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IELTS Success Formula :: Academic IELTS Speaking Top Score Vocabulary

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Copyright S. Slater, S. Braverman All rights reserved Web: www.ielts-blog.com www.ieltsontrack.com


TOP SCORE VOCABULARY FOR THE SPEAKING TEST


Usingoccasional,idiomaticorphrasalexpressionsinyourIELTSinterviewcanenrichvocabulary.However,they
needtobeusednaturallyandonlyoccasionally.

Soundingnaturalisreallyimportantwhentryingtoachieveahigherscore.Itmeansbeingfluentandusing
languageinawaythatmakesthelistenerfeeltheyaretalkingtosomeonewhocouldbelongtothesame
languagecommunity.

Belowisalistofexpressions,eachwithameaningandanexampleofpossibleuseintheSpeakingtest.Asterisk
(*)showsthemostflexible,andperhapsfrequentlyusedexpressions.

Expression

Meaning How to use in a Speaking test
*adropinthe
ocean

averysmallamount
comparedtotheamount
needed
Assessor:
You:
Doyougivemoneytocharity?
NoIdont,mainlybecauseIfeelthatmy$50
donationwouldonlybeadropintheocean.
alostsoul withoutdirectionor
purpose
Assessor:

You:
DoyoufeelyoubelonginAustralia
now?
Insomeways,yes,butdeepdown
Imstillabitofalostsoul.
arealcanof
worms

uncoveringarangeof
complexproblems

Assessor:

You:
Haveyoueverhadtosolveatricky
problematwork?
Yes,Ioncefoundoutthatsomeoneat
workhadacriminalrecordanditwasarealcanof
wormswhenItriedtosackhim.
astraighttalker someonewhotalks
directlyandopenly
Assessor:
You:
Whatcanyoutellmeaboutyourbestfriend?
Mybestfriend,Paul,isareallystraighttalker;he
neverjusttriestosaywhatIwouldliketohear.
allatsea veryconfused Assessor:
You:
Doyouadaptwellinnewsituations?
Yes,eventually,butItendtobeallat
seaatfirst,untilthingssettledown.
*attheendofthe
day

finally/intheend Assessor:

You:
Overallthen,whichismoreimportanttoyoulove
orrespect?
Attheendoftheday,italldependsonyour
prioritiesatdifferenttimes.
dropdead
gorgeous
veryattractive Assessor:
You:
Doyouknowapersonwhoisveryattractive?
Yes,afriendofmine.Shesabeauty;Imeansheis
dropdeadgorgeous.
fullofbeans hasalotofenergy Assessor:
You:

Isittruethatchildrenhavemoreenergythanadults?
Ohyes,myson,forexample,isalways
fullofbeans.
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IELTS Success Formula :: Academic IELTS Speaking Top Score Vocabulary
308

Copyright S. Slater, S. Braverman All rights reserved Web: www.ielts-blog.com www.ieltsontrack.com

lifeinthefast
lane
toseekmanycolourful
experiencesinorderto
chasesuccessorself
improvement

Assessor:
You:
Doyouenjoytakingrisks?
Well,youonlyliveonce,dontyou,andIve
alwayslikedlifeinthefastlane.
lifeintheslow
lane
lifewithoutany
excitementordanger
Assessor:
You:
Howdoyoufeelaboutextremesports?
Well,somepeoplegoforthem,buttheyrenotfor
meIpreferlifeintheslowlane.
nothingtowrite
homeabout
mediocre/notasgoodas
expected
Assessor:
You:
Haveyouseenanynewmovieslately?
Yes,IsawthenewSpielbergmovie,butitwas
nothingtowritehomeabout.
*overthetop

excessive Assessor:
You:
DoyouthinkaCEOcanruinacompany?
Toblameonepersonforthecollapseofthewhole
companyseemstobeabitoverthetop.
qualitytime

timespentwithsomeone
withoutdistractions
Assessor:

You:
Ifyoucouldchangesomethingaboutyourlife,
whatwoulditbe?
Iwouldworklessandinsteadspendmorequality
timewithmychildren.
*thebottomline

thefinaloutcome Assessor:

You:
Childrenthesedaysoftenarguethatlearningina
classroomshouldbereplacedwithonlinestudies,
doyouagree?
Themethodsmayvary,butthebottomlineisthey
stillneedtogotoschool.
*thetipofthe
iceberg

thevisiblepartof
somethingbutthemain
partishidden
Assessor:
You:
Isthereanycorruptioninyourcountry?
Yes,oneofourgovernmentministerswasarrested
recentlyforstealingpublicmoneyandImpretty
sureitsonlythetipoftheiceberg.
toughlove helpingsomeoneto
changetheirbehaviorby
treatingtheminavery
severeway
Assessor:
You:
Doyoubelieveinstrongdiscipline?
Wellmydadwasreallystrict,butIthinkhisbrand
oftoughlovehelpedmetobecomemore
responsible.

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IELTS Success Formula :: Academic IELTS Speaking Top Score Vocabulary
309

Copyright S. Slater, S. Braverman All rights reserved Web: www.ielts-blog.com www.ieltsontrack.com

Expression
(verbal)
Meaning How to use in a Speaking test
*Ifancya
(something)

Iwouldlikea(something) Assessor:
You:
Doyouhaveafavouritecaforrestaurant?
Definitely,thereisalittlecafethatIalwaysgoto
whenIfancyacoffee,andalsothecupcakesthey
serveareheavenly.
*tobeadisaster

toendverybadly Assessor:
You:
Areyougoodatbuildingrelationships?
No,ImafraidImnot.Mylastrelationshipwasa
(complete)disaster.
*tobeajoke

toberidiculous,or
ineffective
Assessor:

You:
Doyouthinkthegovernmentshoulddomoreto
protecttheenvironment?
Withallduerespecttothegovernmentofmy
country,theircurrentattemptstoprotectthe
environmentareajoke.
tobeawasteof
space
tobeuseless Assessor:

You:
Ifyouhadaproblem,wouldyouaskyourneighbour
forhelp?
Myneighbourisawasteofspace;Iwouldnteven
bother.
tobeanoutsider tobeastranger,newto
something
Assessor:

You:
Haveyougotmanyfriendsintheplacewhereyou
live?
Imstillabitofanoutsiderinmytown,even10
yearsaftermovingthere.
*tobeputout

tobeoffended/annoyed Assessor:
You:
Howdidyoufeelwhenyoudidntgetthatjob?
Iwasabitputoutwhentheysentmetherejection
letter.
*tobeupagainst
it

toexperiencedifficulties
createdbyasituationor
agroupofpeople
Assessor:
You:
Haveyoueverbeeninadifficultsituation?
Yes,whenIhadtoapplyformyvisaandsawallthe
paperworkinvolved,IrealizedthatIwasreallyup
againstit.
tobeupon
(something)
havegood,uptodate
knowledgeof(something)

Assessor:
You:
Whatareyourinterests?
Ilikesports,especiallyfootball.Imreallyuponthe
PremierLeagueintheUK;Iknowalltheteams.
tobitethebullet totakeanunpleasant
actionordecision
Assessor:
You:
Haveyoueverhadtomakeanunpleasantdecision?
Yes,Ioncehadtoquitawellpaidjob.Itwasnta
goodcareermovebutIjusthadtobitethebullet.
tocometogether tohappenina
satisfactoryway,without
problems
Assessor:
You:
Howdidyoufeelwhenyoufoundanewjob?
Likemylifewasfinallystartingtocometogether.
todo(something)
up

tomakeimprovements Assessor:
You:
Whatwouldyouliketochangeaboutyourhouse?
Everything!Thewholeplaceneedsdoingup.
todrinklikeafish todrinklargeamountsof
alcoholregularly
Assessor:

You:
Doyouthinkthatdrinkingalcoholcanbe
dangerous?
Well,Isupposeifyoudrinklikeafish,youhaveto
expecthealthproblems.
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