Lindsay McMahon
"The English Adventurer"

Do you know why, or where, or how you should paraphrase?

In order to get a 7 or higher for Vocabulary, you must paraphrase on both the IELTS Speaking and Writing Exams.

The examiner looks for a range of vocabulary. If you repeat the same word over and over, it shows that you do not have a range of vocabulary. This may lower your Vocabulary score to a 6, or possibly a 5.

But don’t worry! Paraphrasing does not mean that you can use a bunch of high-level vocabulary and never repeat yourself. No! Paraphrasing for a 7 or higher means that you can still use the same word a few times, but you are also able to express this idea in other words.

These “other words” do not have to be high level, just different!

For example, instead of “school”, you can say university, institution of higher learning, primary/elementary/middle/high school, classroom, opportunity for studying.

You can see from the example that, often, the key to paraphrasing is trying to be more specific about your ideas.

Paraphrasing on the IELTS Speaking Exam

On the Speaking Exam,  you must show the examiner a range of vocabulary. This means on Speaking Parts 1 and 2, you should use some slang and idioms, as these questions are informal and personal.

On Speaking Part 3, you can show flexibility by using some high level words, but also by using a variety of linking words.

There are simple activities you can start doing today to increase your vocabulary range.

Paraphrasing on the IELTS Writing Exam

The biggest danger here is that you copy the test question in your essay. You CANNOT do this. If you do, these words will not count, and you may not reach the required 150 words for Task 1 or the 250 words for Task 2.

IELTS Task 1

For Change Over Time, you must memorize a list of paraphrases for increase and decrease.

For Static graphs, you need paraphrases for big, little, high and low.

For Map questions, watch this video!



IELTS Task 2

The most useful paraphrases to memorize here, since you do not know what the exact topic will be, are interesting words and phrases for the different essay types: Argument, Opinion, and Problem/Solution.

Other than that, you need to increase your IELTS vocabulary based on general common IELTS topics, such as travel, culture, education, work, environment, technology, etc.

A good resource for this is our YouTube channel, IELTS Energy TV.

Start lists for these common topics in your vocabulary notebook. When you read interesting articles in the newspaper, or hear interesting phrases on TV episodes or in movies, add one or two words at a time.

Be careful, though, of adding too much. Remember, our brains are limited, unfortunately. We don’t have the capacity to learn more than a few words a day, and be able to completely understand them, remember them and reproduce them later.

In our course, the 3 Keys IELTS Success System, we also provide you with all the vocabulary you need for a 7 or higher on the IELTS Speaking Exam, and for IELTS Writing Task 1 and Task 2!

Do you have any ideas for interesting paraphrases?

Leave us a message in the comments section below!


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