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During the test, you’ll be assessed on different areas such as your fluency, pronunciation and the depth of your vocabulary range. Thus, it is important to ensure that you’re equipped with useful idioms, synonyms for common words and good speaking vocabulary.

If you aren’t sure where to begin when it comes to expanding your vocabulary, fret not! We’ve got you covered with some tips that can help you to slowly but surely boost your vocabulary so that you can have a natural conversation and shine during your test.

How to increase your vocabulary to ace your Speaking test

1. Get an idiom dictionary and learn a few a day

Idioms are phrases that require prior understanding before you can use them in conversations. This is because such phrases are usually not literal and can’t be understood based on the words within each phrase. 

Having said that, idioms function in a way that literal meanings cannot. Hence, they play a major role in the progression of language. 

As including idioms in your conversation can help you express yourself in a more creative manner, it helps to learn some. 

2. Read extensively from newspapers to magazines

One of the fastest ways to improve your vocabulary is to read. Whether it’s the daily newspaper or a bestselling novel, every publication has something to offer! 

In the event you chance upon any words or phrases you don’t understand, you can always head to an online dictionary or do a quick Google search to find the meaning. 

It helps to write these new words or phrases down and then try to use them when you can in your everyday conversations.


3. Watch the evening news every night

If reading isn’t really your thing, then turn on your TV and make the evening news a part of your daily routine. 

By watching the news presenter speak and observing how he or she reports the news, you’ll be able to pick up new words or phrases and notice how they’re weaved in to bring a point across. 

Also, if there are any talk shows or TV dramas that you particularly enjoy, you can kill two birds with one stone by watching them too! Of course, you’ll have to be disciplined and remember that you’re doing it to learn and expand your vocabulary, not just for pure entertainment.

4. Read across various disciplines and topics (from tech to family & climate change)

A good way to increase your vocabulary is to not limit yourself to a certain kind of topic. 

When you read across a range of topics, you’ll be exposing yourself to different styles and also get to learn how various words play a part to bring ideas to life.

5. Learn synonyms for commonly used words

A key component of the IELTS is to examine the depth of your vocabulary range, so repeating the same word over and over will not do you any favours. 

Thus, it helps to learn synonyms, which are basically other variations of common words that are used to describe the same thing. 

Doing so would prevent you from going back to the same word. For example, instead of always saying the word “close”, you can replace it with “shut” or “seal” to bring the same point across, depending on the situation. 

6. Use more collocations in your conversations

Collocations are important because they can make you sound like a native speaker when you master them.

When you get familiar with collocations, you’ll understand how to correctly use common words in a phrase or sentence. For example, the word “take”, which can be used in “take a nap” or “take care”.

Use more collocations in your conversations

7. Listen to sample speaking tests to absorb vocabulary and its usage better

As with all tests, it helps to go through mock papers or in this case, listen to sample Speaking tests before yours. 

On top of giving you a better idea of what to expect, doing so would enable you to pick up vocabulary and also observe how it is used in the test. Hence, you’ll be able to handle it more effectively during your test.

Prepare for your IELTS with IDP

Now that you’ve gained a better understanding of how to boost your IELTS Speaking score, we hope that you’ll be able to prepare for it more effectively and feel confident in the process. 

If you’d like extra guidance, we’re more than happy to assist. 

At IDP, we have a wide range of tools and resources to help you get ready for your IELTS – not just for the speaking component of your test, but also the listening, writing and reading aspects.

Book your IELTS with us today!