The TOEFL Academic Word List: Global Politics

Learning new words—and lots of them—is probably the goal of any student preparing for the TOEFL. The TOEFL requires more vocabulary than casual English conversation. And usually, the purpose of taking the TOEFL is to go to a university in an English speaking country. And English-language degree classes definitely require a high level of vocabulary.

Learning the vocabulary you need for English-language academics can be a lot of work. And sometimes it’s hard to know exactly where to start. Fortunately, Magoosh can help! We offer a free TOEFL Vocabulary PDF. and on this blog, we’re also doing a series of posts about vocabulary from the Academic Word List. This is a special list of the English vocabulary words most commonly used in higher education.

In our last academic word list post, we looked at words that are commonly used in an area of study that’s popular with international students: business. Today, we’re going to look at Academic Word List vocabulary for another subject that international students often major in: geopolitics, the study of world affairs. As usually, we’ll look at every form of each word. I’ve included a list of the suffixes that change the forms of the words, and a chart of the noun, verb, adjective and adverb forms of each vocabulary item.

When there are multiple forms of the word in the same grammar category, I’ve included a footnote to explain the differences in meaning. If you’re not sure about the meanings of any other words in the chart below, look them up on Be sure to play the audio file for each word so you know how it sounds. Once you’ve mastered these words, you’ll be ready for a quiz on them, which I’ll post to this blog in the next week.

Suffix list

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Nouns: -ity, – ation, -ant, -tion, -ance, -al

Verbs: -ate, ent, -ate

Adjectives: -ic, -ing, -ed, -ive, -ical, -ive, -able, -ent

Adverbs: -ally, -ly


* “Immigration” refers to the act of moving to a new country; “immigrant” refers to a person who moves to another country.

** “Reliable” describes someone or something that can always be relied on; “reliant” describes a person or thing that relies on something else.

*** “Negativity” refers to the trait of being negative; “negation” refers to the act of rejecting or undoing something.


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  • David Recine

    David is a Test Prep Expert for Magoosh TOEFL and IELTS. Additionally, he's helped students with TOEIC, PET, FCE, BULATS, Eiken, SAT, ACT, GRE, and GMAT. David has a BS from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire and an MA from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls. His work at Magoosh has been cited in many scholarly articles, his Master's Thesis is featured on the Reading with Pictures website, and he's presented at the WITESOL (link to PDF) and NAFSA conferences. David has taught K-12 ESL in South Korea as well as undergraduate English and MBA-level business English at American universities. He has also trained English teachers in America, Italy, and Peru. Come join David and the Magoosh team on Youtube, Facebook, and Instagram, or connect with him via LinkedIn!

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