The latest Cambridge IELTS 16 book of past tests just came out and I have collected some tips and materials to help you get the most out of it!

First of all, you can purchase the book here.

Please do not download it illegally – that is wrong.

I also have guides for IELTS Cambridge 15 here, Cambridge 14 here, and Cambridge 13 here.

You can support me and get exclusive IELTS Ebooks here on my Patreon as well.


Cambridge IELTS 16 – Sample Answers and Essays

I have written sample answer essays for all the writing topics that you can now find below:

Writing Task 1 Tests 1-4:

Cambridge 16: Ownership of Electrical Appliances Line Chart

Cambridge 16: Airport Map

Cambridge 16: Recycling Plastic Bottles

Cambridge 16: Sugar Cane

Writing Task 2 Tests 1-4

Cambridge 16: Driverless Vehicles

Cambridge 16: History of a House or Building

Cambridge 16: Manufactured Foods and Sugar

Cambridge 16: Advertising New Products

How to Study with IELTS Cambridge 16

A lot of students make some big mistakes when using the IELTS Cambridge books to study.

In fact, they are not for study and improvement.

They are to know your English level and become familiar with the IELTS exam format.

If you just do test after test, you are testing, not improving, your English.

I’ve known hundreds of students who wasted years doing this.

Instead, you should use these books to 1) assess your level and 2) practice effectively.

Firstly, start with a timed test.

Check your answers and if possible find someone to mark your speaking and writing. Such as me through my Patreon.

Below are some ideas for how to get the most out of these books.

Taking Full Advantage of Cambridge 16

When you do a listening test, you should always read the tapescript and circle the incorrect answers afterwards.

Try to figure out the reason. Maybe it was vocabulary, or hearing a sound, or a trick in the test – make a list of the reasons.

Now you know your weakness and what you need to work on to practice.

You can read more here about the differences between testing and improving your listening.

Next, you should analyze the tapescript.

Highlight the parts where the exam tries to tricky you and all the synonyms/paraphrases from the questions.

As you learn more about the test, you will improve.

But this is still only part of the battle to get a really high band scores.

The books will only take you so far.

You should also listen to videos on YouTube, learn about different topics, and combine listening with your reading, writing and speaking skills.

You can try some of my ideas here for practicing without a partner.

For reading, I recommend practicing with the news and these activities.

Finally, for writing use the sample answers I have linked above and the ideas noted below.

Useful Study Activities

Don’t just practice your weaknesses – it can be more helpful sometimes to improve your strengths.

Also, to have truly excellent English you need to practice in a way that includes all 4 skills so that it is more memorable and you can use the language that you learn.

The ways you practiced to get to the intermediate or upper intermediate level, may no longer be able to help you get to the next stage.

Try the activities below in conjunction with IELTS Cambridge 16 to really start pushing to the next level and get the score you want!

Listening Activities with Cambridge IELTS 16

  1. Over and over: The most important key to improving your listening is to listen multiple times. Listen over and over and try to hear new sounds, words, etc. Then check with the tapescript to find where your weaknesses are.
  2. Test environment: Find out how the exam works in your country and simulate the environment. Headphones or speaker? Sitting at a desk? Really cold room? This can help to alleviate anxiety on the day of the test.
  3. After you listen: This is the key period for improvement. Fill in the answers but maybe write some other possibilities – keep your practice light and easy. You should be having fun with it and playing around with your listening skills. Vary it up by putting down the book and listening to a video on YouTube or a podcast as well.

For more listening activities read here about listening with or without subtitles and the top 3 keys to improve your listening here.

Writing Activities with Cambridge IELTS 16

  1. Individual skills: Don’t try writing a whole essay every time. Practice skill by skill like a football player working on shooting, dribbling, passing, and then finally combining it to play a whole game/write a whole essay. First, look at the task 1s – write your overviews and check with the sample answer. Keep repeating with samples until you are confident. Then move on to another skill – writing about the data. Do the same for task 2 by focusing on introductions, topic sentences, examples, etc. Keep applying this approach until you are confident and then write a fully essay.
  2. Your score: The essays at the back of the book can be really helpful for understanding generally where you are. After some time practicing, though, you should get expert help from me or another trusted source. You might not need it all the time, but you should check with a former examiner sometimes to see how much progress you are making and to be sure you are not learning and repeating mistakes.
  3. Topics: Practicing with a variety of topics is important. However, I would suggest working with 1 topic a week. For example, do an essay about the environment, listen about the environment, read about the environment, speaking about the environment. Then move on to the next topic. This will aid memory retention.

Reading Activities with Cambridge IELTS 16

  1. Synonyms: Possibly the most important skill for IELTS reading. Underline the key words in the questions. Write down a ton of different ways of saying the same thing. Then check with the reading – this will raise awareness of the test and help you improve this skill for all sections of IELTS.
  2. New questions: By writing new questions for topics, you will start to full understand what the test is doing. This is even better if you have a friend so that you can send each other your questions and then talk about it.
  3. Writing summaries: This is a really valuable and challenging skill. Write a summary after each paragraph or whole reading. It will push you to understand what is really important.

Speaking Activities with Cambridge IELTS 16

  1. Intonation: Pronunciation is one of the biggest problems for most students and intonation is the different between sounding unnatural and natural. It’s hard to improve but you can work on it by exaggerating your emotion when you talk, singing along to songs, and repeating after actors in your favorite shows.
  2. Relax: One of the biggest issues on IELTS speaking is that students do not relax – they get too nervous about giving the right answer. To overcome this fear that can hurt your score, practice giving crazy or bad answers and not caring about how they sound. Your skin will get thicker and you will be able to relax on the real exam.
  3. Preparation: You shouldn’t prepare every time, but sometimes it is a good idea to look up vocabulary, watch a video or two, make notes on good collocations and phrasal verbs, and then practice. Be sure to record yourself to check if you used the vocabulary and practice with the same topic over and over again – don’t move on to a new one!

Any questions or comments or ideas to practice, please comment below!

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