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IELTS speaking task 1: Vocabulary (books)

IELTS Vocabulary (books and reading)

Books in Black Wooden Book Shelf

In the IELTS Speaking test, having good vocabulary is really important.

Examiners assess candidates’ performance against four criteria:
Fluency and coherence, lexical resource, grammatical range and accuracy, and pronunciation.

Speaking results are given as band scores ranging from band 0 to band 9, with each criterion contributing to the overall score.

In this post, we will talk about why having good vocabulary is important and how it can affect your IELTS Speaking score.

Explanation of Lexical Resource (Vocabulary) Criteria:

The lexical resource criterion assesses your ability to use vocabulary effectively to convey precise meaning and communicate fluently. A band 6 score in lexical resource indicates that the candidate:

  • Utilises a wide vocabulary resource readily and flexibly to convey precise meaning.
  • Demonstrates the use of less common and idiomatic vocabulary skillfully, with occasional inaccuracies.
  • Effectively employs paraphrasing as required to express ideas.

Instructions for Practice:

Now, let’s practice answering some IELTS Speaking Task 1 questions. As you respond, try to incorporate some of the topic-specific vocabulary provided. Doing so can help enhance your lexical resource and potentially improve your score in this criterion. Remember to focus on conveying your ideas clearly and accurately while showcasing your vocabulary range.

Example Task 1 Questions:

Look at this IELTS task 1 speaking question:

Talk about a book you’ve read recently and why you liked it.

Now before you answer, match these phrases with the definitions and look at the sample answers


  1. Got lost in this amazing book
  2. Storytelling skills
  3. Edge of my seat
  4. Drew me into the story
  5. Stuck with me


a. The ability of the author to narrate a compelling and engaging story.
b. To be fully engrossed or deeply involved in reading a book.
c. The feeling of excitement or anticipation while reading.
d. To feel emotionally connected to the characters and events of the story.
e. To be memorable or unforgettable due to its impact or resonance.

(see answers at the bottom of the page)

Read and listen to two sample answers to the question. Which one do you think would score higher on “Lexical resource?

Talk about a book you’ve read recently and why you liked it.

  • Uses a wide vocabulary: “I read a book that was really interesting. It had exciting stories and interesting characters.”
  • Uses less common words: “The author was really good at making the story exciting and making me care about the characters.”
  • Paraphrases: “The book was great because it had lots of action and made me feel like I was part of the story.”

Talk about a book you’ve read recently and why you liked it.

  • Uses a wide vocabulary: “I recently got lost in this amazing book that had me on the edge of my seat with its thrilling plot twists and deep characters.”
  • Uses less common words: “The author’s storytelling skills and their way with words really drew me into the story, making it a book I’ll never forget.”
  • Paraphrases: “This book really stuck with me because of its gripping story and relatable characters.”
TASK: Now try and answer the question but about your favourite book.

If you can, record your answer and listen back.


1: b, 2: a, 3: c, 4:b, 5:e

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