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IELTS Vocabulary: 'less common' not 'advanced'

In the comments below Wednesday's lesson, a few people said that they didn't see any "advanced" vocabulary* in my essay. But examiners are not looking for "advanced" vocabulary; they are looking for "less common" vocabulary.

"Less common" vocabulary means words and phrases that most students wouldn't think to use in their essays. For example, in the first line of my essay, I used the verb "to rival". You might know the noun "rival", but have you ever used it as a verb? This is not an "advanced" word, but it is certainly less commonly used by IELTS candidates, and the examiner would be impressed to see it used in this way.

Here are the "less common" phrases from my essay:

  • the Internet is beginning to rival newspapers
  • the traditional press
  • vital source of information
  • the Internet age
  • traditional means of communicating
  • rural areas
  • the ability or opportunity to get online
  • trusted as reliable sources
  • employ professional journalists and editors
  • news in real time
  • gadgets and mobile devices
  • contribute with our own updates on social media
  • an explosion in the use of platforms

Although you probably understand the phrases above, most candidates would not use them in their essays.

*I never use the terms "advanced vocabulary" or "difficult vocabulary". Anyone can find a "big" word in the dictionary and translate it. The difficult skill is to use words together in collocations and phrases.

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