IELTS Vocabulary


Introduction to IELTS vocabulary

If you are new to IELTS you should understand that:

  • vocabulary is 25% of your score in both writing and speaking
  • a good grasp of vocabulary is essential for both reading and listening

Where is the best place to learn IELTS vocabulary? Easy. Read and listen lots and lots

 If you want more advice on how to improve your vocabulary for IELTS try my 10 top tips on learning IELTS vocabulary.

It may also help to read this lesson on how knowing words can give you more ideas for writing and speaking.

IELTS essay vocabulary

This is where I keep my essay vocabulary - downloaded over 150,000 times so far! See if you like it too.

IELTS essay vocabulary

You will also find that all my model IELTS essays come with vocabulary exercises too. One of the best ways to learn vocabulary is to see how it is used in context:

Get over 30 IELTS essays  - all with vocabulary exercises

You may also try my much imitated exercises on the Academic Word List

Academic Word List exercises


Task 1 writing

Vocabulary to help with academic task 1 writing

Basic vocabulary to describe graphs: basic variations of trend vocabulary

More advanced vocabulary to describe charts and graphs: a list of words and phrases to boost your band score

How to use quantifiers correctly to describe numbers : a grammar/vocabulary lesson on how to avoid some basic mistakes and a gapfill exercise to complete a table

More advanced vocabulary to make comparisons: useful words that you can use to qualify your comparisons (eg considerably greater)

Download of vocabulary to help you describe process diagrams: Sequencing language for process diagrams (41882)

Letter writing vocabulary

Apology words and phrases: key language for general training letters


The Academic Word List

Exercises on the AWL to help with IELTS essay writing Daily words - these are exercises based on the Academic Word List (the most commonly used words in academic writing) 8 exercises to improve your essay vocabulary

Tips on studying and improving vocabulary

General advice on learning vocabulary for IELTS

10 top tips on learning IELTS vocabulary - advice on how to improve your vocabulary for IELTS.

A 5 step procedure to avoid mistakes with vocabulary - advice on different ways not to make so many mistakes with vocabulary in essays


IELTS topic Vocabulary

These are the most common topic in IELTS and so I suggest you try the vocabulary lists here



Climate change







University education


The environment

Music -

Your home town in part 1 speaking: download and quiz


Advice on vocabulary for use in the speaking test

Idioms and phrases for speaking about time: some excellent natural phrases to help you improve your part 2 speaking score

IELTS speaking - opinion vocabulary - a video post with a download to help improve the range of your opinion vocabulary by not saying "I think" all the time

IELTS speaking - the language of comparison - how to use the language of comparison in speaking to extend your answers with an emphasis on using a range of different structures. Comes with a downloadable worksheet.

Vocabulary for giving more fluent answers -  a downloadable list of helpful phrases to allow you to pause intelligently and make your speaking more fluent 

Idioms for relationships: 30 idioms that are great for speaking about people in part 2

More functional writing vocabulary 

This set of vocabulary is extremely important as it helps you with the things that almost every type of IELTS writing requires.

Connectors to express contrast - a range of different ways to join sentences without using "but" or "although" - excellent for improving your range of grammar

The language of problems - a post explaining the need to use varies vocabulary to describe problems with a download and an interactive exercise

Cause and effect 1 : basic variations of cause and effect vocabulary

Academic caution (1) - advice on how to extend your answer in part 3 speaking by being more cautious

Academic caution (2) -  how to improve your writing with specific and general language

Impersonal language for academic essays: a list of impersonal "it". "there" and "one" phrases to make your writing more academic

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