100 IELTS Words- The Ultimate Vocabulary Guide

100 IELTS Words- The Ultimate Vocabulary Guide

Boost your scores with vocabulary for the IELTS exam. The intention of this article isn't to load you with vocabulary, but to focus our attention on the right vocabulary. Another intention is to keep the vocabulary simple. This isn't the same as easy. Keeping the vocabulary simple is about using clear language, and not over-complicating your writing or expression.

Develop your vocabulary here with vocabulary practice flash cards. This deck was created by myself, in a collaboration with the revision app; AnkiPro.

The list of vocabulary words culminate to 100 IELTS vocabulary words.


  • Vocabulary for each IELTS topic
  • Collocation examples for each IELTS topic
  • Prefix and suffix examples for each IELTS topic
  • How to improve your IELTS vocabulary

Why these words specifically?

The words I have researched and chosen, are based on specific key word research, a reflection on essay samples from students, the frequency of how often these words come up in the exam, and a degree of intuitiveness combined with my own native use of English.

Some of the lists in the categories have fewer words than others. This is simply because there are some words that cannot be replaced as easily. We also have to be careful as some synonyms are not appropriately matched.

Example- If you were to replace the word 'parent', the most logical replacements are 'mother' and 'father', or 'step-mother/father/parents'. Depending on the context, adoptive or surrogate parent may be suitable. There is therefore a small pool of words to replace parent with.

Vocabulary: Finance & Money [10]

  • Expense
  • Income
  • Salary
  • Commission
  • Enterprise
  • Charitable
  • Currency
  • Wealthy
  • Capital
  • Debt
The difference between income and salary is that a salary is a fixed income provided by an employer, while your income is money you've earned from any source. I.E. Jane works at Microsoft and has a salary of £60,000 per annum. Jane also makes jewellery and sells this online. Her yearly income is £70,000 per annum.

Collocations: Finance & Money

  • Passive income- The landlord secures his passive income all year round by renting out his property to young professionals.
  • [To] stay afloat- A number of efforts were being made to keep the school afloat, for it to continue being part of and serving the local community.
  • [To] spend a fortune- You do not need to spend a fortune on a get-away to have a good time.
  • Hard-earned money- Her hard-earned money meant that she could afford to buy a place of her own.
  • Pocket money- He saved his pocket money so he could buy his first bike.
  • Net-worth- The company has a net-worth of more than 150 million dollars.

Prefix and Suffix

  • Imbalance- Prefix- imbalance in wages are forcing public sectors to go on strike
  • Uncharitable- Prefix- he was an uncharitable man
  • Financed- Suffix- for all we know, their lavish lifestyle may be financed by increasing debt

Vocabulary: Education [10]

  • Diploma
  • Certificate
  • Assignment
  • Research
  • Campus
  • School
  • Qualification
  • Curriculum
  • Professor/teacher
  • Lecture

Collocations: Education

  • Higher education- She wanted to pursue higher education to develop her expertise
  • Vocational course- The university offered a wide range of vocational courses, which were available to all students
  • Online course- The online course was invaluable and dramatically improved her score
  • [To] Enroll on a course- She enrolled on an Art course and was later accepted
  • Fall behind with studies- He fell behind with his studies because of his part-time job
  • Student loan- His student loan was difficult to pay off, along with added interest fees
  • Tuition fees- The tuition fees were much more affordable than the previous two years

Prefix and Suffix

  • Certification- Suffix- She earned her certification in teaching
  • Internship- Suffix- The internship program was for two months
  • Preschool- Prefix- Research shows that collaborative learning in preschool is a key part of a child's development
  • Misunderstand- Suffix- They had misunderstood one another which resulted in different viewpoints

Vocabulary: Friends & Family [10]

  • Hereditary
  • Childhood
  • Siblings
  • Acquaintance
  • Offspring
  • Ancestors
  • Companion
  • Intimate
  • Familiar
  • Ally

Collocations: Friends & Family

  • Immediate family- Her immediate family were just as musical; it runs in the family
  • Extended family- The role of the extended family has been in decline for the last few decades
  • Keep in touch with- Keeping in touch with elderly family members can be hard to do, but is important to maintain
  • Stand the test of time- Strong relationships can stand the test of time and uphold themselves against other challenges
  • Life long friend- What began as mutual respect, turned into a lifelong friendship between the pair
  • Close-knit family- Growing up in a close-knit family, meant that she prioritised strong family values in her prospective partner
  • Family gatherings- With such a large family unit, their family gatherings were typically loud and eventful
  • Drift apart- After going in very different directions, they had naturally drifted apart and seldom spoke to one another

Prefix and Suffix

  • Friendly- Suffix- She instantly made me feel so welcome and was incredibly friendly
  • Stepfamily- Prefix- I have an interesting family dynamic with lots of step-siblings; I have a large stepfamily
  • Befriend- Prefix- I want to befriend more of my neighbours, as this is such a rarity these days

Vocabulary: Travel & Tourism [10]

  • Homeland
  • Overseas
  • Seasonal
  • Sightseeing
  • Touristy
  • Itinerary
  • Excursion
  • Destination
  • Souvenir
  • Ecotourism

Collocations: Travel & Tourism

  • Guided tour- They purchased a guided tour and learnt much more about the area's history as a result
  • All inclusive- The all-inclusive holiday took all the stress out of the trip and made it much more enjoyable for everyone
  • Middle of nowhere- He left the city and bought a house practically in the middle of nowhere
  • Culture shock- Moving to Japan was a bigger culture shock than she had anticipated
  • Holiday destination- Although the island was smaller than expected and quite provincial, it remained to be a popular holiday destination
  • Out of season- The flight prices are much lower as it is out of season
  • Tourist trap- The night market is known to be a tourist trap amongst the locals
  • To blend in- In some places, blending in can be beneficial when travelling alone

Prefix and suffix

  • Tourism- Suffix- Tourism is a significant industry in the country and continues to be
  • Travelled- Suffix- She is a very well travelled person, having seen the whole of Europe
  • Ecotourism- Prefix- A growing eco-tourism has developed, although many residents want to fight back against ownership of protected land

Vocabulary: Technology [10]

  • Innovative
  • Transform
  • Viral
  • Censorship
  • Privacy
  • Device
  • Progress
  • Browse
  • Breakthrough
  • Wireless

Collocations: Technology

  • Tech-savvy- He is extremely tech-savvy; he intuitively knows how to use all tech products without any prior practice
  • Cutting-edge- The company has developed cutting-edge software to increase customer engagement
  • Browse the internet- My sister prefers to shop in town, while I prefer to browse online first
  • Went/gone viral- The news story sparked huge interest and had gone viral within minutes
  • Become obsolete- In multiple industries, the practice of being in the office Monday to Friday has increasingly become obsolete against the work from home model
  • Major breakthrough- There has been a major breakthrough in prevention against Cancer, thanks to increasingly intelligent technology

Prefix and Suffix

  • Retransform- Prefix- The converted pump house is an example of the power of retransformation
  • Progressiveness- Suffix- We need to see more progressiveness in their policies
  • Reboot- Prefix- The changes won't take effect until you reboot the system

Vocabulary: Culture [10]

  • Heritage
  • Stereotype
  • Globalisation
  • Multicultural
  • Rituals
  • Preservation
  • Inheritance
  • Diversity
  • Ancient
  • Contemporary

Collocations: Culture

  • Cultural traditions- Although the modern world continues to evolve, cultural traditions are still kept alive by many groups of people
  • Cultural diversity- London is a good example of a place that embraces cultural diversity
  • Cultural norms- Cultural norms are the unwritten rules of society which prescribe certain behaviours
  • Local culture- When I visit a new place, or revisit the same place, it is important that I experience something from the local culture
  • Global culture- Global culture is an important aspect of business and increasingly, holds weight in creating positive business relationships
  • Live music- Every month the town hall hosts a live music event, bringing the whole community together

Prefix and Suffix

  • Subculture- Prefix- Youth culture and pop culture are closely related
  • Nationalism- Suffix- Their nationalism can be seen in feeling strongly connected to the European Union
  • Multiculturalism- Suffix- We pride ourselves on our commitment to multiculturalism

Vocabulary: Climate change & the environment [10]

  • Sustainable
  • Organic
  • Wildlife
  • Habitat
  • Fossil fuels
  • Species
  • Pollution
  • Ecosystem
  • Extinction
  • Conservation

Collocations: Climate change & the environment

  • Global warming- Global warming is on the rise and it is a growing concern amongst citizens across multiple nations
  • Drastic action- There are many protests to urge governments to do more and take drastic action, for the future of our planet
  • Dying out- Many forms of traditional living are dying out as the technological age continues to grip society
  • Environmentally-friendly- We have seen a significant effort from many smaller owned companies to produce goods that are environmentally-friendly
  • Energy-efficient- Solar panels will be installed to make the building more energy efficient

Prefix and suffix

  • Deforestation- Prefix- Due to deforestation, the threat to wildlife is at a critical point
  • Unsustainable- Prefix- There is growing pressure and demand to end unsustainable fishing practices, for the protection of this ecosystem
  • Environmentally- Suffix- We are against the clock to make agriculture more environmentally safe and sustainable

Vocabulary: Fitness & Health [10]

  • Wellness
  • Nutrition
  • Vigour
  • Robustness
  • Constitution
  • Energy
  • Prime
  • Athletic
  • Fit
  • Trim

Collocations: Fitness & Health

  • Able-bodied- All able-bodied men were enlisted in the army
  • Fitness-instructor- I see my fitness instructor three times a week
  • Splitting headache- She had a splitting headache that took a while to subdue
  • Prescribe medicine- The doctor prescribed a long course of antibiotics

Prefix and Suffix

  • Unhealthy- Prefix- He had lived an indulgent, unhealthy lifestyle for many years
  • Energised- Suffix- After having completed her first 3 kilometre run, she felt revitalised and energised
  • Fitness- Suffix- She wanted to increase her fitness level and began exercising five days a week across different disciplines
  • Pregame- Prefix- The team always began their pregame ritual by singing and dancing

Vocabulary: Society [10]

  • Population
  • Citizens
  • Poverty
  • Equality
  • Stereotype
  • Community
  • The general public
  • Humankind
  • Group (of people)
  • Nation

Collocations: Society

  • Public services- The range of public services have shown a real commitment to the community
  • Changing society- We are living an ever changing society. Things like music and fashion are continuously evolving.
  • Civil rights- The group of people were deprived of their civil rights for many years
  • Social convention- He did not want to confirm to social convention and made great strides to live outside of the norm
  • General public- The park is open seven days a week to the general public

Prefix and Suffix

  • Inequality- Prefix- Unfortunately, many societies are characterised by the inequality of citizens
  • Regroup- Prefix- It would be better to regroup after we have had some time to process the information
  • Socially- Suffix- It is a good coffee shop where people can meet socially, and enjoy the laidback atmosphere

Vocabulary: Media, Communications & Advertising [10]

  • Announcement
  • Broadcast
  • Reporting
  • Presenting
  • Expression
  • Impressionable
  • Subliminal
  • Tantalising
  • Forum
  • Exhibit

Collocations: Media, Communications & Advertising

  • Breaking news- When local breaking news erupts, a brief story about the news is usually posted
  • Prime-time- Between 7pm and 9pm is a regular slot for prime-time television
  • Means of communication- The radio is an effective means of passive learning
  • Word of mouth- The news travelled fast simply by word of mouth
  • Current affairs- News and current affairs programs are the least watched programs by 16-22 year olds

Prefix and Suffix

  • Miscommunication- Prefix- There was miscommunication between the group during their collaborative project
  • Nonverbal- Prefix- A lot of the communication relied on the nonverbal cues between the teacher and class
  • Advertisement- Suffix- The new advertisement brought in a ten per cent increase of customers