEFL and IELTS exams. Both of these companies offer mobile-optimized interactive IELTS preparation for a low price and with multiple scheduling options, yet there are enough differences between the two courses that one will likely be a better choice for you than the other.
Course Options and Price
Magoosh and BestMyTest’s IELTS prep courses are both fairly cheap when compared to other major test prep companies. When you look at the cheapest offerings from both sites, BestMyTest’s $39 7 day package beats out Magoosh’s cheapest package, which comes in at $59. Even though BestMyTest has the cheapest course out of these two companies, Magoosh’s other course options are cheaper than equivalent options from BestMyTest. For example, Magoosh’s 1 month package is $10 cheaper than BestMyTest’s, and their 6 month package is nearly half as cheap.
Still, BestMyTest’s higher price tag comes with a few premium features. Students can customize their course subscription length at 1 month increments for up to 6 months, so you can choose the exact amount of access that works for you. Most BestMyTest courses also offer several in-depth speaking and writing reviews, a premium feature that gives you insight on your abilities from expert English instructors. Magoosh only offers one writing review, and it only comes with their most expensive package. Lastly, Magoosh offers a +0.5-band improvement guarantee for each of their IELTS packages, so students who don’t score 0.5 bands higher on their test after their Magoosh IELTs course can get their money back. On the other hand, BestMyTest doesn’t offer a score guarantee for their cheapest IELTS prep course, but the guarantees they offer for their more expensive courses promise larger 1-band and 2.5-band improvements, the highest of any IELTS course we’ve seen!
Unless you only need 7 days of IELTS course review—which won’t be enough for most students preparing for the IELTS exam—Magoosh is the cheaper option of these two. Paying a higher price for BestMyTest might be worth it for you, though, considering their course features. Their courses include more schedule flexibility for students that need to work their course into a tight calendar, speaking and writing reviews that provide personal advice from English speakers, and a great score guarantee. Despite these premium features and flexibility, we still say that Magoosh is the best option for most students today, particularly because of their combination of lower prices and quality content. If you’re looking for a IELTS prep course that provides you with great value and ease of use, Magoosh will be the course for you.
Udemy v. Magoosh IELTS Prep
When it comes to their IELTS course pricing and accessibility, Udemy and Magoosh can be fairly similar—but, when it comes to their educational approach, these two companies are pretty different. Udemy is a large-scale course hosting website that connects students to courses created and hosted by independent educators; this makes their course content and prices really variable. Magoosh, on the other hand, creates their own curriculum for every course they offer, which always includes a pretty standard subscription package. Both Udemy and Magoosh’s IELTS online courses are good options for students, but they are certainly not the same.
Course Options and Price
Out of the 100,000 online courses that Udemy offers, there are several different IELTS packages. Of those particular IELTS packages, we’ve found that the IELTS Band 7+ Complete Prep Course will provide students the highest quality in prep content at the best price. Students who buy Udemy’s IELTS prep course will pay around $12 and receive access to dozens of hours of video content, question explanations, and skill exercises for life. Students who go with Magoosh’s online IELTS course, on the other hand, can choose from packages that give 1 month, 3 months, or 6 months of access. All of these packages come with the same features as Udemy’s test prep course plus a score guarantee, practice tests, and support from Magoosh IELTS experts. These additional features come at a slightly higher price, with their cheapest course costing $59, but Magoosh’s prices are still hardly expensive when compared to some other top prep course companies.
Ultimately, Udemy’s best IELTS prep course—the IELTS Band 7+ Complete Prep Course— comes in at a cheaper price but provides students with only one course package option that has limited prep features, especially when compared to its competitors. Magoosh’s IELTS prep courses come at a steeper price but include features that students can really benefit from: a graded writing review, a 0.5-band improvement score guarantee, 4 online practice IELTS tests, and more! For these reasons, we believe Magoosh will provide students with a more effective IELTS preparation experience, but Udemy’s online course still has good content and a low price that any IELTS student should at least consider.
edX vs Udemy IELTS Prep
Although many prep courses come from specialized prep course companies such as Kaplan, Magoosh, or BestMyTest, some online prep courses are offered through generic educational platforms that allow educators from all over to teach courses on just about any subject under the sun. Udemy and edX are both part of this second group. In that sense, these websites are very similar, especially when put up against the other more test-specialized companies on our list. With business models that are so alike, investigating particular differences between edX and Udemy’s IELTS online prep courses will be key in determining which service is the best for you.
Course Options and Price
Compared to Udemy, edX is a smaller, somewhat more exclusive platform in terms of the courses they offer. Out of their 2,500 total courses, edX has only 1 IELTS class, titled IELTS Academic Test Preparation. With this course, designed by professionals from the University of Queensland, students enroll for only 8 weeks and can view lessons and complete assessments to learn about every aspect of the IELTS exam. The best part is, students enroll in this course absolutely FREE! The IELTS course we’ve reviewed from Udemy, the IELTS Band 7+ Complete Prep Course, is not quite as cheap, but it’s hardly expensive, giving students lifetime access to over 72 hours of video instruction for around $15. This course also allows students to participate in monthly live online group classes, which can be really helpful for students who need real-time interaction with instructors. There are several other IELTS prep courses offered through Udemy, but we believe this one is the best option out of all the IELTS courses offered on their site.
If you want to have more options in terms of scheduling and content when choosing an online IELTS prep course, go with Udemy, as their selection of courses beats out edX’s one IELTS offering. Still, edX’s FREE course price is tough (impossible) to beat, so those on a very tight budget can’t really go wrong with their IELTS course. Udemy’s IELTS course does cost more, but it also offers live online class sessions and over 72 hours of quality video instruction; when we consider Udemy’s extra course features, we believe its IELTS online course is well worth its low price, and beats out the course from edX.
How Much Time Does It Take to Prepare for IELTS?
Scheduling your life out is challenging for everybody, and we know that it’s made all the more challenging when you have stuff like a IELTS deadline to add to your list of things to worry about. In short, everyone will take a different amount of time to study for a test like the IELTS exam. Some students do very well while only studying for short periods of time, while others do best when they have several months to prepare. Finding out which type of student you are can be difficult in and of itself! At the end of the day, we recommend that students who really want a good score on their IELTS exam give themselves about 3 months to prepare. As we’ve said before, though, each student is different, and will benefit most from a unique studying schedule.
If you’re deciding how long to subscribe to a IELTS prep course, you’re in luck, as there are plenty of top online IELTS prep courses that offer flexible scheduling options. BestMyTest’s online IELTS course, for instance, includes a custom package which lets students subscribe to the course in 1 month increments for as briefly as 1 month or as long as 6 months. If you need schedule variability, using BestMyTest’s IELTS prep will allow you to easily subscribe for the exact amount of time that works for you. However, purchasing BestMyTest’s custom package for 6 months will amount to $130. On the other hand, one of the best self-paced IELTS prep courses out there is offered by Magoosh for the same amount of time—6 months—at only $99. Out of all the IELTS prep packages on our list, we recommend Magoosh’s 6 month package as having the best value, even for those who don’t know how long they’ll want to study for the exam. There are plenty of other prep options out there with different course schedules, so be sure to look through each of the companies on our list to find out which might best fit your calendar.
What is the Best IELTS Prep Course?
Out of the best IELTS courses we’ve found, each one has something unique to offer every individual student. Courses that offer live class sessions can really benefit those who struggle to study at their own pace, while courses that are more expensive may offer great course features but could make students break the bank in return. Even though every student needs something different from their IELTS course, and even though each major course has something special to offer its users, we do think that one course stands out as providing the best amount of value in terms of its quality and accessibility: Magoosh IELTS.
Any student can benefit from Magoosh’s online platform, as they have one of the most interactive and easy-to-use IELTS courses out there. Their mobile app makes studying on the go a breeze, and the variety of educational materials that they offer lets you study however works for you: taking practice quizzes, using flashcards, or watching videos, etc. They also offer several course packages at different price points, ranging from as low as $39 for a month to $99 for 6 months. Lastly, Magoosh offers a higher score guarantee with each of these packages, so if you’ve taken the IELTS before and don’t score 0.5 bands higher overall on your test after taking Magoosh, you get all your money back—no questions asked.
Their score guarantee, affordable price, and online ease-of-use round out Magoosh as the IELTS option with the best value for any test-taker today.
What Much Do IELTS Prep Courses Cost?
IELTS prep courses, like all prep courses, come with a range of prices. In general, test prep courses can range from the low hundreds to a couple thousand dollars. In the case of IELTS courses, however, prices are often on the cheaper side of that spectrum.
When you look at all the top IELTS online prep courses, you’ll find some that are as low as around $15, while the most expensive course is around $170. These various price points relate to the various features courses have: for instance, there are more expensive courses like BestMyTest’s Premium IELTS package, which grants 6 months of access, personal speaking and writing reviews from instructors, and a 2.5+ score improvement guarantee. On the other hand, IELTS Online’s express package, a cheaper course, offers no score improvement guarantee, no speaking or writing reviews, and only 45 days of course access. To get an idea of something in the middle of the price range that still offers a lot of quality features, take a look at Magoosh’s 6 month IELTS course package, which we believe has the best bang-for-your-buck on this list.
There are plenty of different IELTS online prep courses that come at different price points and with different features, so be sure to do some in-depth research on the course options that might best suit you. Consider which features will best aid your IELTS prep, and also how much they’re worth. If you’d like to learn more about some top IELTS courses in detail, check out our full reviews of courses like Magoosh IELTS.
What’s the Difference Between IELTS and TOEFL?
If you speak English as a second language and are applying for jobs or educational programs in an English-speaking country, you’ve likely heard about both IELTS and TOEFL. These are two very different exams, but both of them allow test-takers to demonstrate their English-speaking abilities and help employers or graduate programs to determine which applicants could keep up with a heavy workload in an English-speaking environment.
IELTS stands for the International English Language Testing System, and is a widely accepted test among English-speaking countries around the world, including: the US, UK, New Zealand, Australia, and others. It comes in two formats: the academic version and the general testing version.
TOEFL stands for the Test of English as a Foreign Language, and is similarly used by various programs around the world. The TOEFL exam is longer than IELTS and includes a different scoring system. For most test-takers, the TOEFL exam will be slightly more difficult than the IELTS test.
Although these exams share the same goal, their sections, scoring systems, and prices are just a few of the many differences that set them apart from each other. To learn more about what separates these examinations in detail, you should check out our IELTS vs. TOEFL comparison page, which can help you determine what exam will be the best option for you!
Top 6 Best IELTS Online Prep Courses of 2020-2021
|IELTS Prep Courses||Course Feature||Starting Price|
|BestMyTest||Speaking and Writing Reviews||$39|
|Kaplan||Most Practice Questions||$60|
|Udemy Band 7+ Complete||Lifetime Access||$14|
|IELTS Online||Plus Features||$39|
|EDX||Free 13-Week Course||FREE|