Episode Transcript 75: A Secret Trick to Build your Academic Vocabulary

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Speaker 1: 00:00 Hello and welcome back to Activate Your IELTS: Be Determined. I'm your host, Kristin Espinar of KristinEspinar.com and I hope students get a seven plus band score in IELTS writing and speaking skills. Today I'm going to be talking about one secret trick to help you build your academic vocabulary.

Speaker 2: 00:35 [inaudible] [inaudible]

Speaker 1: 00:41 okay guys, so before we get started, don't forget to download my special freebie. This is the IELTS writing and speaking preparation plan, and this is key to getting you on the right track with your IELTS preparation. It's going to help you get started by setting a goal, getting organized, creating a study schedule, and helping you to identify your weaknesses. From then you'll create a plan based on your weaknesses and of course you'll get some of my best tips and tricks related to IELTS writing and speaking. So you can download this with the link in the episode notes. If for some reason you can't access that link, just send me an email @[email protected] okay. Now today I'm going to teach you a trick which is going to be really valuable in your preparation time. Now I want to make a note, there's a difference between the time that you prepare for the IELTS exam and the time that you do timed practice for the IELTS exam.

Speaker 1: 01:38 You should be doing both, but preparation is going to focus on building your skills and time. Practice is going to focus on making sure that you can apply those skills in an exam setting. So in my private coaching, I work with students and I see them struggle with academic vocabulary on a daily basis. And one thing that they really struggle with is identifying the themes and ideas that they should be talking about and then being repetitive as they talk about those things in their IELTS preparation and practice in, in, in their essays. Now the reason I was talking about preparation and time practices before is because in your preparation you should take time to build all of these different skills. You should take time to build your academic vocabulary, your IELTS vocabulary, your transition words, collocations expressions, grammar, all of these things. You should also be, you know, building your skills in your ability to express your ideas and to develop your ideas and to support your ideas.

Speaker 1: 02:41 All of that should take time in your preparation practice where you should build your skills and you shouldn't put too much of a time limit to this because you're going to be building the skills later after you build the skills or periodically throughout your preparation. You should also be doing time to practice to make sure that you can apply those skills. But one of the skills is academic vocabulary and what you should be building the skill in is not only building your academic vocabulary skill, but build your skills in identifying those themes and ideas and then avoiding repetition. Now, first of all, I want to give a shout out to my current and previous IELTS writing and speaking students. I see you, I know you guys are working hard and you deserve that seven plus band score that you're going towards. Anyway, one thing that I always end up doing with my private students is breaking out that thesaurus now, if you don't know what a thesaurus is, it's basically like a dictionary for synonyms and this is really useful in helping to find academic vocabulary that you can use in your writing.

Speaker 1: 03:47 So when I'm working with my private students, I see them struggling with this issue and I usually end up breaking up the source and I, I really always have the source like open on my phone as I'm working with students and I do this to show students how they can start building their academic vocabulary right there and then, and you can do it too. You can start today now as a writer and a former student myself, this is something that I always utilize in my writing. Now I go to thesaurus.com that's T H E S A U R US .com. I don't know if there are other sources out there, definitely have a look. But this is the one that I use. And this is a key to helping you avoid repetition while you're building your vocabulary around a theme. So you can do this for two different areas in your writing.

Speaker 1: 04:38 You can do this for commonly repeated words like problem or struggle or issue. So if you find that when you're writing, you are repeating the same types of words all the time, you should make a list of those words and then take some time to look those words up in the thesaurus and try to make a list of alternative words that you can use. So let's look at the example of issue issues. A really good word that you can use in almost any essay and it's pretty academic itself, but it's also easy to overuse it and to repeat it. So it's worth taking time to stop and make a list and see if you can find a lot of different words that you can use in place of issue in your essay. You know, feel free to use it once or twice. But if it's something that you need to keep using, try to use alternative words.

Speaker 1: 05:30 So this morning I took a minute and I made a list of um, alternative words for issue, I found affair, concern, argument, matter point, problem, subject, topic, contention matter or a point of contention. All of these may be useful in helping you to avoid repetition in your writing. So that's the first thing you should do. Kind of look at the way that you, your style of writing, identify three or four words that you commonly overuse and over repeat and already just stop and make a list. But another trick is that during your preparation time, when you're writing essays, you should begin to think about the themes that you're writing about. Now this is getting a little bit into how to craft and create an essay. And the first part of that is identifying what you're going to talk about. Ideally you should come up with some themes or clear ideas that you will discuss. In the IELTS writing and speaking experience digital course. I actually go over exactly each step you need to take to craft a perfect essay. I give you a 10 step path, which is proven to get results. I actually call it the Fast Results Essay Formula. Now, doors aren't open now, but when I do open it in January, you might be interested in getting in that course. But let's imagine that you're discussing the disadvantages of homeschooling and one of the ideas that you want to discuss in your essay is socialization. So one, this is a perfect example of where I see students getting stuck, they're getting stuck talking about socialization and they might be getting into trouble because they're being repetitive about how they use it, you know, in their essays. And they also just might be stuck on ideas of what to say about socialization. So this can give you some ideas of what to write about as well.

Speaker 1: 07:26 After you identify what you want to talk about, try to look for some synonyms related to your themes. So let's look at the example of socialization. I can look up socialization or socialize and I'm going to find words like this. Interact, associate, associate with connect, connection, interaction, cooperate, collaborate, relate, contact, join, network, participate, engage in, intermingle. Now, doesn't this seem doable? It's pretty easy to just identify your themes and then choose one of those themes and look and make a list of words. I recommend doing this before you write because it can actually help you to generate ideas. I like to, when I'm writing, I like to look at my list of words and think about how I could use them. This will actually give me more ideas of what to say and different ways of expressing them. You could do it afterwards too as a form of revision and in this case it will be a little bit more limited as you will basically only be eliminating repetition.

Speaker 1: 08:33 You won't be able to use it for idea generation. Now remember what that word, that list that I just went over. You don't need to use all of those words in your essay. You know you can use four or five of them and it's going to help build your academic vocabulary and boost your score. So let's look at an example of how I applied those vocabulary words into a short paragraph talking about the disadvantages of homeschooling. Okay. So I took, um, I took some paragraphs written by students and then I rewrote them a little bit. So, um, I took some of this and kind of adopted it to show you how you can actually apply this vocabulary in a, an an academic way. Okay. So this is what I wrote. One disadvantage of homeschooling is the lack of socialization. This includes children's ability to communicate with others as well as their ability to collaborate in group activities.

Speaker 1: 09:33 Students may struggle to interact with other students and may lack many connections outside of the home. Moreover, interacting with the same students every day will prevent homeschooled students from meeting new friends. As a consequence, this will form a gap in communication with others. Additionally, homeschooled families tend to be isolated and may not be able to participate in all social activities. For instance, homeschooled students cannot join regular extracurricular activities or even field trips with other students. This is not the case with public schools and a more typical educational system where in schools students are able to work together in project based activities that will develop their characteristics, including cooperation, sharing, group activities, social skills, and many others. Okay. So just as a reminder, this doesn't reflect any of my personal opinions. This is just an S about one aspect of homeschooling and one, you know, approach to writing about homeschooling in an essay.

Speaker 1: 10:34 So if any of you homeschool out there, I don't want to offend you. This is just an example of how to apply the vocabulary for anybody that's studying at home, whether it's homeschooling or IELTS preparation. I do believe that you can do it anyway. Back to the example. So you can see that in the example I used a lot of this vocabulary, right? Lack of socialization, communicate, collaborate, connections, interacting with tend to be, let's see, uh, participate, um, cooperation, social skills. So all of that is showing how you can use this vocabulary, not only to avoid repetition, but also to help you think in generate ideas. So isn't that easy? Okay, let's try another one. On the topic of being overworked. So I just looked up this word overwork and I saw exhausted, exhaustion, fatigue, sap your energy, weaken, weary, drain, overdue, overexert, overextend overtire.

Speaker 1: 11:38 And on a side note, there were some really good, um, kind of more informal words that you could use in your speaking and this will help you to build your like, idiomatic, um, informal expressions and phrases that you could use in speaking. And so some of those words I saw were tucker out, burn out, use up and peter out. But back to our academic vocabulary list. I also found debilitate deplete, drain, decrease, diminish, expend, empty, reduce. So this is good stuff, right? Let's look at an example of it in action. Again, I took, um, some ideas. I took some student essays, some student work, and I reworked it a little bit here and wrote a paragraph. So overworking is a problem which is rising around the world. Every culture has its own philosophy and approach to work. And what is an appropriate amount of time per day and per week to work.

Speaker 1: 12:37 Some cultures value more work while others value more leisure time and countries that put an emphasis on duty and work. There can be a trend towards overworking, which can lead to fatigue and exhaustion overexerting yourself can deplete your energies and result in several health issues such as depression, anxiety, heart disease, and even death. Some countries are well known for struggling with this matter and there was a recent reported case of a 31 year old woman in Japan who died from overwork after logging in 159 hours of overtime in one month. In fact, there has been recent debates in Japan about creating a law which limits 100 hours of overtime per month in order to decrease this phenomenon. Not only does it diminish the quality of work a person is capable of doing, but it can debilitate their quality of life. Okay, so you can see here that I used a lot of the key vocabulary, so I started with overworking, I talked about fatigue, exhaustion, overexerting.

Speaker 1: 13:34 I don't even know if that's a word I put on the list before, but it's a great one. Deplete your energies. Um, I maybe you noticed, I also substituted issue. I substitute matter for issues. So there's an example of how you could use that. I said overwork again. I used decrease, diminish and debilitate so I did use overwork twice. And so, okay, it's, it's the theme, it's what you're talking about. But I made sure not to repeat it several times by using a lot of different words like fatigue, exhaustion, diminished, decreased, debilitate. So making that list of words before helped me to give ideas of what I want to say. Think of different ways to say it and showed me exactly, um, how to avoid repetition. So can you see how this will make a huge difference for you? This is going to help you think of ideas and do it in an academic way.

Speaker 1: 14:27 Now of course, you got to be careful of the words that you choose from your list. Make sure to vet them carefully and check their meaning before you write. That's why they should be done during your preparation time rather than timing. Practice. Okay. So let me give you your marching orders for this week. I want you to try this on your next essay. Do an essay this week. Choose a prompt, brainstorm ideas, find your themes, create a list of re related vocabulary, and then write. It's important to take action, and that should start today. If you wait until tomorrow or next week, you just might not do it. So I'm going to leave you with this quote. Dreams don't work unless you take action. The surest way to make your dreams come true is to live them. -Roy T. Bennett. Now, I do have a couple of reminders for you before you go.

Speaker 1: 15:14 Now, this episode I think is going to be great for using my transcript so that you can read along. You can see the words that I use and you can see how I apply them in the paragraph. So go ahead and download the download the transcript, which you can get in the episode notes. Also, don't forget to download my special freebie, the IELTS writing and speaking preparation plan. Like I said before, this is key to getting you on the right track with your preparation and to getting you to start taking action on your IELTS preparation goals. It's going to help you set a goal, get organized, create a study schedule, identify your weaknesses, and create a plan on those weaknesses. And of course, you'll get some of my best tips and tricks. Okay? So have a good week and I'll be speaking with you soon.

Speaker 2: 16:10 [inaudible].

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