Ok, so IELTS is just a test of your English level. Nearly every other English (Or any language) exam out there is levelled. This means that you can do an A2 exam in any language, or a B1 exam in any language….all the way to C2. For these exams, there are word lists that you can kind of follow and you will have the vocabulary that you need to pass the exam. So, for the A2 Cambridge exam called KEY, there is a word list
As you go up the levels, this list gets longer until B1 where word lists stop. IELTS is different. It is for people from A2 to C2 and so it is test of how good a user of English you are.
So, how can you improve your vocabulary?
Reading, pure and simple. Reading is the way you will develop your vocabulary. Read something that interests you. If you are interested in Gree Mythology, then read something on it. If Harry Potter is more your thing, then read harry Potter. One thing we do recommend though is that you read a newspaper (The Guardian in the UK is well-written) and there are three reasons for this.
- You will be reading in a context. Word lists are a waste of time. You won’t remember them and the ones you do, you won’t know how to use correctly. Reading will put these words in a clear context with clear collocation and this will show you how to use the word correctly. So many people use ridiculously complex vocabulary in their writing because they think it will get them higher marks, but they use it in the wrong way and it is counted as an error.
- When you have to support your ideas in Task 2 of the written exam and Part 3 of the speaking exam, you will be able to draw on these news stories to support your position. Is the question about boys performing better than girls in school exams? Maybe you have read something about this in the news. Is your question about the environment? You will most definitely have read something about this in the news.
- You will increase your reading speed which will help you in your reading exam and when you reread what you have written in the writing exam.
One more thing, and this is very important. English is very highly collocated. You cannot just exchange words for others in English. Avoid word lists as they always lead to mistakes.
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