Ways to improve IELTS Vocabulary

Words play a key role in delivering our messages to others. Without them, we would be left with non-verbal communication that is, the use of our facial expressions and gestures. Words create a language and a language of its culture. Therefore, lexical resources are tested in the IELTS exam to reassure the organizations that the student is well versed with the academic and social jargon of the country he or she is planning to move in. In a way, it tests the candidate’s linguistic survival skills in a foreign nation.

The lexical range is one of the key criteria in both IELTS writing and speaking tests. However, it would be wrong to say that it doesn’t aid the students in the listening and reading section. A person with a poor lexical range would not be able to score well in all the four language skills.

When students come to us, they are often dejected that they don’t have a good vocabulary and thus they don’t think that the IELTS exam, a pure English proficiency test, would be their cup of tea. It is a wrong perception. The IELTS exam simply expects the student to have a good range of vocabulary. The entire writing piece doesn’t need to be wordy. Students lose a band when they try to be wordy because they end up using the words incorrectly. Understanding the difficulty in opening up a dictionary and mugging up a new word, we have brought you 6 tips to learn new vocabulary effectively.

1. Understand the difference between active and passive vocabulary
We all have been studying English for a long time,for at least more than a decade. Most of the words in the academic reading section would be easy to understand for the majority of us. But the same words might not be used in our writing and speaking section. Here the active and passive vocabulary come to play. We use active vocabulary while writing and speaking. These are words that we have been using for a long time. We have mastered their meaning and usage. Passive vocabulary is a set of words about which we are aware but we are unable to use them contextually. You don’t need a new set of vocabulary if you can consciously use the passive vocabulary in your daily conversation.

2. Make a connection with the new vocabulary
Human beings are social beings who require an emotional connection to remember new people, objects and experience. Using passive or new vocabulary to describe a known person, object and past experiences will gradually improve your active vocabulary.

3. Learn new words thematically
Another way of remembering new vocabulary is by learning them according to a theme. There are common IELTS themes which you should prepare such as home, transport, hobby, technology, health, languages, study abroad, so on and so forth. Having a diverse vocabulary on these themes would make sure that you are never out of words.

4. Prepare a journal of new vocabulary
Don’t maintain your word-journal according to the alphabets or as you hear the words. Instead divide them according to their meanings (themes) and their usage (contrast, similarities). This will unconsciously fix the word-context in your mind and you will use them with ease. Keep yourself motivated to refer to your word-journal from time to time.

5. Watch shows which use formal vocabulary
To learn the vocabulary in an interesting way, you can start by watching English movies and shows. However, most learners choose shows which mostly use slang. Slangs might help in your peer building in the foreign universities but they wouldn’t be of any help in IELTS. Thus, try to watch shows which will help you gain formal vocabulary,

6. Use the words in your daily life
Try to speak the new word learnt for the entire day. This will provide you with different situations where you can use the word. You can also collate the word that is you can learn the word in phrases. For instance, fall in, fall out, fall down, etc.