The latest Cambridge IELTS 17 book of past tests just came out and I have collected some tips and materials to help you get the most out of it!

I also have guides for IELTS Cambridge 16 here, Cambridge 15 here, Cambridge 14 here, and Cambridge 13 here.

You can find my exclusive IELTS EBooks here on my Patreon as well.


Cambridge IELTS 17 – Sample Answers and Essays

I have written sample answer essays for all the Cambridge 17 writing topics below:

Writing Task 1 Tests 1-4:

Cambridge 17: Shops that Closed Line Chart

Canbridge 17: Average Weekly Spending Bar Chart

Cambridge 17: Map of an Industrial Area (Norbiton)

Writing Task 2 Tests 1-4

Cambridge 17: Taking Risks

Cambridge 17: Professionals

Cambridge 17: Smartphones

Cambridge 17: Health and Doctors

How to Study with IELTS Cambridge 17

There are a lot of mistakes to avoid when practice with IELTS Cambridge books.

You shouldn’t just do test after test after test.

That is more about your anxiety than your English development.

Doing practice tests is just about being familiar with the test format.

And also practicing test strategies, such as writing your topic sentences.

If you want to actually improve your English ability, then you need to use the IELTS Cambridge books in a different way.

Start with a timed test to have an idea of your level.

Then figure out the areas where you need to improve the most.

Then search online for how to practice or check out ideas in the rest of my blog.

There are some further practice ideas below.

Best of luck!

Practicing with the new IELTS Cambridge 17


Study some tips before you listen.

Create a realistic testing environment: quiet, headphones, practice paper, pencil, etc.

After you finish, check your answers first.

More importantly, go back and read the tapescript.

Highlight it.

Find out the reason why you got the answers wrong – because of the vocabulary? the pronunciation?

Now you know what to work on and can practice it more before the next test.

Use the tests to measure your development – not to develop.


Just like with reading, read some tips first.

Simulate the testing environment.

Time yourself and take the test.

Check your answers.

Highlight the answers you got wrong.

Write the reasons why you got them wrong in your notebook.

Improve in those areas before you take another test later to measure your progress.


Also, try practicing with the news and these activities.


Time yourself and write a full test.

Go over your writing yourself or find a qualified teacher to make it for you and give you feedback.

Study some sample answers related to the same topic.

Practice again and again paying attention to your weak points: vocabulary, grammar, structure, ideas, etc.

This is usually the lowest score for most IELTS candidates so practice it more than anything else!


Answer the speaking questions and record yourself speaking.

Listen back to it or get it marked by a professional.

Locate your weaknesses – vocabulary? pronunciation? speed?

Find ways to improve your speaking before the next test.

My favorite idea is here: improve your pronunciation with Google voice search.

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

Study Activities

Combine the different skills when you practice so that your brain groups together the language – this will make your progress much faster.

Listening Activities for Cambridge IELTS 17

  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 for Cambridge IELTS 17

  1. Focus Activity: Sometimes students have trouble focusing on all areas at one: vocabulary, grammar, ideas, etc. Make it easier on yourself. Just write one paragraph for a topic and focus on your vocabulary. Then write the same paragraph but focus on grammar. Then on ideas. Change the order with the next paragraph. Keep building up your skills and then later try to write a whole essay focusing on all skills at once.
  2. Sample Answers: Take advantage of sample answers to improve. Go back to your old essays and then check with my sample answers. Can you take any of my vocabulary and put it in? Any grammar? Keep going back to your old essays adding in what you learn from my samples. Then later when you practice on your own, try to remember some of what you have learned.
  3. More ideas for teachers and students: I wrote a whole post about this before. Some ideas will apply for classes but lots of them you can also do all on your own without a teacher or another student:

Reading Activities for Cambridge IELTS 17

  1. Listen and stop: Start listening to a test but every once in a while stop the listening. What was the last sentence you heard? The last word? Can you predict the next word? The next sentence? Change up the way you practice so that your development is more consistent and faster.
  2. Paraphrases/Synonyms: These are really key on IELTS. After doing a test, highlight the key words in the questions. Highlight how those words change in the reading. Make a list in your notebook of the differences. This will raise your awareness of the differences and help you understand the test much better.
  3. Summaries: Summarizing is simple but also really, really hard. After a reading try to write a few sentences to summarize the practice. But change it up. Sometimes you can just write 1 sentence – sometimes a whole paragraph. Sometimes, just summarize a single paragraph or paraphrase one sentence. Always change the way that you practice to keep challenging yourself!

Speaking Activities for Cambridge IELTS 17

  1. Different Answers: Some students practice by repeating the same answers over and over again. This will make you sound really robotic. Instead, try answering the same question with slightly different details each time. This will make you sound more natural, fluent, and you will get the chance to use a wider range of vocabulary.
  2. Simulate the Test: Watch a test on YouTube to understand how it will really work. One of my favorites is here. Then either use the computer or a friend to practice a real test for yourself. This will help to reduce your anxiety later when you take the real test.
  3. Combination: You should always be combining your skills. So, after doing a reading, do some speaking questions on the same topic. Record your answers. Then do a writing. Go back and listen to your answers. Is there any better vocabulary that you could have used? Record yourself again. Keep practicing the same topic. Listen back to your answers a day later. Try again with better vocabulary and record yourself. Keep repeating this process over and over again so that you can hear your progress and know that you are not wasting your time!

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