13 Jul 2022 | Does Vocabulary Play an Important Role in IELTS Preparation
Mastering the art of language is crucial when it comes to the International English Language Testing System (IELTS). One significant aspect that often takes center stage in IELTS preparation is vocabulary. In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into the importance of vocabulary in IELTS preparation, providing valuable insights, tips, and FAQs to help you achieve your best possible score. From understanding the role of vocabulary to effective learning techniques, this article aims to equip you with the knowledge needed to succeed.
The Role of Vocabulary in IELTS Preparation
Your vocabulary is not just a collection of words; it is the building block of effective communication. When it comes to IELTS, vocabulary plays a pivotal role in various sections of the test, including Reading, Writing, Listening, and Speaking. Let's explore how vocabulary influences each of these components:
Reading Section: In the Reading section, a rich vocabulary enables you to comprehend diverse texts efficiently. Vocabulary aids in deciphering complex sentences, understanding nuanced meanings, and grasping the overall context. This is particularly important in tasks like identifying main ideas, supporting details, and drawing inferences. A strong vocabulary also assists in tackling academic and specialized texts, which are common in this section.
Writing Section: Vocabulary serves as a tool for effective expression in the Writing section. It allows you to articulate your thoughts clearly and precisely. The right choice of words can enhance the quality of your essays, reports, and analyses. Moreover, a varied vocabulary enables you to avoid repetition, which is crucial for achieving a higher band score.
Listening Section: In the Listening section, a well-developed vocabulary aids in understanding conversations, lectures, and discussions. A diverse vocabulary helps you grasp different accents, tones, and expressions, ensuring you accurately comprehend the content being presented. This section often tests your ability to catch specific details, and a strong vocabulary is your ally in this task.
Speaking Section: Vocabulary is a cornerstone of effective communication, and this holds true for the Speaking section. A wide range of vocabulary allows you to express your ideas fluently and precisely. Using appropriate vocabulary enhances your ability to convey your opinions, describe experiences, and participate in discussions with confidence.
Effective Techniques for Building Vocabulary
Now that we understand the importance of vocabulary in IELTS preparation, let's explore some effective techniques to enhance your word power:
Reading Widely: Reading a variety of materials, such as newspapers, magazines, academic articles, and literature, exposes you to diverse vocabulary. Make it a habit to encounter unfamiliar words and understand their meanings in context. Consider maintaining a vocabulary journal to record new words and their definitions.
Contextual Learning: Learn new words in context rather than memorizing isolated lists. Understand how a word is used in sentences and paragraphs to grasp its correct usage. This approach helps you remember words better and use them appropriately.
Flashcards and Mnemonics: Create flashcards with new words on one side and their meanings, synonyms, antonyms, or sample sentences on the other. Additionally, mnemonics—memory aids like acronyms or associations—can help you remember complex words more effectively.
Engage in Conversations: Regular conversations with native speakers or language partners provide opportunities to use new vocabulary. Engaging in discussions helps you practice incorporating words into your speech naturally.
Practice Writing: Write essays, short paragraphs, or journal entries using newly learned vocabulary. This practice reinforces your memory and familiarity with the words, making it easier to recall them during the exam.
IELTS or International English Language Testing System is an English proficiency test that is widely accepted as proof for admissions to many universities across the globe. If you wish to pursue a job or education abroad and English is not your native language then you need to present some proof of knowledge in the English language, and IELTS is one of the tests, the others being PTE and TOEFL. The IELTS exam tests a student on four areas of the English language namely reading, writing, listening, and speaking.
One thing to note here is that in your total IELTS score in the reading and speaking sections, vocabulary has a 25% contribution which makes it vital for you to focus on vocabulary when studying for IELTS Preparation. If you wish to score high in IELTS, you must use different vocabulary in these two sections since the examiner would assess you on your usage of vocabulary. We will explore the importance of vocabulary in IELTS and also learn some tips on how to score high.
Significance of Vocabulary in IELTS Overall Score
To get a band score of 7 or higher, a candidate needs to have a wide range of vocabulary. By using different words, test takers can discuss various topics. If you are not able to use the words correctly, then that can hamper your performance. For all four sections of the IELTS test, vocabulary is a common area.
- For writing and speaking sections, a rich vocabulary is a must-have to get high scores.
- With enhanced vocabulary, you can curate notions better in IELTS writing and speaking sections.
- You can understand questions better and locate answers quickly if you have a vast knowledge of vocabulary.
Let us now look at the four sections of IELTS and how a large vocabulary can impact your performance in each of these sections:
Writing Section: This section assesses how competent you are in articulating your knowledge and vision in words. You need to use a rich and efficient vocabulary and grammar to ace this section. You are presented with a visual representation of a question and you need to describe and elaborate on the answer in your words. In another question, you are given a topic, and you need to put forth an argument where you need to use perfect words to be effective and reduce ambiguity.
Reading Section: Here you are given a few passages to read them aloud and then answer specific questions based on the passages. You need to rephrase the whole content in your own words, based on your understanding of the passage. To decipher the passage correctly as well as to give a proper answer you need an extensive vocabulary.
Listening Section: In the listening section, you would get to hear four recordings of native English speakers where you need to gauge the attitude and opinions of the speakers and gather your idea about their speech. The speakers would be speaking in different foreign accents which you need to be familiar with. If you are not familiar with the accent, then you lose time figuring out the words being said in the recordings. You might know the word, but the difference in pronunciation could confuse you.
Speaking section: In the speaking test, you are evaluated on how fluent you are in English and how efficiently and rapidly you form ideas and comprehend them meaningfully. If you are not familiar with the words, it would be a massive hindrance in this section since 20 to 30% of the points here are based on vocabulary. To improve this band score, you need to start working on creating an exhaustive vocabulary.
Some Tips For Enhancing Vocabulary
Vocabulary is not only about learning complex and novel words but also the different connotations of a word. For example, the word "awful" means something terrible, but it could also mean "awesome" when used in a specific context. Knowing the meaning as well as synonyms of a word are of utmost importance when it comes to vocabulary for IELTS Preparation.
Watch movies or TV: This is the easiest and most interesting way to learn new words. Watch movies and TV shows in the English language and with different accents as this will help you gain new words in the right and varied contexts. It is also good to read novels as usually, novels are a treasure trove of rich English vocabulary. Newspaper reading could further add to your kitty of English words.
Keep a notebook: Even if it feels old-fashioned to note down words in a notebook, you would understand how advantageous this activity is in terms of understanding the word better and memorizing them. This book would be of great use to revise the words as the exam approaches.
Make it a daily ritual: If you do not make it a habit to use the new words in daily life, it would take you longer to remember them. Keep learning new phrases and words and ensure you apply them in your everyday activities. This will also build confidence in you.
Use vocabulary-building apps: Most people own a smartphone these days and can find many apps on either the Google play store or the iOS app store, which can help in increasing vocabulary. Some of the popular apps for this purpose are "Word to the word," "7 little words," "PowerVocab," "A word a day widget," etc.
YouTube channels: Apart from providing entertainment, YouTube also has many channels that enhance English skills. You would find different academic words on every such channel on the platform, along with their pronunciation and how to use them in sentences or phrases.
We have seen how a rich vocabulary is vital to succeeding in the IELTS exam. But how much vocabulary is good enough to feel confident about the test? It is generally believed that a vocabulary of 7000 to 8000 words is a good number. There is an Oxford 3000 words list that is created by a group of language experts that tells you the top 3000 words you must prioritize while studying vocabulary. In order to build a vocabulary of that strength, keep collecting 100-200 new words in a week and learn them properly by searching them online.
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