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How to learn new vocabulary effectively


1. If you come across a potentially useful new word or phrase in a text, use a dictionary to look it up. Pay particular attention to the example sentences given and any information given about collocations.

2. If a word or phrase seems speccailised, obscure or recondite, you should not necessarily try to remember it- often you can guess its meaningfrom the context anyway. Make your own choices about new words or phrases are "useful" or not.

3. Hightlight useful new words so that they stand out whenever you flip through the book. Flip through the units you have covered so far at least once a week- you could do this on the bus, on your way to or from class, for example.This helps you to assimilate the words so that eventually you can incorporate them into your active vocabulary, and use them in yor writing and conversation.

4. Writing new words on your notebook will help you to memorise new words, particularly their meaning. If you put words in categories, rather than making a chronological list, it will be easier to find them again later. New words can be stored under topic headings: Free time, Sport, Music, Literature, ect. Or you may prefer to build up a "personal dictionary" where each fresh page lists words beginning with A, B, C and so on.

5. Use a loose-leaf "personal organiser" or filofax as your vocabulary notebook. New pages can be inserted when you run out of space in each category. Or use a notebook computer.

6. When writing new words in your notebook, write an example of each word in a sentence, as well as a definition. If it is a difficult word to pronounce, make a note of its pronunciation too. Leave a line space between each entry in case you want to add more information at a later date