Which vocabulary should I learn?

Which vocabulary should I learn?

Depending on how you count words, English has the largest vocabulary in the world. So how do you know which words to learn? 

Introducing… the Academic Word List!

There are several well-known lists in circulation, but the Academic Word List is the most popular. Why should you care? Because knowing the words on this list will not only help you improve your writing and speaking, but it will also considerably increase your ability to understand academic texts. This means you can spend less time studying and more time relaxing! Watch the video to find out more.

gap file

Depending on how you count words, English has the largest vocabulary in the world. So how do you know which words to learn? 

Introducing… the Academic Word List!

There are several well-known lists in circulation, but the Academic Word List is the most popular. Why should you care? Because knowing the words on this list will not only help you improve your writing and speaking, but it will also considerably increase your ability to understand academic texts. This means you can spend less time studying and more time relaxing! Watch the video to find out more.

Where can I practise?

There are lots of places you can practise the Academic Word List. The websites mentioned in the video are really useful places to start. This is a great way to learn vocabulary in context or to check that you are using enough academic vocabulary; aim to have AWL words for around a tenth of your academic writing. 

Create your own gapfill

Flashcards are another useful strategy for vocabulary learning, and there are complete AWL sets you can search for at sites like quizlet or in apps such as flashcardsdeluxe. You can also download the AWL sublists and do exercises at the RMIT Learning Lab.

quizlet screenshot

Search and use ready made AWL sets at quizlet.com.

Is the AWL the only useful vocabulary list?

No. There are others, one in particular worth noting called the Academic Vocabulary List. This list apparently provides double the coverage that the AWL has been measured to give, but it’s newer and less accessible and there are far less materials developed to practise it. However, there is an excellent tool based on the list where you can search a word or phrase or analyse a whole text which will give you information about academic word frequency, synonyms, and collocations (words that go together). This is extremely important to know when learning vocabulary, particularly as collocations are very common in English and not using them can change the meaning of what you say.

word forms example

Screenshot of www.wordandphrase.info

So what are you waiting for!? Comment below with a sentence using an AWL word if you want to check you’ve used it correctly, and enjoy trying the different AWL sites.

03 May 2021

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  • Vocabulary
  • Listening
  • Study English
  • Speaking
  • Writing

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