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

As you probably know, in order to score highly in vocabulary in Speaking and Writing, you must exhibit impressive and high-level lexical knowledge.

A listener recently sent us this message:

I would like to know how I can improve my vocabulary of academic words in order to hit the highest score… I want to enlarge my “word stock” as much as possible. The biggest challenge for me is how to improve my memory in order to acquire words and speak naturally as a native speaker does.

In previous episodes we have outlined specific steps to improve your vocabulary and develop an IELTS vocabulary notebook.

When choosing words, make sure they are general enough to use for more than one topic.

Favorite vocabulary of IELTS Energy:

histrionic– (Adj.) a person or story which is over-the-top dramatic

This could be used on IELTS Speaking when describing people or stories, to answer questions such as, “What kind of TV shows do younger people like in your country?”

Honestly a lot of young people in the States gravitate towards these histrionic productions on the CW, where young people are crying and having huge problems all the time. Actually, characters like these can be seen in real life currently, as in the Presidential cabinet.

proponent– (n.) someone who supports something

This could be used in Writing Task 2 or Speaking Part 3 when expressing opinions.

I’m a proponent of equal pay for women.

dystopian future– story in a dark, post-apocalyptic future


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You could use this when asked to predict the future in Speaking or Writing, or describing a book or movie that takes place in this setting.

The Hunger Games novels take place in a dystopian future.

in the midst of– to be in the middle of something, especially a specific situation or context

This phrase is useful anywhere in the Speaking or Writing tests.

I’m in the midst of applying to a bunch of universities right now, so I’m sort of waiting in the wings as far as my immediate future.

tangible– (adj.) something you can feel, especially a feeling in the environment

This high-level word can also be used anywhere in your Speaking and Writing.

The excitement in the room was tangible. 

single-handedly– (adv.) complete something wholly by oneself

This, as well, could be used anywhere in Speaking or Writing, especially when describing hard working people.

I single-handedly started the first volunteer program in my school.

In order to learn and remember these words, use them in your sentences to describe the people and situations in your life that you are grateful for and/or proud of.

How would you use some of today’s phrases?

Share your sentences in the comments section below!



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