Here are a few methods for getting new words into your brain…
- Learn words that work together. The famous linguist, Michael Lewis thinks we should learn in ‘lexical chunks’ rather than simply words. This makes good sense, most language comes in blocks or cluster. You know the word ‘depend’ but try to also learn the preposition that goes with it, so learn ‘depend on’. There are lots of expressions that go together like ‘a wide variety’ or ‘complex issue’, make the most of the words you learn by chunking them together.
- Learn words in groups. Try to make sure any groups of separate words are about the same subject. Learn words about the environment together, learn words about economics together.
- Don’t try to learn too much. There’s no point learning fifty words that you will forget next week. Aim for small lists of words that you think you will remember.
- Repeat words or write them down. Some people remember words by saying them, others remember them by writing them down. Stick words around your house if this will help.
- Have an organised system for learning words. Use a notebook / diary / computer system to record the words that you need to know.
- Review your new words often. Little and often is best to learn anything. Five minutes looking at your new words everyday will be better than one hour looking at them over and over again.
- Read a lot. This will increase your knowledge of any passive vocabulary (words you have seen before but don’t quite know) and also expose you to new ones.
- Know how you learn. You know yourself better than anyone. Use whatever works for you!
Check out Richard King’s book for more help with your IELTS exams!