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Improving GMAT vocabulary when English is not your first language

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Economist GMAT Tutor Representative
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Improving GMAT vocabulary when English is not your first language  [#permalink]

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New post 30 Oct 2019, 01:11
Improving GMAT vocabulary when English is not your first language

Fortunately, for those of you who are not native English speakers, the GMAT does not test your ability to simply memorize complex vocabulary and their definitions. However, to avoid getting confused by the wording of questions, strengthening your vocabulary is helpful. But don't resort to lists; try these strategies instead:

1. Read stories that grab your attention

While flashcards and other memorization methods might work for some students, it quickly becomes a tedious task that doesn’t always generate results. It’s far easier to attach an emotional response (and mnemonic device) to words you’ve read in a story that resonated with you. Start by identifying your current reading level to determine what you should start reading first. The Macmillan Readers Level test will use your results to suggest titles at your current level. However, there are many reading level assessments available online (here’s another one), so feel free to choose whichever works best for you.

Not only will you remember vocabulary attached to your favorite characters and plot lines, outside reading will also show you how words are used by professional writers, which is a benefit you won’t find by simply staring at a list or a large stack of flash cards. If you want to really challenge yourself, start reading The Economist. You’ll find plenty of articles that will enhance your vocabulary as well as reading comprehension.

2. Make your flashcards smarter

While they aren’t the end-all solution to vocabulary strengthening, there is no need to completely dismiss flashcards as a study tool. If you do find that flashcards suit your learning style, make them work a little harder for you.

Instead of simply writing the word on one side and the definition on the other, try replacing the dictionary’s definition of the word with a sentence that means something to you. Include real family, friend and life events that you’ll respond to and remember easily.

3. Take your new vocabulary outside

It will take a bit of bravery on your part, but don’t restrict your growing vocabulary to your home. Be bold and slowly begin weaving new words into everyday conversation as you start grasping them.

Challenge yourself to vary the situations in which you use your new vocabulary, but don’t be afraid to bring a stack of flashcards or even a list of words along with you. Remember that you’re still learning a lot of new words all at once, so if you need to refer back to a definition, you’ll still make great gains by testing your vocabulary in real-world situations.

Although these are solid places to start, feel free to be creative and build a routine that works best for you.

Good luck
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Re: Improving GMAT vocabulary when English is not your first language  [#permalink]

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New post 16 Nov 2019, 04:13
That was a nice write-up and thanks for the information.
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Re: Improving GMAT vocabulary when English is not your first language   [#permalink] 16 Nov 2019, 04:13
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