Thursday, November 5, 2015

Words to Avoid in IELTS Speaking and Writing

The writing and speaking sub-tests of the IELTS or the International English Language Testing System examination deals with evaluating a candidate’s English skill in both oral and written. Some candidates cannot get a good score in these sub-tests because of the lack of knowledge on what other skills are needed. Vocabulary is one aspect candidates have to improve for these tests.

No matter how wide your vocabulary is, there are some words that should be avoided in the test. These words make your speaking and writing confusing, out of the topic, or in other words incorrect. Some words are not suitable to be used in both tests since they give off a different definition or it lacks a formal tone for the test. Here are some words candidates have to avoid in speaking and writing.


Using this in the Academic writing’s first stack is a big mistake. The essay is based on graphs, charts or diagrams. Facts are already laid out, so all you have to do is to write a summary based on the given data. The word “personally” makes writing personal. 

Personally, I think that the increase of tourists in Greenland lasted for 7 years.

In conclusion
You are not making any conclusions as you are interpreting facts in a data. This phrase is better used in opinion-based essays such as the second task of the writing. 

In conclusion, cars that were manufactured in 1990 boosted the profits of the company. 

But and And
These make the writing very informal. IELTS writing uses the formal tone in writing. Instead of these words, you can use the words however, in contrast, on the contrary, additionally, and further.

CCTVs’ footage can be used as proof for some crimes. But, they can be altered. 

In the modern era
This phrase is overused as an introduction. IELTS questions mostly asked about current issues so putting a time frame is totally unnecessary. 

In this modern era, a lot of children are getting obese.

In a nut shell
This shows conclusion in your writing, yet this idiom is informal. Phrases such as in conclusion and in summary are already enough for your conclusion.

In a nut shell, advertising has brought good influence to the public. 


Yes and No
If you want to agree or disagree with a statement, avoid saying YES and NO only. Elaborate or use other phrases to show agreement or disagreement.

Examiner: Do you live with your parents?
Examinee: Yes. (X)
Examinee: Yes, I do. We live in an apartment.

I don’t understand
Avoid saying this. It is better to say What do you mean by..?

I am sorry, but I don’t understand what you said. (X)
I am sorry, but what do you mean when you said obsolete?

I think…
This is overused, and some use this even though the question is not asking about their opinion. You can use I believe or In my opinion. 

I think that I am very cheerful. (X)
In my opinion, I can describe myself to be cheerful.

What do you think?
You should avoid asking your examiner this question. If you do not have any idea about the topic, then tell them I am afraid I know nothing about the topic.

I don’t have any idea, what do you think? (X)
I am really sorry but I do not know anything about this topic. 

These words will serve as your guide to avoid getting deductions in your IELTS writing and speaking tests. Think of other ways in expressing your ideas for the IELTS speaking and writing tests. 


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