Effective use of TOEFL Vocabulary

    Sayantani Barman Sayantani Barman
    Study Abroad Expert

    Taking the TOEFL exam is not that easy especially for the students who want to study abroad or take a position in the company of their dreams. Scoring good marks in language tests like TOEFL is important as unable to score good marks in these language exams means losing a scholarship or a chance to study in an English native country. Of course, the same exam can be passed again in the future but the college or your employer will not wait for a few more months in case they find some better applicant.

    The students preparing for TOEFL need to focus on their preparation strategies which need a few months or even a few weeks of utmost dedication and passion to learn. Scoring a higher score in TOEFL vocabulary is important and therefore we need to learn and memorize new words and phrases that are important. In this article, we are discussing ways to improve your TOEFL vocabulary.

    Clean your schedule from background tasks

    If you aim to qualify the TOEFL exam, then start making your priorities ahead; stay focus to work as per the schedule and remove all background tasks so that you can stay fully focused towards continuing your preparations. Though it is not an easy task to accomplish, as you might have other tasks as well that needs to be done, still you need to effectively manage your time. Make sure that you are devoting enough time to prepare for your studies and are dividing your time equally into four parts of the test activities (which include reading, listening, writing, and speaking). Generally, most of the tutors advise spending at least 4-5 hours a day for preparation as it is important in case you want to grow your TOEFL vocabulary list.

    Learn new synonyms and create categories

    The next thing that you need to do is start learning new words and their synonyms as well. For the same, you can prepare a chain of synonyms and how you can use them in your routine life as well. Try to memorize new words that you have learned. First find the list of the most common vocabulary that is important while giving TOEFL exam, look through the half of it but don’t start learning unknown definitions as you will not be able to memorize all of them without a specific context. Pen down 7 to 10 new words that you see in other TOEFL vocabulary lists; for example, Food, Travelling, Education, Personality, etc and write them in your notepad. After that, make a synonymic row by including five to six more words with similar meanings so that you can sharpen up your vocabulary skills. You might not remember all the definitions, but in case you can establish a connection between them, then there are higher chances that you retrieve the necessary data in your brain and the same information can be used during the exam as well.

    Aiming to learn at least five new words each day, five days a week is a proven strategy that can help the test-takers in scoring well in the TOEFL test. You might think that leaning 5 words a day or 25 new words a week will not make that much difference, but if you calculate it on a monthly or yearly basis, then obviously it will make a huge impact on your learning skills. Since most of the TOEFL words list and books have 4,500 words so it means that can master all of them within a few months only if you stay committed to learning them. Beneath we are discussing some of the ways by which you can effectively learn five new essential TOEFL words each day:

    • Create categories- Creating categories is important as it will help you to imagine the words in the given context. This approach is useful while preparing for the TOEFL, like reading, writing, and listening sections are all related to specific categories.
    • Establish some basic categories- Make a list of the categories that you think for the TOEFL test. You can include different categories like Education, Career, Business, Relationships, Family, among many others.
    • Break the categories further into sections- Once you have created categories, start creating create sections under each category. The sections can include people, groups, actions, among many others.
    • Start filing the categories with existing vocabulary- You can create a table for a category with relevant sections then fill out each section of each category with the words that you already are familiar with. For instance, in the “Education’’ section, you can include words like school, university, etc that are a part of education.

    Look for a tool to train words

    The limited knowledge of new words might urge you to focus on new terms while taking TOEFL vocabulary tests. You must not forget that each day you have to learn new words and practice more tests to get yourself familiar with the exam structure; so start practicing using new words through the tools you like the most. There are many TOEFL preparation online courses available that are designed to explain each and every important step of the TOEFL with exercises and videos. Since you are under lockdown presently, so opting for online resources and tools are some of the great ways to continue your practicing. Make sure that you are utilizing the available time appropriately and taking notes every time, you encounter a new vocabulary word.

    Try to speak confidently

    You can improve your language skills by speaking in English which in turn will make you feel more confident while giving the exam. Pay attention to the areas that need more time and effort, though one person cannot be good in all existing tests at the same time, but giving it a try is worthy. You can use your senses and emotions to remember new and most difficult words. Use can use the most common practice which your primary school teacher use which includes describing a word using different senses or emotions. Unfortunately, when we grow, we start ignoring this method although it is useful in remembering words for a longer period of time. By using the same school teaching style, you can remember the more significant part of TOEFL essential vocabulary. For instance, in case you encounter a new word “adversely” – in an opposing manner, you can just address your senses with this word by shaking your head for “Yes” and then, for “No”.

    Is reviewing new words important?

    Yes, review your words is important and there are different ways through which you can review the word you have learned

    Use flashcards

    You can use flashcards to use the words, write your word on one side of a card, and its definition on the opposite side. You can utilize your free time going through the words and their meaning written on a flashcard, read them while in public transport or during your lunch breaks as well. You are advised to read through your flashcards at least two-three times in a day; so that you can remember the words you have written.

    Use sticky notes around the house

    You can post sticky notes at the areas that are frequently visited by you, which include bathroom mirror, dressing areas, on the fridge, near the bedside, etc. The main idea of doing this is to see the word more frequently so that you can remember them. For instance, in case pass through the area with a certain sticky note at least 50 times in a day, then you don’t need extra efforts to remember the word as it will retain effortlessly.

    You can take someone’ help

    Another way to check your skills is to take someone’ else, it can be your friends, teachers or colleagues as well. Though it is advisable to take the help of English speakers or English learners, even non-English speakers can also test your knowledge, you can ask them to take a quiz so that you can know your strengthens and weaknesses as well.

    You can use new words throughout the day

    Try to use words that you have learned by using them more often while interacting with your friends and relatives. You can use the power of social media and try to use new learned while interacting with English and non-English speakers as well or while attending the English classes as well. Try to utilize every possible opportunity and challenge yourself.


    All the above-mentioned tips will help you to customize your practices while preparing for the test. Apart from the above-mentioned tips and suggestions, you must focus on a single list of TOEFL English vocabulary but don’t try to learn all the words without a specific context. The best way to make your preparations more effective is by searching for the word usage examples, try to make new sentences, and then, check them on Grammarly or other alternative tools which will point out the grammatical errors in your sentences. Presently various free resources can help in improving your listening, reading, speaking, and writing skills.

    The simple steps taken can help in scoring high on the TOEFL and master your vocabulary skills; don’t move too fast, else you will make learning much more challenging for yourself.

    Work hard and prepare a strong and focused strategy to ace TOEFL Vocabulary!!



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