In order to improve your IELTS writing, you will need to do a lot of work by yourself. This page will help you find the best resources, apps, websites, grammar checkers and lists online.
Please let me know in the comments if you find anything useful that you think I should add.
IELTS Writing Skills
An A-Z of Writing Skills (click on the areas you need to practise).
Improve Your Writing – Bristol University checklist with exercises
EAP Foundation takes you through different aspects of Academic Writing, like essay types, style and paraphrasing.
Writebetter – A chrome extension to help you write better!
Analyzemywriting.com – ‘an online text content and readability analyzer. Copy and paste a text into the homepage and gain a wealth of information about your text including word and character counts, word and sentence lengths, the readability of your text, and other analyses’.
British Council Learn English Teens has excellent Task 1 and 2 colour-coded models like this For/Against essay about the internet.
Write and Improve uses technology developed at the University of Cambridge to mark your writing. The first one is free.
Virtual Writing Tutor checks your writing for free.
The UEFAP site (Using English for Academic Purposes) looks old-fashioned, but it still provides basic and useful information e.g. how to use signal words and different types of cohesion.
Manchester University Phrasebank – lots of help for Academic Writing
The Writewell app gives you some nice templates for Writing Task 2.
The SAS Writing Reviser is free Google Docs Add-On
Wordtune is a Google Chrome Extension that offers alternatives for any sentence you highlight.
How to build your Vocabulary for IELTS Writing
Academic Word List – with all forms (nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs)
Compact version of the Academic Word List – easy to print off and carry around!
Road to Grammar also has a nice quiz using words from the AWL.
Academic Word List Practice Exercises – another good place to practice.
Academic Phrase Bank – from Manchester University.
My own list of irregular academic word forms with practice exercises
Collocations for IELTS Writing
List of collocations – 42 pages of academic collocations in a PDF
Collocation Checker – Just the word
SKELL – helps you find words that go together and synonyms
Drillpal used to have good practice with different topics. I think their site is undergoing maintenance, but it’s worth googling (I removed the link May 2021)
Find the word you need with Netspeak – read the instructions first,
English Club has a fantastic A – Z of collocations!
Word Hippo – a kind of thesaurus an SO much more. Also:
English-Corpora – this looks great for teachers but unfortunately they make it so difficult to sign up for their free account that I have given up! I’m keeping it here just in case it gets easier.
Snapstudy app makes flashcards from photos of text, so just take a photo of a model essay and create a set of revision cards on your phone.
Spelling and Punctuation
A simple guide and ‘Brushing up’ workbook for spelling rules
Simple punctuation guide
Useful sites for getting ideas for Writing
Scientific American A useful podcast with 1-minute IELTS-style articles
TubeQuizard is a fabulous place to do exercises based on well-chosen YouTube videos.
I really love these bite-sized Academic English mini-lectures on YouTube by Mike Gibson. All of the topics are very IELTS-focused.
Improve your vocabulary through Reading and Listening with these awesome sites:
(student subscription to Newsela and CommonLit included in the Members Academy)
Sciencedaily.com has very typical IELTS-style articles in bite-sized daily chunks.
Useful apps and websites
- Ludwig guru – ‘a search engine that helps you write better English by giving you contextualised examples from reliable sources’.
- Lexico does something similar – it gives you lots of sentences with the word in context so you can see how it’s used (not just the meaning).
- IELTS Made Easier – my own podcast, specifically aimed at helping you develop your skills in all aspect of IELTS
- Stay updated with the latest tech tools reviewed by Nik Peachey on his marvellous scoop.it site. Sign up to his newsletter so you don’t miss a thing.
- Richard Byrne’s PracticalEdTech is another great place to find the latest apps and tips.
Help with grammar
- The well-known coursebook, English File, has its own site with lots of graded grammar practice
- This German site gives clear examples and useful exercises (it’s not in German though, don’t worry!)
- Confusing words, common errors (and LOTS more) on the same German site!
- Road to Grammar – another well-organised site with lots of practice of different language items. Click here for IELTS-specific practice.
- English Club has a great grammar section with lots of quizzes.