CAT Vocabulary Tips: How to Learn Words?

In the first three posts for this preparation plan, we have talked about three things:

  • Importance of Vocabulary for CAT
  • How to use Word Power Made Easy for learning words
  • How to use Six Weeks to Words of Power for learning words

Along with the above, there is something important that we should cover here at this stage: how to learn words?

Well, there is no direct answer for this question. Each one of you has a different mechanism to learn words and we need to find out the method that works best for you. Essentially, the process of learning something new is a personal one and you need to understand what works best for you.

Let’s list down the various options you have to learn words and understand how you need to approach each.

Approach-1: Learn Words through Reading

In short, this is the most used method to learn words. Whenever we read, we sub-consciously try to infer their meaning in the given context. For most of the contexts you encounter, you will be able to understand the meaning of the word without referring to a dictionary. It is only on a few occasions that you will need to refer to a dictionary to find the meaning of a word. Generally, whenever you discover words that you find difficult while reading, you should jot them in a notebook, or even better, make handy flashcards. We are going to discuss flashcards in detail in the next prep-plan post.

Approach-2: Learn Words using Vocabulary Books

The second approach to learn words involves using Vocabulary books. In the Day-2 and Day-3 plan, we have already highlighted two vocabulary books that you can use for building your vocabulary. You can read the reviews for these books in these posts:

  • Word Power Made Easy by Norman Lewis
  • Six Weeks to Words of Power by Wilfred Funk

Using books for learning words can be quite effective but this method does involve challenge: you need to keep yourself motivated while going through these books. The most common struggle for students is that they are not able to keep themselves motivated while they are going through these books and on a majority of the occasions, they simply lose the motivation to complete these books. Remember, the motivation to complete a book or any academic task must come from within. Mostly, it is the desire to improve that helps you get through these tasks and you should be clear with your purpose when you commit to learning from books.

Approach-3: Learn Words using Wordlists

This is the most tedious method to learn words. Essentially, you pick up a list of recommended words and try to learn words using this list. The major concern with this approach is the accompanying boredom. It is extremely hard to keep oneself motivated while going a wordlist and if the wordlist consists of thousands of words, the task gets that much harder. Also, just simply learning the word and its meaning without its accompanying usage is not necessarily the best approach in the world. You need to understand the contexts of words and not simply learn a list of words. So, this is one approach you should be careful of.

Approach-4: Using Vocabulary Applications

This is something you can most definitely take up. This is the time of mobile applications and there is an absolute glut of vocabulary apps (we have one too). You can use these applications to learn new words. Preferably, use the app which contains more than just words and their meanings. You need to learn words along with their usage and also need to take practice tests for making sure that you recall these words at a later time.

The above forms four methods you can use to learn words. There is a fifth method as well: you can use Wordpandit and go through the plethora of resources we have put up for you to learn words. Using these resources, you can obviously ramp-up your word power within a short period of time.

Head over to our CAT Prep Plan to start your Vocabulary preparation for CAT-2018.