Lindsay McMahon
"The English Adventurer"

Today you’ll see what your vocabulary notebook should look like for IELTS preparation.

You’ve heard us mention the importance of a vocabulary notebook before.

The purpose of this collection of words is not to teach you hundreds of items, because our brain cannot learn, remember and use that many new terms in a short amount of time.

Rather, the function of the notebook is to collect the right number of interesting words and phrases that you can use in your IELTS Speaking and Writing answers.

Thus, try and collect lexical items that are more general in meaning, so that they can be applied to a variety of questions.

Where do you find these words?

In your study plan, you should be including time to:


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When you find the words follow these steps:

  • write the word/phrase and its definition in English
  • try and use your own words, instead of straight copying from the dictionary
  • look up the word online to see it in 3-4 contexts
  • write your own sentence using the word
  • when you practice IELTS Speaking and Writing answers, keep these words in front of you and force yourself to use them
  • review this vocabulary notebook 3-4 times a week

Example vocabulary notebook entry:

impromptu– (adjective, adverb) suddenly

Giving an impromptu speech for 2 minutes in Part 2 is tough, but I think I can manage.

(That sentence can be used to introduce your Speaking Part 2 answer!)

What new words have you added to your IELTS vocabulary notebook lately?

Share your entries in the comments section below!


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