IELTS scorers will be evaluating your Task 2 essays with the official scoring rubric (PDF). One of these areas, accounting for 25% of your score, is Lexical Resource. This is your ability to use a wide range of vocabulary correctly (without errors) and appropriately (in the proper context) in your written responses. In this post, I’ll explain two crucial tips for raising your IELTS band score by improving in this area.
Of course, it should go without saying that studying vocabulary regularly will help you improve most in this area. Magoosh has (free!) IELTS vocabulary flashcards to get you started. You should try to learn 15 – 20 new words each day! Beyond learning new words, however, there are a few additional steps you can take to improve your “Lexical Resource” score.
One of the first keys to getting a higher band score in Lexical Resource is paraphrasing. You must paraphrase the language from the question prompt and the visuals as much as possible in your Writing Task 2 responses. Taking large chunks of language directly from the question and visual will definitely lower your score.
Whenever you practice a Writing Task 2 response, make sure to study any example essays included in your practice materials. Take note of how the author paraphrases the language in the question prompt and compare it to your own paraphrases. By doing this, you can learn a lot of helpful words and phrases.
A second tip to boost your Lexical Resource score is to focus on avoiding redundancy in your writing. Redundancy happens when you use the same words or phrases over and over again; however, there will be some key terms that you can’t avoid. Other words are much easier to replace with synonyms. For instance, in Task 2 responses, you will often write about numbers that “increase” or “decrease.” There are many synonyms for these words:
Rise – Fall
Go up – Go down
Jump – Decline
Spike – Dip
Skyrocket – Plummet
If you notice that you’re using the same words again and again as you practice writing Task 2 responses, work on building your knowledge of synonyms and paraphrases. A thesaurus is a handy tool. However, if at all possible, try to get feedback about the new words you use from a native English speaker. Often, the synonyms you find will have a slightly different meaning or use from the word you’re trying to replace.
As a general rule, you should always choose a word that you know to be correct over one that you don’t know well.
Boosting Lexical Resource Skills
The best way to improve your lexical resource skills and your overall IELTS band score is to practice! As you do, work on building your skills in all four areas IELTS scorers evaluate to boost your band score even more. Here are some more Task 2 resources to get you started!
- IELTS Writing Task 2: Task Response
- IELTS Writing Task 2: Grammatical Range and Accuracy
- IELTS Writing Task 2: Coherence and Cohesion
- IELTS Academic Writing Task 2: The Complete Guide
- Vocabulary for IELTS Writing Task 2