Jessica Beck
"Director of IELTS Training"
Aubrey Carter
"3 Keys IELTS Certified Coach"

You’ll be slack-jawed when you hear today’s amazing idioms!

These are perfect for IELTS Speaking and Writing questions about jobs and work performance.

These topics are very common on IELTS.

You need to be ready with topic-specific vocabulary.

Listen in so you are ready to score 7+ on IELTS!

For all the strategies you need, sign up for our IELTS study system!

IELTS topics about work

Topics related to work and the business world are very common on IELTS.

  • work
  • business
  • expectations
  • employers

In answers to these questions, we hear students repeat the word ‘work’ a lot.

To avoid this, you need parallels and more vocabulary.

Today’s idioms are perfect for these questions.

#1: Pick up the slack

  • slack: loose, not tight or taut

We often use this to describe wire, rope or thread that is sagging and isn’t tight.

Picking up the slack means tightening things up.

This means someone else is not doing a task appropriately.

They’re not putting in enough effort.

Another person has to work harder to make up the difference.

This is informal, so don’t use it on IELTS Writing.

However, you can use it anywhere on the Speaking exam.

Definitely use this to talk about your job!

I have a couple of co-workers who don’t always finish their tasks.

It is left to me to pick up the slack.

Strategies Created by a Former IELTS Examiner

3 Keys IELTS Online Course logo

100% Score Increase Guarantee with our Insider Method

Are you ready to move past IELTS and move forward with your life vision?

Find out why our strategies are the most powerful in the IELTS world.

When you use our Insider Method you avoid the BIGGEST MISTAKES that most students make on IELTS.

Click here to get a score increase on IELTS. It’s 100% guaranteed.

#2: Slack off

This phrasal verb is used to mean you’re not putting in full effort.

It is quite informal, so reserve it for IELTS Speaking.

It is also useful to describe how hard someone works.

You can use it to talk about household chores.

I haven’t been cleaning my house- I’m totally slacking off.

This could also be used for questions about food and eating habits.

For awhile there at the beginning of the year, I was doing so well!

I’ve sort of slacked off over the summer.

#3: Cut me some slack

This idiom is related to expectations.

We use it to communicate that too much is being expected or required, and there is a need for it to be lessened.

I need my boss to cut me some slack.

If I’m one minute late, he gets so upset!

We also use it when someone expects something of us that we think is unreasonable.

You thought I wouldn’t be on time! Cut me some slack!

We also say, “Give me some slack!” which has the same meaning.

#4: Slack-jawed

This adjective means surprised or astonished.

If someone is literally slack-jawed, their jaw drops and their mouth is hanging open.

We use it idiomatically to express surprise or shock.

I was slack-jawed when I heard the surprising news!

This is extremely useful informal language for IELTS Speaking.

Instead of saying, “I was surprised,” say you were slack-jawed!


The topic of work and jobs is very common on IELTS!

Your first IELTS Part 1 question will either be about your job or studies or your home or hometown.

Many IELTS Writing topics also revolve around work.

You need to be ready to talk about this with high-level vocabulary.

Today’s idioms will boost your vocabulary score.

They are useful for many different topics.

Practice using them in your IELTS Speaking practice.

For more strategies, sign up for 3 Keys IELTS!

What questions do you have from today’s episode?

Please leave a comment below.

  • Badges (1)
  • Badges-1 (1)
  • Badges-2 (1)
  • US_ListenOn_AmazonMusic_button_black_RGB_5X
  • App-Store-Button
  • google-play-badge
  • Badges (1)
  • Badges-1 (1)
  • Badges-2 (1)
  • US_ListenOn_AmazonMusic_button_black_RGB_5X