Idioms for IELTS Reading: Most Common Idioms, Sample Questions and Useful Tips 

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Common Idioms for IELTS Reading: Idioms and phrasal verbs play an important part in IELTS Reading. Individuals who are skilled at employing idioms or have a diverse understanding or repertoire of idioms are more likely to excel at IELTS Reading. This is because ‘idioms’ and ‘phrasal verbs’ account for the majority of weightage in the IELTS Reading. As a result, one must be well-versed in the subject, which is both scoring and easy to understand. Let’s have a look at some of the most common idioms that will help you ace your IELTS Reading test. 

10+ Most Common Idioms for IELTS Reading

Most Common Idioms for IELTS Reading: Idioms play a crucial role in bolstering your chances of securing better scores in IELTS Reading. For students aiming for the elusive Band 9 score, expanding their knowledge of idioms and phrases is essential. A strong grasp of diverse idioms and their accurate usage equips test-takers to navigate the nuances of the reading passages effectively.

Therefore, it’s highly beneficial for students to actively broaden their repertoire of idioms. By familiarizing themselves with a variety of common idioms and their precise meanings, they gain valuable tools for unlocking deeper understanding and crafting insightful answers. Here is a curated list of some of the most common idioms for IELTS Reading. 

Out of the blueThe unexpected occurrence of something. His idea, which came out of the blue, surprised the clients in the meeting. 
In the redTo owe money, to not have moneyHe is unable to pay his debts because he is currently in the red. 
Give someone the green lightTo give permissionShe was given the green light to work on her assignment. 
A white lieTo tell a lie that is not very seriousOnce in a while, it is fine to tell a white lie.
Day and nightContinually working without stoppingHe prepared day and night for the upcoming tournament. 
Drop outTo leave without finishingHe dropped out of college to pursue his dream of becoming a musician. 
Learn by heartTo memoriseI have learned all the chemical formulas by heart. 
Brought upRaised/developedClark was brought up in the barns of Kansas. 
Child’s playVery easy to doSolving convoluted mathematical equations was child’s play for him. 
Break a legTo wish someone good luckI hope you ace the interview, break a leg!
Driving me up the wallSomething that annoys youPeople’s tendency to lie through their teeth drives me up the wall.

Common Idioms for IELTS Reading: Sample Questions

Refer below to go through the IELTS Reading Sample Questions. These questions are based on your understanding of idioms and phrases. They are designed to assess your overall proficiency in English Reading. Have a look. 

Question  1:
Look at the sentences below. Which three idioms have the same meaning? Which idiom has the opposite meaning to these three?

  1. Everyone around the table remained silent and I tried to think of a way of breaking the ice.
  2. It’s strange that her two ex-husbands get on like a house on fire!
  3. Oh yes, we go back a long way – we went to nursery school together.
  4. I’m afraid we got off on the wrong foot because I got her name wrong.
  5. They are definitely on the same wavelength – both passionate about green politics.
  6. We didn’t really hit it off– we just aren’t interested in the same things.

Answer: B, E, F

Question 2:  Replace the highlighted words with idioms from this unit in the correct form.

Q. “We get on well, but we have different views on politics. As soon as we start talking about politics, we have an argument – so we tend to avoid the subject.”

Answer: Here, the idiom Sparks fly will be applicable. It means to argue or get angry. 

Q. “Don’t worry – I promised I would help you, and I won’t abandon you.

Answer: Here, the idiom Leave in the lurch is applicable. This statement states that I won’t leave/ abandon you.

Tips for Using Idioms in IELTS Reading

While well-chosen idioms can add colour and nuance to your IELTS Reading test, they’re not to be used in excess. You may use them sparingly and strategically. Here’s how to showcase your understanding of idiomatic language without sounding forced or unnatural:

  •  Overusing idioms can disrupt the flow of your answers and make them seem incoherent and disjointed. Choose them carefully and use them when they truly add impact.
  • Inculcating a habit of daily reading, albeit novels, newspapers, or magazines, is a great way of enhancing your vocabulary and rectifying your grammar skills. Other than that, reading can give you an idea of how to correctly come with up coherent sentence structures. 
  • While showcasing your grasp of irregular verbs can be tempting, prioritize correct conjugations for a polished answer. 
  • Read the paragraphs properly and use idioms that are appropriate and relevant to the question. You can be a little creative whilst using idioms.
  • Avoid using random idioms to sound fancy. Ensure they fit seamlessly into the answer and enhance your point. Misused idioms are like sore thumbs, they stick out awkwardly and create a negative impression.
  • Avoid using informal expressions in the test. Aim for expressions that are appropriate for a formal setting and demonstrate your versatility with language.

So that was all about Idioms for IELTS Reading. Hope the blog has answered your queries regarding the topic. 

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Q1. What are the common idioms for IELTS Reading?

Ans: Out of the blue, In the Red, Give someone the green light and a white lie are some of the most common idioms for IELTS reading. 

Q2. How to score better in IELTS reading? 

Ans: Crack the IELTS reading section by strategically pre-reading the questions, systematically highlighting key words throughout the passages, and carefully analysing the information presented in the introductions and conclusions.

Q3. What is the duration of the IELTS Reading Task? 

Ans: The IELTS Reading Task requires individuals to complete the task within 60 minutes. 

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