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Mastering IELTS Vocabulary: Expert Strategies for Success

Impressive vocabulary is always essential for attaining success in the IELTS examination. Many academic experts believe students with strong vocabulary find it easier to read and grasp stanzas and demonstrate their ideas through proficient writing skills. Moreover, it proves a valuable skill even beyond your IELTS success. Recruiters worldwide seek candidates with impressive English proficiency and a strong vocabulary to join their organization. Many prestigious positions exist, like Academic Editing, Business Writing, Teaching, Newspaper Journalist, Magazine Journalist, Editorial Assistant, Digital Copywriter, etc. 

Each position requires candidates to have a strong command of English and exhibit proficiency in written and spoken communication. You can become eligible for all these roles with excellent vocabulary and language proficiency (if you choose to). However, clearing the IELTS and enrolling in your dream college abroad is your first hurdle. Fortunately, there are ways to enhance your vocabulary for your IELTS exam. This blog discusses helpful tips and shares expert strategies and recommendations for improving your English vocabulary and aptitude.

So, get attentive and continue reading!

Understand the Vocabulary Requirements of the IELTS Exam

The foremost step is comprehending the vocabulary requirements and expectations of the IELTS examination. Ideally, you must acquire a stock of 6000-7000 commonly applied terms and phrases in English communication. Be sure to add words that cover each topic and discipline. You must also emphasize learning words needed for general and academic contexts. Also, refer to the idiom dictionary and learn a few each day. Extensively dabble with newspapers, magazines and interesting online publications to renew your stock of words. Also, learn fresh synonyms and antonyms with their correct usage in sentences. The IELTS accesses a student's vocabulary skills and English proficiency through reading, writing, speaking and listening. By learning and becoming confident with a huge stock of words from vivid disciplines and topics – you will face no difficulty breezing through each section.

Expand Vocabulary through Reading

A strong vocabulary is paramount for improving all facets of English communication- reading, writing, listening, and speaking. However, our academic experts believe the primary objective of reading is to improve comprehension. The importance of vocabulary is irrefutable- be it an academic student or a professional editor cum writer working at a publication house. Most times, our vocabulary is acquired through having daily conversations and reading books. So, whenever we speak or read loudly, we come across those new terms with meaning. Focusing on how the term is used when spoken or read through a text shapes our vocabulary understanding immensely.

  1. Reading provides knowledge, and that knowledge (including fresh stock of words) stimulates the mind and makes it smarter and wiser.
  2. Through reading, one comes to terms with several unfamiliar words that have been properly used for clear understanding. It makes your mind curious and compels you to look up its meaning with synonyms and antonyms.
  3. Via habitual reading, you learn vivid terms that help you express yourself differently per mood and emotions.
  4. Moreover, through proper reading, you also learn how to pronounce and emphasize words through any communicative means.

Seek help expanding your vocabulary.

Here are some useful books to improve vocabulary.

  1. Word Power Made Easy (Norman Lewis)
  2. Oxford Word Skills - Basics (Ruth Gairns)
  3. English for Everyone- English Vocabulary Builder (Thomas Booth)
  4. The Vocabulary Builder Workbook (Chris Lele)
  5. 30-days to a more powerful vocabulary (Wilfred J Funk)

Besides these texts, you can regularly read articles, newspapers, magazines and even novels by your favorite writers. Also, don't forget to set up a consultation with diligent IELTS experts while you're at it. These specialists will share helpful guidance and end-to-end solutions to help improve your vocabulary. AbroAdvice comprises a diligent team that has helped countless non-English speaking students to improve their language skills and ace the IELTS with distinction scores.

Learn Vocabulary in Context

Some students believe memorizing specific terms and its meaning is sufficient for writing and speaking correct English.

That's partially true!

While learning new words and their correct meaning does improve your vocabulary, learning about them in context is more important. Each word comprises countless synonyms. Even those synonyms have more synonyms. If you memorize words with meaning, you will exhaust your mind. Plus, you may jumble up those words and get confused when using them. It is a phenomenon typically noticed in non-English speaking students. Don't make the same mistake. Be different and learn vocabulary with proper context. Rather than focusing on individual words and their meaning, you must learn how to use them in real-time sentences or uttered statements. Language refinement comes from reading lots of authentic materials.

They include – academic research papers, Grammar tutorials, watching English shows and movies with English subtitles and even story books/novels.

Through such reading materials, you can grasp the use of words in their natural context. You will learn about words with their rightful surroundings. Plus, you will also understand other context clues like –

General Sense of the Stanza (Or Meaning of the Stanza)

For instance – Suzan isn't self-praising as her cousin. Rather, she is self-disparaging. Try understanding the contextual meaning of 'disparaging' to get a general sense of the stanza.

The answer is 'putting oneself down.'

Contextual Examples of Word Use 

Libby 'embellished' her kid's room with brightly colored pictures on the door and walls. Here embellished means decorated (another synonym of the term). Thus, its antonyms are spoiled, ruined, or disfigured.

Synonyms and Antonyms

Synonyms and antonyms are opposites. Here are some instances for your understanding.

  1. Good/ Bad
  2. Careful/Reckless
  3. Bright/dim
  4. Rude/Polite 

If you are feeling overwhelmed- don't be! Once you learn sufficient terms and get the hang of their contextual use, things will become easy (and even fun). So, keep at it. However, Contact Experts if you ever need preparation tips and guidance!

How to Boost or Improve Your Vocabulary Score In IELTS?

An integral facet of IELTS is evaluating the depth of your English vocabulary. Word repetitions will not do you any good. Thus, you must learn synonyms of terms to explain the same thing- but with distinction. That said, boosting your IELTS vocabulary score requires other preparations. Below Are Some Experts' Suggestions to Help You Improve your English Vocabulary and Boost Your IELTS Score.

Understand the Vocabulary Requirements of the IELTS Exam

25% of your IELTS writing score depends on sound English Vocabulary. Moreover, they play pivotal roles in speaking and reading sections too. Thus, you must develop sound and extensive vocabulary to succeed in your IELTS exam. The foremost step to improving your English vocabulary is comprehending the word-stock IELTS requirements.

You must learn to rephrase appropriately. Knowing what words to repeat and what to rephrase is crucial. Refer to online tutorials and videos on correctly rephrasing terms without altering their meaning. Moreover, also learn to paraphrase using relatable, lucid terms instead of long-spelling phrases that are difficult to grasp. Make a list of common unaccountable nouns, idioms and individual words. It will help reduce writing and speaking errors and ensure you score well in the IELTS.

Read More About- Choose Your IELTS Path: Academic or General

Check the Table Below


Synonyms of Words












Narrate, Inform


Display, Exhibit


Recent, current






Vital, Crucial







You can purchase or refer to an online dictionary and thesaurus to learn more about words and their meanings with correct synonyms. While at it, also refer to examples of them used in sentences. It will give you a clear idea of using it when writing or speaking about some topic. Practice word linking and using these terms regularly when speaking or writing.

Expand Vocabulary through Reading

Reading edifies the mind. It unlocks the door to many mysteries, benefiting our knowledge and mortal existence. You can easily expand your English knowledge, understanding and vocabulary through these books or other knowledge-full readable materials – online articles, PDFs, research papers, etc. Moreover, you must include an hour or so in your study time to read Cambridge and Oxford dictionaries. You can also better your speaking and writing competence by routinely practicing with notable grammar textbooks. Once you learn to write and speak coherent and flawless sentences, you can use your improved vocabulary knowledge to express statements and sentences more profoundly. So, Read, Read and Read till you get it right. It is the only honorable and life-sustaining way to learn and improve English knowledge and vocabulary.

Use Vocabulary-Building Resources

You can use available vocabulary-building resources to boost your word stock and learn its proper usage in writing and speaking. Dictionaries, thesauri and other third-party English vocabulary texts are readily available for students. Moreover, there is no dearth of online resources either. The best foot forward is to consult with friends or a personal tutor (if hired) about quality vocabulary-building resources and textbooks offline and online. Alternatively, you can contact us anytime and seek recommendations on quality learning resources to improve your language vocabulary.

Practice Using Vocabulary in Writing and Speaking

Use whatever you learn from online resources in real-time. Use those new terms in writing tasks or when interacting with another – close friend or peer. Don't be scared to make mistakes. It's how everyone learns. Eventually, the more you use new words in your writing and speaking, the more polished you will become in the language.

Master Word Formation and Word Families

You must also familiarise yourself with correct word formation and word families. You will find numerous PDF and video tutorials to understand both facets of English and how to use them correctly in writing and speaking.

Examples of Word Families Include –

  1. Ain – brain, plain, pain, chain, main
  2. Ack – back, rack, hack, sack, pack
  3. All – ball, call, hall, all
  4. Ale – sale, ale, bale
  5. Ame – Blame, same, game, came
  6. An – pan, can, ban
  7. Ank – drank, sank, tank, bank

Examples of Word Formation –

  1. Overload – Over (adverb) with load (noun)
  2. Swimming pool – Swimming (present participle) with pool (noun)
  3. Blackboard – Black (adjective) with the board (noun)
  4. Shorthand – Short (adjective) with hand (noun)
  5. Whitewash – White (adjective) with wash (verb)

Review and Revise Regularly

Just learning and implementing what you've learned isn't good enough. You must also review your performance and revise all previous lessons, even if you've moved on to other facets. So, keep an hour from your study time for performance review and revising lessons already covered. Doing so habitually will ensure you don't forget them easily.

Engage in Vocabulary Exercises and Quizzes

Occasionally, you can participate in English vocabulary exercises and quizzes to test your accuracy and versatility. Quizzes and word games are good for the brain. It prompts quick, logical thinking. Plus, it uplifts your self-confidence for competitive exams like IELTS, featuring similar quiz-like questions.

Contact AbroAdvice Today to Improve your Vocabulary for IELTS
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Importance of Vocabulary in IELTS

(As you're already aware) IELTS is the standardized exam format for testing students' proficiency in Cambridge English. It comprises English reading, listening, writing and speaking tests for students to demonstrate their competence in the Language. Proper knowledge of IELTS vocabulary is paramount since all test sections entail questions on the rudimentary Cambridge English language. Some common topics or disciplines covered in the IELTS exam include the following –

  1. Culture
  2. Environment 
  3. Travel
  4. Food
  5. Fashion
  6. Personality
  7. Covid-19 
  8. Education
  9. Advertisement 
  10. Business

Some common idiots featured in the IELTS exam include the following –

  1. It makes my blood boil
  2. Let's call it a day
  3. Putting all your eggs in a basket
  4. Being a dog with two tails
  5. Blessing in disguise 
  6. Actions speak louder than words

And many more alike. 

Here’s Highlighting A Small Vocabulary Index for IELTS Speaking Section

In the past


It was caused

Even though



When I was younger

Contrarywise/on the contrary

During that moment


For Instance,


Years ago,



I reckon

MORE ON the Importance of Vocabulary in IELTS For Academic Writing & General English Communication

  1. For proper paraphrasing/ rephrasing or locating creative terms/phrases to express your views.
  2. To determine how the words have been used in the question and answer what's required using sound English stock of words.
  3. To understand the meaning of the words, fill blank spaces accordingly with correct answers.
  4. To group words and phrases in vivid ways when speaking, writing or reading.
  5. To think more logically and presents unique answers to make a good impression on the receiver.
  6. Moreover, it augments powers of persuasion, particularly when writing or speaking.

Improving English vocabulary sharpens your ability to communicate ideas. It also positively impacts the audience (readers or listeners) to notice every word uttered or written. Fortunately, there are several ways to improve your English language vocabulary. Among them, reading books is the most effective of them all. Procure various books (academic or story books). Read a little every day. Note down unique terms or phrases with meaning and synonyms in a notebook. Try to list out 15-20 new terms each day. Eventually, your stock of words will increase along with your knowledge and understanding of using them in writing and speaking.

Read More About- Unlocking IELTS Success: Avoiding the 6 Most Frequent Mistakes

Frequently Asked Questions

Is There Any Vocabulary Test for the IELTS?

No, there isn't. Nevertheless, you will require sound English vocabulary knowledge for various IELTS exam sections. Moreover, if you are giving the IELTS (academic version), study the word stock in the academic word list. Reading books is another means to improve your English vocabulary and success in upcoming IELTS.

What Role Does Vocabulary Play in the IELTS?

IELTS entails reading, writing, listening and speaking fluently in English. So, naturally, the more extensive your English vocabulary, the better the chances of IELTS success. Refer to the tips in the post to improve your English vocabulary for surefire IELTS success.

How Much Vocabulary Is Enough to Prepare For IELTS?

There is no correct answer to this. English comprises countless words relating to all facets of life (even beyond). Ideally, you must strive to learn as many words with synonyms as possible to consider sufficient IELTS preparation. Experts recommend having somewhere close to 7000 vocabularies on every aspect of life. It will make it easier to articulate any topic in English properly. 

Is Vocabulary Important?

Learning proper English Vocabulary allows you to communicate fluently in the International language. It reveals to the person communicating how adept you are in the language. Proper knowledge and use of English vocabulary in speaking, writing and reading play a huge role in your academic and career success.

How should I learn new IELTS Vocabulary?

Here are some useful tips to learn and improve your IELTS vocabulary.

  1. Procure the latest edition of the IELTS dictionary and read it every day.
  2. Habitually read newspapers, magazines and other related IELTS study material.
  3. Also, get or download a quality thesaurus to learn about relevant synonyms.
  4. Watch evening news in English.
  5. Also, read articles and other academic posts about any discipline or coverage – climate change, global warming, family, health, etc.

How to Improve Vocabulary for IELTS?

You can refer to the above tips to improve your IELTS vocabulary. Of course, you can also practice shadowing or speaking to another in English using the terms and synonyms you've learned. Also, watch English movies and TV shows with English subtitles to understand how words are used fluently for communication. You can also set up a subscription on your phone for Word of the Day apps to improve your English word stock.

  • Nidhi Pandit
  • July 24,2023
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