If you are serious about expanding your vocabulary, you should think about trying some of these tips.
1. Create a schedule. What’s better, studying new words for a long, one hour chunk or for a few minutes each day? Without a doubt, the answer is studying for a few minutes a day. It gives you more opportunities to review and correct your understanding of the vocabulary and it gives you a better chance of actually studying. A five minute commitment is a lot less daunting than an hour, after all. Still, if you want to maximize your minutes, try to have a routine of when and what you study. Find a way to fit it into your existing schedule and you will have a much better chance of fulfilling your commitment.
2. Get flexible. Learn to switch nouns to verbs or verbs to adjectives through prefixes and suffixes. Initially, it can be a bit tedious, but in the long run it will help you become a more agile speaker and writer. This is definitely something you should try with new words, but it is also something to practice with words you have already mastered. Word logs or flashcards are a great way to record and practice. Once you get the hang of it, try your new knowledge out in a writing activity.
3. Repeat, repeat, repeat. Finally, the best tip is to practice. So many students can pick up new words quickly, but without practicing it, it floats away. Some teachers even say that you need to use a vocabulary word at least seven times, in seven different occasions, to really remember it. This means that you need to expose yourself to as many opportunities to practice, use, or drill the new words as possible.
I hope these strategies help you reach your goal. For more tips and a guided vocabulary course, check out https://www.udemy.com/free-vocabulary-bootcamp/.
East Bay ESL is an English language school for adult students in the San Francisco East Bay.