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

You may be smart working and not even know it!

Find out today how to use this brand new vocabulary.

We also share the multiple uses for the word smart.

You need to know how to use these so you can impress the Examiner.

For more strategies that can get you a 7 or higher, sign up for our 3 Keys Success System!

Today’s question

Can I say I am “smart working?”

This is a very new expression.

You can see it in articles in publications such as Forbes.

However, it’s not yet in the dictionary or even where you can usually find new slang.

You can definitely use it on IELTS, but you should define it.

For something this new, the Examiner may not be familiar with it.

It is a good idea to explain the meaning so that they understand you.

“I have been trying to employ more smart working into my schedule.

This is a new phrase that means using technology to increase efficiency.”

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#1: Smart technology

  • Smart boards
  • Smart phones
  • Smart TV
  • Smart car

These all are “smart” because they connect to the internet and are high tech.

They have all the bells and whistles.

  • All the bells and whistles: the newest features and options

My neighbor’s electric car has all the bells and whistles!

It can drive on autopilot!

#2: Looking smart

This doesn’t mean you look intelligent.

It means you are dressed up and look nice.

He looks smart in that tie.

This is useful for Speaking Part 1 where you’re asked about fashion and dressing up.

Use this instead of “looking nice.”

A parallel is to look sharp.

You’re looking sharp in your new suit!

#3: That smarts!

When we injure ourselves, this is another way to say, “Ouch!” or “That hurts!”

For the Speaking exam, you can quote yourself.

“I stubbed my toe and yelled, “That smarts!”

We don’t use this as a verb other than for this saying, so it wouldn’t work to say something smarted.

For a deep dive into origin and etymology of words you can check out

The more you know about vocabulary, the easier it is to use it in the correct context!


There are multiple usages of the word “smart” in English.

Today’s phrases, as well as the new expression “smart working,” can all be used on IELTS Speaking and Writing.

Questions and Task 2 topics often cover new technology and its effects.

Be ready with today’s vocabulary to tackle any of these common IELTS topics.

To find out what you’d get if you took the IELTS exam today, take our free 2-minute quiz!

You’ll receive your estimated band score as well as free resources at your level, so check it out today!

What questions do you have from today’s episode?

Please leave a comment below.

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