Lindsay McMahon
"The English Adventurer"

Do you know what the examiner needs to hear in order to give you a 7 or higher for vocabulary?

The most important goal to keep in mind is that you want to sound different from the other IELTS candidates, who tend to give very similar answers on the Speaking exam, using very similar, a.k.a. boring, vocabulary.

You need to sound like you are able to use vocabulary that other students cannot, or do not, use.

“Do I have to use slang on the IELTS Speaking exam?”


I’ve heard some “IELTS teachers” tell students that they cannot use slang on the IELTS Speaking exam, because it is informal.

That is wrong! Just another example of bad advice from teachers who do not really know the exam.

In fact, in the scoring criteria that all examiners use, you MUST use idiomatic, native-speaker-like vocabulary to score a 7 or higher.

Plus, in IELTS Speaking Parts 1 and 2, the topics are personal and informal. So, the appropriate vocabulary is also personal and informal.

Watch this video to learn current native-speaker slang that would impress the examiner.



For more vocabulary that would shake the examiner out of thinking of you as a “6 student”, go to our website and type in the search bar idioms, and go to our YouTube channel and search vocabulary.

“How important, on the IELTS Speaking exam, is using academic vocabulary?”

The IELTS examiner must hear a range of vocabulary. This includes slang and idioms, of course, but also high-level words and phrases.

In Speaking Part 3, the questions are more abstract, about the world and society at large. This is when it is appropriate to use academic language.

One trick to work in more academic language is to practice using academic linking words, the same linking words that you must use in IELTS Writing Task 2.

Another point to remember here is that although you must use some academic vocabulary in IELTS Speaking Part 3, you can still use information from your own life and experience to support your opinion.

In fact, that is a very useful strategy to provide strong, fluent and coherent answers in Speaking Part 3.

“If I pronounce the word wrong, does that hurt my IELTS vocabulary score?”


That may impact your Pronunciation score, but it would not lower your Vocabulary score.

However, you must actively put in effort to increase your vocabulary, and part of that should be knowing how to say the words correctly!

For ideas on how to increase your IELTS vocabulary for Speaking and Writing, read this blog post.

Practice your IELTS Speaking answers with your vocabulary lists in front of you, because you must use the vocabulary, a lot, before exam day in order to produce it fluently and naturally in front of the examiner.

Above all, with proper guidance from an IELTS professional and hard work on your part, you CAN get the high scores you need!

What do you think of today’s advice?

Leave us a message in the comments section below!

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