In this tutorial, we discuss tips to improve your IELTS vocabulary from an ex-examiner.
We look at:
- 4 things you can start doing today to improve your IELTS vocabulary
- How to make sure you don’t forget the vocabulary before your exam
- 3 useful tools that can improve your IELTS vocabulary
The key to success in IELTS is an extensive vocabulary. If you can paraphrase and use synonyms, then your speaking and writing test scores are bound to be high and in reading and listening, you should have no significant issues.
4 Things you can start doing today to improve your IELTS Vocabulary
- Keep separate pages from different types of words. According to grammatical categories for example – nouns, verbs, adjectives, connectors, prepositions and so on. You can also have different sections for vocabulary associated with topics. Education, science, sport etc.
- Words do not exist in isolation. They appear in a context, they collocate with other words – a verb with a noun, an adverb with a verb, an adjective with a noun. Prepositions too form these close bonds with other words. And why stop at the word? Word combinations, different types of collocations that include fixed or semi-fixed expressions and words that frequently go together, are so important when it comes to learning and using a second language. So, record the expression, not just the word.
- Note down the context where the word or expression came from an English coursebook, newspaper, magazine, online written source, video source or whatever. The context should be as full as possible. If it’s formal or not.
- It’s a great idea to include with each item some synonyms and antonyms, some kind of cross-reference to other words and expressions, their uses in different contexts and so on.
How to make sure you remember the vocabulary during your exam
Recording and noting vocabulary is one thing. How many times have you heard or read a new vocabulary item and the very next day, completely forgotten its meaning? Here’s how to make sure you don’t forget
- If you have a note of the item and the context, it’s a great idea to add further information about the item if and when you come across it again, perhaps in a different context.
- The only way is repetition and practice.
- One sure way of making a new word or expression part of you is to start trying it out. This could be in front of a mirror, when speaking to someone, asking someone if what you are saying is correct (the pronunciation, the grammar, the context).
3 Useful tools that can improve your IELTS Vocabulary
There are many other ways to increase your vocabulary. Here are 3 useful tools that can help:
- An up-to-date probably online dictionary of thesaurus really helps.
- You can also use mnemonics, a great tool to help your memory.
- Testing yourself, for example with a simple flashcard is another technique that can be effective. Look at a word on one side of a card and say out loud what it means, giving an example. Turn over the card to check. That can work the other way around too.
You can download or listen to the full tutorial here: