Lindsay McMahon
"The English Adventurer"
Jessica Beck
"Director of IELTS Training"

Do you have a vocabulary notebook? Does it help you improve your IELTS Speaking and Writing scores?

I’m guessing the answer is no.

You all know that you should keep a vocabulary notebook during your IELTS preparation.

However, I’m guessing that many students out there might be going about this in the wrong way.

In order to actually be able to use these words, you need to be more efficient about how you organize them.

For example, don’t have a vocabulary notebook that is 30 pages. You can’t remember 300 words and also use them.

Don’t waste your time. Let’s be smart about IELTS Vocabulary!


Here is how you raise your IELTS Speaking Vocabulary scores.

  1. Get one piece of paper.
  2. At the top, write no more than 8 slang terms. Make sure these are applicable to you, and you are comfortable using them.
  3. Under that, write down 3 idioms. Again, make sure these are phrases you would actually use.
  4. Write down these words, as they are said all the time on IELTS Speaking Parts 1 and 2: good, bad, very, a lot, small, big, like.
  5. Go to and make a list of interesting synonyms and paraphrases for these simple words.
  6. Keep this sheet in front of you when you practice, and make yourself use these words!


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The idea is to keep our preparation efficient and useful.

It helps to have lists for specific parts of the exam. So, you should also develop a one page cheat sheet for Speaking Part 3, containing interesting opinion phrases and high-level linking words.

Likewise, you should have one page for Writing Task 1, organized into the three different question types.

For Writing Task 2, you could collect, on one page, academic words/phrases. Again, try to make these as widely applicable as possible. You should include, for example, paraphrases for opinions, and advantages and disadvantages.

Most of all, you must make yourself use these words while you practice.

What do you think of today’s advice?

Leave us a message in the comments section below!

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