More academic idioms

Here are some more academic idioms for you to use in IELTS speaking!

Guess the meaning of the idioms (highlighted in bold type), then click the card to see the meaning on the reverse.


  1. Click or touch a card to flip it over.
  2. Click or touch again to flip back.
  3. Other information
    • This activity includes 21 cards.

OK I understand

I don’t think her new handbag is the real McCoy.

genuine (not fake)

The new iPhone is really the in-thing at the moment.

something fashionable (usually only for a short time)

I was really down in the dumps after my dog died.

feeling sad

Those shoes must have cost an arm and a leg.

really expensive

I decided to go the extra mile and move to England to really perfect my English.

do much more than is required

I sent my application in late, so I think I missed the boat

miss an opportunity

Lots of people have great business ideas but do nothing about them. Actions speak louder than words, just do it.

it’s better to actually do something than just talk about it

LGBT is a hot potato in my country at the moment.

a controversial topic

Just learning idioms is a drop in the ocean when it comes to preparing for the speaking test.

a very small part of something much bigger

You won’t have to explain it to him twice.  He’s as sharp as a tack.

able to think quickly and learn very fast

My parents are quite traditional and set in their ways.

not wanting to change

A student will get a 9 in the IELTS writing test once in a blue moon

happens very rarely

I haven’t made my mind up about that issue, I’ll have to sit on the fence.

to be undecided, often because you don’t want to offend anybody

Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. You should apply to lots of different universities.

put all your money or effort into one thing (at a risk)

Moving to a new city was difficult as first, but I soon found my feet.

to become comfortable doing something

Apple phones are very run of the mill these days.

average, ordinary

Getting a band 6 in the speaking test will be a piece of cake.

something very easy

I was over the moon when I passed my speaking test.

extremely pleased or happy

My husband is not just my lover, he’s my soul mate.

someone you trust very deeply (usually someone of the opposite sex)

I got 4.5 in reading! Oh well, back to the drawing board.

when you attempted to do something but failed and have to try again

Off the top of my head, I’d say it’s about 2 hours to Ubud.

saying something without carefully considering it first

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>