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The Most Common Vocabulary Used in High-Scoring Task 2 Essays


Hey there, it’s Chris from IELTS Advantage, and I’m excited to share with you some valuable insights that can help you achieve a high score on your IELTS writing test. This article will discuss the most common words used in Band 7, 8, and 9 essays.

At IELTS Advantage, we’ve helped many students achieve their desired scores on the IELTS writing test. We asked our team to provide us with 100 essays that we had corrected and given feedback on, and these essays had helped students achieve a Band 7, 8, or 9. We analyzed all the words in these essays to determine the most common ones.

The Most Common Words in IELTS Essays

We found that the top 9 words in these essays were:

  • The
  • To
  • Of
  • And
  • In
  • That
  • Are
  • This
  • They

Surprisingly, just these 9 words accounted for more than 1/3 of the total words in these essays. The most popular word was “the,” followed by “to.” This data teaches us that most words used in essays are simple, everyday words. Therefore, it’s essential to focus on using simple words accurately rather than trying to improve your vocabulary range.

Focus on Accuracy

At IELTS Advantage, we teach our students to use their existing vocabulary to improve their scores. We don’t focus on teaching students a range of complex words. Instead, we emphasize accuracy and help students be as accurate as possible with their words. We also focus on topic-specific words rather than complex words.

The Top 10 Topic-Specific Words

We analyzed the top 10 keywords in the 100 essays:

  • People
  • Children
  • Time
  • Companies
  • Parents
  • Life 
  • School
  • Health
  • Employee
  • Diet

These words are straightforward and topic-specific regarding people, education, and health. So, it’s better to use accurate synonyms to vary your vocabulary rather than complex words that are not topic-specific.

Linking Words

We also analyzed the most common linking words used in these essays, which included words such as:

  • In conclusion
  • However
  • Although
  • For instance
  • As a result
  • Therefore

The examiners don’t award extra marks for using complex, fancy linking words. Instead, they give marks for using them appropriately and accurately. Learning a few simple linking words and using them accurately is much better than learning many complex ones.

The Role of High-Level Vocabulary

Finally, we analyzed the percentage of high-level words in these essays using software from Cambridge English. We found that most words were simple, everyday words that students have within their existing vocabulary. The Band 7, 8, and 9 students use their existing vocabulary to communicate their answers to the examiners. They only used complex vocabulary when they couldn’t use one of the simpler words.

In conclusion, to achieve a high IELTS writing test score, you should use simple, everyday words to accurately and clearly communicate your answers to the examiners. Remember, learning a range of complex words or fancy linking words is unnecessary. Instead, focus on using your existing vocabulary accurately and efficiently. I hope this article helps you improve your IELTS writing score. You can also try our Essay Builder Course for free.



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