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How to improve vocabulary in 3 simple ways

Added: Friday, June 14th 2013 at 4:47am by LingoDiction


Are you one of those who get jitters when it comes to vocab tests? Or are you so good at language that vocab building doesn’t interest you much? Or are you just looking forward to get hold of more words of English? If you are any of the above, this article is aimed at your rescue. With TOEFL season approaching and exams like IELTS and SAT conducted round the year, you cannot afford to keep your word power low. Just keeping a dictionary in front of your face or tucked in armpit cannot make you win this battle. There are more than 1.7 million words in English language, out of which only 20-25 thousand are commonly used. Many more words to go and youarestillfollowing that old cramming technique?

Time to buck up! It takes just 3 ‘ize’ to break this ice:

1. Memorize- This is the base of your vocabulary building. Needless to say, the stronger it is the higher you build. This is your first-time confrontation with new words of English. I do not intend to judge your learning skills. So, the best suggestion would be - bring out all the mnemonic tricks and use the one best suitable for your brain. Some of the popular tricks may be: Rhyme Mnemonics, Image Mnemonics, Connection Mnemonics, Music Mnemonics, Split the word in multiple meaningful words, etc.

2. Revise- It is very important to keep re-visiting the memory. By revising, you activate your passive memory. The panacea to revision and retention of words is - play games! Play a lot of games to keep your word stock alive. Play on the go and surf App Store and Play Store for best games on your Android and iOS devices. Some of the best games are listed below:

  • Scramble - Or Scrabble. It is one of the favorite games in a lot of houses. Many with smart devices play ‘Scramble with Friends’ to keep their vocab intact. When you arrange the cluster of alphabets into meaningful words, it removes the cobwebs from your memory. One of the biggest benefits of playing this game is that it strengthens the spellings of the players. So, get the game in offline or online mode and pull you own strings!

  • Guess the Word - As the name suggests, only some portions of word are visible to you. You brainstorm to come across the word that fits into it. This challenges the memory to revive all the words known to it. Exercising the brain is essential to build a sharper memory.

  • Army of Synonyms - When you come across a lot of words and meanings, you will find out many words with similar and completely opposite meanings, as in synonyms and antonyms. In any English Test, they do not just ask the meanings, but synonyms and antonyms form more number of questions than direct meanings. This way, they test your understanding for multiple words through one question. Do you still need to know why to practice them?

  • Match It - This game facilitates better understanding of the nature of the words. If a words is a noun, verb, adverb, adjective or preposition. You match the words to their respective categories. Right or wrong, you would not mistake the words once you have learnt them.

  • Quizzes - Quiz has been the best challenge for every kind of knowledge. Counter-questioning pulls you into the brainstorming mode and when a brain is stormed, it refreshes the memory. It retrieves the words from the memory, leaving it active for a longer period of time. You reach close to the right answer, or may be very far or completely opposite. You take a laugh at yourself and simultaneously correct yourself. This staples the words and their attributes in the memory. A quiz is the great tool of self-evaluation. Chances of improvising increases with every successive quiz you take.     

3. Utilize- Practice makes a man perfect. Even a woman! Inculcate a habit of using new words into your daily verbal communication. When you use new words there are three things that happen- the usage of the word is revised and get better grasp of it, you get some gasps or impressive glares when you explain the word to your pees and you feel more confident about your vocab! Isn’t is a cool thing to do?


A rich vocabulary doesn't come overnight. When it comes to preparing for a competitive English test like TOEFL, GRE, GMAT, IELTS and SAT, it take even more fastidious vocab. So, prepare smart and score smart!

User Comments

My brother is appearing for Toefl this season,

I agree with you as aides like Scramble enhance retention. Wern't these ubiquitos exercises - Fill up the blanks, Match it, Jumbles- fun to work upon at the end of a boring grammar chapter? No doubt technology is binging innovation to teaching techniques.{#basic-laugh.gif}

I have tried many applications on my iPad related to vocab and prep, I hope this one would solve my problem... Thanks for sharing nice info

The more we know, the less we talk. So, I would recommend LD SAT to every garrulous human out there! ;)

Lol! And I thought I would ask my sister to read this write-up. She is appearing in TOEFL.. {#basic-wink.gif}

Yeah, even I am grateful to this write-up for giving that Deja Vu feel. We used to play all these games years back. Not on gadgets obviously.. Thanks..


Just stumbled upon your write-up! Brilliant piece of work, I must say! Thumbs up!

My favorite mnemonic technique is to bifurcate words into multiple meaningful or related words I know. And it works. I memorized all the words starting with 'A'. 

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