Five Ways to learn and remember English vocabulary

Five Ways to learn and remember English vocabulary

Learning and remembering vocabulary plays an essential part of acquiring English language as well as passing standardized tests such as the IELTS. How can I memorize English words and stop forgetting them? This is a frequently asked question from learners. Here are five fun and effective tips to expand your vocabulary.

Read and listen

Learning new words through reading or listening is better than just memorizing words on wordbooks because they provide you with a meaningful context. Find the fields that you are most interested in and read news from BBCCNN or New York Times. If you have time, try to read short English novels such as Pride and Prejudice, The Old Man and the Sea and Animal Farm. TV shows and videos are also good resources for picking up new words. Watch Ted Talks , open college courses and your favorite English shows with subtitles. Try to guess the meaning of new words you come across while reading or watching and then look them up in dictionaries.

Use effective dictionaries

As you all know, a dictionary is a must when learning new words. However, as there are tons of dictionaries in the world, you may wonder what kind of dictionary is best for you. I recommend using two dictionaries. One dictionary gives definitions and examples of a word in English and the other gives translation in your native language.

I also recommend using Merriam-Webster. It is a free online dictionary where you can find English definitions, examples, origins and related words. It also provides a word per day and some word games on its website so that you can learn a word everyday and check how strong your vocabulary is.

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Make Frayer four-square vocabulary charts

Below is an example of the four-square chart.

Frayer four square vocabulary chart sample -magoosh

Put the word in the center circle and write down definitions, home language translation, examples and non-examples in the four blanks. You can also replace any of them with pictures or key facts about the word. The point here is to understand the word more deeply so that you can remember it better. Besides, you can go over the words anytime and anywhere as the chart is easy to carry.

Arrange new words into categories

Spend some time on arranging new learned words into categories on your notebook each week. For example, you can put adjectives describing a person’s personality, adjectives describing emotions and adjectives describing places into three different categories. It helps you to review what you have learned and make connections between the words so that you can stick them into long term memory better.

Use new words in conversation or writing

Try to use new words in conversations with a partner. If you can’t find a partner, just create a possible situation and talk to yourself. It also helps when you use them in your writing. Think about the categories you arranged and use different words each time. Practice with these topics.

The best way to expand your vocabulary is to increase exposure to English, combine different memorization strategies and practice using new words. Most importantly, keep working on it and never give up!

By the way, improve your IELTS score with Magoosh!

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