One of the most important aspects of learning a new language is learning basic vocabulary words. While comprehension of grammar and sentence structure is important, your understanding of the spoken and written language will improve as you learn more words. This is true for learning any language, but the following tips particularly apply to non-native speakers studying for English vocabulary tests.
-Learn the most common words first, including the words that are important to you. Learn how to introduce yourself by describing who you are, where you’re from, what your family is like, your occupation, your hobbies, or which subjects you’re studying. Words relating to your occupation, hobbies, or studies will likely be the words you most commonly encounter, so it’s important to have a strong understanding of the meaning of those words first.
-Make flashcards with the English vocabulary word on one side and the definition on the other side. Research shows that it takes anywhere from 10 to 20 repetitions to make a word part of your vocabulary, so study the cards a few times per day. If you have trouble remembering the definitions, try using a mnemonic device to jog your memory. For more practice, write the words and definitions in a notebook to get the hang of the spelling of each word.
-Don’t waste time memorizing words that aren’t commonly used English vocabulary words. You can always look words like this up in the dictionary as you encounter them. Your instructor can help you determine which words to focus on and which to ignore.
-When you learned your native language, you were probably able to figure out words you didn’t know by reading them and guessing the meaning based in the context. Reading different genres, like newspapers and books, will help you encounter more unfamiliar words. If you can’t figure out the meaning based on context, look them up in the dictionary.
If your instructor is testing your vocabulary knowledge, be sure to find out how you’ll be tested to best figure out how to prepare. Follow these tips, and you’ll have basic English vocabulary words memorized in no time.
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