How to improve your vocabulary score for IELTS Speaking and Writing

How to improve your vocabulary score for IELTS Speaking and Writing


Improving the range of your vocabulary is a key part of boosting your score for the IELTS speaking and writing exams. One very effective way of doing this is by creating a word bank. A bank of words you can use when given different topics to speak or write about.

The nice thing about the word bank is words can be recycled and used again for other topics. Let’s try now to create a word bank for speaking question “Describing your favourite restaurant”.

Higher level vocabulary for describing the restaurant could include words like:

-the atmosphere and ambience
-the interior design or decoration (decor)
-well lit
-it has a sophisticated design

When describing the experience in the restaurant we can use words and expressions like:
-the service
-the hospitality
-the waiters and waitresses were prompt

For the location of the restaurant we could use expressions and words like:

-It is a very centrally located restaurant
-It is in a rural area / off the beaten track
-It’s in a well-known hotspot
-It’s off the tourist trail

The nice thing about creating a bank of vocabulary and expression is that you can use them with other topics. “The hospitality at the hotel was amazing” “The artwork looks very sophisticated” “The roads were terribly lit”.

If you are aiming for higher scores 7+ it is a great idea to create a big word bank and become familiar with practicing in a variety of contexts. What you will find is that with time and practice these words will become active and the time taken to recall the words will get less and less. Try asking yourself questions “What was the hospitality like when I went to ____?” or “how would I describe the ambience in my local coffee shop?”.

Once you have some great examples in your mind, for example your favourite restaurant. Then guess what? You can use that example for “Describing a birthday party” “Describe your holiday” “Describing a place you would like to visit but haven’t yet” etc.You will find this technique to be very powerful when preparing for the IELTS test.

Remember, the IELTS examiners will be listening to how well you can describe things/situations/people using more colourful language than just “it was good”. Practice is the key, as always and of course are professional teachers can help you practice and highlight your mistakes!

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