We can think of vocabulary as the heart of a language. We need words to be able to listen, read, write and speak. We need words to use grammar. You need vocabulary to pass your exam!
What is the first thing you learned when you started studying English?
It probably was a word or a short combination of words.
At level B1 you already have a good basic vocabulary and grammar skills. I’m sure learning new words has become easier for you. You are learning new words every day, but are you learning as many as you could?
Read this article on how to learn new vocabulary efficiently and get even more prepared for you B1 exam!
The way we learn is as important as to what we learn. Learning new vocabulary should be an active process. It follows the same ‘rules’ as any other learning processes. That is; the more you think about something, the more memories you create and the better you remember it in the future!
This blog will show you how, step by step, how you can easily learn (and remember!) at least ten new words by starting with just one.
You can also practise the steps as you read!
(Start by making a mind map with the verb ‘to agree’ in the middle.)
First, find out the meaning of the word and write it on your mind map. Here, an online dictionary is your best friend (Google Dictionary, dictionary.cambridge.org, learnersdictionary.com, thesaurus.com).
Remember, sometimes a word can have many (very) different meanings depending how and where we are using them. For this reason, it may not be useful to just note down one-worded translation. In fact, this can even be misleading. Take a look at the next two examples:
A letter (noun): 1) a symbol of an alphabet or 2) a written message to someone.
To lie (verb): 1) to tell a lie or 2) to be in a horizontal position.
With verbs, note down whether they have regular or irregular conjugation and conjugate when necessary.
It is important that you know how to use the word.
So next, write down example sentences.
Make sentences that you can easily remember! Make them personal or funny, or maybe something that you can use in your everyday life.
Here, for example; ‘I don’t always agree with agree with everyone.’ Or we can use the verb on its own (without an object) and say I agree/ I don’t agree.)
How to learn new vocabulary efficiently (PART 2)?
You have already filled your ‘to agree’ mind map with explaining the meaning of the word with some example sentences.
SYNONYMS AND ANTONYMS
You might have noticed that English language has lots and lots of synonyms. That is why your knowledge in them will be tested in all areas of the B1 exam.
So, your next job is to think of synonyms for your word and write them on your map.
Then, go back to your dictionary and find some more!
Next, find some antonyms- words with opposite meaning.
For example, an antonym for ‘to agree’ is ‘to disagree’.
As you can see, just by finding synonyms and antonyms you have already learned many words
Now, make new words by changing it to different parts of speech (noun, verb, adjective, adverb…).
Some words with same spelling have different meanings,
a ring (noun) –> to ring (verb).
Or, they can mean similar things;
A lock (noun) –> to lock (verb)
But often you do this by word by adding (removing!) set of letter in front of the word. These are called prefixes and suffixes;
A lock (noun) –>locked (adj)
to agree –> an agreement (noun)
What other prefixes and suffixes are there in English?
Here’s what you could have so far
PREPOSITIONS AND PHRASAL VERBS
What are the common prepositions associated with the word? How about phrasal verbs?
to agree + with (somebody)
to agree + to (do something)
to agree + on (something)
Note these down with examples.
Last but not least! Are there any idioms (fixed expressions) with the word?
Note these down as well!
With our example; ‘agree to disagree’ or ‘couldn’t agree more’
And there you have it; this is how your mind map could look like:
Now, practise with some more words!
Here’s a few to start with:
a cycle (focus on prefixes and suffixes !)
luck (n, uncountable)