Blog February 24, 2015 by

St Giles

Learning New Vocabulary

One of the biggest challenges for you as a student is trying to remember all the new words and phrases you will learn whilst you are studying.

Here are some ideas to help you?

Step 1

Keep a good record of new language:

  • Buy a note book (Ryman’s just down the road has loads!)
  • Try to write a definition in English – translation is not very accurate
  • Note down other information about the word – stress, pronunciation, part of speech
  • Note down grammatical information – e.g. is it followed by a preposition (which one?), or a verb (—-ing or to + infinitive?)
  • Is the word part of a family? You have the verb but what is the adjective form, the noun…?
  • Is this word often used with other particular words (collocation)?

This is a lot of stuff, but leave space and you can add information as you go along. Using an English learner dictionary will help you with all of this.

Step 2

It is important that you go back to the new words and phrases – one meeting is not enough!

Research shows that just going back and reading through your list of words is not the best way to remember them. So…

  • Test yourself. Challenge yourself to remember the meaning.
  • Work with another student and write sentences with gaps for them to fill in. Using the words to make meaningful sentences is hard work – and when your brain works hard it remembers!
  • Go back to new language at 12 to 24 hour intervals*. Do this four or five times and now you will remember the new word

Step 3

It is important to be motivated – learning a language takes a long time and sometimes it feels that you have such a long way to go that it can make you want to give up.

  • Use the new words in conversation, play with the language. Don’t worry about making mistakes – have fun with it.
  • Keep looking back – remember where you were when you started out and see how far you have come.
  • Keeping a record of all that new language that you have learned can be very motivating. Count your new words. How many? Wow!

Now go and have a piece of cake!

(interval (n)- an interval is a space in time, it’s also a break at the theatre)

If you would like to learn English in the UK at our English Language School in London, please visit our website or contact us for more information at