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Importance of vocabulary in acing IELTS

by IDP IELTS India 28 July, 2022

IELTS stands for International English Language Testing System, and it is a test that is taken by non-native candidates who are looking to move to an English-speaking country, either to study or work. IELTS is accepted by top higher study destinations, like Australia, Canada, New Zealand, The United Kingdom, The United States of America, and Ireland.

IELTS is divided into four sections – Listening, Reading, Writing, and Speaking. Every section is designed to test a different aspect of the language, and the candidates’ grasp of it. The sections are marked on a band score of 0-9, and an average, overall score is provided. One is the score allocated to non-users of English, while 9 is awarded to expert and proficient users.

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Types of IELTS

IELTS is of two types- IELTS Academic test, which is taken by students, and IELTS General Training test, which is taken by employers and professionals. The Listening and the Reading sections remain the same, while the Writing and the Speaking sections are different.

IELTS can be taken on a computer, or in the form of a paper-based test. The only difference is that in the computer-based test, the candidates answer the Reading, Writing, and Listening sections on the computer. The Speaking test is done in a face-to-face interview with the examiner, either immediately before or after the other sections. The results of this test are declared within 3-5 days of taking the exam.

In the paper-based test, the candidate physically visits the exam centre, and takes the Reading, Writing, and Listening sections on paper. The Speaking section is done via a face-to-face interview with an examiner, either a week before or after the other sections. The results of the paper-based test are declared within 13 days of taking the exam.

How to prepare for the IELTS

Preparing for the IELTS is like preparing for any other exam. There are a lot of free practice tests or mock tests that IDP gives to the students when they apply for IELTS and are advised to solve before sitting for the exam. The mock test is exactly like the actual test as it has the same question structure, answer format, time limit, and difficulty level.

As the IELTS exam judges the candidate’s command of the English language, vocabulary plays a critical role in ensuring a good band score. Any score over 6 is a good one, and a vast vocabulary is often the key that helps the candidate to reach that score.

Candidates should be aware of the commonly used phrases and idioms and know the correct usage and meaning of the same. While the test is not difficult, it is important to understand the underlying connotations and implications to answer the sections correctly.

How to improve vocabulary for IELTS

Vocabulary is not something that can be improved by studying overnight. It needs to be built over a period of time. Vocabulary can get better passively by reading and listening, and then applying these words into speech or writing.

Candidates can improve their vocabulary by following these tips:

  • If you come across a new word, write it down and understand the context. Then, try and seamlessly incorporate these words while speaking or writing
  • Listen to videos and podcasts of people who have a good grasp of English as this will help to improve pronunciation and enunciation. Stephen Fry and Barack Obama are good orators whose videos and speeches candidates can listen to. Ted Talks are also good sources of information
  • Focus on synonyms and homonyms of common words that are used in daily conversations

Getting a good overall band score in IELTS can become easier if you keep practising before the final exam. Candidates are advised to take a lot of mock tests as these will help to improve vocabulary and give them much-needed confidence before the exam. An improved vocabulary is a trick to getting a higher IELTS score.

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