Three ways to remember vocabulary for your IELTS test
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Three ways to remember vocabulary for your IELTS test

Do you find it difficult to remember new vocabulary? If you do, you're certainly not alone. I think most language learners struggle to remember many of the new words and phrases that they note down or read in vocabulary lists. I can’t promise that you’ll remember every new word you see or hear after you’ve read this post, but hopefully, it will help. Research shows you’ll remember more vocabulary if you categorise it, personalise it and review it. It’s the CPR of vocabulary learning! 1. Categorise vocabulary The following exercise is an example of categorising vocabulary, and you’ll see that it requires a deeper level of thought than simply looking at and trying to remember a list of words. You’ll also see over time that this extra mental effort will help you remember the vocabulary for longer! Look at the words below and answer this question: Which of the following words are associated with television and radio, which are associated with newspapers and magazines, and which are associated with both categories?  You can use a dictionary to check and categorise any words you don’t know.   Make sure you categorise all the vocabulary before checking your answers. If you check the answers without doing the exercise, it won’t help you remember the words! 2. Personalise vocabulary To increase your chances of remembering vocabulary, it’s also important to personalise it (i.e. connect new words/phrases to your own experiences and opinions). For example, it would help you to remember the words ‘series’ and ‘episode’ from the list above if you thought about your favourite series on television (or a streaming service like Netflix) and the last episode you watched. It would help even more if you wrote this down or said it out loud: My favourite series is ______ and in the last episode that I watched…. (explain what happened) Spend five minutes now connecting some of the words from the list above to your likes, dislikes, experiences and/or opinions. Five minutes of your time now could help you remember the vocabulary for your IELTS test! 3. Review vocabulary  We generally need to see and/or hear a new word multiple times before we can remember it, so it’s important to review new vocabulary regularly. One way to do this is to keep a vocabulary notebook and/or create flashcards, and then to regularly test your understanding of the vocabulary that you’ve added.   So, if you haven’t already got one, buy a notebook or download a note-taking app today and start adding new vocabulary that you want to remember.  Start making flashcards or try a flashcard app like Quizlet. Be sure to make the flashcards yourself rather than use someone else’s. In this way, you can personalise the information you put on the cards and make it easier to remember the new words. Watch my Facebook Live on three ways to remember vocabulary for IELTS: {"preview_thumbnail":"/sites/default/files/styles/video_embed_wysiwyg_preview/public/video_thumbnails/RW_Eryk4WTY.jpg?itok=77wmo6nR","video_url":"https://youtu.be/RW_Eryk4WTY","settings":{"responsive":1,"width":"854","height":"480","autoplay":0},"settings_summary":["Embedded Video (Responsive)."]}   Remember the CPR of vocabulary learning to remember more words and phrases for your IELTS test: Categorise, Personalise and Review. It’s a life-saver! Pete

Pete Jones

7 September, 2020

Three ways to remember vocabulary for your IELTS test

Three ways to remember vocabulary for your IELTS test

Do you find it difficult to remember new vocabulary? If you do, you're certainly not alone. I think most language learners struggle to remember many of the new words and phrases that they note down or read in vocabulary lists.

I can’t promise that you’ll remember every new word you see or hear after you’ve read this post, but hopefully, it will help. Research shows you’ll remember more vocabulary if you categorise it, personalise it and review it.

It’s the CPR of vocabulary learning!

1. Categorise vocabulary

The following exercise is an example of categorising vocabulary, and you’ll see that it requires a deeper level of thought than simply looking at and trying to remember a list of words.

You’ll also see over time that this extra mental effort will help you remember the vocabulary for longer!

Look at the words below and answer this question:

  • Which of the following words are associated with television and radio, which are associated with newspapers and magazines, and which are associated with both categories? 

You can use a dictionary to check and categorise any words you don’t know.

Vocabulary Exercise from Vocab Advanced Page 100

 

Make sure you categorise all the vocabulary before checking your answers.

If you check the answers without doing the exercise, it won’t help you remember the words!

2. Personalise vocabulary

To increase your chances of remembering vocabulary, it’s also important to personalise it (i.e. connect new words/phrases to your own experiences and opinions).

For example, it would help you to remember the words ‘series’ and ‘episode’ from the list above if you thought about your favourite series on television (or a streaming service like Netflix) and the last episode you watched.

It would help even more if you wrote this down or said it out loud:

  • My favourite series is ______ and in the last episode that I watched…. (explain what happened)

Spend five minutes now connecting some of the words from the list above to your likes, dislikes, experiences and/or opinions.

Five minutes of your time now could help you remember the vocabulary for your IELTS test!

3. Review vocabulary 

We generally need to see and/or hear a new word multiple times before we can remember it, so it’s important to review new vocabulary regularly.

One way to do this is to keep a vocabulary notebook and/or create flashcards, and then to regularly test your understanding of the vocabulary that you’ve added.

Flashcard-example

 

So, if you haven’t already got one, buy a notebook or download a note-taking app today and start adding new vocabulary that you want to remember. 

Start making flashcards or try a flashcard app like Quizlet.

Be sure to make the flashcards yourself rather than use someone else’s. In this way, you can personalise the information you put on the cards and make it easier to remember the new words.

Watch my Facebook Live on three ways to remember vocabulary for IELTS:

 

Remember the CPR of vocabulary learning to remember more words and phrases for your IELTS test: Categorise, Personalise and Review.

It’s a life-saver!

Pete

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Pete Jones

Pete has been helping IELTS test takers and teachers for many years and really enjoys helping people improve their English and their IELTS band score.

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Cambridge Vocabulary for IELTS Advanced

Learn all the vocabulary you need to achieve band 6.5 and above in IELTS Academic and IELTS General Training. It includes useful tips on how to learn vocabulary and covers tricky areas such as the language needed to describe data and processes. This book also includes practice exercises for each skill, regular progress checks and tips on how to avoid typical errors. *Book Depository is an online bookstore which offers free worldwide delivery. Alternatively, you can find it at your local bookstore or online shop.

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