A Guide to IELTS Lexical Resource

IELTS speaking lexical resource

In this post, we will be looking in-depth at lexical resources for IELTS Exams, Marking Criteria, Synonym, Antonym, Paraphrasing and Collocations. Also, check the list of Lexical resources for the IELTS Test. 

What is a Lexical resource?

The lexical resource is the criteria that measure the capability of language knowledge of the candidate based on the use of the various aspects of contextual vocabulary in particular.

In IELTS lexical resources are measured in the Speaking and Writing section where the idea is to be presented by the candidate as a task.


Marking Criteria:

While you are preparing for your IELTS Speaking Test it is important that you understand the marking criteria. 

Lexical resources count for around 20-25% of your speaking test score, therefore it is vital that you understand what the examiner wants. 

You will be able to achieve a higher score if you can demonstrate your ability to paraphrase and use synonyms. Knowing how to say something in a different way.

Using varied vocabulary and common word combinations is important in order to get a band score 7 or above. 

How can we improve lexical resources in IELTS?

To get better at Lexical resources in IELTS you need to focus on following elements of English Grammar:

  • Synonym
  • Antonym
  • Paraphrasing
  • Collocations


What is a synonym?

Synonym, in general, is a word or phrase that offers the same or similar meaning to the word or phrase provided.
Example: synonym of amazing is incredible, awesome
Use of synonyms is a good way to show your vocabulary knowledge, as long as they are appropriate choices. 

To be successful in all areas of the IELTS test you need to be able to recognise and use synonyms appropriately. 

One way to do this when you are practising is by looking up for synonyms of common words in a thesaurus. This can help you to find synonyms but also to learn to select the right synonym to fit into your sentence.

Use of synonym: Example;

Last year we visited Corfu in Greece and it was amazing.

Can you think of another word to use other than ‘amazing’?

How about incredible, marvellous, awesome, stunning or wonderful?

Last year we visited Corfu in Greece and it was incredible.


What is an Antonym?

Antonyms, in general, is a word or phrase that offers the opposite or different meaning to the word or phrase provided.
Example: antonym of early is late.
You can use antonyms, to show your vocabulary/lexical ability as long as they are appropriate choices.

For example:

My language lesson was really early today.
My language lesson was really late today. 

Other examples of antonyms:

  • Happy and sad
  • Young and old
  • Risky and safe
  • Rich and poor
  • Cool and hot
  • Excited and bored.


What is an Paraphrasing?

Paraphrasing is an activity of presenting the sentence or phrase using alternate words(usually synonym and antonym) to attend better clarity.

It is a skill that is needed in all parts of the test. When the examiner asks you a question, you should not repeat the question back to them as part of your answer. 

Instead, you should paraphrase it and this means restructuring. 

For example, if the examiner asks you:

  • What are the advantages and disadvantages of young people using social media?

Your answer could include the words benefits and drawbacks, instead of repeating the words, advantages and disadvantages. 

Question example:

Examiner: What kind of holiday do you like?

Answer 1

  • The holidays I like tend to be anywhere that is hot with a beach! I like to go and spend time with my friends.

Answer 2

  • When I travel, I really enjoy visiting places with a warmer climate, where I can relax on a beach. Last year I visited Corfu in Greece and I had the most wonderful time, exploring small unspoilt beaches by hiring a boat to tour the island. 

Which one do you think is the better answer?

Answer 2 is better because it answers the question with more specific information. It also does not repeat words that are in the question. 



What is an Collocations?

A collocation is made up of two or more words that are commonly used together in English. Think of collocations as words that usually go together. 

The more you use collocations, the more you will sound like a native speaker. 

There are different kinds of collocations in English. Strong collocations are word pairings that are expected to work together. 

For example;

  • make the bed: I need to make the bed every morning.
  • do the homework: My niece does her homework after dinner.
  • take a risk: Some people don’t take enough risks in life.
  • give someone advice: The teacher gave us some advice on taking tests.

Common verb collocations are often followed by particular nouns or adjectives.

For example;

  • make a phone call: I have to go and make a phone call.
  • get wet: It rained today and I got wet.
  • keep a record: I keep a record of all of my bank statements.
  • break down: I was on the way to work this morning and my car broke down.

Collocations are often used as short expressions to describe how someone feels about a situation. In this case, collocations can be used in the adjective form, or also as emphatic expressions using an intensifier and a verb. 

For example;

  • positively encourage someone to do something: I’d like to positively encourage you to apply for the position.
  • deeply regret the loss of someone/something: I deeply regret saying no to that job offer.
  • to be in an utter fury over something: I am in an utter fury over missing out on getting those gig tickets.
  • to go to great lengths to do something: She went to great lengths to be able to move to another country. 

IELTS Lexical Resource list:

To practice further, you could use the Oxford online collocation dictionary.

Some places you can explore for vocabulary are:

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