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

Today you’ll learn when reading strategies aren’t enough for IELTS success.

We had a comment from a student about some reading trouble.

She understands the reading strategies, but doesn’t have enough vocabulary to get the answers.

You know that you need to identify key words in the question, and then scan for that key word.

However, the word may be paraphrased in the passage. For instance, if the key word in the question is “email“, the paraphrase in the passage may be “communication” or “correspondence.”

Thus, you need a wide range of receptive vocabulary to understand the important parts of the passage.

The more often you see or hear a word in context, the more likely you are to remember it.

Expanding your vocabulary is not a quick process. There’s no list you can memorize with words you’ll definitely see on the Reading Exam or hear on the Listening Exam.

Getting the scores you need on IELTS requires balanced preparation, such as provided in the 3 Keys study plans.

The resources would be excellent for ideas to use in IELTS Speaking and Writing as well.

Vocabulary Resource Recommendation


The Daily

It’s a podcast by the New York Times. The host speaks a bit more slowly and enunciates well, so would be easier to understand.

The topics covered are current events.


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This American Life

This is published once a week, but has been on for ages. You could dive into the archives for tons of material.

The format is constant; it offers 3 stories based on one cultural or social theme. Sometimes the topics are heavy and serious, and sometimes they’re on the lighter side.

The host, Ira Glass, has a fantastic interview style.



This is a huge novel by Stephen King, and is mostly historical fiction, about the era when John F. Kennedy was assassinated. It’s a great window into life during the 50’s and 60’s in America.

King is a master storyteller!

Time Magazine

The level of writing and in-depth research into current events is award-winning.

It is an American magazine, but does cover a huge variety of international stories as well.

Do you have any resource recommendations for reading or listening material?

Share your ideas in the comments section below!


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