Are you planning to take a proficiency test (like IELTS or TOEFL or Cambridge FCE/CAE)? If so, your writing, reading, speaking, listening, and grammar skills will be tested. But what exactly is an examiner looking for, and how can you improve your score? One of the most important things that you can do is learn to naturally use English idioms and expressions. Command of the language in this way will improve your score.
Don’t know which test you should take? Check out our article “How to Choose the Proficiency Test That’s Right for You.“
Idioms about “Importance” for TOEFL, IELTS, and Cambridge CAE and FCE
Idioms to describe something/someone important
You will often be asked to talk about someone important during a speaking test, such as in Part 1 of Cambridge FCE/CAE or Part 1 of the IELTS Speaking Module. You might also be asked to talk about a past event or experience. These idioms are perfect for describing important people or situations.
The “big cheese”
Definition: an important person
Example: “One word to describe my childhood? Perhaps ‘chaotic.’ We moved a lot when I was a child. My father was the big cheese of a corporation and every time they opened a new office, he had to oversee the planning and development.”
The head honcho
Definition: an important person
Example: “My goal in the next five years? Well, my career goal is to be the head honcho of my own insurance firm, but I suppose I won’t achieve that within the next five years. Still, I have made it my goal!”
A gold mine
Definition: full of resources
Example: “One of the most important people in my life is my grandfather. He’s a gold mine of funny stories about his crazy antics as a child, but he also gives incredibly good advice.”
Definition: to be important, to make an impact
Example: “One of the most recent challenges I’ve had is in my job. We had to create a new marketing plan, and at the moment I’m not sure if the plan will carry weight in the future. Time will tell.”
Describing something/someone unimportant
A drop in the bucket
Definition: unimportant, ineffective
Example: “The thing I like the least about learning English is probably phrasal verbs. I try to learn a few each week, but it just feels like a drop in the bucket.”
To not give two hoots
Definition: to not care
Example: “I recently changed companies and I’m much happier now. At my last company I felt like they didn’t give two hoots about their employees, and it didn’t motivate me to work very hard.”
Nothing is more important than your education: be sure to choose a school that will help you improve your confidence in English (and raise your English test proficiency score)! In the video below, our student, Diogo, describes the benefits of a test preparation course with CISL. Diogo is a great example of CISL student success! Are you next?
CISL San Diego Cambridge Testimonial – Diogo from Converse International School on Vimeo.
For more information on improving your scores on proficiency testing, check out these articles:
- How to Deal With a Shy Speaking Test Partner
- Useful Expressions for Cambridge CAE and FCE Speaking Part 1
- Tips for Preparing for the Cambridge ESOL Speaking Exams
- How to Answer When You Don’t Understand the Question in a Speaking Exam
- IELTS Part 1 Speaking Practice
Click here to learn more about CISL’s test preparation classes for IELTS, TOEFL, and Cambridge ESOL.