IELTS EXAM

How to paraphrase and use complex vocabulary to achieve Band 7

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In this tutorial you will learn:

  • How to use complex (less common, idiomatic) vocabulary and paraphrase to achieve Band 7 in the Speaking exam

This will help you in your IELTS Speaking exam because:

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  • The use of less common, idiomatic vocabulary, collocation and choosing style well for your answer will get you a good IELTS band score
  • Knowing how to paraphrase effectively will help you avoid repeating yourself and sound accurate
  • You will see examples of inappropriate vocabulary use and learn how to correct them

IELTS descriptors indicate that in order to achieve Band 7 in Lexical Resource, the candidate needs to

•uses vocabulary resource flexibly to discuss a variety of topics •uses some less common and idiomatic vocabulary and shows some awareness of style and collocation, with some inappropriate choices •uses paraphrases effectively

speaking lexical

In this tutorial we will explain and illustrate these features and suggest strategies to improve errors.

First, let’s examine a sample answer to a Part 2 question.

Describe a kind of weather you like. You should say:

  • What kind of weather it is
  • What you usually do during this weather
  • How this weather affects your mood
  • Why you like this type of weather

Well, I relish low temperature weather because it is a rare event in my city where I live, you know, since our city is near the equator, so it’s really hot and humid during the year. Therefore, I always look forward to December when the weather is cooler and a little bit cold or windy. It’s my time; during this weather I usually desire lying on the bench in my garden, watching the sky and sipping my hot coffee with joy and pleasure. As I can do what I can’t in the dry season, I’m always like on cloud nine whenever this cold comes. I enjoy doing all the stuff under this kind of weather, especially with my mother, such as planting trees, looking at the clouds passing above me and going out without wearing a jacket. I think I never get bored about the cold due to the fact that it’s very comfortable to work and study. Besides, when this type of weather turns up, it means that an interesting series of holidays will come soon like Christmas and New Year, which are the time for family.

This is a good answer that fits some of the descriptors for Band 7. Let’s have a closer look why and which ones.

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The examinee does use vocabulary resource flexibly to discuss a variety of topics. We can see a good range used with confidence and ease to denote places, weather, feelings and attitudes, most of which are used effectively in the answer.

Further, the speaker uses some less common (equator, humid, passing above, planting) and idiomatic vocabulary (on cloud nine, look forward to) appropriately and naturally.

They also show some awareness of style and collocation, with some inappropriate choices. Here we are going to explain what style and collocation are and what it means to make inappropriate choices in vocabulary use.

Style is a property of a text which may be informal, neutral, formal, or, depending on the type of our listener.

We usually speak to acquaintances, friends and family in an informal style.

To people we encounter for the first time or to a mixed audience we speak in a neutral style.

To a superior, a professor, a person we deeply respect, or in a highly professional or academic context we speak in a formal style.

So, the choice of vocabulary will vary greatly depending on the person that we choose to talk to.

Overall, this sample answer maintains an informal style, look at vocabulary like you know, I’m always like on cloud nine, stuff, get bored, turns up. Still we can see the use of such neutral words and phrases as look forward to, a little bit cold, enjoy, comfortable, sipping my coffee.

This mixture is appropriate as neutral vocabulary may be mixed with either the informal or the formal one, but certainly not with both at the same time.

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And this is exactly what we see – a few formal words that do not belong here due to style (therefore, desire, due to the fact that). They will need to be replaced by appropriate neutral or informal choices. Yet, these are not the only vocabulary errors in this answer. There is also some misuse of collocations. This term describes the likelihood of two words going together, like, for instance a good job or a wonderful occasion.

There are some good examples used properly in the answer (a rare event, sipping my coffee, the dry season), mixed with less appropriate use of collocation (relish low temperature, under this kind of weather, an interesting series of holidays). You will see these corrected in the final version of the answer.

Finally, the candidate mostly uses paraphrase effectively but again, with some omissions. To paraphrase means to say the same thing in other words. Repeating the same wording all over again in your answers is not only irritating and boring, it will also lower your exam mark. Make sure you find appropriate ways to say the same ideas in other ways yet check that the words can be used that way together!

Here are some successful examples of paraphrase from this answer: low temperature successfully rephrases cold weather, cooler is a good alternative for cold, watching the sky is replaced by looking at the clouds passing above me.

However, it is a rare event in my city and since our city is near the equator reuse the word city, which could be changed. Also, as I can do what I can’t sounds quite repetitive and unnatural and thus needs to be rephrased. You will see these corrected in the final version of the answer.

So, here is the final, corrected sample answer. See what corrections were made.

Well, I relish enjoy low temperature weather because it is a rare event in my city where I live, you know, since our city is near the equator, so it’s really hot and humid during the year. Therefore, This is why I always look forward to December when the weather is cooler and a little bit cold or windy. It’s my time; during this weather I usually desire prefer lying on the bench in my garden, watching the sky and sipping my hot coffee with joy and pleasure. As I can do what I can’t typically wouldn’t be able to in the dry season, I’m always like on cloud nine whenever this cold comes. I enjoy doing all the stuff things under in this kind of weather, especially with my mother, such as planting trees, looking at the clouds passing above me and going out without wearing a jacket. I think I never get bored about with the cold due to the fact that because it’s very comfortable to work and study. Besides, when this type of weather turns up, it means that an interesting series of long-awaited holidays will come soon, like Christmas and New Year, which are the time for family.

You can download or listen to the audio version here:

|Direct Download Here | Stitcher | iTunes | Spotify | Soundcloud | Transcript |

More useful IELTS speaking tutorials:

Watch more: IELTS Essay: Success

  • IELTS Speaking Idioms
  • How to give your opinion in the speaking exam
  • Making notes for speaking part 2
  • How to speak about your hobbies in part 1
  • How to get band 9 in your IELTS Speaking
  • Tips for IELTS Speaking Part
  • IELTS Speaking vocabulary to help you prepare
  • Band 9 pronunciation for IELTS Speaking

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