IELTS tests are designed so that candidates will be assessed fairly and this means that everyone is given a fair chance at demonstrating or “showing off” what they know about the language. Try your best to guess the meaning of the word in context and develop your answer from that understanding. Your examiner wants to see how well you can express your ideas in IELTS Writing and Speaking. You may not get a high score in Task Achievement or Task Response if you are off topic in your writing, for example, but you may do well in other areas such as Grammaar and Accuracy, or Coherence and Cohesion.
If you find that you are struggling to understand a word in an IELTS Speaking Part 2 task for example, it may be that your English is not strong enough to deal with the topic well. Try your best to talk about the subject based on other clues: look at the bullet points; look at the last part of the task. What can you understand from it? Talk about it. The worst thing you could do is give up and keep quiet. Don’t worry if you think it’s off topic. Remember, your examiner wants to see how well you can convey your ideas in any given topic. It is not a test of understanding. Remain confident that you are answering the question well and chances are, that confidence with influence the quality of your speaking.
Until next time!