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Vocabulary: An overlooked element in exam success.

When preparing for an English exam many students overlook just how important vocabulary is. Growing your vocabulary will help you with every aspect of your exam. The big question is then how can I grow my vocabulary? Well, here are some tips on growing your vocabulary.

1. Read Read Read

Reading is a fantastic way to grow your vocabulary. You don’t have to rush out and Pride and Prejudice however, in fact, you can read about anything that interests you. With blogs and websites now plentiful you have no excuse not to be reading.

2. TV and Movies

Watching your favourite tv show or movie can easily help you to grow your vocabulary. Make sure though that you are watching the show or movie with the specific purpose of learning vocabulary. Try not to be passive or get distracted by other things.

3. Play Word Games

Word games are a sure-fire way to help grow your vocabulary. Games such as Scrabble can be fun to play with friends or family or even try doing some crossword puzzles. You can note down any new vocabulary you see and use it later.

4. Word of the Day

Using a word of the day website can help grow your vocabulary. While this might not be as fun as some of the other options the words that you come across could just prove beneficial in that all-important exam.

5. Talk to People

This will help to improve your speaking and listening but it can also really improve your vocabulary. Try to make a note of any new words you hear so that you can look them up later.

What should I do to help remember new vocabulary?

One thing I always recommend is to make the new vocabulary personal to you. For example, I might have just learnt the word important. I could do the following steps in my notebook:

Important (adj)

having a great effect on people or things; of great value.

I will never forget scoring the winning goal in the important cup final I played in when I was a teenager.

(of a person) having great influence or authority

Mark is the most important person in my office.

By writing a sentence and using some personal information you are more likely to remember the word and the meaning.

A final thing you can do is to look at word families. This is simply looking at other word forms.

I might have learnt the word beauty (n) and from this, I could then look at beautify (v), beautiful (adj), and beautifully (adv). Instead of learning one new word, you can learn 3 or 4 new words.

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