IELTS & TOEFL Academic Vocabulary – Adjectives If you’re preparing for the TOEFL or IELTS, vocabulary is incredibly important. In this lesson, I will give you 10 academic adjectives you may need on your test. Learning vocabulary can improve your score in ALL sections, because it is essential to every aspect of English. These words commonly appear on the tests, and are great to use in your academic writing. The adjectives include ‘aware’, ‘crucial’, ‘prohibited’, ‘visible’, ‘flexible’, and five others. Learn these words with me, and then practice using them on your quiz. Good luck on your test!


Hi, guys. I’m Alex. Thanks for clicking, and welcome to this lesson on IELTS and TOEFL academic vocabulary, with a focus on adjectives. Don’t forget to check out the other IELTS and TOEFL academic vocabulary lessons on verbs and nouns.

Today, we’re going to look at 10 adjectives, and again, this is to help you on your writing, speaking, listening, and reading sections of the IELTS and TOEFL. So, basically, every single section; vocabulary is important for every single section, obviously.

So, the first word we have is: “aware”. Now, again, “aware” is an adjective which means that you are conscious of something or that you have knowledge of something. So, for example: “I was not aware of that fact.” I didn’t have knowledge of that before. So, for example: I was not aware that the red panda was an actual animal. If you don’t know that, look up: “red panda” on Google image search and you’ll see a red panda. It happens. They’re… It’s true.

The next word is: “crucial”. So something that is “crucial” is vital or very important. Think of it as essential, almost. So: “Pronunciation is a crucial part of language.” It’s a very important, vital, essential part, component or aspect of learning language.

The next word we have is: “flexible”. So, if you are “flexible” or something is “flexible”, it is able to be shaped, meaning it’s not rigid. Like this would be not flexible; inflexible. You know, I can’t really bend this very much. So, for example: “Employers want employees who are flexible.” So, if you work for a company, your boss probably likes it if you’re able to work a variety of hours and you can do different types of jobs. So you have many talents and you’re able to, you know, move and bend, depending on the needs of the company.

The next word is: “obvious”. If something is “obvious” – you might be familiar with this word – it’s clear and easy to see. So: “It is obvious that a large population increases traffic.” So, in a city like Toronto, or Hong Kong, or any type of large metropolis or cosmopolitan area, you have large populations and those large populations cause more traffic because you have more people – more cars. So it’s obvious that large populations increase traffic.

Next, we have the word: “prohibited”. If something is “prohibited”, it’s not allowed, it’s forbidden. So, for example: “Smoking is prohibited in most restaurants.” It means that you can’t do it. It’s not allowed in those restaurants.

Okay, guys, let’s look at five more words.

Okay, so the next word is: “relevant”. Now, if something is relevant, it is connected to the current situation or the current issue we are discussing. Another word for “relevant” is: “pertinent”. The example we have on the board is: “Your question is not relevant to this discussion.” So, for example: if I am talking about global warming and you ask me a question about clowns or make-up, that’s not relevant to the thing that we are discussing.

The next adjective is: “reliable”. “Reliable” means able to be predicted or dependable; something you can count on. The sentence we have on the board is: “Everyone wants a reliable source of income.” A reliable source of income means money from your job that you know is going to come, you know, at a dependable pace; so every two weeks, you know you will receive a certain amount of money from your job. So everyone wants a reliable source of money, an income from their job.

The next word is: “secure”. You might know the word: “security” which is the noun form. Here, we’re looking at the adjective which means safe or protected from harm. So: “My city is secure.” We don’t say: “My city is security.” Remember: an adjective is a word that talks about the quality of something or it describes it in some way. So you’re describing your city. In this situation, you say: “My city is secure.” Not “security”. My city has security, it is secure.

The next adjective is: “significant”. So, if something is “significant”, it’s of consequence; it is important. So, for example: “Landing on the moon is one of man’s most significant achievements.” An achievement that has had a tremendous consequence, basically, on our world today and the development of the space program in general.

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