Beyond Practice Tests: Vocabulary Questions
Vocabulary questions give you a word and four definitions. You should choose the correct definition. Of course, if you know what the word means, then it’s easy. But, if you don’t know what it means, it’s still possible to guess. The test makers always include hints.
The normal strategy for getting better at vocabulary questions is to learn more words. Books that give lists of vocabulary words for a test are very popular. That’s OK, but you can do more. Here are some strategies for improving at vocabulary questions. Some will help you learn new words and some will just help you guess better.
Guess, guess, guess Read an article and underline all the new words. Without using a dictionary, try to write definitions of the words. Also, include any clues or hints you see. For example, you might write this for the word “hint” in the previous sentence.
Hint: Something that helps with guessing words???
Clues: “Clues” next to hints. You should include them with the definition. “Try to write definitions” means you can’t know for sure, so “hints” should help.
Write Definitions Practice writing definitions for new words you learn. By writing practice definitions you’ll get used to seeing the hints that come with new words.
Write Test Questions After you learn a new word, write a practice test question for it. Can you think of three other words that are related? How are they different?
Thesaurus Are you already really good with vocabulary? For students who want to take their score to the highest level, use a thesaurus to learn all of the words that are related to a new word you’ve learned. Then, learn how they’re different.
Hints When you learn a new word, instead of writing a translation, write three words that will help you guess it. For example, if you learn the word “Ocean”, you might use “Big, blue, waves” instead of a definition or a translation.