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

Today we’ll show you how these idioms will bring your IELTS score down on Speaking and Writing.

The idioms that we’re going to give you today are overused and not interesting or new.

They are cliches.

They are on every idioms list that ESL teachers give out.

If you are using these idioms, especially on the Writing test, it’s not going to help your score.

You can get a 7 or higher for interesting idiomatic language but these idioms are not interesting because every student uses them.


Junky Idiom:

  • Broaden my horizons:

Better Idiom:

  • To get out of one’s head: To do something new and different or to stretch your  mind, to stop worrying or thinking or being anxious.
  • To change your mindset: To change your perspective on something, to change the way you think.


Junky idiom:

  • It’s raining cats and dogs: No one uses this idiom anymore in native English speaking countries. If you use this idiom it will not help your score. You will just annoy the examiner.

Better idiom:

  • It’s raining buckets
  • To be drenched
  • It’s really coming down: This can be used for snow or rain.


Junky idioms:

  • It’s a double edged sword
  • There are two sides of the coin

Better idioms:

  • There are pros and cons
  • There are benefits and drawbacks
  • There are good points and bad points


Why do students use these junky idioms?

When students use these idioms they haven’t studied with an IELTS professional who is teaching them correctly.

The student who uses these idioms is usually not higher than a band score 6.

They usually do not know where or how these idioms fit into natural sentences.


How can you find better idioms?

Another great way to find natural idioms that will not make the examiner roll their eyes is to listen closely to our conversation at the beginning of each episode of the IELTS Energy Podcast.

We always have a very natural conversation where we don’t slow down or change our vocabulary for students.

Make a goal of picking up one new word per episode and use it on the IELTS Exam where it’s appropriate.


Do you use junky idioms on the IELTS?

Let us know in the comments below.

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