Lindsay McMahon
"The English Adventurer"

The testing authorities say that you do not need “specialized knowledge” for IELTS.

In some ways that is true, and, in other ways, not so much.

Firstly, the vocabulary you need to find the answers in Reading will be words that you know, if you are at least at an intermediate level. (That’s assuming that you’ve been developing your culture of thinking in your preparation for the exam.)

The same goes for Listening. Even in a Section 4, where the speaker discusses a more specialized topic, the answers will not be advanced vocabulary that students are unlikely to know.

The point is, that even if complicated words are present in Reading and Listening, they are mostly there to distract you. Focus on the words that you know.

Having said that, reading an article from a different section of the newspaper 3-4 times a week will give you the base knowledge needed to recognize a wider variety of lexis on all different topics.

Where the specialized knowledge IS needed, however, is in Speaking and Writing. You should be armed with some impressive words for the following topics, as these are, typically, the topics that many students aren’t familiar with.


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Read an article or browse a website about the above topics 3-4 times a week (a different topic each day), and add 2-3 words to your vocabulary notebook each time you read.

What do you think about today’s advice? Do you have any questions?

Leave us a message in the comments section below!

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