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Vocabulary to help prepare for common IELTS topics

Expand your everyday vocabulary to improve your ability to speak or write about a variety of topics. Having a larger vocabulary will help you communicate your ideas more clearly. Learn how mind maps can help build vocabulary.


For daily communication, it is important to be able to talk about a wide range of everyday topics. We all know what is happening in the world around us and can easily communicate about these topics in our own language. However, it can be difficult to discuss topics in the same way when we have to use English. By expanding your English vocabulary, you will find it easier to think quickly about what to say and better understand the topics you hear, read, write, or speak.

General tips for improving vocabulary for IELTS

We have already mentioned that you can develop your IELTS vocabulary stock by reading every day, watching English shows and movies, singing in English and learning word lists. You can also enrich your vocabulary by using mind maps.

What does a wider range of vocabulary mean?

To achieve a Band 7 and above, you need a flexible resource that can be used to discuss a variety of topics. You must also demonstrate your ability to use less common and idiomatic vocabulary and demonstrate knowledge of style and collocation. If you can’t access the right words, you’ll need to use paraphrases to express what you want to say. Check out the links below to read descriptions of the different band scores for IELTS Speaking and Writing.

What do the terms in the band 7 lexical resource description mean?

Flexible resource:
Can use correct words and phrases to talk about a variety of topics (without pausing or using the wrong words).

Less common and idiomatic language:
Be able to use less common words or expressions with idiomatic meaning.

Awareness of style and collocation:
Use words that go together and are grammatically correct. For example: “environmental pollution”, “strong increase”, “improvement”.

Usage of paraphrasing successfully:
Vocabulary gaps can be successfully filled by using other words and expressions (synonyms or antonyms) to communicate. For example: “disappointed”: I felt very sad when my vacation was canceled, I’m not happy, I’m sad that it happened again.

 So, being able to access a range of words and phrases about different topics will make it easier for you to reach a higher band.

How to learn new IELTS Speaking vocabulary?

  1. Keep your own vocabulary notebook
  2. Learn from a list of words
  3. Look at the different forms of the word

Increasing your vocabulary on a variety of topics will help you when reading, writing, listening and talking to people. You’ll also be better prepared on test day, having easier access to the language and ideas you need to communicate more clearly.

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