A Complete Guide to IELTS Vocabulary


International English Language Testing System (IELTS) is one of the most widely accepted English Proficiency Tests for students who wish to pursue higher education abroad. The exam evaluates students on four parameters: reading, writing, listening and speaking. Vocabulary accounts for 25% of the marks in the IELTS writing and speaking tests, and it is also as important as IELTS reading and listening. To succeed in the exam, particularly in the IELTS writing and IELTS speaking sections, candidates must have full confidence in their vocabulary. From extensive reading to practice exercises and word lists, there are various ways to learn a wide range of IELTS vocabulary in your English language skills. However, We must practice in the manner that is most comfortable for each of us.


In this article, we have compiled a list of category-wise, and topic-wise vocabulary for IELTS, along with preparation tips.

What is the Importance of Vocabulary in IELTS?

In our daily lives, we utilize words to communicate our ideas and thoughts. Sometimes, we do it effortlessly, but it might be tough at other times due to a lack of awareness of the appropriate language for a given situation. This is what we refer to as a vocabulary deficit. If a candidate is not sufficiently prepared for the IELTS exam, a similar scenario occurs. To do better in the IELTS writing and IELTS speaking components of the exam, we need to expand our IELTS vocabulary list. When you run out of words while talking with the IELTS examiner, you tend to use similar phrases or repeat statements if your vocabulary is inadequate.


IELTS Vocabulary: Topic Wise

It is important for students to learn a flexible use of a wide range of vocabulary in order to achieve a band score of 7 or higher. If you are not able to use the correct words, appropriately then this can really hamper the overall band score as well.

We have listed down some latest and most popular topics as per the category that has been used in the exam.



  • Billboards: To advertise, brands often use these huge signboards on stadiums or on roads.
  • Magazine Ads: To advertise a particular product, small posts are put up in a magazine. These ads only target a particular population and are very specific.
  • Email Advertising: Sending direct mails about your service or products to your prospective customer is email advertising and one of the most cost-effective ways of advertising today.
  • Internet Pop-Ups: These small advertisements are impactful and allow viewers to access the product easily. However, they can appear to viewers as invasive or annoying.
  • Tantalizing: It is a way to entice consumers by subtle teasing.


  • Exorbitant: When something is unreasonably high
  • To go bust: When a business is compelled to shut down due to a loss
  • Frugal: Being vigilant of one’s expenses
  • Burn a hole in one’s pocket: Someone who is always eager to spend money as soon as they get it and is unable to save it
  • Balancing Books: To not spend more money than is being earned


  • Mythology: A classic story from the past that carries meaning
  • Culture diffusion: The spread of one’s cultural beliefs from one group of people to another
  • Lingua Franca: A common language used by people who are speakers of different languages
  • Folklore: Old stories and myths, usually transmitted by word of mouth
  • Cultural heritage: The legacy of tangible and intangible heritage assets of a group or society that is inherited from past generations


  • Eccentric clothes: Unique, out-of-the-ordinary attire
  • Sloppy: casual and loose-fitting
  • Old-school: old-fashion or something that is traditional
  • Brand loyalty: A tendency of consumers to continuously purchase one brand’s product over and over again
  • Hand-me-downs: A clothing item that has been passed from one person to another


  • Considerate: A thoughtful and compassionate personality
  • Pessimistic: Someone who has a cynical outlook on life
  • Outgoing: Possessing a friendly and energetic demeanor
  • Deceitful: someone who’s untrustworthy and strives to keep the truth hidden
  • Stingy: Someone who is averse to sharing


  • Coeducational School: The education for both males and females at the same institution
  • Curriculum Vitae: A document summarizing an individual’s experience, skills, and academic background
  • Dissertation: A long piece of writing where students present their research on a particular subject to earn an advanced degree
  • Tertiary Education: It refers to post-secondary education that includes private, public, and training universities
  • Discipline: A field of study


  • Voyage: Along the journey to very distant places by the sea
  • Long haul flights: Long-distance flights
  • Magnificent landscapes: Stunning scenery
  • Lush rainforests: Luxuriant equatorial forests.
  • Traveling light: Traveling with little luggage


  • Pint: A measure of liquid that is equal to 550 milliliters
  • Savoury: A food or dish that is salty or spicy
  • A Slap Up Meal: a large and sumptuous
  • To tuck into: to start eating enthusiastically or hungrily
  • Gulp: Eating or swallowing food in large mouthfuls


Ways to Improve IELTS Vocabulary

It’s not only about learning new words; it’s also about learning them in the context of a text. Let’s look at a few instances to learn a few words. Several vital academic words, idiom practice, topic-related words, and other important vocabulary skills will also be included in this blog.


1. Academic Word List

The academic word list is a collection of often-used words in academic writings. Making a list of each of the common terms, as best picked by you, is the appropriate way to learn. Each list will focus on a single frequent term.

This list will include all variations of the academic time and the different ways in which that exact word can be shaped and employed in diverse situations.

If a student learns a term and its meaning, as well as its many word forms, he or she will be able to understand the meaning of the word while reading it in any form. There are two abilities to take note of here: The first step is to recognize the word, and the second step is to use it. In comparison to the second, the first is easier to obtain. To perfect the use of the words, you must practice them. If you’re learning a new term from our academic word list or another list, you’ll want to be sure you know what words it’s related to.

Now that you’ve grasped the concept of using a word list to improve your IELTS vocabulary, you may look through some more examples of academic word lists, which are mentioned below:

AVAILABLE availability


AREA areas
ASSESS assessable







APPROACH approaches





BENEFIT beneficial






CONCEPT conceptualize









CONTEXT contextualized






CONSIST consistently









CONTRACT contracted





CREATE creations














DISTRIBUTE distributions













DERIVE derivatives







ESTIMATE over-estimate














ECONOMY economic








ESTABLISH disestablish










EVIDENT evidenced




EXPORT exported





FORMULAE formulae












FINANCE financed







INCOME Incomes


INDIVIDUAL individualized









2. Vocabulary for Topics

Topic vocabulary is important since it allows you to acquire valuable words and phrases that may appear on the IELTS test and can be utilized in IELTS writing or speaking based on the topic. It is not necessary to study certain terms in great detail. However, there are several topics that show up in the test, and knowing different words and phrases associated with them is helpful. You can show that you have a large vocabulary and that you can explain yourself in the most effective way possible in every manner. They may be beneficial in all sections of the exam. These subjects can be found in an IELTS speaking test as well as an essay topic that is related to them. It also helps your reading comprehension because the more complex terms you know, the easier it is to comprehend the context.

Below are related topics that can be asked in the IELTS exam:

  • Work
  • Information technology
  • Environment
  • Clothes and Fashion
  • Crime
  • Business
  • Science
  • The Arts
  • Education
  • Children and family
  • Advertising
  • Environment
  • Accommodation
  • Shopping
  • Books and Films
  • Weather
  • Music
  • Towns and Cities
  • People – Personality and Character
  • People – Physical Appearance


3. Idioms

The meaning of a combination of words cannot be deduced from the meanings of the individual words. For instance, ‘over the moon’ and ‘cold feet.’ Examiners will look for less common and more idiomatic terminology in order to give you a band 7 or above in IELTS. It is, however, difficult to learn idioms and use them in appropriate situations.

You must be careful when attempting to fit them into the IELTS test, as the examiner will most likely detect. You must reach a point where you are able to employ idioms fairly. You should not only learn them academically but also know how to apply them. If you get an IELTS band of 5 to 5.5 practice exams then, you can put idioms aside and concentrate on increasing your common vocabulary first.


Idioms Usage
It cost me an arm and a leg to buy this beach house. Very expensive
I was over the moon when he appreciated me. Extremely happy


4. Collocation

A combination of words that are frequently paired together is referred to as collocation. It is one of the most crucial things to grasp when studying for the IELTS exam. You must not only know these words but also know how to connect them with other words to get a band score of 7.

You learn these terms in such a way that you know how to use them in the correct context. It is far more effective than simply memorizing words.

Here are some examples of collocation:

  • To make the bed/money/a noise
  • To catch a cold/a train /a fish


5. Phrasal Verbs

Verbs that are used with a preposition or an adverb are known as phrasal verbs. When these two words are combined, they have a different meaning than when they are used alone.

Example – “I can’t put up with you”

When the word “put” is used in the context of “to put on the table,” it implies “to position,” but when it is combined with “up with,” it signifies “can’t accept someone or something anymore.”

IELTS vocabulary is the key to exam success. This article is a valuable resource in and of itself to learn. There’s a lot more to vocabulary than memorizing words. Make sure your IELTS prep is not only to recall but also to grasp words in context if you want to do well on the IELTS. Also, be ready to use IELTS Vocabulary in context, in your own writing, and in your own speaking.


Common Idioms

The IELTS Speaking section can be challenging for many. Candidates should have strong control over their fluency, vocabulary, and pronunciation of the language in this section.

Learning idioms can be helpful in expressing your ideas more clearly but one must not use any idiom without understanding the meaning as it can lead to a deduction in marks. Therefore, use it only when you are confident about the meaning and its context.

We have listed a few common idioms that can be used in the speaking section:

  • Green with envy: Being Envious or jealous
  • Blind as a bat: Bad eyesight
  • A drop in the ocean: a very small quantity as compared to the amount needed
  • To be like a dog with two tails: someone that is very happy about something
  • In the red: Lack of money or to owe money
  • Call it a day: finishing the work of a day
  • Day and Night: Continuous or non-stop work
  • I hit the ceiling: to become extremely angry
  • Pull your eggs in one basket: to concentrate all efforts and resources in one area
  • Blessing in disguise: an apparent misfortune that later has good results


Phrasal Verb

A Phrasal Verb typically constitutes a verb with a preposition or adverb or both and functions as a verb whose meaning is totally different than an individual verb. Hence must be used according to the context.

Phrasal verbs are a part of IELTS vocabulary words, and to show command over the English language, candidates must use them. But one should understand the context before using these verbs as the wrong usage can impact the overall band score.

Below is the list of some common phrasal verbs that can be used:

  • Romp in: Win easily
  • Salt away: to save something valuable such as money
  • Venture forth: to set out, to go forward, to go out cautiously
  • Tee off: to begin a game or an event
  • Limber up for: to prepare for something that will require a great effort
  • Peel away: to separate from the group or a structure to move into a different direction
  • Pass over: to not give attention to someone or to something, to ignore
  • Measure against: Evaluate or judge, by comparison,
  • Go by: The passing of time
  • Kick back: to relax


Collocation for IELTS

A combination of words in a sentence that are closely affiliated with each other. They can be paired in the following manner.

  • Verb & noun
  • Verb & adverb
  • Adverb & adjective
  • Adjective & noun
  • Noun & noun

To understand it better, some example sentences of different collocations are listed below:

Verb + Noun

  • He decided to break a habit of lifetime
  • She made an appointment to see her therapist
  • The professor paid him a compliment for his well-written essays
  • She decided to throw a party, on her 20th birthday

Verb + Adverb

  • She deeply regretted her actions later on
  • Eva distinctly remembers leaving the key at the reception.
  • The passenger flatly refused to change seats.
  • The new measures were strongly criticized by the opposition.

Adverb + Adjective

  • Carla was absolutely delighted to win first prize.
  • You could see that Bill was deeply offended by the remark.
  • From the look on his face it was patently obvious that he was not interested.
  • Housing is reasonably priced in this area.

Adjective + Noun

  • He shows Keen interest in going to Stanford to become a Lawyer
  • She reads a lot of books and has a rich vocabulary.
  • The sequel to the movie was a big disappointment
  • I’m under serious pressure to finish the task this month.

Noun + Noun

  • The director received a round of applause after his valuable speech
  • She works in the service industry
  • The ceasefire agreement came into effect at 11 am.
  • I’d like to buy two bars of soap, please.


List of some Common Collocations

  • To come of age: to reach the age when you are considered legally by the law to be an adult.

Example: He will inherit his father’s money when he comes of age.

  • To take pride: to be proud of, or take satisfaction in

Example: Our company has always taken pride in its excellent customer support and commitment to customer satisfaction.

  • To meet the need of/demand: to do something that someone wants, needs, or expects you to do or be as good as they need.

Example: The company’s service is tailored to meet your needs.

  • To have a sense of accomplishment: to feel proud after achieving something difficult and worthwhile

Example: She got a sense of accomplishment after learning new skills

  • To derive/gain benefits: to derive benefit from a person or something

Example: Many students derived benefits from the new curriculum.


List of Some Useful Vocabulary for IELTS


Reading & Writing Test

To expand your vocabulary for IELTS writing & IELTS reading sections, listed below are some of the common words with their synonyms.

Words Synonyms
Funny Amusing, waggish
Answer Respond
Awful Bad
Dangerous Risky
Decide Settle
Come Arrive
Place Procedure
Beautiful Pretty
Begin Start
Interesting Intriguing, engrossing 
Help Assist, Aid
Wrong Mistaken
Tell Narrate, Inform
Show Display, Exhibit
New Recent, current
Definite Certain
Delicious Savoury
Important Vital, crucial
Neat Clean
Happy Content
Famous Well-known
Amazing Incredible
Cool Frosty


Speaking Test

The speaking test is to check the candidate’s command over the fluency of the English language. Hence, it is important to have a strong grasp of the vocabulary and should know when to and how to use it correctly.

Below is the list of common words that can be used for the section:

  • I think
  • Another reason
  • Also
  • At the moment
  • Nowadays
  • When I was younger
  • Years ago
  • In the past
  • These days
  • I suppose
  • Then
  • It was caused
  • I reckon
  • For instance
  • Such as
  • Like
  • Right now


IELTS Writing Task 1 Vocabulary

Grammar and Vocabulary on your essays make a huge difference in your band descriptor. It means you should have a strong command of using accurate grammar and vocabulary and finding the right terms to describe the graphs and charts on writing task 1.

Here are some examples of the language that can be used for describing graphs and charts:

  • The bar graph provides a…
  • The chart reveals information about the changes in…
  • The table illustrates the trends in…
  • The graphic clearly shows that…
  • As the chart indicates…
  • The table reveals that…
  • According to the pie chart…
  • The line graph presents how X has changed over a period of…


IELTS Writing Task 2 Vocabulary

Whether you are appearing for General Training IELTS or an Academic exam you can use the common words listed below for writing task 2 essay.


Words to Use in Writing Task 2: Introduction

You need to give your thesis and provide an overview of the essay at the beginning of the task. Here are a few words that can be used to do so:

It may seem that…
It appears that…
Firstly, this essay will…and secondly, it will….
I/This essay will argue that…
To examine this issue, this essay will examine both….and…
I/This essay will show that…


Words to Use in Writing Task 2: Paragraphs

Here are some words that can be used within each body paragraph to illustrate opinions, contradictions, and conflicts between ideas.

First of all,
For instance,
In addition,
For example,
In addition,


Words to Use in Writing Task 2: Conclusion

Try to avoid restating the thesis statement right away, use phrases and transition words to wrap up your final paragraph.

In the end,
To summarize,
On balance,


IELTS Vocabulary: Tips to Prepare

  • We have listed some useful tips that can be followed while preparing for the exam.
  • Candidates should get into the habit of reading English blogs, newspapers, and articles, and while reading note down all the important and new words they come across.
  • Listen to TED talks and Podcasts, and understand the different words used by the speaker.
  • Flashcards can be used to memorize the words.
  • Avoid memorizing words in all circumstances as the meaning and usage of words change according to the context.


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Is IELTS vocabulary difficult?

Because it can involve some difficult terminology, the IELTS reading exam can be tough for students. In general, you won’t need to be able to decipher exceptionally difficult or rare terms. Examiners will never expect you to know technical jargon for a certain field of study.

How can I improve my vocabulary in 15 days?

Make a list of any unusual words you come across while reading or listening. Reading and listening are both good ways to learn new words. To help you remember the unusual term you heard or saw while listening or speaking, write it down in a pocket notepad (or on your phone).

Does vocabulary matter in IELTS?

The importance of vocabulary in the IELTS exam cannot be overstated. Reading and Writing modules in particular, as there are three passages with a total of forty questions in Reading.

Why is vocabulary important in the IELTS exam?

Vocabulary is an important component of the ILETS exam, as it is used to assess your ability to understand and use English in a variety of contexts. A good vocabulary allows you to express yourself clearly and effectively and helps you comprehend the exam reading and listening tasks.

What types of vocabulary should I focus on for the IELTS exam?

You should focus on both general and academic vocabulary for the IELTS exam. General vocabulary refers to words and phrases that are commonly used in everyday conversation and writing, while academic vocabulary refers to words and phrases that are more specific to academic subjects and professional fields.

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