Today I want to follow up on my earlier blog post about vocabulary.

In that previous blog, I explained the importance of learning a range of vocabulary and how it can really benefit you in all aspects of the IELTS test. I also warned against just relying on IELTS vocabulary list books as they are ineffective in enabling you to know how to use or apply the language properly.

So, what can you do? Well, the best way to learn and understand how language is used naturally and properly, is to see it in context. That means if you read, for example, an article about an education issue, you will see a lot of topic vocabulary related to it, as well as collocations. A great resource is BBC Words in the News. These articles are short and easy to digest, and they highlight key language for you to use, and they are also great to use for speaking and discussion practice with other students – as I will mention in my next Speaking blog. 

Another great resource is the British Council Learn English website. There are loads of great videos and articles on there for you to use in the same way – many also even have task questions for you to complete to check your understanding! And remember what I mentioned before, it is also important to learn casual conversational language, idiomatic phrases, and phrasal verbs – so picking up such things from people chatting in videos or similar listening resources is a great way to learn new vocabulary.

Now, another essential thing that you should do is force yourself to start using some of these words, that way you’ll be able to remember them, and you’ll be able to use them more readily in the future. Take a new word or phrase and try to squeeze it into your next conversation!

At this point I would like to remind you that just because something doesn’t have ‘IELTS’ in the title, it doesn’t mean it isn’t useful for you. Make sure you utilise all of these amazing resources that are available to you for free.

Finally, remember don’t regard all of this practice you are doing for IELTS as just about “passing a test”. In fact, these skills that you are building up are a great way of getting you ready for life abroad, especially if you are going to study. Reading articles, listening to talks and presentations, and discussing various topics with your classmates are essential skills for academic life, and therefore it stands to reason that the better you are at doing such things, the better you will perform in your academic studies!

Keep studying well!