It’s clear that to really do well at IELTS you need to have a good command of English grammar. However a lot of candidates are not sure of the best way to do this.
Mastering English grammar will require self-study and you will need to purchase a grammar book. There are various choices, and the book you choose will depend on your current English level, so the below list will not tell you which book is the best overall.
Don’t think that only using a textbook will help you do well in the IELTS exam though. The best way to improve is to take classes with a teacher who has experience with IELTS. He or she will be able to help you understand which areas you need to focus on.
Top five IELTS Grammar Books
5. Basic English Grammar, B. Azar (Prentice Hall Regents)
This book is best for students who have problems with “simple” grammar, i.e. simple present/past. It contains a lot of repeating, which is a really good way to learn. Many students feel that this book is “too easy” for them, but it is very common to meet students who are trying to study complex grammar without fully understanding basic grammar. In this situation I always recommend this book, which English teachers usually just call “Azar”.
4. Grammar for IELTS, D. Hopkins, P. Cullens (Cambridge)
This is a book produced by Cambridge, who make the IELTS test, so you would think that this would be the best for anyone planning to take this test. Up to a point this is correct. This book is well put together, and also gives you vocabulary that you will find useful in the test. There is a lot of practice exercises with answers, so you can use this book for self-study. However there is not as much variety as some of the other books, so overall, you might need to use this and another book!
3. Oxford Practice Grammar Advanced, G.Yule (Oxford)
This textbook is recommended for students who might be looking for a score above 7. This is not a book for people that are just starting to learn English. If you feel that you have a pretty good understanding of basic and intermediate grammar, this is the book for you. It has a nice way of focussing on areas of English which are confusing to many learners. This is a book to use when you have completed an intermediate grammar book.
2. Oxford Practice Grammar Intermediate, J.Eastwood (Oxford)
Oxford Practice Grammar covers a wide range of the most useful grammar, with each form explained on one page, and with a page of exercises to help you practice. This book is almost perfect except for one thing; it doesn’t have answers! This is a big problem for students who are studying without a teacher.
1. English Grammar in Use, R.Murphy (Cambridge)
Teachers usually call this book “Murphy”, and every school has a copy somewhere. Everyone who is studying English should probably buy a copy of this book at some point. Some of the grammar is too hard for basic level students, but the clear explanations and logical exercises make it easy for you to locate the grammar you want to improve, and to go ahead and focus on that.
Some of the exercises require you to use your imagination, but all exercises have suggested answers. This is not a book that you work through from the beginning to the end, it is more like a reference book that you go to when realise that you need to improve a certain part of English. All of this combines to make this the number one IELTS book.
Best IELTS Grammar Books
Remember that the best way to improve grammar is with a good teacher. SI-UK's IELTS preparation classes focus on the core skills of reading, writing, listening and speaking to ensure you reach your target IELTS score. Learn more about IELTS classes in London and Manchester.