For all IELTS candidates, the Internet is an indispensable tool from beginning to end. Although advanced computer navigation skills are not essential, a standard familiarization with surfing the web is nevertheless required. Working on line you will find all the related information, requirements, guidance, as well as study and practice material that will enable you to plan, register, and prepare for successfully scoring in your IELTS without attending a preparation course (although you also get useful information on such courses if do you wish to attend).
As a rule of thumb, most information should derive from official sources, so the first thing to do is download the IELTS Essentials Pack at http://www.ieltsessentials.com/prepare/essentials_pack.aspx. Among other information, here you will find (in PDF format) the band score guide for the Speaking and Writing sections of the test, so that you can understand what the examiners expect from you and the criteria they use for your assessment in these two particular sections. Also, the IELTS Notice to Candidates will help you avoid unpleasant surprises during the examination.
Here are the official sites that you can research for IELTS related information.
These sites will help you choose you country of destination for studies or work, decide on the type of IELTS certification you are seeking, as well as set the benchmark for your required band score, depending on the institutions you wish to apply to. Technicalities such as ID and visa requirements, IELTS registration and fees, together with contact information for an IDP/IELTS centre are also dealt with here. You should also arrange an appointment with an IELTS counselor for further assistance and guidance.
You will find sample test material at the following links:
It is generally a good idea to try out some practice tests even before you start your study preparation for the IELTS test. This will give you the opportunity to get acquainted with the test format, find your strengths and weaknesses and determine your knowledge and skill level. This process is even more important if you have never taken any organized English langue courses langue courses outside your school.
The IELTS test is designed to specifically assess your ability to understand, to make yourself understood, and to carry out certain tasks under particular circumstances at the institution where you study and/or work, which accounts for the IELTS certification credibility.