Building a College Level Vocabulary: How to Remember New Words   back

The University of Alabama
Center for Academic Success
124 Osband

Two steps will help you remember new words and add them to your college vocabulary: practicing and building. To become comfortable with the new word, practice using the word in your writing, in your speaking, and in your thinking. Building a personal vocabulary file helps you keep up with the new words while you practice them. On an index card, write the word and its meaning, a sentence in which you use the word correctly, and variations of the word.

The following guidelines will help you remember new words:

  1. Practice writing the word and its definition often.

  2. Practice saying the word. Use the pronunciation key in your dictionary to learn the correct pronunciation.

  3. Try to learn the word and its meaning the first time you see it.

  4. Make vocabulary flip cards from index cards. Write the word on one side and the meaning on the other.

  5. Make up a sentence you can understand using the word correctly.

  6. Vary the word: try to make it plural, to change the tense, to add -ly.

  7. Practice the word in conversation, being sure to pronounce it correctly.

  8. Use the word in writing assignments as often as possible.

  9. Repeat the word many times in your mind.

  10. Study a few words each day for several days to firmly learn them. Donít overload yourself with too long a word list.

  11. Notice the words used by teachers, public speakers, people on TV, etc. If they know these words, why donít you?