IELTS Tips: Language choices to improve IELTS Band Score

Do you need to improve your IELTS band score?

When studying for your IELTS Speaking test, it’s really important to improve your exam technique to be able to get the maximum out of every word you use in front of the examiner.

Below we show you the way to prove to the examiner that you have a broad range of vocabulary, which scores big points!

This advice is invaluable: please read if you are serious about scoring more than 6 in your IELTS test. By the way, don’t forget to enter our IELTS competition this month, where you can win 2 IELTS self-study textbooks from Harper Collins.


Paraphrasing is an important skill in the IELTS speaking test.

It means saying something in a different way…. but how do you paraphrase?

1) Use synonyms which have the same or a similar meaning

Test/exam/assessment Improve/progress/develop

2) Change the word form like from a verb to a noun or an adjective

Educate (vb) education (noun) educated (adj)

Graduate (vb) graduation (noun) graduated (adj)

3) Change the word order

University qualifications are important

It is important to have university qualifications

Universities give important qualifications

Qualifications from universities are important

4) Change the tense structure

I think a university education will help me find a job

Having a university education will help me find a job.

Finding a job with a university education will be easy

If I have a university education it will be helpful for finding a job

If I had a university education, it would be helpful when looking for a job

I have always thought that a university education makes finding a job easier

Paraphrasing can be used for different reasons

1) To help you answer a question by rephrasing it

Q: How important do you think a degree is?

A: Well, I think a degree is very important…

2) To check that you understand a question properly by rephrasing the question

Q:How do you feel about postgraduate study?

A:You mean, what’s my opinion concerning postgraduate study?

3) To restate an answer using different language if the examiner asks you to clarify or explain.

Q: How can universities be improved? A: They need more funds for libraries.

Q: Sorry, could you explain what you mean? A: I mean that more funds are needed to build and equip libraries.

There are also several phrases you can use to introduce your paraphrasing

Rephrasing the question

So, what you want to know is . . .

So, what you’re asking me is …

So, you would like me to….

If I understand you correctly, your question is…

Paraphrasing yourself

To put it simply…

In other words, what I want to say is…

Or, to put it another way…

What I mean to say is…

What I’m trying to say is…

Have a go at paraphrasing with these questions:

  1. Do you think that education is a powerful tool against poverty?
  2. What do you think about studying abroad?
  3. What are the benefits of going to university?
  4. Which subjects are popular at university nowadays?
  5. Should universities be free?

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