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Cool & contemporary vocab: current affairs

You may have come across the following collection of words and phrases if you’ve been keeping up with recent events by reading newspapers or news websites.

By studying the ones we have selected for this blogpost you can hopefully not only recognise and understand them but actually start using them in conversation and in your essay writing.

The IELTS writing test uses general global issues for the Task 2 essay questions and Part 3 in the IELTS speaking test has even more general topics. So, if you can give contemporary examples with advanced vocabulary, you should get a much better band score.

current affairs



meaning: when someone breaks into a computer system to see, change or take information.
example: Hilary Clinton’s server was hacked because it was not secure.


meaning: when something is so incredible that you can’t believe it.
example: the video of the skydiver who jumped out a plane with no parachute was jaw-dropping.

meaning: when someone makes statements with no care about how damaging they are.
example: Donald Trump continues to make irresponsible declarations that offend people.

meaning: when you do something and it has serious negative consequences.
example: Donald Trump faces a backlash from his negative comments about a war veteran.

meaning: when the military try to take control of a country but do not succeed.
example: there was a failed military coup recently in Turkey.

meaning: when the public are asked to vote on a single question.
example: British people voted in a referendum in the UK and decided to leave the European Union.

meaning: to start the 2 year process of leaving the EU using an article in the EU constitution.
example: The UK government has not triggered article 50 yet but will probably do it next year.

meaning: when people attack others because of prejudice.
example: the amount of hate crime has increased in some cities because people are angry and need to blame it on others.

Phrasal Verbs


meaning: to decrease the amount of something bad such as corruption.
example: the Pokemon Go developers want to crack down on illegal copies.

meaning: to completely stop or eradicate something.
example: Olympic regulators aim to completely stamp out cheating.

meaning: to find out information you did not know so you have the same as other people.
example: I have not read any news in a week so I need to catch up on what’s been happening in the world.

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Nguyen Minh - Vietnam

Nguyen Minh - Vietnam

​I have had two urgencies related to English problem in my life. The first one was when I needed an IELTS certificate of 7.0 with no sub-band below 6.0 to be eligible for an Australian scholarship. Subsequently, the second critical moment was when my PhD application had successfully been through the first stage and an interview was waiting for me before a final decision would be made. Fortunately, I have used iPassIELTS services to solve, and the results were beyond my expectation! I have a 7.0 IELTS and a fully-funded scholarship offer to study PhD in Australia! For myself, I have no hesitation to recommend iPassIELTS to anyone still struggling with English in any situations, IELTS or an Interview or something else! Many many many thanks to Mrs. Jenny and Mr. Nigel for all their help!

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