How to use vocabulary to improve your IELTS score?

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You might sometimes wonder “How to use vocabulary to improve IELTS score?”

Well, since IELTS is an English Language Proficiency Test, a great emphasis is put on vocabulary to evaluate the overall score of a candidate.

IELTS Test comprises of four sections – Speaking, Writing, Reading and Listening. The only thing that all these sections have in common is “Vocabulary”. When it comes to Speaking & Writing sections, Vocabulary is definitely one of the must-have skills. It contributes up to 25% in your total score. It even plays a key role in Listening & Reading sections.

Vocabulary – One of the Building Blocks of Language

We use many words in our everyday life to communicate our ideas, thoughts and emotions to the people surrounding us. Sometimes we communicate successfully while at other times we are incapable of conveying the true meaning. “This is not what I meant”, then becomes our mantra. However, a good vocabulary can definitely help you convey what you actually mean.

Similar is the case with your IELTS Speaking & Writing.

Having less vocabulary tends you to write words over and over within the passage. Whereas you keep on repeating the sentence again and again when you run short of words while conversing with your examiner.

Vocabulary isn’t Just About Learning New Words

Often aspirants are under an impression that learning a long list of words would help them increase their vocabulary. But, the lesser they know is vocabulary isn’t just about learning new words.

Don’t focus on learning lists of words in isolation. Instead, put a habit of learning them in context to the text. It is important to understand their meaning, know their synonyms and improve use of collocations so that you can utilize them at appropriate place.

For example, let’s consider

“I had a quick meal” – Correct use of Collocation

“I had a fast meal” – Incorrect use of Collocation

‘quick’ and ‘fast’ undoubtedly mean the same. But the word ‘fast’ does not pair up with the word ‘meal’ in the above stated example. This is where a proper understanding of collocation comes into role. And, this will definitely help you in uplifting your IELTS Score.

Is Vocabulary all about Using Complex Words?

Whenever you insert ‘complex’ or ‘complicated’ words into your IELTS Academic or General Writing, it is obvious that the assessor will come to know that you are doing this for the purpose of impressing the examiner. It looks unnatural and eventually your score suffers.

When it comes to IELTS Speaking, you fumble or keep on repeating the sentence while in search of complex words. This affects your fluency and you end up losing marks.

No doubt, you need to display a wide range of Vocabulary but you should also have the knowledge of using it wisely and appropriately. Knowing ample amount of words and dropping them into your essay or using them while you converse with your examiner, without really thinking about its meaning, will land you into troubles.

So, how will you Expand your Vocabulary?

First of all, know your current level of vocabulary.

How will you know that?

Simple! Take a full length IELTS Practice Test.

When you attempt the test, ask yourself: Can I understand all the important information provided in the recordings and passages? Am I able to express my ideas effectively in both Speaking and Writing sections?

This is how you will get an idea of your current level of vocabulary and accordingly you can start working on expanding it. As explained earlier, don’t just concentrate on remembering more words. Instead, learn them in context to their meaning. 

  • Read & Listen: Most of the vocabulary is learnt from context. So, pick up a TV show, podcast, magazine or a book of your interest. Don’t listen to or read something that is not of your interest as it tends you to get distracted.
  • Note Down Words: Put a habit of penning new words that you come across, understand their meaning and learn to apply them at proper places.
  • Use Memory Tricks: Learning new words is not enough. Remembering them is also must. So, you should keep on reviewing the words that you have already learnt before at regular intervals. Consider revising them in a week, 10 days, 2 weeks, a month or whichever is suitable to you.
  • Practice and practice: You must use the words that you note down while speaking and writing and thus, keep a regular check on your vocabulary.

IELTS Vocabulary skills lead to exam success. To really shine on your IELTS Test, make sure that you not only recall vocabulary but also understand it in context. Be prepared to use your vocabulary fluently both in your writing and in your speech.