When you first start your English course at TEG, it may be a bit overwhelming and you may not know how you will learn all the vocabulary that your teacher will list on the whiteboard. Well, don’t worry, we have come up with a list of ways to help you remember all these unfamiliar words.
1) Keep a diary
Have a special place where you write the words down. You can always buy a notebook with separate sections and put the new vocabulary in different areas to help you remember the parts of speech, from adjectives to phrasal verbs.
2) List synonyms and antonyms
This will help expand your vocabulary a great deal and will help you to remember the words, as well as related words, again increasing your chance to remember.
3) Use mnemonics
This is good for longer words and the spellings associated with them. For example, the word because. You can look at the word as Big Elephants Can Always Understand Small Elephants.
As not all words are equally important, always consider what vocabulary you actually need when you speak or hear the language. Memorising rare and strange words may make you proud of your English but how often will you be able to use them?
5) Don’t just translate
Being able to translate the word into your own language is helpful but not enough. Apart from the meaning, spend time practising the spelling and the pronunciation of the words. Trying to put the word in a sentence will also make it memorable.
6) Why not use your mobile phone or laptop
There are wonderful ways technology can help you remember vocabulary. Try the app Quizlet which will allow you to create word lists and has fun ways of practising the vocabulary.
7) Read (and read more)
Many students don’t recognise the value of reading but it is one of the best ways to develop your vocabulary. The more often you read a word, the more likely you are to remember it when you need it. What is more, you will see the words in a context which will help you learn about the how and when we should use the word or phrase.
No, this is not about your household rubbish. To remember words best, seeing them, reading them, hearing them, writing or saying them should happen again and again. Remembering is a process that does not happen at once. Some say that you have to encounter the word at least 8 to 10 times before you remember it.
9) Pace yourself
As opposed to spending hours at a time searching your vocabulary notebook, it is more beneficial to study in short 15 to 20 minute sessions several times a day as the brain will be able to take in several times more this way.
10) Learn phrases
Research shows that it is best not to isolate words but rather to learn phrases like “nice to meet you” or “gorgeous puppy”. This is because these are ready-made “chunks” of language that we can use immediately without fear of mistakes.
Hope this helps but the main thing you should not forget is that learning a language is often best when it is done the light-hearted way. Students who are relaxed and see the process as an enjoyable pastime rather than a stressful task often make the best language learners.