How Can I Compile A Good Vocabulary Bank For The Common IELTS Speaking Test?

Using uncommon and appropriate vocabulary is a crucial part of scoring well in both the writing and speaking components of the IELTS exam. However, it’s not just a matter of knowing a word’s meaning and pronunciation, you also need to know which words to use and how to use them effectively in different situations. In this article, you will learn about the right words to include in your vocabulary bank and how to learn new words for the IELTS Speaking test.

How To Choose The Correct Words?

The English language consists of thousands and thousands of words, and it’s impossible to memorise all of them during your IELTS preparation time. This is why it’s important to focus on two categories of words.

  • Versatile words
  • Topic-specific words

Versatile Words

Versatile words are words that can be used in a variety of topics and you can adapt that to fit in different contexts.

Topic Specific IELTS Speaking Words

The IELTS exam speaking section focuses on a few common core topics. It is of great benefit to candidates to compile a list of words that are categorized according to the common topics. Since the topics for the writing task 2 and speaking test overlap, you can also use these words in your during your writing practise exercises as well.

The common speaking topics include:

  • Education
  • Family and Friends
  • Foods
  • Health
  • Environment
  • Travel
  • Work and Money
  • Transport
  • Lifestyles and Personality
  • Society
  • Technology

How To Source IELTS Vocabulary Word Lists?

You should source words through active reading and listening instead of just memorising lists of words. Doing this will give you a better understanding of how a word should be used. Try and work out what they mean from the context.

Once you have done this, you can look up the word in a dictionary. I think it’s best to use online dictionaries like Collins or Longmans since these dictionaries offer a wide variety of useful phrases and synonyms related to each word.

Practice using the new word repeatedly until you can use them in a natural way and then record the new words and phrases in a way that’s easy for revision.

You should include more than just the word and meaning. Apart from just recording the word, you should note:

  • Meaning
  • Pronunciation
  • Synonyms
  • Collocations
  • Idioms related to the word/phrase
  • The tense or grammatical structure of the word or phrase.

Make sure that you jot down a few sentences that include the word or phrase to show its meaning and in what situation you could use it. Remember to practice its pronunciation as well.

If you are considering enrolling in a test preparation course, make sure that you choose one that has sufficient speaking practice time with other students, under the guided supervision of an IELTS professional teacher. IELTS lessons like these will help you to practice using these newly learned words and give you a better idea about to use them confidently.

Jonathan has been teaching students to prepare for the IELTS and PTE Exams for more than 10+ years. He's taught English to students in various countries in the world including Singapore, China, Australia, Canada and Colombia.