This tutorial focuses entirely on collocations and vocabulary.
We look at:
- The six different types of collocations
- Useful tips on how to use the collocations
- Advantages of using collocations
- How to find Band 8 level collocations
- The AWL (academic word list) -Here is a link to the 20 most frequent academic words used (pdf).
- Master list of vocabulary collocations for IELTS Speaking and Writing
The six different types of collocations
Illegal product or counterfeit product.
‘When I was younger, actually I used to love counterfeit products. But then I realized they soon, they usually don’t last more than two minutes. And anybody who’s bought counterfeit products probably realizes that.’
‘It is technically impossible to graduate from university without completing some practice exercises first’.
‘The night shift starts at 9pm at the building site’.
‘You may have to put in a few night shifts in order to improve your IELTS vocabulary score’.
Take an exam, failed an exam, prepare for an exam.
‘I once failed an exam because of low score regarding synonyms on common topics’.
Fully understand, thoroughly inspect, greatly admire.
‘A few examiners greatly admire the students who can effectively use idioms in their test’.
Slightly Longer Phrases
Make a contribution towards something.
Draw your attention to.
Go into partnership with.
‘Cambridge ESOL went into a partnership with the British Council, and IDP Australia’.
Advantages of using these collocations
They will help you to avoid mistakes because you have an accurate use of your vocabulary.
If I say ‘home tourism is important in England because it provides an income to the coastal areas’.
I understand but if you’d have said domestic tourism, then there’s no strain and I immediately know what you are talking about.
I don’t have to put any effort into understanding.
So if you know the correct collocation, you can avoid mistakes and get the high score you deserve.
By learning the entire phrase and then saying it without any pauses in between, you can sound significantly more fluent.
This automatically improves your pronunciation because you start using connected speech, whereby the sounds of words get pushed together and still remain understood to high level speakers listening.
Learning the entire phrase can also help you to focus on the delivery rather than the grammar. This is especially useful for more complex structures.
The example below is in the conditional and uses modal verbs.
‘If I were to _________ , I would most likely be ________’.
‘If I were to start learning the piano now, I would most likely be struggling for the first few months’.
‘If I had ________, I would have definitely _________’.
‘If I had studied more I would have definitely achieved a good score’.
Another example could be to start the question with a question word.
‘What I should have done when I was younger, is start a regular savings plan’.
Improve your essays
With IELTS writing task two we are asked to write essays on a whole range of topics. Before you start writing think of all the words you want to use and the collocations around this topic. Write them down at the brainstorming stage.
Now you can fashion your essay to include these collocations in a natural way, while you are in the planning stage, rather than trying to force them into your writing later.
How to find Band 8 level collocations
- Find a word from the AWL pdf list.
- Place it into the Cambridge Online Dictionary.
- Find the phrases, and the level:
4. Convert according to equivalency:
5. Now you have a very useful resource to find words and for checking the quality of your vocabulary. More information on CEFR equivalency can be found here.
If you need more help with passing IELTS, try the new improved and updated online course, click here. The online course contains entire modules and lists about collocations, collocation exercises, useful tips, and new skills to help you master new words and improve your score.
The updated CTR-T template contains ready made sentences for you to adapt to your essay topic, along with entire chapters about acquiring academic vocabulary for IELTS.
The feedback offered makes your IELTS preparation and improvement quicker and faster, especially when it comes to learning new words and new vocabulary.
You can also find a valuable tutorial about IELTS vocabulary here.
Collocations are fast way to improve all facets of your language skills.
When reading if you recognise a collocation you expect the second part simultaneously improve both your reading speed and comprehension.
In the listening exam the same is also true, hearing a collocation you know allows you to expect the rest of the word. This frees up mental energy to focus on other parts of the audio, rather than trying to decode the collocation.
Using collocations in the writing allow your writing to flow because the reader (the examiner) will be expecting the second half of the phrase or word after reading the first. For example:
Governments need to close down the power plant as soon as possible.
In the above sentence the reader is expecting ‘plant’ after ‘power’, and likewise, ‘as soon’ is expected to be followed by ‘as possible’.
In the speaking exam if you can use collocations you are going to sound more fluent, more confident and this will definitely help you achieve a high score such as a band 8 or 9.
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