English / TOEFL / Vocabulary

10 Ways to Remember English Vocabulary Words for TOEFL

When you come across a new word, keep a vocabulary journal to write the word in. The journal could be a notebook or a memo pad on your smartphone, or a vocabulary list on your phone. It will be a resource for you to refer to so that you can build your base of new words and remember vocabulary words more easily through quick review.

  1. In a vocabulary notebook, write your new words under the date, topic, and source (where you listened to or read the word) and category heading such as science, technology, business. Carry the vocabulary list of notes with you (easier if you have them on your phone) and refresh yourself going through the words on the list during your lunch hour or during your commute when you have down time.
  2. Look up the meaning in dictionary.com and write the meaning as well as at least two synonyms. For instance, if the new word is intuitive then synonyms on the list may be innate, inborn, and
  3. Write other word forms of the word. For example, if the new word is intuitive then other word forms would be the following: non intuitive, intuitively, intuitiveness, non-intuitively, non-intuitiveness.
  4. Write down the word in an “example” sentence so you can understand the context and refer back to it. To exemplify with the word intuitive: the team members did the maximum they could have done to accomplish some intuitive thinking.
  5. Write the new word in a sentence about yourself so it becomes personally memorable.
    Writing new vocabulary in such a personalized manner is a self-reflective exercise to stimulate good memory. Not only will you be writing the word down on paper (or typing,) but you will also be putting them into your own context to assist you in learning the meaning.
  6. When possible, draw pictures of the words
    Simple pictures are fine. Consider a way to illustrate a new word to help you to recall it later. As well, for many students, pictures are much easier to remember because it is a visual marker in the brain.
  7. If possible, act out a word as you come across it
    Make a movement or perform the action that most closely describes the word
  8. Pronounce the word aloud, speaking it as you learn it. You can even record yourself on your smartphone saying the new word aloud. Then, afterwards, listen to your voice on your recording to imprint the word in your memory as you say it and listen to it again.
  9. Draw connections between new vocabulary on your list
    If you have used category headings to order your word choice into groups, then it is simply a matter of linking one word to another in the same category to make a sentence on that particular topic. Another idea would be to look for new vocabulary with the same meanings for you to be aware of synonyms. Or, you can review the vocabulary for words with opposing meanings to contrast them. As well, you could review vocabulary on the list by looking for specific parts of speech. If you look at your list and go through the words that are adjectives or nouns, for instance.
  10. Search for and listen for your new word choice
    When you are reading new articles in magazines or books or speaking to others or listening to lectures or movies or TV, be on the lookout for new words that you recall from the list.
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