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Why the lexical resource is so important in the IELTS exam

For those unfamiliar with the phrase, ‘lexical resource’, it is simply a collection of words and phrases with the knowledge where it fits correctly. In IELTS tests, 25% of a student’s marks come from their ‘Lexical Resource’. Naturally, the ‘LR’ is of immense importance to a student. The lexical resource is one of the 4 qualification criteria for the 4 types of IELTS tests.

Let me do a discursive discussion on ‘LR’.

For IELTS tests, you must possess a wide range of vocabulary. Since you are not expected to repeat the same words repeatedly on tests and lose points that way, your vocabulary should be rich with similar words. There is a hidden danger in using synonymous words, because in some cases one ‘Synonymous Word’ can have different meanings, so you have to choose the perfect and suitable synonym for each word you use. The fewer common words you use, the better your score will be, but typing uncommon words doesn’t mean you’re typing ‘Long, hard-to-understand words’.

a very common mistake: Students or candidates often make a common mistake, repeating the same word throughout writing or speaking (in the speaking test), instead of using appropriate ‘Synonyms’ (This happens due to lack of knowledge). Therefore, candidates are advised that if they make the same mistake of repeating a word over and over again, they rectify it while reviewing the writing.

Another big mistake is: To run their vocabulary, they make guesses and write an inappropriate word and get penalized. While writing an essay, candidates often get familiar topics like health, education, environment, globalization, and a few more. Therefore, a genuinely prepared candidate, with adequate knowledge of common subjects, is expected to have a wide range of vocabulary on those subjects.

spelling weakness: Weakness in spelling occurs due to lack of practice. Even a candidate with strong vocabulary but weak spelling scores lower. Whereas if one makes the rare or occasional misspelling, one can still make it ‘Band 7’. But there are no instructions on “How rare/occasional” errors are allowed. So, to be on the safe side, strengthen your vocabulary with accurate spelling and pronunciation too.

Placement: It’s a part of ‘LR’, it simply means a grouping of words into sentences, it’s a ‘Very Important Concept’ for any language learner. Only if your ‘Word Combination’ is correct in one sentence, your vocabulary will be counted. It is often seen that while trying to run the vocabulary, candidates make a mess and lose points. At the same time, candidates must know the proper preposition that follows a word, as they often make mistakes in ‘Placement’. A candidate with a large vocabulary but no ‘Collocation’ will get no reward for their demolishing efforts of cramming thousands of words. Using words in the wrong context is penalizing as it changes the meaning of the entire context. So, once again, some more examples: If you write: I made/have made a serious mistake. Yes, of course, it’s a big mistake. You should have written: I/I made a serious mistake.

Errors in the use of prepositions: His painting consists of a series of montages Or, instead, if you write: Your work included of TO number of frames. You have used the words correctly, followed by the preposition ‘of’. But instead, if a candidate writes: his work contains of a series of montages… wrong, it must be: his work contains a series of montages. (just remove the preposition of and all is well.) Therefore, vocabulary enrichment is not possible by cramming dictionaries, rather you must know the correct usage of each word in your vocabulary. Similarly, if you write: A major drawback of the system is… OR A major drawback of the system is… In both cases, you are correct. But, if someone writes: A big disadvantage/inconvenience to gold in the system is… incorrect uses of a preposition, you better repeat a word once or twice but don’t make those mistakes.

Write make a mistake or make a mistake is fine, but never write make a mistake or make a mistake… Both are wrong. If you write… This gentleman has committed a crime… you have also committed one, well, not a crime but a mistake. You are right: This man has committed a crime (being perfect). In such cases, ‘Commit’ is the word that fits the bill. for example, the boy jumped did the pond or in the point… both are wrong. The correct way to write this: The boy jumped into the pond.

Another point to explain the importance of the lexical resource: As mentioned, there’s no use clogging dictionaries to enrich your ‘LR’. Naturally, the question comes to mind, ‘Why so?’. While adding a new word to your LR, you need to know the forms of it, noun form, adjective or adverbial form, etc.: If you write: These two pens are different…Okay, you have written the form adjective But, if someone writes: These two pens are different… Wrong. If you want to use the word ‘difference’ here, you would write: These two pens have differences OR There are differences between the two pens. (Difference is a noun and different is an adjective). So knowing the different forms of each and every word is of immense importance.

However, the phrase ‘Lexical Resource’ instead of ‘Vocabulary’ may still not be clear to some non-native speakers. When you know the meaning of a certain word, it’s in your ‘Vocabulary’, but not necessarily in your LR. According to the dictionary, the meaning of the word “lexical resource” is “available source of richness related to words”. Thus, it clearly explains why ‘LR’ is not just your vocabulary, it is about the deep knowledge of using the words appropriately and accurately according to the context. When writing for your IELTS exams and you are asked to write about a certain topic, you will find that more than a few words will require repetition. Its ability to avoid ‘Repeated Words’ by replacing them with synonymous words is what it calls its ‘lexical resource’. Keep it in your mind, your ‘strong lexical resource’ will allow you to get a higher raid score, as it is always responsible for 25% of your score.

Connotation: A rich ‘lexical resource’ is linked to several things, in addition to collocation, there is a ‘connotation’. It is an extremely important part related to ‘LR’. What is it really? There are many words that are used in both a positive and a negative sense. If you write: ‘She is thin’. It means that you are admiring the girl. But instead, if you write, ‘She’s skinny.’ Does it mean at all that ‘you’re appreciating? No, you are criticizing the girl and indicating that she is too skinny and looks skinny. But the word thin and the word skinny is almost the same word according to the dictionary (almost, not exactly). So you can use the word ‘Affect’ in both senses, examples: Her speech had affected the children in such a way that they became motivated. (It is written in a positive sense). But, if you write ‘Her speech of hers affected the young mind of the boys’. Of course, it has been written in a negative sense.

Therefore, you must have experience in collocation, which means you must write with clarity of understanding and not let readers keep guessing. Then, it is expected that the importance of the ‘lexical resource’ is understood. I am providing some common ‘Collocations’ below. The Verb ‘to have’ and related Nouns or Phrases are like: They have he went to the United States. They have Your breakfast. He is doing His homework. he will do it keep his promise It’s 4 in the afternoon, who isn’t? go and play? See, the uses of the words have, do, keep/keeping are used in such a way that you can call them word families.

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