IELTS Vocabulary 2023: The Best List of Vocabulary Words for IELTS

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International English Language Testing System is a widely accepted English proficiency test taken by students intending to pursue foreign education or employment abroad. The test assesses the candidate’s ability to communicate in English and is based on four parameters: reading, writing, speaking and listening.

For IELTS, it’s crucial to employ a variety of vocabulary with flexibility because the examiner will be looking for it in all the sections. Additionally, you need to read well in order to comprehend the texts because they will contain many challenging vocabulary.

To get a band 7 or higher on the IELTS, having a strong vocabulary is crucial. Here we have compiled a list of IELTS vocabulary words that candidates can utilise for their preparation. 

Topic-wise List for IELTS Vocabulary

Candidates should have a wide range of vocabulary as that will help them to discuss various topics. If one is unable to appropriately use the correct words, then this becomes a major drawback and can hamper the overall score as well. 

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IELTS Vocabulary 2023: The Best List of Vocabulary Words for IELTS

We have identified the latest and most popular topics that have been used in IELTS exam. In the list below, you will find topic-wise IELTS vocabulary words with their meaning and usage next to them for better understanding. 

Phrasal Verb for IELTS vocabulary

Phrasal verb consists of two or three words from different grammatical groups. When all of them are combined, a different meaning is put forward and hence must be used according to the context. Besides, phrasal verbs belong to the IELTS vocabulary list and candidates can make use of them to demonstrate their command over the English language.

Before that, the candidate must try to understand the meaning of the phrasal verb as the wrong usage can reduce the band score.  Here is the list of phrasal verbs that the candidate can use: 

Phrasal VerbMeaningExample
Quarrel withDispute or disagree with
I am not quarrelling with their idea, but
I think there are other possibilities.
Romp inWin easilyIn the first race, the favorite romped in.
Salt awaySave moneyShe’s making a lot of money, but salts it
away rather than spending it.
Venture forthLeave somewhere safe or
If the storm has finished, we could venture
Stick withNot change somethingWe’d better stick with our original idea.
Tee offStart or launch an eventThe new project will tee off next month.
Go byThe passing of timeTen years went by before we saw each other
Kick backRelaxRather than go out tonight, we plan to kick
back and watch television
Limber up forPrepare for something that
will require a great effort
They are limbering up for the end of the
financial year.
Measure againstEvaluate or judge by
The work doesn’t look good if you measure
it against what our competitors have done.
Pass overIgnore, refuse to discussLet’s pass over what they said and get on.
Peel awayFrom Leave a group by
moving in a different
They peeled away from the crowd and
went down a side road

Idioms for IELTS Vocabulary

IELTS speaking section is another challenging area for many. However, it is in this section that the candidates can show their fluency, pronunciation and vocabulary of the language.

Idioms in this section help in expressing our ideas more clearly and make them sound rather natural. But, candidates must not use idioms without understanding their meaning, as that will lead to a deduction in marks. Hence, it is advisable that candidates use it in tasks only when they’re confident about its meaning and context.

We have compiled a list of common idioms for IELTS vocabulary that can be used in the speaking section. Remember when used properly they will lead to a great band score. 

  • To be on the top of the world 
  • To be on cloud nine 
  • If my memory serves me well 
  • Over the moon 
  • Once in a blue moon 
  • Piece of cake 
  • A drop in the ocean 
  • To be like a dog with two tails 
  • It makes my blood boil 
  • Change one’s mind 
  • Call it a day 
  • Put all your eggs in one basket 
  • Blessing in disguise 
  • Actions speak louder than words 
  • I hit the ceiling 
  • Fresh as a daisy
  • Couch potato
  • Full of beans   
  • A bad egg
  • Eager beaver

Collocations for IELTS Vocabulary

Collocations can be understood as the proper arrangement of words in a sentence or the combination of words that appear natural. They can be paired in this manner: 

  1. Verb & noun 
  2. Verb & adverb 
  3. Adverb & adjective 
  4. Adjective & noun 
  5. Noun & noun 

For easier understanding, some examples are listed below: 

  • Make someone’s bed
  • I have a preference for continental cuisine
  • I prefer reading
  • Parents can assist their children with financial responsibility
  • I have to take the test if I want to take the course 

IELTS Speaking Vocabulary Words List

The speaking module tests the candidate’s ability to communicate fluently in English. However, this means that the student must be able to pronounce the words correctly without much hesitation. But that is not all, they must have a grasp over their vocabulary and use it when and where it is required as that can provide them with a good score. 

Here is a comprehensive list of IELTS vocabulary words

IELTS Vocabulary list

To achieve a band score of 9 in the speaking section is a dream for many. Indian students specially struggle in this section.

For detailed content on how to prepare for the IELTS speaking section, you can read:

Band 8 Sample Answer

IELTS Speaking Tips

How to Improve Speaking Section Score

For specific content on cue cards, task type samples and latest topics, visit:

IELTS Speaking Part 1

Latest Speaking Topics

IELTS Cue Cards

Reading and Writing : IELTS vocabulary list

Most candidates lose out marks as they do not use synonyms in the reading and writing section. Here is a list of popular words and their synonyms to help you expand your IELTS vocabulary for the reading and writing sections:

Words Synonyms 
Amazing Incredible 
Answer Respond 
Awful Bad 
Beautiful Pretty 
Begin Start 
Come Arrive 
Cool Frosty 
Dangerous Risky 
Decide Settle 
Definite Certain 
Delicious Savoury 
Wrong Mistaken 
Tell Narrate, Inform 
Show Display, Exhibit 
New Recent, current 
Neat Clean 
Interesting Intriguing 
Important Vital, crucial 
Help Assist 
Happy Content 
Famous Well-known 
Funny Amusing 
Place Procedure 

You can also check out IELTS courses by LeapScholar for a detailed guide on the IELTS Reading Section to get help on reading tips & strategy. Also, get access to guidance from the best IELTS tutors, attend mock tests, and get all sample materials to practise your IELTS vocabulary for reading section.

Tips to prepare for IELTS Vocabulary 

Candidates should follow these tips diligently while preparing for their IELTS exam. At the end of the day, attaining a good score is the stepping stone towards pursuing their dream of studying abroad. 

  • Read, listen and converse in English. 

Candidates should read English newspapers and get into the habit of reading. While reading, if they find any new word, they should note it down and look for its meaning. 

Vocabulary for IELTS
  • Practice 

Practice makes a man perfect and hence is the key to nailing a good score. Whether it’s reading, writing, speaking or listening, practising each of these sections is necessary. 

  • Use YouTube 

Candidates should use YouTube to understand how academic words are pronounced. They can also watch English shows to learn new vocabulary. 

  • Avoid memorising in all circumstances

Memorising words is an activity that should be avoided as the meaning of words change according to their context. 

Besides the list of IELTS vocabulary words, candidates can also make use of audio and videos as this can amp up the preparation process. Following the syllabus for each section is also essential. 

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Frequently Asked Questions 

  • Is there any IELTS vocabulary test ? 

    No, there is no vocabulary test in IELTS. However, a wide range of vocabulary can help score well in the exam. Candidates can follow our list of vocabulary words for IELTS to prepare for the exam. 

  • Is 7.5 a good score? 

    This score shows that the candidate has a good command of their English language. Most universities across the globe accept this score.

  • Is IELTS vocabulary important ?

    Yes, Vocabulary is important as it covers up to 25% of the total score in IELTS. It is the only topic common for both the Speaking and Writing sections. 

  • How can to enrich your IELTS vocabulary?

    Some of the hacks to improve IELTS vocabulary is reading newspaper, watching English movies with subtitles, writing daily diary and making notes of new words and phrases.

  • Is it necessary to use complex words for IELTS ?

    No. There is no rule that using difficult words will help you score well. It is advisable that you should focus on the usage and meaning. Using difficult words is an add-on and if you don’t know it’s best not to use them.

  • Why is it important to improve vocabulary for IELTS?

    Yes. Vocabulary is your foundation. Vocabulary makes up to 25% of your total mark in the IELTS Writing and Speaking tests. Without a strong vocabulary, it is difficult to have an efficient conversation or write a good content piece. And when you move out to an English-speaking country, it is ideal to build a strong vocabulary.

  • What is the best way to memorise IELTS vocabulary words easily?

    The best way to memorise vocabulary is by using mnemonics. These are mental shortcuts that help you remember more complex concepts or words. For example, you can create connection between words. The longer you think about acronyms or the connection the better will you remember the words that are associated with it.

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Manisha Angre

Experienced IELTS prep trainer and education management industry veteran. Specializes in public speaking, international education, market research, mentoring, and management.

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