Why Can’t I use Academic Words on IELTS Writing/Speaking?

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why can't i use academic words ielts writing speakingMany students are asking themselves, “Why can’t I use academic words on IELTS Writing or Speaking?”

It’s all in how you prepare your vocabulary, and the limits you put on yourself.

Unfortunately, our brains are not able to memorize lists of hundreds of words and be able to use them. So, knowing your limits, there are effective ways to learn vocabulary.

 

  • Focus on productive, not receptive, vocabulary

Your vocabulary notebook should not be used to prepare you the Reading and Listening Exams.

You have no idea what topic will come up on those parts of the test- it could be a conversation about planting a garden, or a passage about African beetles.

That’s why writing down, and trying to memorize, long lists of “IELTS Vocabulary” simply is a waste of time. There is no guarantee that even one of those hundreds of words will help you understand anything on the exam.

So, why do you want to have a vocabulary notebook? This is should be focused on the vocabulary you want to use, or produce, on the exam.

 

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  • Re-do vocabulary notebook

You may have a notebook full of words you’ve been collecting, and still are not able to use or remember. Start a new notebook, and organize it like this:

  1. One page Speaking Parts 1 and 2: Focus on descriptive adjectives and adverbs
  2. One page Speaking Part 3: Academic, formal words and phrases that are general in meaning, and not topic specific
  3. One page Writing Task 1: Divide it into lists for Change Over Time, Static, and Maps/Processes
  4. One page each topic, 10 words each: Get these words from reading widely
  • Read them out loud, 3 times a week

This should not take that much time, and will greatly help you to memorize the words.

However, you should try to read them in a sentence, so you remember the meaning and context.

  • Practice using them slowly

While you are practicing the Speaking and Writing answers, go slowly, and force yourself to use the words from your lists.

  • Speed up

After taking these steps, you should be able to remember many of the words you want to use. Now, it’s time to practice your IELTS answers in real-time, just like you’ll have to do on exam day.

What do you think of today’s advice?

Leave us your thoughts in the comments section below!

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