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A rough guideline to follow is that you can identify an ionic bond if the bonded elements have an electronegativity difference greater than 2. A covalent bond would typically have an electronegativity less than 1.5. Since electronegativity increases as you go left to right across a period then we can infer that elements on opposite ends of the periodic table, or a metal and a non-metal, will form an ionic bond. Elements close to each other on the periodic table (2 non-metals/ 2 metals) would form a covalent bond.
Also keep in mind that sometimes it can be difficult to determine which is which--there is a portion of bonds "in between" covalent and ionic bonds (due to differing, but still similar, attraction to electrons). In these cases, these bonds can (but don't always) exhibit behaviors of both.
Additionally, ionic bonds are salts that dissociate in water; this is because their electrons and transferred instead of shared (as is the case with covalent bonds), so they compound is much easier to break up/dissolve. In contrast, covalent bonds are molecules that do not easily dissolve in water; since their electrons are shared, it is much more difficult to break apart the compound.
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