What kind of vocabulary do I need to learn?
There are certain key topics that come up in IELTS, and knowing the issues and vocabulary surrounding these topics will help you to:
- read more quickly and predict correct answers
- listen more effectively and be able to correctly spell the words you hear
- write more persuasively, with plenty of ideas to support your argument
- speak confidently on a wide range of topics
Also see my other blog: 28 ways to boost your IELTS vocabulary
IELTS Vocabulary Topics
WEEK 1: The natural environment
WEEK 2: The man-made environment
WEEK 3: Life and Society
- Free time and Time
WEEK 4: Research and Technology
- The Arts
- The Future
Get more information about these topics on my Vocabulary Resources page.
How can I improve my vocabulary for IELTS?
- Read as much as you can of the right kind of IELTS material
- Listen to the radio or podcasts regularly
- Keep a notebook
- Write down the new words in full sentences
- Check definitions and word forms (verb, noun, adjective, adverb)
- Check the pronunciation – silent letters, word stress etc
- Review your notes regularly
- Get someone to read out the list to test your spelling
You don’t have to understand and memorise everything new word you see/hear, but the more you read and listen, the more you will become familiar with common themes and issues.
If you think your vocabulary may be affecting your IELTS score, check out my new course:
IELTS 28-Day Vocabulary Course
Each day you’ll get a different topic, and for each topic you will find:
- a list of key vocabulary,
- a glossary of definitions,
- at least one Reading, Listening and Speaking Task,
- at least one model Writing,
- extra resources and links for more practice.
And what’s really great about the Vocabulary course is that everything is linked, to help you retain new words by recycling them in different contexts.
Here’s an example of what Day 8 looks like:
Day 8: Architecture
IELTS Essential Key Words:
to construct (vb) = to build
construction (n) = a building
to demolish (vb) = to destroy
demolition (n) = destruction
to renovate (vb) = to restore
renovation (n) = restoration
How to use these words in IELTS:
to construct (vb) = to build; a construction (n) = a building
“Many buildings are still under construction“
to demolish/demolition = to destroy, pull down a building
“The house was demolished to make way for the shopping centre”
to renovate/ renovation – restore (something old, especially a building) to a good state of repair.
“The disused factory has been renovated and turned into a theatre”
citizens/inhabitants/residents = the people who live in a place
a residential area = an area which is occupied by private houses
‘There are strict laws against building factories near residential areas’
a close-knit community — whether a village or a city neighbourhood — is a place where people know their neighbours and look after them.
‘One of the benefits of living in a rural area is the close-knit community’
affordable housing – housing units that are affordable by that section of society whose income is below the median household income.
‘the lack of affordable housing is a major drawback of living in a city’
IELTS Test – Skills Practice
Reading – How the pyramids were built (Academic), The Iron Bridge (General Training)
Listening – The Underground House, Designing a Concert Hall, Changes to Barford Town
Speaking – Part 1: Describe the place where you live Part 2: Describe a building you find interesting Part 3: What are the advantages of living in a big city?
Academic Writing Task 1: Describe changes to a town or building
General Training Writing Task 1: Write a letter to a historic place you visited
Writing Task 2: In what ways is migration to large cities affecting society?