IELTS Vocabulary

It is important to have a flexible use of a wide range of vocabulary as the examiner will be looking for this in the writing and speaking.

It is also necessary for your reading so that you understand the texts as they will have a lot of difficult words.

Good IELTS vocabulary is particularly important for those wanting to achieve a band 7 or higher.

In order to improve your range of vocabulary, on these pages you will learn about the academic word list and specific IELTS topic related vocabulary.

The Academic Word List

This list of words was developed by the School of Linguistics and Applied Language Studies at Victoria University in Wellington.

The list consists of 570 word families, and the words were chosen due to the fact that they commonly appear in many academic texts.

You can download the full AWL here: Download Academic Word List 

You will notice that some words are in italics. This means that they are the most frequently occurring member of the word family.

Follow this link to Practice the Academic Word List.

Topic Related Vocabulary

We will also look at topic related vocabulary.

There are common themes that appear in the IELTS test, so it can help to learn new words related to these themes so you can use them in the writing and speaking if that topic arises.

These are some common themes we will look at:

  • Education
  • Crime
  • Diet, Fitness and Health
  • Work
  • Information Technology
  • Environment
  • Science
  • The Arts

Learn IELTS Topic Related Vocabuary

Phrasal Verbs

A way to potentially increase your speaking score in the IELTS speaking test is to use phrasal verbs (if used properly!).

These will certainly be noticed by the examiner.

Find out more about phrasal verbs.


Being able to collocate properly is extremely important when you speak or write in English, and your skills in this area will be something the examiner is looking out for.

You should not learn new words in isolation. Instead you should check what other words collocate with the new word you are learning.

Learn more about collocations.


Idioms can be confusing to non-native speakers of English as they are phrases that do not have the same meaning as the words actually spoken.

However, they are quite common in English so it is important that you learn about them.

On the idioms pages you'll learn what idioms are and have the chance to learn common idioms and practice them

Learn and practice idioms.

Ultimate Vocabulary Builder

Do you want to increase your range of vocabulary? Do you have difficulty in learning new words or in targetting your learning in the most efficient way?

Then you may be interested in the Ultimate Vocabulary Software.


› IELTS Vocabulary



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