The official IELTS by IDP app is here! Download it today.


Lexical Resource is an important rating in both the IELTS Speaking and Writing tests as it makes up 25% of your total score. Let’s have a look at some important aspects of Lexical Resource and how you can help boost your score in this area.


It is important to vary your vocabulary when your writing or speaking is being assessed, and one way to do that is to use different parts of speech of a word. For example, if you hear a verb in your Speaking test question, you can reply with a noun or an adjective.  Here is a sample question:

“Do you prefer fast food or traditional food?”

Instead of answering with “I prefer fast food because…”, you can try:

Actually, I have a preference for fast food for the reason that …”

Well, I’d say I have more of a preference for traditional cuisine because …”

Personally speaking, I find traditional food more preferable given that …”

In these examples, you can see the candidate use the noun form (preference) and the adjective form (preferable) instead of just copying the word ‘prefer’ which is used by the examiner.


Good use of collocations is important in your IELTS Writing and Speaking tests. Collocations are how particular words and phrases are grouped together. Using the previous example of ‘preference’, we need to think about which other words belong with it when we use it.  In this case, the verb ‘have’ belongs with it (along with the article ‘a’), plus the preposition ‘for’. 

Therefore the full collocation of the noun form is:

have a preference for

As for the full collocation of the adjective form, you can use:

find (something) more preferable

Less common words

One way to show the examiner you have a wide range of vocabulary is to use vocabulary that is less common.  However, please remember that it is not a good idea to use vocabulary like this repetitively.

Let’s look at the sample question from earlier and compare these two responses:

1. I prefer traditional food because it is much tastier than …

2. I am quite partial to traditional food because it is much tastier than …

What you ‘prefer’ and what you are ‘partial to’ have the same meaning, but in the second example, this is more useful in your response because this collocation is not used very often.  Please note that whenever using less common words, you should always ensure you are using them in the right context.

One of the challenges of Task 1 in the IELTS General Writing test is when you have an informal letter.  Quite often, less common vocabulary tends to be formal, so the difficulty here is to think of less common language that is informal instead. The second challenge here is to make sure the informal language you do choose is appropriate as well.

Here are two different sentences which say the same thing, but the second one has less common informal language.

So, if you are still really interested in visiting my hometown anytime soon, give me a call.

So, if you are still itching to visit my neck of the woods anytime soon, give me a buzz.