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Tip #3 Study Vocabulary

Grammar is like an engine, and vocabulary is the fuel for your engine. If you can use past perfect progressive and passive voice like a pro, you have a powerful engine. But if you don’t have enough vocabulary “fuel,” your powerful engine of grammar skills still won’t take you anywhere! This article covers what vocabulary you should study for the IELTS as well as how to study it.

What Vocabulary to Study

First, something that can’t be stressed enough—the vocabulary you study should depend on the type of IELTS test you are taking. Why? Because the IELTS General Training test and the IELTS Academic test have different reading and writing sections. These sections will have different types of vocabulary. If you’re studying for the IETLS General Training test, you should be studying general high frequency words. If you’re studying for the IETLS Academic test, you should be studying academic high frequency words.

vocabulary

What are high frequency words? Simply put, high frequency words are the words that people use the most. General high frequency words are words that are most commonly used in English as a whole. Academic high frequency academic words are most commonly used words in academic settings—for example, in scholarly articles or in interactions between professors and students.

How do you know what words are “high frequency” words? Luckily, you don’t have to figure it out yourself! Linguists have spent much time developing high frequency words lists based on careful research. If you are studying for the IETLS General Training test, you might try studying the New General Service List. If you are studying for the IETLS Academic test, you’ll find the New Academic Word List more helpful.

You might wonder why you just shouldn’t study any words that you don’t know. After all, it’s always good to study new words, right? While that may be true, to study for the IELTS, some words will be much more useful than others. You likely have limited time before you will take the test. These vocabulary lists will help you study the words that you’re most likely to see, hear, read, and want to say on the IELTS—maximizing your time spent studying vocabulary.

How to Study Vocabulary

Study vocabulary every day. Even if it’s just a few minutes, some study every day will be better than several hours once a week. Most people need a lot of repetition of new words. You will get the repetition you need only by reviewing vocabulary daily.

To use repetition to your best advantage, practice “spaced repetition.” To do this, study the same words several times, but always increase the time between study sessions with those words. For example, say you study seven words one day. The next day, study those same seven words again. After that, study those words again in two days, then in four days, then in a week, in two weeks, in a month, etc. During the days that you don’t study those seven words, introduce new words that you will also repeat with spaced repetition. This will mean that you have different groups of words following different study schedules. Make a system for yourself so that you can keep track of what group of words you should study each day and when you should study each group again.

You can practice spaced repetition with vocabulary using paper lists or paper flashcards, but you can also use technology to help you. For example, Anki is a program that allows you to create or download electronic flashcards. This program can automatically regulate spaced repetition so that you don’t have to keep track of what words you need to study each day.

Don’t let vocabulary hold you back from getting your ideal score on the IELTS. Commit to studying vocabulary every day, and look for opportunities to use the vocabulary you learn when speaking and writing in English. To improve your spoken vocabulary, you can ask English-speaking friends to tell you when you use a word incorrectly. However, because English speakers don’t always feel comfortable pointing out mistakes, you may want to consider working with an English teacher who has been trained to help you fix vocabulary errors.

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Advanced English Business English Construction English English for Science English Oddities For new students General English IELTS Preparation Listening Medical English News presentation skills pronunciation speaking TOEFL Uncategorized Vocabulary Writing in English

3 Ways to Practice English in Everyday Life

The best English speakers practice their language every day, in a variety of ways. The same is true for a native speaker of any language! The best way to reinforce your knowledge is to diversify the ways you practice the language with your body: through speaking and writing. Applying both your mouth and your hands in the learning process will make you remember!

⦁ Make an effort to memorize the names of common household or personal objects, like your watch, your keys, your attire, or your hairbrush. When using these objects, speak them out loud. Just say them to yourself or say it to someone close to you: “This is a toothbrush!” or “These are my pants!” or “This is my watch!”, and use them in different contexts. Be silly, have fun, enjoy the experience of learning, it’s a fantastic journey. Click this link for some help in pronunciations.

0. Learn the phrases you are likely to use in your language in English. People commonly greet each other, or use an exclamation when they make a mistake, or give instructions for dinner, or perhaps they use the same phrases at the grocery store’s cashier. Thus, we recommend using those phrases in English instead of your own language, even if people give you strange stares. You are learning, it takes effort, and you need to look silly before you can look professional! Click here for help with learning the correct phraseology and grammar for every-day phrases, and to also learn some new ones! Even if you get it wrong, the point is that you are trying! That in itself is a success already.

  1. Something that will help you memorize vocabulary is learning homonyms. Write these down for yourself in a notebook. A homonym can be either a homophone or a homograph. Homographs are spelled the same way, and sound the same way, but have different meanings. Homophones sound the same but are spelled differently. Take the word: “‘watch” for example. The verb ‘to watch’ means to look at something, but the noun ‘watch’ can be used to describe a clock worn on the wrist – it is a homograph! An example of a homophone would be ‘week’ or ‘weak’. One describes a measurement of time, the other describes a physical attribute. Can you think of other examples, maybe words like ‘sun’ or ‘son’? ‘Address’ and ‘address’?

These are interesting little ways to help you become familiar with the intricacies and confusing aspects of the English language. Try each step in your everyday life and never be shy to look for help online, there are many resources out there to help you, and we are one of them!
⦁ By Thomas Marais