Essential Academic Word List – IELTS


To get the score you want in IELTS you need to know academic vocabulary.

Everyday English:There were some people waiting at the bus stop’

Academic English:There were a number of individuals waiting for public transport’.

Here’s a brilliant list to help! Just a few tips before you start.

You can download a pdf of this list here

DON’T try to learn all of them! Concentrate on section 1 and 2 first.

Check out my other blog on how to learn more IELTS vocabulary before you tackle this.


The following list consists of the head-words in AWL. The 570 head-words in the list given in Coxhead (2000), this list has been re-ordered occurs by frequency, from “group 1” (most frequent) to “group 10” (least frequent).

For detail on the development and evaluation of the AWL, see Coxhead, Averil (2000) A New Academic Word List. TESOL Quarterly, 34(2): 213-238.


group 1

analyse approach area assess assume authority
available benefit concept consist constitute context
contract create data define derive distribute
economy environment establish estimate evident export
factor finance formula function identify income
indicate individual interpret involve issue labour
legal legislate major method occur percent
period policy principle proceed process require
research respond role section sector significant
similar source specific structure theory vary

group 2

achieve acquire administrate affect appropriate aspect
assist category chapter commission community complex
compute conclude conduct consequent construct consume
credit culture design distinct element equate
evaluate feature final focus impact injure
institute invest item journal maintain normal
obtain participate perceive positive potential previous
primary purchase range region regulate relevant
reside resource restrict secure seek select
site strategy survey text tradition transfer

For more IELTS help, check out Richard L King’s Teach yourself IELTS Reading



group 3

alternative circumstance comment compensate component consent
considerable constant constrain contribute convene coordinate
core corporate correspond criteria deduce demonstrate
document dominate emphasis ensure exclude framework
fund illustrate immigrate imply initial instance
interact justify layer link locate maximise
minor negate outcome partner philosophy physical
proportion publish react register rely remove
scheme sequence sex shift specify sufficient
task technical technique technology valid volume

group 4

access adequate annual apparent approximate attitude
attribute civil code commit communicate concentrate
confer contrast cycle debate despite dimension
domestic emerge error ethnic goal grant
hence hypothesis implement implicate impose integrate
internal investigate job label mechanism obvious
occupy option output overall parallel parameter
phase predict principal prior professional project
promote regime resolve retain series statistic
status stress subsequent sum summary undertake


group 5

academy adjust alter amend aware capacity
challenge clause compound conflict consult contact
decline discrete draft enable energy enforce
entity equivalent evolve expand expose external
facilitate fundamental generate generation image liberal
license logic margin medical mental modify
monitor network notion objective orient perspective
precise prime psychology pursue ratio reject
revenue stable style substitute sustain symbol
target transit trend version welfare whereas

group 6

abstract accurate acknowledge aggregate allocate assign
attach author bond brief capable cite
cooperate discriminate display diverse domain edit
enhance estate exceed expert explicit federal
fee flexible furthermore gender ignorant incentive
incidence incorporate index inhibit initiate input
instruct intelligence interval lecture migrate minimum
ministry motive neutral nevertheless overseas precede
presume rational recover reveal scope subsidy
tape trace transform transport underlie utilise

group 7

adapt adult advocate aid channel chemical
classic comprehensive comprise confirm contrary convert
couple decade definite deny differentiate dispose
dynamic eliminate empirical equip extract file
finite foundation globe grade guarantee hierarchy
identical ideology infer innovate insert intervene
isolate media mode paradigm phenomenon priority
prohibit publication quote release reverse simulate
sole somewhat submit successor survive thesis
topic transmit ultimate unique visible voluntary

group 8

abandon accompany accumulate ambiguous append appreciate
arbitrary automate bias chart clarify commodity
complement conform contemporary contradict crucial currency
denote detect deviate displace drama eventual
exhibit exploit fluctuate guideline highlight implicit
induce inevitable infrastructure inspect intense manipulate
minimise nuclear offset paragraph plus practitioner
predominant prospect radical random reinforce restore
revise schedule tense terminate theme thereby
uniform vehicle via virtual visual widespread

group 9

accommodate analogy anticipate assure attain behalf
bulk cease coherent coincide commence compatible
concurrent confine controversy converse device devote
diminish distort duration erode ethic format
founded inherent insight integral intermediate manual
mature mediate medium military minimal mutual
norm overlap passive portion preliminary protocol
qualitative refine relax restrain revolution rigid
route scenario sphere subordinate supplement suspend
team temporary trigger unify violate vision

group 10

adjacent albeit assemble collapse colleague compile
conceive convince depress encounter enormous forthcoming
incline integrity intrinsic invoke levy likewise
nonetheless notwithstanding odd ongoing panel persist
pose reluctance so-called straightforward undergo whereby




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