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.


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    • This activity includes 21 cards.

OK I understand

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

something very easy

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

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

extremely pleased or happy

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

Those shoes must have cost an arm and a leg.

really expensive

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

miss an opportunity

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

to become comfortable doing something

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

genuine (not fake)

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

a controversial topic

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

something fashionable (usually only for a short time)

Apple phones are very run of the mill these days.

average, ordinary

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)

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

do much more than is required

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

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

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

feeling sad

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

saying something without carefully considering it first

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

happens very rarely

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

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

My parents are quite traditional and set in their ways.

not wanting to change

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

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