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Thread: # 186: Is studying vocab with wordlists helpful?

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    Dear all ,

    I think it's time to post a whole topic on this question. Studying vocab is a big problem to TOEFL test-takers. If you are learning words in some book's wordlist, then I will say, though hating to, is that you have wasted your time and effort.

    If my experience serves, on the actual TOEFL test you will have to face 4-5 reading passages with topics spreading on every field: Biology, Astronomy, Geology, Chemistry, Politics, Economics, History and so on. The topics will be chosen randomingly, so there will appear many professional words you may not know. Since wordlists are limited, they are absolutely not the weapons you should use to lick the test (I myself try learning by wordlists but no word in them was met in my test).

    Secondly, studying vocabulary with wordlists will not keep words long in your mind. For me it's just like to try to memorize the positions of all artists in every Billboard chart over a whole year!!! Not only words, but anything that wants a time-ensured stand in your memory must have some kind of 'connection' to your brain. For example, I remember Eminem's birthday (10/17) the most of all famous persons, for that is also my birthday . That's the connection. Or how could I remember the word 'demeanor'? The answer is Missy 'Misdemeanor' Elliot is one of my favorite rapper. Since words in wordlists were stuffed dryly into my head with no connection, they boomed it and swiftly flew away. The more words I caught back, the more the rest escaped.

    Moreover, as Erin has pointed out somewhere, the score you will gain with those words is not worth the while. Vocabulary is only one part of the Reading section (approximately 20-30% of the Reading questions), which is only one part of the whole test. Take some calculator and estimate your award (100% productivity supposingly ) after being taken so much time and so many pains. You may claim that the words you've crammed can also be helpful in other sections, but sorry, the Listening questions now contain very few lectures (if my mind recalls well), you can still get on well in the Grammar ones without knowing some words, and the Essay requires that you use your 'active' vocab, which are understood deeply to be used skillfully, not the way wordlists help.

    But please don't panic, there are still many other positive ways to increase your vocab. I myself suggest that you do reading exercises in ETS TOEFL books. They are the best practice resources. You will know what kind of question will appear on the real test. And along with practing your reading ability, you are learning words as well. As Erin & Renata's advice, use a good dictionary. And try to make 'connections' when learning them. Images remain longer in our mind than letters. For example, I learned the two words 'optimistic' and 'pessimistic' by imagining the letter 'o' to be an open eye, which refers to a waiting bright future, and the letter 'p' to be a hatchet, which is used to cut down beautiful dreams. To remember words longer I write them down. And don't forget to pay attention to word roots.

    Well, studying is a long long progress. That you do well or not is up to the way you study. Isn't there an idiom 'Don't work hard, work smart'?

    I am sure there will be more interesting things to say around wordlists. Then guys, what do you think?

    Phuong

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    As for my personal experience is concerned, memorizing words from a book or a wordlist is totally rubbish. For me, the best way is to enhance someone's vocabulary is to hit the books daily and once they come across some sophisticated words, just try to jot them down on a sheet of paper and then look them in a good dictionary. Re-read the same page again. Otherwise, they can look them up as they come across. The big question is still unanswered how do they remember them.
    I create myself a method perhaps you people already knew that.

    a) Taka a piece of paper and cut down into 4 equal rectangle bits.

    b) Take a bit, On one side, you have to write a complete definition from a cambridge dictionary or any other good dictionaries.

    c) On the other side, you have to write a couple of sentences in order to know how to use a word exactly. Plus word's name and its nature.

    d) Make as many word cards as you wish. They are easy to make.

    e) Read the definition and guess the word, once you guess the word quickly and read the example sentences and do not try to include it in the next repetition's - try to repeat it after 3 days and then add up to same days as you judge words quickly.

    f) on the other hand, you do not guess the word, try to include it in next repetition.

    g) more importantly, they are portable you can do at any time or at anywhere.

    I show an example for you:

    One side:

    Q: A gas or substance is poisonous or very harmful ( you read it and guess the word)

    Other side:

    A: Noxious you can write whether word is 'v' or 'adj' ..etc)
    Many household products give off noxious fumes
    the heavy, noxious smell of burning sugar, butter, fats and flour



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    Re: # 186: Is studying vocab with wordlists helpful?

    a) Taka a piece of paper and cut down into 4 equal rectangle bits.

    b) Take a bit, On one side, you have to write a complete definition from a cambridge dictionary or any other good dictionaries.

    c) On the other side, you have to write a couple of sentences in order to know how to use a word exactly. Plus word's name and its nature.
    yes, it's useful 4 me

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