Expanding vocabulary is a challenging task for all students. Poor vocabulary is one of the primary reason why students score low in writing, speaking and reading modules of IELTS/ GRE/ GMAT/ PTE/ CAT. I often suggest students invest a significant amount of time in improving their vocabulary. However, this is easier said than done.
Any student who wants to learn new words must follow a certain set of principles and techniques to improve his vocabulary. The principles are enunciated as follows:
1. Learn a word on exposure.
When you read a new word look up its meaning and not it down either in your notebook or in your smartphone. Assuming that you will remember the word’s meaning
Follow this strategy no matter what. Do not let procrastination break this rule. If you feel lazy make a place to note the word and look up its meaning as soon as possible.
Once a word enters your list repeat it as frequently as possible. Many words won’t stick the first time. Do not expect to master these words the first time you read their meanings.
3. Use the words
Use the newly read words as frequently as possible. Use them with your friends, family members or write an essay using these words. Do not be afraid of the wrong usage. You will gradually improve by practice and eventually become perfect.
4. Read everyday
This is an over-said and under-listened advice. However, if you really wish to improve your vocabulary, read every day for about 30 minutes. Spending just 30 minutes a day translates to 5475 hours a hear. I’m sure you will tremendously improve your English by diligently following this strategy.
5. Be patient
The key to learning anything is patience. Keep your head down and work hard. Remember “learning is a marathon, not a sprint”. Read every day, write word meanings as soon as possible and keep using the words with your friends and family.
6. Understand your brain
This is how the human brain works: Our brain uses neurons to save memories. As we read, these neurons fire electrical signals that pass through neural paths to reach our brain. An event is registered as new memory if a neural pathway has never been traveled and an existing memory is it has been traveled earlier. The more a pathway is traversed, the easier it is for the brain to remember an event.
So, all you have to do is keep repeating things and keep practicing to become an expert. As your neural pathways for the English language become stronger, you will start remembering words and their usage.
7. 1+1+1 rule
Finally, follow this rule. Simply put, repeat what you learned on a particular day the same evening. Repeat what you learned throughout the week on every Sunday and on last Sunday of the month repeat what you read in the entire month. Three repetitions will make your neural pathways stronger.
Here are links to some of my blog posts related to vocabulary and speaking articles:
Improve your vocabulary with ELTEC’s Vocabulary articles.