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How to Boost Academic Vocabulary

April 30, 2018| Category: Writing Tips

Do you often face with articles and books that contain a lot of academic words? Sometimes, such a vocabulary is quite confusing. But it is very important to understand academic words and to be able to use them in your own writing. When you have a rich vocabulary, it will be easy to find right words that will perfectly suit your topic and the writing format. Moreover, it gives you more chances to write great papers and impress your teachers.

Yes, there is a multiplicity of specific words, used in academic writing. But, the bigger amount of them you know, the higher quality papers you can produce. So, try to learn about five words at a time. If you try learning more words at a time, you will make it more complicated to memorize all of them.

So, here are several tips that will help you boost your academic vocabulary. Each approach works well, but they are geared toward different types of learners, so choose one, which suits you best.

Keep a Word Journal

It is the place (for example, a notebook) where you write down every word you do not know. Here is the process for keeping it:

  • Find the definition of certain word you want to know, and create your own definition for it. Write it down.
  • Copy the exact sentence with this certain word.
  • Create your own sentence with that word.

This method works great, because you always have an opportunity to look up the words you have already learned if you forget them.

Create a Vocabulary Map

This means you have to write a word in the middle of your paper and then write other words that come to mind when you think of that word. These can be synonyms or antonyms, your own definition or the one from vocabulary, sentences with that word or any related words.

Vocabulary maps work best for visual learners.

Highlight and Define Words in a Text

Read academic texts in your field and highlight the words which you do not know. When you find any unknown word, reread the sentence or even entire paragraph, if needed, one more time, look the word up and write your own definition in the margins. This works not just with printed books, but with online reading, as well. For example, Adobe Acrobat Reader provides a highlight and comment feature which is very helpful when you need to take notes on vocabulary.

By the way, here is one more secret: when you write anything by hand, you remember it better than when you type it.

Use Academic Vocabulary in Your Writing

The main secret of success is permanent using of academic words in your papers. The best time to do this is when you are working on your first draft of an essay. At the revising stage, ask the person who is reading your paper to check it and see whether the academic words are used properly.

Adding academic words to essays and other papers will greatly elevate your academic writing. It helps demonstrate the audience that you have a clear understanding of the topic. Besides, such vocabulary provides you an opportunity to be clear and specific about what you mean. However, it is important to avoid overusing academic words or words you do not fully understand. The best option is having somebody to read your papers – a person who will certainly tell you when your vocabulary is confusing.