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Idioms and Its Proper Use in IELTS Speaking Task

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What is an Idiom?

Why use an Idiom?

Does the use of Idioms increase score in the IELTS exam?

IELTS

In simple words, Idioms are sentences, words or expressions that do not covey the literal meaning but act as an analogy or a metaphor to resemble something else.

Got confused?

What I mean by this is, to understand an Idiom, don’t go by its literal meaning. When one says “it is raining cats and dogs”, they do not actually mean that cats and dogs are falling from the sky but what they mean is, it is raining heavily.

IELTS

Now, it is said that the correct use of Idioms in the IELTS Speaking Test can result in a band score of 7 or higher. If you use an Idiom with the proper inflection, then the examiner will spot it out and boost your IELTS Score, and to whom or what the idiom is directed.

Do not use an idiom while speaking or writing in IELTS Exam unless you have a full understanding of it. While speaking, you need to assert emphasis on certain words, fluctuate the voice tones, show your body language and emotions the way you want the message to be conveyed. Using the idiom in a flat manner or without any fluency will make it seem very unnaturally placed in the sentence.

IELTS
Confused much

In writing, unlike the verbal emphasis, here the examiner will themselves implicitly understand the tone, and the emphasised structure used in the sentence. So, in the IELTS Speaking, use an idiom while describing an event to the listener. In IELTS Writing, try to restrict the use of Idioms only to informal writing.

Now, it is good to use idioms in the IELTS Exam, but don’t use it if you don’t understand it. NEVER try to mug up idioms or try to fit it in a sentence purposely. Scoring a band score of 7 or more doesn’t solely depend on the use of idioms, there are also other factors playing a part. The examiner doesn’t want a person who can use an idiom but the way they use them- that’s the scoring part. If you don’t understand them, do not bother to use them in the exam otherwise you would just end up losing marks over them.

To raise your score in the IELTS Speaking Test, here are a few common Idioms you can employ.

and then some. – in addition to. He paid hundreds of dollars and then some.

over the moon– to be extremely happy or pleased. She was over the moon when she heard the news.

a piece of cake– very easy. Climbing this hill will be a piece of cake for me.

burn the midnight oil– to stay up late. I’ll have to burn the midnight oil to finish this report.

IELTS

found my feet– to be comfortable in a situation. I asked Alex whether I could stay with him until I found my feet.

go the extra mile– to make more efforts. Are you willing to go the extra mile for her?

call it a day– to end the work for the day. I’m very exhausted, I’m going to call it a day.

dicey– the situation is not certain, a gamble. The future of this company looks a bit dicey.

set in their ways– stubborn, not ready to change. My grandparents are quite set in their ways.

cost an arm and a leg– quite expensive. Those bags can cost you an arm and a leg.

So, these were some of the commonly used idioms you can take advantage of in the IELTS Exam but again would like to remind you that it’s not necessary to use any idiom unless it perfectly fits in the sentence, and is fluently spoken. Remember you don’t have to try to become a master when you’re not even naïve. Just focus on laying down one brick at a time and correctly. You don’t have to worry about the wall, just focus on the brick. So, you need to practise speaking every day and inculcate idioms in your daily life. For IELTS Speaking tips, make sure to read this blog Boost your IELTS Speaking Score to Band 7 or Higher.

If you want to ace the Speaking Section, sign up on IELTS Tutorials and get FREE Practice tests and in your own sweet time and place, you can do the IELTS Speaking Practice Online. If you need any assistance for any query or clarification, feel free to contact us.

About the Author:

With almost a decade of experience in the Education and Immigration Department, Mr Milan Patel have raised Aussizz Group on to a high peak of success. With his expert guidance and knowledge, IELTS Tutorials have been able to impart education to hundreds of IELTS aspirants and have made their dream of going abroad true.

Next Story

Professor Offers Students Higher Grade For More Sleep

Bessesen notes that some medical school programs require student doctors to sleep more to prevent accidents.

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Students, CLass,
A graduate from Columbia University's School of Engineering sleeps during the university's commencement ceremony in New York, May 16, 2012. VOA

No amount of lecturing seems to persuade students to get more sleep.

But one professor uses bait they can’t resist.

Michael Scullin teaches the science of sleep to psychology students at Baylor University in Waco, Texas. He lectures about physical and mental health problems caused by a lack of sleep. Those problems include difficulty focusing and controlling one’s emotions, and increased risk of disease.

“When you are at your most sleep deprived is when you are least likely to be able to judge how sleepy you are, and how much that sleepiness is impacting you,” Scullin says.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advises adults to get at least seven hours of sleep a night to stay healthy, but more and more Americans report getting fewer than six hours of sleep per night.

His students seemed to enjoy the class, Scullin says. But when he asked if they were getting more sleep after what they learned in class, most of them said no.

Sleep, Class
A student sleeps in the hallway of Hall Memorial Building on the campus of Gallaudet University in Washington, Oct. 6, 2006. VOA

So Scullin came up with a plan to get his students to sleep more: He offered them extra points on their final exam, the most important test in the class.

The plan worked better than Scullin expected. Students who slept more performed better in two different classes, and Scullin published his findings in two academic publications last November.

How did the study work?

Scullin started the experiment with his psychology students. He told them that if they agreed to sleep at least eight hours a night for the five nights before the final exam, they would get several extra credit points. But if they agreed to take part in the study and failed to get the required amount of sleep, they would lose points on the exam. The students would wear special devices that recorded their sleep data.

Only eight out of the 18 total students in that first group agreed to take part in the experiment. Yet all the students who took part performed better on the exam than those who did not, even before the extra credit points were added. On average, they earned about five points more on the exam.

Scullin decided to repeat the study with another group of 16 design students. He chose not to punish students who failed to sleep the full eight hours per night, and got the same results.

sleeping, impairment, inflammation, SLeep
Don’t consume caffeinated drinks less than six hours before you go to sleep. Pixabay

Daniel Bessesen, as associate director of the Anschutz Health and Wellness Center at the University of Colorado, researches sleep. He says Scullin’s study supports the idea that sleep helps academic performance while students who cram — or stay up the night before the test trying to memorize the material — are likely worse off.

While Scullin’s study fits in with other sleep research, Bessesen says for it to be more scientific, the two groups should have been studying the same subject and taking the same test. In addition, students should have been randomly chosen for sleeping or staying awake.

How to get people to sleep more

Scullin and Bessesen offer some advice on how to get more sleep each night:

  • Parents, try to get enough sleep to role model good habits to children. Bessesen notes that some medical school programs require student doctors to sleep more to prevent accidents.
  • Avoid looking at electronics before you fall asleep.
  • Don’t consume caffeinated drinks less than six hours before you go to sleep.
  • Try to go to sleep at the same time every night.

Also Read: New Sleeping Pill Can Help Patients Wake up in Response to Threat

  • If you are lying in bed and cannot calm your mind, get out of bed and spend five to 10 minutes writing down all of your thoughts.
  • If you wake up in the middle of the night and cannot fall back asleep, do not turn on the lights! Instead, get out of bed and go into another room. Wait there until you feel tired. (VOA)