IELTS| Idioms

One of the best ways to show a high level of English is by correctly using a wide range of idioms. While they are a great way to boost your IELTS speaking score, integrating idioms seamlessly into your language can be challenging, and if they are used incorrectly they can easily sound out of place and hurt your score.

What is an idiom? An idiom is a commonly used word or phrase with a meaning that is not the same as the words in the phrase mean when used alone. It is defined by the Cambridge Learner’s Dictionary as: ‘a group of words used together with a meaning that you cannot guess from the meanings of the separate words’.

In the IELTS speaking test correct use of idioms is an excellent way to improve your score. However, make sure that you fully understand how to use the idiom and that the idiom is one that is commonly used. Below I’ve listed three very commonly used idioms that work well in the IELTS speaking test along with example sentences.

From time to time /frɒmtaɪmtətaɪm/ sometimes; occasionally but not often.

From time to time I play football. I like to eat chocolate from time to time.

Stay in touch /steɪɪntʌtʃ/to maintain communications with someone.

Although my friend lives in a different country, we stay in touch with each other by using the internet. I don’t stay in touch with my ex girlfriend.

Under the weather /ʌndəðəweðə/ – not completely healthy; unwell.

I felt under the weather when I took the test because I had a cold. The woman looked under the weather yesterday.

Hope this is helpful and get in touch if you have any questions. 🙂


IELTS| Listening Section One Summary

Section one of the IELTS listening test contains a dialogue between two people – often this is a telephone conversation. This is considered the easiest section of the test. If you are aiming to get 6.0 or higher, you should aim to get all of the marks correct in this section. Here you will need to listen for specific information, for example dates, times, places, names and numbers.

You will have time before the conversation starts to look through the questions. Use this time to familiarise yourself with the topic and the vocabulary used. Remember, you can make notes on the answer sheet so use this time to do this.

Don’t try to write your answers on the answer sheet, write your answers on the test paper. You will have ten minutes at the end of the listening section to transfer your answers.

Read the question very carefully and ensure you write no more than the number of words permitted. Also make sure that you are very careful with spelling (pay attention to plurals and past forms) as this must be perfect.

The best way to improve your listening score is to practice as frequently as possible. There are lots of practice tests online that you can use. If possible I recommend printing an answer sheet as this more accurately mimics the test and you can take notes.

Here is a link to a sample test you can try on the IELTS website:

I hope this is helpful and please get in touch if you have any questions. 🙂