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The Vocab Conundrum

“Hey Rohan! How is the exam preparation coming along?”

“Hi Vicky, it’s good but I am still not very confident with my vocabulary. It’s scary and huge and tough and never-ending! Everything is falling into place except for my vocab. I have tried everything. Nothing seems to be in my stride.”

Are you someone who feels the same as Rohan does? Well, you are not the only one. Analysis shows that most of the students, who champion other sections of an entrance exam, fall prey to when it comes to performing in the vocabulary section. And the result? One feels disappointed because of that one part in the question paper that depreciated the overall score.

So what is it about vocabulary that’s so enigmatic and mysterious?? It’s almost implausible to learn the entire vocabulary and is for sure not a child’s play. But in order to perform well in the exams that need you to be good with vocab then there are some tips that can be certainly of help:

• Start with clubbing the words under common themes: Most of the words in the English language can be narrowed down under common themes such as:

- Jobs and work: collaboration, delegation, acumen, division of labor, incumbency, hot-desking, portfolio working etc.

- Entertainment and fun: amusement, craic, gaieties, high jinks, savor, lark, frolic etc.

- Health and fitness: ambulatory, abstinence, crouch, culinary, epidemic, nemesis, prone, olfactory, ossification etc.

• Create a list of favorite words and put them on your desk: Try finding some new words everyday and make a list/note of them. It won’t take more than 30 minutes of your time but in the long run, the benefits are immense.

• Remember the words that are related to your interests/hobbies: It is always easier and better to remember the words that fall into the category of your interest just like one always tends to score well in the subject of interest. Some examples are:

- Words related to photography: paparazzi, shutterbug, candid, grainy, underexposed, photogenic, zoom

- Words related to sports: applause, novice, penalize, spectator, victory, opponent, indomitable, rookie

- Words related to music: discordant, acoustic, harmony, melody, pizzicato, and philharmonic, staccato, vocal

Apart from these major tips there are some more tips that can come handy to you.

  • You must have been suggested to use a dictionary as much as possible by everyone around you. But isn’t it difficult to carry a dictionary all the time? Even a pocket dictionary, as a matter of fact, doesn’t prove to be of much help. So the next best thing is to download a word-meaning app on your cell and laptop and use it to the utmost. A glance at 10 words in a day would enhance your vocabulary to a minimum of one word per day. So by the end of a month you have 30 words in your personal vocab gym!!
  • Watch English movies or your favorite rom-coms/serials with subtitles. At the end of the episode you must have been acquainted with at least two or three new words. The next step? Start using them while talking to your friends. And what’s more? It sounds cool too!! To use the latest lingo!
  • And lastly…read, read and read!! As much as you read, the better is your ability to grasp new words as after a while you would guess the meaning of the words and with that you would have many new words added into your vocab world!
  • Vocabulary isn’t rocket science after all. Try these tips! They work!


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