What the band descriptors say:
– So what does this actually mean?
As a student begins to fully understand the use of vocabulary to convey complex ideas, they are now able to that vocabulary with greater ease.\
A larger variety of vocabulary, as well as idiomatic language, is used in the right context and shows the students ability to use style and collocation in their speech. Mistakes do occur but are very rare.
The candidate’s use of paraphrasing is such that it does not distract from the overall performance.
– What can you do?
Idiomatic language can be extremely difficult for a candidate to understand and use properly. In English, we use this language without really realizing, and the meaning of it can be confusing to students. Journalism is a great resource of how to use them correctly as they constantly try to create an image in the viewers/ readers mind about the situation they are describing.
A common mistake of candidates is to learn one or two ( usually “every coin has two sides” or “not my cup of tea”) and try to get them into their speech at any cost. Usually, this looks forced and as if the student doesn’t really know the meaning.
Phrasal verbs are an easy introduction to idiomatic language and something that students of this level should be aware of. Examples like ‘get along with’ or ‘put out’ will not get you this score but if you look to higher examples such as ‘back somebody up’ or ‘pass away’ then you can’t go far wrong.
As with a lot of elements in the IELTS Speaking Test, variety is the key and two or three examples of this type of language is what you are looking for.