IELTS Listening Strategy # 13 Listen for Synonyms

The IELTS test often tests your understanding of synonyms. So, what is a synonym? A synonym is a word that has the same or similar meaning to a different word. Consider the synonyms in these two sentences:

Mobile phones have become an essential part of modern life.

Smart phones have become a required aspect of contemporary life.

As you can see, in the above example, there are multiple examples of synonyms being used. Indeed, the English language is full of synonyms and that’s why the IELTS test will use them again and again.

In fact, synonyms are used in all skills sections of the IELTS test. However, they can be especially tricky in the listening section.

Here’s another example. On the listening you may hear the phrase:

‘I would like to confirm a booking…’

On the answer booklet, the correct answer to the multiple-choice question about the reason for the call is:

‘to confirm his reservation’.

You are expected to know that ‘booking’ and ‘reservation’ have the same meaning. If you don’t know this, you will not be able to answer the question correctly.

Common IELTS synonyms

Trying to find out synonyms of new words you encounter is a good way of improving English vocabulary. A good dictionary will often help you, with the abbreviation SYN.

  1. Abroad – Overseas
  2. Agree – Consent
  3. Allow – Permit
  4. Amount – Quantity
  5. Ask – Inquire
  6. Aspect – Thing
  7. Away – Absent
  8. Begin – Commence
  9. Busy – Active
  10. Change – Transform
  11. Collect – Gather
  12. Contrary – Opposite
  13. Correct – Right
  14. Crucial – Vital
  15. Discount – Reduction
  16. Drawback – Disadvantage
  17. Enormous – Huge
  18. Exactly – Precisely
  19. Except – Apart From
  20. Extra – Additional
  21. Finish – Complete
  22. Get – Receive
  23. Hard – Difficult
  24. Have to – Must
  25. Hazard – Danger
  26. Help – Assist
  27. Hint – Tip
  28. Imitate – Mimic/Copy
  29. Impact – Affect
  30. Instructions – Directions
  31. Intellectual – Mental
  32. Inventory – Stock
  33. Invoice – Bill
  34. Job – Work
  35. Maybe – Perhaps
  36. Modern – Contemporary
  37. Movie – Film
  38. Native – Local
  39. Necessary – Essential
  40. Near – Close
  41. New – Recent
  42. Noon – Midday
  43. Notify – Inform
  44. Numerous – Many
  45. Obtain – Acquire
  46. Part – Section
  47. Particular – Specific
  48. Possibility – Opportunity
  49. Possible – Potential
  50. Provide – Supply
  51. Quite – Fairly
  52. Real – Genuine
  53. Remark – Comment
  54. Renew – Resume
  55. Respond – Reply
  56. Rich – Wealthy
  57. Safe – Secure
  58. Select – Choose
  59. Significant – Meaningful
  60. Sincere – Honest
  61. Suggest – Propose
  62. Sure – Certain
  63. Talk – Speak
  64. Tiny – Small
  65. Transform – Convert
  66. Trustworthy -Reliable
  67. Try – Attempt
  68. Uncommon – Unusual
  69. Uncooked – Raw
  70. Under – Below
  71. Use – Utilise
  72. Usually – Generally