Learning New Vocabulary

Keeping a vocabulary notebook is one way to improve your English word choice. First, read articles and identify new words, writing them in a notepad. An online tool you can use with mobile access is http://www.myschoolnotebook.com/ Make two columns with the new word on the left and the definition (with synonym and example) on the right. You can divide the vocabulary into categories by using stickers or post-it’s to mark the different sections of your notebook. Refer to the vocabulary weekly to recall the words or make sentences. Here are some TOEFL topics that you could use as notebook sections:

Art (art, theater, literature, architecture, music, film)


Environment (Agriculture)


Humanities (history, politics, government, law)

Life Science (Anatomy, Biology, Ecology, Genetics, Health, Paleontology, Zoology)

Social Sciences (anthropology, economics, archaeology)

Physical Sciences (Astronomy, Physics, Math, Computer Science, Earth Science)


Articles usage in English grammar

Though a foreign individual may speak English fluently, he/she often has a challenge with grammar articles in English. One example of this is that “a” and “the” do not exist in Japanese, and are function words not containing any meaning. Thus, foreign students often cannot hear these articles while they are listening to English. This makes it difficult to learn the articles. The grammar rules on when to use articles are often complicated and even native English speakers cannot explain the rules correctly. Don’t feel frustrated with English articles, just dedicate extra practice to articles in your English writing so that you can become more familiar with their correct usage.