Today we’re looking at how to improve your vocabulary in order to get the IELTS score you need. Improving the range of vocabulary you have and your ability to use and understand specific topic focused vocabulary will help you in IELTS speaking, writing listening and reading. First, let’s have a look at some common IELTS vocabulary problems in speaking and writing.
Some Common Errors with Vocabulary
Some people have very limited vocabulary and so they have to use simple words to express themselves.
For example, ‘My favourite movie is James Bond because it is good’.
In this sentence the adjective ‘good’ doesn’t tell us anything about why the speaker likes the film. It’s too simple. Exciting or thrilling would be more expressive.
Some people lack range and don’t know synonyms. This makes their speaking and writing boring for the reader.
For example, ‘My favourite movie is James Bond because the story is good and the acting is good’.
Here the speaker is using simple vocabulary repetitively and so his/her band score will be low.
Incorrect use of complex vocabulary
Some people learn lists of complex words and phrases before the test but because they don’t fully understand the meaning or the grammar of the words, they use them wrongly. Make sure you know a phrase or word properly before you use it.
For example, 'I believe the government must do more to support industrial sector'.
Industrial sector is a good noun phrase but the writer hasn't got the grammar of the phrase correct. This phrase requires the definite article 'the' at the head of the phrase - 'the industrial sector'. An error like this reflects negatively on lexical resource and grammatical accuracy.
Where should I learn new words?
To be successful in the IELTS test you need a wide range of vocabulary. In the speaking test you need the vocabulary to talk about your interests, opinions and life as well as more academic vocabulary for part 3 to talk in depth about whatever topics you are asked about. In writing, you may need vocabulary for dealing with statistics or processes and for whatever the topic of the academic task 2 essay is. Reading requires more academic and topic specific vocabulary and listening requires a range of less formal vocabulary for part 1 and 2 and more specific and academic vocabulary towards the end in part 3 and 4.
You should try and learn new vocabulary from a range of sources. All of the following places are excellent sources
Tips for how to successfully learn new words
Now let's learn more about academic vocabulary and learning words in context.
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