Synonyms

To do well in the IELTS test and to score at least 6.5 you need to know and be comfortable using a lot of synonyms. Synonyms are different words that have the same meaning (e.g. opportunity = chance).


Why are synonyms important?


Speaking Part 1

The examiner will ask you a series of questions and you need to give short answers. For example:

  • Q: "Do you think it's important for people to learn computer skills?"

  • A: "Yes, I think it's very important. We are living in the computer age and all people need to learn and develop their computer skills."

This is a good answer and answers like this will score around IELTS 5.5.

If you want to score higher, you need to use synonyms. For example:

  • Q: "Do you think it's important for people to learn computer skills?"

  • A: "Yes, I think it's absolutely vital. We are living in the digital age and all people need to learn and develop their IT skills."

This answer is exactly the same except for the words (absolutely vital, digital, IT). By using these synonyms, the student has displayed her vocabulary skills and increased her score to 6.5+.


Writing

In both writing tasks you will be given information about the graph or the essay topic statement you need to write about. For example:

  • The graph shows the rate of malaria in five cities in South America.

In your introduction to your Task 1 report or to your Task 2 essay, you need to paraphrase the information provided. To do this well, you need to be able to quickly think of, and use synonyms. For example:

  • The graph depicts the incidence of malaria in five urban areas in South America.

Listening and Reading

You should know that keywords are hugely important in doing well in the Listening and Reading tests. You need to be able to identify keywords in the Listening and Reading questions. But this is not enough.


Often in the reading texts and the listening audio you will not see or hear the keyword but a synonym. So, the more synonyms you are familiar with, the better your score on the Listening and Reading tests will be.


To test your knowledge of some common academic words and their synonyms, take the test below:


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