How do you learn vocabulary -some considerations
- How do you learn vocabulary? There aren’t any easy answers to that one – it is a complex issue. Just some of the considerations you need to take into account are:
- Which words should you learn?
- How many words should you learn at a time?
- How often do you need to use the words to learn them?
- How should you use the words to learn them?
- Do you need to record them in a vocabulary notebook?
- Do you have to learn English – English? Does translation work?
And those are just some of the considerations – as I say, it is a complex issue.
A key issue in learning vocabulary
One thing experience has taught me is that one of the keys can be not doing too much all at once. This can sometimes be surprising to learners, who often don’t ask themselves the question: how many words should I learn at any one time?. This is particularly relevant in an IELTS context where you can expect routinely to meet all sorts of unknown vocabulary – the clear temptation is to look it all up and try and learn it all.
Some free advice – a little but often
My advice is to try and resist that temptation – focus your mental energy on the words that really matter, for me those are the words that you will be using on a regular basis. If you try and learn all the new words you meet, your brain will go into meltdown – if you’re typical that is.
So here is my advice: learn a little, but often. This tends to be much the most efficient approach as it allows you to “recycle” the words and recycling is an extremely important concept in vocabulary learning: once is rarely enough.
Some new gizmos
If you take a look on the right hand side of this page, you’ll see that I’ve added some new gadgets: “learn a word a day”. It may not seem much, but you know sometimes 1 word learnt well is better than 20 not learnt at all!