What are collocations and why are they important in the IELTS Speaking test?
To get a band score 7 or above in the IELTS Speaking test, you need to use some collocations, i.e. combinations of words that native speakers of English often use when speaking or writing.
Here are some examples of collocations that you may be familiar with on the common IELTS topic of technology:
- verb + noun, e.g. develop technology
- adjective + noun, e.g. digital technology
- noun + preposition, e.g. advances in technology
To see how a candidate could have used some of these collocations to improve their IELTS band score from a 6.5 to a 7.0, check out my latest YouTube video below.
In the first part of the video, the candidate, Efim, answers some IELTS Speaking Part 3 questions. In the second part, I explain what collocations Efim could have used to get a band score 7.0.
The IELTS Speaking Part 3 questions that I ask Efim in the video are from the book Cambridge IELTS 7.
How can collocations improve your IELTS Speaking band score?
As I said above, you need to use some collocations to get a band score 7.0 or above in the IELTS Speaking test.
Here’s what it says in the public version of the IELTS Speaking band descriptors:
- IELTS band score 7: [Candidate] shows some awareness of collocation
To find out what other vocabulary you need to use to get an IELTS Speaking band score 7 or above, read my post ‘IELTS Speaking band score 7 vocabulary‘.
How can you learn collocations for IELTS Speaking?
As you may have seen in the video, the words ‘current‘ and ‘existing‘ are examples of adjectives that collocate with the word ‘technology‘ – a common IELTS Speaking topic – but how do you learn which words are often used together?
A great tool for checking which words collocate with others is ozdic.com, an online English collocations dictionary.
If you search for the word ‘technology‘ in this dictionary, you’ll see that there’s a list of adjectives that are often used with this word, and that this list includes the words ‘current’ and ‘existing’.
To see how the collocations dictionary can help you choose which words to use, try using the dictionary to choose the correct word in italics in each of the examples below. (You can click on any of the words in bold to open the collocations dictionary).
- …some of the research of/into electrical engineering…
- There is no 100% / concrete evidence that this is harmful…
- …that this is harmful for / to the health of…
All of these examples are from Efim, the IELTS candidate in the video above, and in each case Efim used the wrong word.
If you want to check your answers to my questions above, post them in the comments section below and I’ll let you know if they are correct or not.