Vocabulary | Academic Vocabulary Series

IELTS Lessons, written by Sam Morgan and Tom Speed

If you reach an IELTS band 7 and above in speaking and writing, it’s important to accurately use academic vocabulary. Doing so will also help you to understand academic texts (helpful for the reading test) and also part 4 of the listening test, which contains an academic topic.

In the previous Academic Vocabulary class we studied academic vocabulary in context to help us work out the meaning. Now we will continue to develop these skills by first identifying word meaning, then the word form before finally using the words in different sentences.


Exercise 1 | What is the meaning?

​Click on the meaning of the word or phrase in bold.

Choose the correct meanings

1. Many goods, such as cars, electronics and steel, are produced in Japan.
a) products
b) benefits
c) inventions
2. The swallow is a small bird. There are two distinct types of swallow, the African and the European. Some people believe the African variety can fly faster and is bigger.
a) the same
b) similar
c) recognizably different
3. India is a vast country with a large number of different ethnic groups speaking over 20 different languages.
a) related to a location
b) related to music
c) related to a population of people
4. Many people believe that government spending on the arts is a waste of money; however, I am of the contrary opinion.
a) the opposite
b) the same
c) without opinion
5. There are twenty thousand electric cars but only 15,000 petrol cars in the city so the number of electric cars exceeds that of traditional petrol vehicles.
a) to be roughly the same number
b) to be larger in number
c) to be less in number
6. Salaries and worker related expenses dominated the annual budget at the school taking over a 40% share of the funds available. The next highest share was electricity and water coming in at around 23%.
a) to be the largest or most important part of something
b) to be the smallest or least important part of something
c) to be a medium size part of something
7. In a social media survey it was discovered that the most common occupation for young people was being a waiter.
a) free-time activity
b) job
c) charity work
8. Newer car models consume far less fuel than older models.
a) to produce less polution
b) to produce
c) to use something up


Exercise 2 | What is the Grammar?

What part of speech (verb/adjective/noun etc) are the words in bold? 

Choose the correct meanings

1. Many goods, such as cars, electronics and steel, are produced in Japan.
2. The swallow is a small bird. There are two distinct types of swallow, the African and the European. Some people believe the African variety can fly faster and is bigger.
3. India is a vast country with a large number of different ethnic groups speaking over 20 different languages.
4. Many people believe that government spending on the arts is a waste of money; however, I am of the contrary opinion.
5. There are twenty thousand electric cars but only 15,000 petrol cars in the city so the number of electric cars exceeds that of traditional petrol vehicles.
6. Salaries and worker related expenses dominate the annual budget at the school taking over a 40% share of the funds available. The next highest share is electricity coming in at around 23%.
7. In a social media survey it was discovered that the most common occupation for young people was being a waiter.
8. Newer car models consume far less fuel than older models.


Exercise 3 | Use the Vocabulary

​Complete the sentences with the appropriate word. One word must be used more than once.
goods   ·  occupations   ·  contrary   ·  distinct   ·  consume   ·  dominate   ·  ethnic   ·  exceed  
Click or touch a word above
1. Most TVs between 80 and 400 watts of electricity per day.
2. If you the legal amount of alcohol and the police catch you driving, you may lose your license.
3. Indonesia has staggering diversity with over 300 separate groups.
4. What traditional are produced in your region?
5. There are many types of traditional food found in Asia.
6. My sister is very argumentative. Whenever I say something she has a opinion and so we have arguments about everything from where to eat to what to get our parents at Christmas.
7. Young people are much less likely to want to do ‘traditional’ or ‘old fashioned’ such as farming or fishing.
8. The president’s friends and business colleagues the government, resulting in many people believing the government is corrupt.


How did you do? Remember to apply the same thought to new words you find – guess the meaning before you check with a dictionary, then identify the part of speech (verb/adjective/noun). Finally make sure to use new words as often as possible to ensure that you remember them.

Next, follow the link to learn about Academic Collocations.

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