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IELTS Vocabulary: 500 AWL

The 500 IELTS vocabulary is so-called AWL (Academic Word List), which was rooted from a popular webpage of HONG KONG Univ. We re-organized it with new definitions and examples. As we know, students should learn at least 5000 IELTS vocabulary before taking academic test. These 500 words cannot replace hardworking of 5000 or more IELTS vocabulary, but is the first step to open the door of building vocabulary efficiently.

Firstly, it is a high frequent word list in IELTS test papers.Two types of students may be interested in the vocabulary.The first is to just start to build vocabulary.They want to get the big picture of IELTS academic vocabulary quickly.The second is in a very narrow time frame to prepare their tests, this list contains the most common words and is a proven short-cut to pass IELTS test.

English is foreign language for most of IELTS test takers.Leverage mother language's knowledge to learn new English words is a normal way for them. This IELTS vocabulary encloses definitions of 20 languages that cover most population of the world. It's a big save for ESL (English as Second Language) students.

In addition to original Chinese explanation of HONG KONG Univ, more local language explanations are appended to help ESL test takers.Open the register form page; you will see there are 20 languages available. Select your mother language; then, IELTS vocabulary will show explanations with English and your mother language together.

Each word in this IELTS academic vocabulary is demonstrated with example sentence, which plays a key part to understand and use new word in right way. Memorize words alone are usually boring, and even if you get them you won’t be very confident to use them.However, if connect a word with an example sentence, the situation will be changed, these words and sentences will enhance your both reading and writing skill.

At last, please notice this AWL is from Hong Kong. It means these words are targeted to IELTS academic test and are for students who live in English speaking areas.Lots of fundamental words are filtered because they are assumed to be known in daily activities.So this IELTS vocabulary may not be an ideal choice for test takers who are in non-English countries.

This IELTS vocabulary is too short to hunt top score. Obviously, high level students need a more powerful vocabulary to work. IELTS Academic Words List, the largest IELTS vocabulary in the website, reflects the essential vocabulary level of IELTS academic test. It's a good option for serious test takers.

IELTS Academic Words List

Besides, some students prefer to use ebook to study and review IELTS vocabulary, we have two to recommend:

IELTS 1200 Words in 30 Days (basic level)
Available at:
Apple iBook, Google Books, Amazon Kindle, and others...

4000 IELTS Words (basic,middle, and high level)
Available at:
Amazon Kindle - US or other ebook distributors.

IELTS vocabulary is the foundation to pass the test. Before your starting, you should clean all questions, such as how many words to learn, how long to spend, and by what way or tool to study. If you cannot set your goal or doubt your plan, google and research some online resources may help you out, e.g.:

IELTS Official Website
English Language Centre, Hong Kong Polytechnic University


alter: Read
/'ɔ:ltə(r)/ v. Syn. modify; change; convert
modify; cause to change; make different; convert
In public neither Mr. Blair's visit nor the regional summit in Nepal has done anything to alter India's position on dialogue with Pakistan.

ambiguous: Read
/æm'bɪgjʊəs/ a.
unclear or doubtful in meaning
His ambiguous instructions misled us; we did not know which road to take.

analogy: Read
/ə'nælədʒɪ/ n. Syn. similarity; parallelism
similarity in some respects; comparison based on similarity
This analogy is almost always noted without further comment, although in fact it may be taken further.

analysis: Read
/ə'næləsɪs/ n. Syn. study; investigation
study; investigation; process of breaking down a substance into its constituent parts
You can read more about those studies here, and my analysis is here.

anticipate: Read
/æn'tɪsɪpeɪt/ v. Syn. expect; predict
act in advance of; deal with ahead of time; predict
Nature seemed to me benign and good; I thought she loved me, outcast as I was; and I, who from man could anticipate only mistrust, rejection, insult, clung to her with filial fondness.

append: Read
/ə'pɛnd/ v. Syn. attach
attach; add as supplement or appendix
When you append a bibliography to a text, you have just created an supplementary material.

Vocabulary List - View all words by list        
Select Vocabulary List:
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Words of List 4 (Part of words, select list to view all.):
legal
legislate
levy
liberal
likewise
link
locate
logic
maintain
major
manipulate
manual
margin
mature
maximise
mechanism
media
mediate
medium
mental
method
migrate
military
minimal
minimise
minimum
ministry
minor
mode
modify
monitor
motive
mutual
negate
network
neutral
nevertheless
nonetheless
norm
notion
notwithstanding
nuclear
objective
obtain
obvious
occupy
occur
odd
offset
ongoing
option
orient
outcome
output
overall
overlap
overseas
panel
paradigm
paragraph
parallel
parameter
participate
partner
passive
perceive
percent
period
persist
perspective
phase
phenomenon
philosophy
physical
plus
policy
portion
pose
positive
potential
practitioner
precede
precise
predict
predominant
preliminary
presume
previous
primary
prime
principal
principle
prior
priority
proceed
process
professional
prohibit
project
promote
proportion
prospect
protocol
psychology
publication
publish
purchase
pursue
...
Word Meaning Matching - Test how many words you know
abstract  Speak
Exercise
theoretical; not concrete; not applied or practical; difficult to understand
Exercise
give help or support to, especially as a subordinate
Exercise
graph; diagram; map showing coastlines, water depths, or other information of use to navigators
Exercise
fee for services; group of people appointed to find out about something; authorize
accurate  Speak
Exercise
capable of providing a correct reading or measurement; performing with care and precision
Exercise
complete; consummate; make perfect
Exercise
quote; adduce as an instance
Exercise
occurring or payable every year
adjacent  Speak
Exercise
declare to be true or admit; express obligation, thanks
Exercise
adhesive; cohesive; sticking together ; logical; sound; capable of thinking and expressing yourself in a clear and consistent manner
Exercise
knowing; having knowledge or cognizance
Exercise
adjoining; neighboring; close to; lying near
albeit  Speak
Exercise
complete; consummate; make perfect
Exercise
even though; although; notwithstanding
Exercise
administer; supply; supervise or be in charge of
Exercise
pile up; collect; mount up; increase
allocate  Speak
Exercise
assign; distribute according to plan
Exercise
posture, action, or disposition of a figure or a statue
Exercise
modify; cause to change; make different; convert
Exercise
give help or support to, especially as a subordinate
alter  Speak
Exercise
situation; condition; detail accompanying or surrounding an event
Exercise
modify; cause to change; make different; convert
Exercise
declare to be true or admit; express obligation, thanks
Exercise
capable of providing a correct reading or measurement; performing with care and precision
appropriate  Speak
Exercise
travel with; be associated with
Exercise
person or thing that promotes or helps in something done; helper; assistant
Exercise
acquire; take possession of for one's own use; set apart for specific use
Exercise
school for special instruction; society of scholars, scientists, or artists
approximate  Speak
Exercise
theoretical; not concrete; not applied or practical; difficult to understand
Exercise
having to do with citizens or the state; courteous and polite
Exercise
approach; come near
Exercise
express an opinion; remark
arbitrary  Speak
Exercise
assign; distribute according to plan
Exercise
theoretical; not concrete; not applied or practical; difficult to understand
Exercise
link; connection; uniting force or tie; binding agreement; duty
Exercise
randomly chosen; determined by chance or impulse, and not by reason or principle
cite  Speak
Exercise
graph; diagram; map showing coastlines, water depths, or other information of use to navigators
Exercise
quote; adduce as an instance
Exercise
assert a right; raise a formal objection; take exception to
Exercise
speak, plead, or argue in favour of; plead for; push for something
Interactive Spelling - Check your spelling skill online
Read [Esc]
/'æbstrækt/ a. Syn. theoretical; abstruse
theoretical; not concrete; not applied or practical; difficult to understand
To him, hunger was an [___] concept; he had never missed a meal.


Spelling Word: abstract
Read [Esc]
/'æksɛs/ n. Syn. approach
approach; entry; entrance
It remains to be seen whether the multinationals like Chevron, Exxon Mobil, and BP will give in to Mr Chavez's brinksmanship as they know he needs them as much as they need [___] to his oil.


Spelling Word: access
Read [Esc]
/ə'tʃi:v/ v. Syn. accomplish; fulfill
gain with effort; accomplish; fulfill
Water, energy, health, agriculture, and biodiversity, require the world's scientific community to come up with the means to [___] sustainable development.


Spelling Word: achieve
Read [Esc]
/'æləkeɪt/ v. Syn. assign
assign; distribute according to plan
Even though the Red Cross did [___] a large sum for the relief of the sufferers of the disaster, many people perished.


Spelling Word: allocate
Read [Esc]
/ə'næləsɪs/ n. Syn. study; investigation
study; investigation; process of breaking down a substance into its constituent parts
You can read more about those studies here, and my [___] is here.


Spelling Word: analysis
Read [Esc]
/'ɑrbɪtrərɪ/;/'ɑrrbɪtrɛrɪ/ a. Syn. capricious; impulse
randomly chosen; determined by chance or impulse, and not by reason or principle
He threw an [___] assortment of clothes into his suitcase and headed off, not caring where he went.


Spelling Word: arbitrary
Read [Esc]
/ə'wɛə(r)/ a.
knowing; having knowledge or cognizance
BPA, as you're likely [___], is a chemical commonly found in plastics, food cans, and water bottles.


Spelling Word: aware
Read [Esc]
/bri:f/ a.
short in time, duration, length, or extent; concise
When my [___] career as a pop star ended, I found I had done fairly well.


Spelling Word: brief
Read [Esc]
/'tʃæptə(r)/ n.
division of a book or treatise; assembly of monks; bishop's council; organized branch of some society
A new [___] in a novel is something like a new scene in a play.


Spelling Word: chapter
Read [Esc]
/saɪt/ v. Syn. quote
quote; adduce as an instance
She could [___] passages in the Bible from memory.


Spelling Word: cite