Cambridge books of past test papers

I’m currently working on a listening book, which will help students to learn strategies to take test, and how to answer each type of question on the IELTS listening test. In the meantime you can use some of the ideas on my website. My main piece of advice is to do lots of practice tests, and in order for this to be most effective you should do actual past IELTS listening tests. These are available in the Cambridge books of past test papers. Note that the higher the number of the book the more recent it is. Try to use books 7 to 9 first, this is because books older than these are not as representative of the current test.

Cambridge IELTS Past Tests

The main reason why I am so dogmatic (insistent) about using actual past test papers and not tests that have been created by others is because of the following reasons:

  1. Past test papers more accurately reflect what you’re likely to get in the real test. You want to get used to what you well experience in the real test and also build up skills and strategies for the real test.
  2. Past test papers have certain “tricks” that are used repeatedly to test candidates. You will only experience these tricks if you do the past test papers. For instance, in part one of the test you often need to write down the name and it is difficult to catch the spelling of the name when it involves an “M” and “N” because they sound almost the same. Or they use a road “A-80” or “8-80” which sound quite similar if you’re not prepared for them. Note that “M” is a longer sound than “N”. And A-80 has a gap between the “A” and “80;” whereas 880 has no gap.
  3. You will only be able to get a reasonable idea of your level from past test papers. Tests that are not created by the IELTS organisation will not give you an accurate assessment. This is because the IELTS organisation trials tests before actually using them to make sure that they are of similar difficulty to other tests.

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