Learn IELTS Vocabulary: Achievements

Apr 23, 2020 | IELTS Test, IELTS Vocabulary

IELTS Speaking Vocabulary: Achievements/Goals 

Talking about an achievement is a topic that has appeared several times in recent years. There are also topics which match very closely – for example talking about a goal.

Read the following speaking-style questions, paying close attention to words you don’t know and the words in bold. There are definitions for the words in bold at the end of the page.

you read the conversation, you might like to download this free PDF quiz and have a go at completing the blanks.

Part 1-style questions

Examiner: What is your biggest goal in life?

Candidate: My most immediate goal is to earn enough money to pay for my daily expenses. My long-term goal is to buy a large house on the coast.

Examiner: How do you plan to achieve that goal?

Candidate: I plan to get a promotion and knuckle down to some hard work. I think my goal is attainable – but I need to get serious about putting money aside.

Examiner: Do you think your goals will change as you get older?

Candidate: I don’t think anything has to be set in stone. If I look at my parents as role models, I may find that I want to live within my means and have a simpler lifestyle.

Part 2

Talk about an achievement you are proud of.

You should say:

– what the achievement was

– why you are proud of it

– how other people reacted

and explain why it was so important to you.

construction worker carrying plywood



Last year, I got a job in the building industry, which is traditionally male-dominated. It was tough to find acceptance at first. But I am lucky because my boss is very egalitarian and believes everyone should be given an equal chance.

At the beginning, many of my work colleagues were doubtful I could succeed. I just set myself realistic goals that I could work towards. My crowning moment came when I caught a mistake one of my more experienced colleagues had made. It saved the company a lot of money.

Since then, everyone has been very welcoming, and I have taken everything in my stride. It’s important to me to feel I am making a positive contribution to the world around me.

Part 3-style questions

Examiner: Do you think it’s important for people to have dreams or goals? [Evaluate]

Candidate: Yes – it’s really important to have explicit goals. They shouldn’t be too modest, but they must be achievable; otherwise, people might give up.

Examiner: Do you think men and women generally have the same goals? [Compare]

Candidate: I think their goals are ultimately very similar – but everyone wants different things. I think a woman’s goals are sometimes more elusive, and they have to strive harder.

Examiner: In your country, what goals do young people generally have? [identify]

Candidate: I think young people are more idealistic and they dream of having a high-paying job and a perfect home. Their primary goal is to earn a good income.

Definitions for IELTS Achievement Vocabulary

Part 1

immediate goal — a goal that you need to achieve very soon

long-term — continuing to be relevant a long time in the future 

knuckle down — to start working hard, especially when you have been delaying

attainable — possible to achieve

putting money aside — saving money for the future

set in stone — something that cannot be changed 

live within my means — to spend less than you are earning 

Part 2

male-dominated — controlled mainly by men, or primarily consisting of men

egalitarian — believing that all people are equal

realistic — something which is achievable 

crowning moment — the last and most significant in a series of achievements  

taken everything in (your) stride — to calmly deal with something and not let it affect you

Part 3

explicit — very clear and well defined

achievable — something that is possible 

elusive — difficult to find or achieve  

strive — make great efforts to achieve or attain something

idealistic — believing very firmly in something good but probably impossible to achieve

the primary goal — the end goal that you really want

Practice Your IELTS Achievement/Goal Vocabulary 

Record yourself answering this question and send it to us for professional feedback.

Our feedback is based on the official IELTS Speaking Descriptors and will give you precise information on how to improve.

We will publish the details of this service and its prices soon. In the meantime, you can contact us here if you would like to be one of the first.

Return from IELTS Advice Vocabulary to IELTS vocabulary home page 

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