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Whether you’re preparing for your IELTS or just seeking general improvement in your English language skills, there are many resources available to assist you. While mock tests, worksheets and videos can all be very helpful, there are also ways to practice English that aren’t so serious. 

Playing English language-themed games is a great way to improve your listening, reading, writing and speaking skills without sitting at a desk. Whether you’re alone or with friends, try these games to practice your English comprehension while having fun!


IELTS preparation: Games to play on your own

Whether you prefer to study alone or you’re looking for games you can play during your commute or work break, there are many great options available.

Consider these online English comprehension games that you can play anywhere, anytime!

Word Whomp

This online game can help you develop your English vocabulary skills with a big focus on spelling. Players are given six random letters, and they need to think of as many English words as they can that can be spelt with those six letters. The game is timed for extra fun, how many words can you spell in two and a half minutes?

Play Word Whomp here


This vocabulary game is a fast-paced skills tester which helps boost your reading skills. Players are given definitions of English words, and they need to guess the correct word before they can move on to the next definition. You receive the letter the correct word starts with, and harder words also come with hints. Players start with one minute on the timer and every correct answer gives you a few more seconds. Test your reading, vocabulary and spelling skills and see if you can outrun the clock!

Play Knoword here


For a fun quiz-style game that also makes a difference, try Freerice. In addition to boosting your vocabulary and reading skills, this game donates 10 grains of rice to the UN World Food Programme for every correct answer. Players are given an English word and have to identify the closest synonym out of four options. IELTS examiners look for expansive vocabularies, so this game is a great way to learn new words. There are 60 levels of increasing difficulty, see if you can reach a higher level each time!

Play Freerice here

Scrabble Online

You may be familiar with the classic board game ‘Scrabble’, but did you know you can also play online? If you don’t have anyone to play against, you can play against a virtual player or the computer itself! When playing Scrabble, you get seven tiles with letters on them. You must build words on the Scrabble board using these tiles and utilizing the tiles already on the board. This is an ideal option for learners looking for a vocabulary and spelling challenge.

Play Scrabble Online here

IELTS preparation: Games to play with friends


This fun team game helps you practice your English vocabulary and listening skills. Split your group into two teams. Each team takes turns sending one team member to the front of the room. This team member pulls an English word from a hat and has to describe the word to their teammates. Their team has to guess the word they are trying to describe.

Set a timer for two minutes and see if your team can guess correctly before the clock runs out! Each correct guess is worth one point.

ESL charades

This game is similar to the charades we know and love but is designed to help develop English vocabulary skills in people learning or speaking English as a second language. To play ESL charades, first split into two teams. In a similar manner to ‘articulate’, the teams take turns sending one player to the front of the room. The player at the front of the room takes an English word out of a hat and must act out clues to help their team guess what the word is.

For example, if the word is ‘cat’, the player could pretend to be a cat. Set a timer for two minutes and see if your team can score a point before they run out of time! You can use the same words and timer as ‘articulate’ for ESL charades, making them fun games to play at the same party.


For a fun vocabulary and spelling game the whole group can get involved in, Boggle is an excellent choice! Start by giving everyone in the group a piece of paper and a pen. You will also need a timer and a boggle set. A boggle set consists of 16 die with letters on them, held in a small container. One person shakes the boggle set which mixes up the die, presenting 16 random letters.

Everyone in the group then writes down as many words as they can using only the words showing on the boggle set before the timer runs out. Traditionally, players can only use letters that are next to each other on the boggle set, but you could also change the rules to allow your friends to use any of the letters available.

How do you access free official IELTS practice material?

Achieving a great IELTS score takes time and planning. You can’t just book and take your test in a matter of days – no matter how strong your English skills are. 

Successful students create a schedule to help them study everything they need to know before they sit an IELTS test. They make time to practise all four English topics – Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking – as they know that each one is different. If they have trouble with a topic, they attend a FREE Masterclass with an IELTS expert who can teach them how to improve. And, when they’re almost ready to take IELTS, they will complete as many practice tests as they can find. 

So, when there are hundreds of resources to help you study, where do you begin?

Access our guide to IELTS preparation

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