How to Master TOEFL Vocabulary in a Few Months


TOEFL is a standardized test of English language skills. It can be the Internet or paper-based. It assesses one's reading, listening, speaking, and writing skills. If English is not your first language, the exam can be difficult. You have to put extra effort to improve your vocabulary before you appear for the exam.

There are many words in the English vocabulary. It can be difficult to be completely prepared. Most people would tell you to cram word lists. Cramming lists is not advisable if you want to prepare well.

There are too many lists on the internet. This will confuse you. You will be unable to complete them before your exam. Learning lists will not serve any purpose. You may not be able to grasp the meaning of a word without seeing it in a sentence.

A good vocabulary is essential to crack TOEFL. Building a good vocabulary is not an easy task. Yet, it is not impossible. You can build a good vocabulary by using a few of the tips below:

Concentrate on the task at hand

Ensure that you concentrate on preparing for TOEFL. Do not follow other endeavors. You should focus on studying for TOEFL and improving your vocabulary. Do not do any conflicting tasks.

Study at least 5 hours a day. You can increase the time as you get closer to the exam. Divide your time between practicing reading, speaking, listening, and writing.

Create Shortcuts

There are various TOEFL vocabulary lists available online. Downloading and memorizing them all will be unhelpful. You can take a few shortcuts, such as:

Learning in context:

Our brain recognizes established patterns and remembers them. You can use this to your advantage. For example, you can understand the word “predators” in this sentence: “Parrots are always on the lookout for predators that might harm their chicks” Your guess is correct! Predators are animals that prey on others. This will help you remember the word as well as its meaning.

Learning word forms:

There are many different grammatical forms of words. Words take many forms such as nouns, verbs, adjectives, etc. For example, encourage is a verb which means to motivate. If you add the suffix 'ment', it becomes a noun, meaning motivation. This method can also help you learn many new words.

Collocations are words that are spoken or written together. Some examples are “ to give someone advice,” “to grab the opportunity,” etc.

Use mnemonics:

Mnemonics are memory tricks to remember things. Repeating a word several times will help you remember them. Review them regularly. You can also make certain common sentences to remember their meanings.

Use your emotions and senses to remember words:

Use your emotions and senses to remember some words. If you are learning a word concerned with food, remember its smell. For example, when you learn the word mango remembers its sweet smell. Likewise, you can use all your senses of smell, taste, feel, and sound to remember some words. If the word is beyond your senses, use your emotions.

Take the help of online tools

Some of the good places to master TOEFL vocabulary in a short period are




You can practice at websites like AnkiDroid, Quizlet, memorize, Cram, and Classmint. You can use online tools even when you're on the move. Thus, you will not miss out on precious time.

There are many YouTube videos made by experts. They have many tips to help you master the TOEFL vocabulary.

Create categories

Build categories based on how you can remember them. You can create columns to remember words. This will also help you in relating certain words. You can learn synonyms of the words by putting them under categories too. The use of mind palaces will also help you relate certain words. This will help in all 4 sections of TOEFL.

You can prepare these lists to form a common vocabulary for TOEFL.

Take the help of a tutor

You can do with a bit of guidance from students or individuals experienced in this field. Professionals are well equipped to help you to organize your time schedules. They can also help you to cover the syllabus. They can assess your weak points. They will help focus on sections that you need to concentrate on. Tutors also provide extra material. They can also give you tips to crack the exam.

Practice well

Practicing is the most important part of preparation. Maintain a notebook of all the new words you learn. Revise these regularly. Practice using them in a sentence. This will help your writing as well. You will be able to get word meanings from the context. In this process, you can also learn new, related vocabulary.

Take the help of various online resources for their interesting and informative exercises.

A human brain can remember about 15 words in one day. You will learn at least 60 words in a week. Learning and revising would improve your vocabulary quickly.

How to use a TOEFL Vocabulary List to Get a High Score

It is important to learn the basic words for communication. This will ensure that you have access to basic needs. Learn words for help, food, shelter, etc first.

A good vocabulary is important in TOEFL. TOEFL Exam has four sections; a good vocabulary will increase your chances.

How to use a TOEFL Vocabulary List to get a High Score?

Learning a foreign language is challenging. It is difficult because you do not converse in this language.

TOEFL Vocabulary lists help in increasing your vocabulary. It also helps in the memorization of the words. Here are a few tips to make a list that can improve your TOEFL score. This will help you get your dream admission

1. Assess your Vocabulary

You must first assess your own vocabulary levels. If you have attempted the exam before, you already have a large database in your mind. You should start looking for new words. Add more words to your list to increase your knowledge.

You would already be aware of few words. You can start off by revising the older words. Then, learn newer words and add them to your list.

If you are taking the test for the first time, you will have to start from scratch. Read the first level books. This will give you an idea of words and sentences. Write down the vocabulary as you read.

You can assess your skills online. Use the various free online tools provided by the TOEFL governing body. Use TOEFL Sample tests to assess your vocabulary levels. You can also take the help of a friend or tutor. This will help you assess how fluent you are in the language.

2. Readymade lists may not suit you

There are many TOEFL Vocabulary lists online. All these lists may not suit you. The learning style of each individual is different. It is better to make a new one by yourself. This will help you remember words. You will also be able to learn their usage and synonyms.

3. Custom-make a Vocabulary list

TOEFL does not assess fluency. Rather, it checks the competence to use the correct words. It is better to make a Vocabulary list based on some criteria. This will help you remember word meanings.

Some of the websites that can help you make lists are:




4. Useful lists

The custom-made list should be useful in increasing your TOEFL score. While making the lists, keep the following points in mind:

i. Do not include the words you already know.

ii. Do not try to overachieve. Take the help of a tutor to remove unnecessary words. They may fall above or below the TOEFL exam level.

iii. There might be certain difficult words. If you fail to understand certain words, drop them.

5. Divide Vocabulary lists into various categories

Making categories help you to recall words faster. You can divide categories on the basis of how they can help you recall words.

Example: Place nephew under the category of relations

There can be various categories. You can also find relations between various categories. This will help you learn contextual usage.

6. The contextual learning method of vocabulary

TOEFL exam is a test not to see how many words you know. It tests how well you know its meaning and uses it in sentences. Improve your skills by reading academic papers, texts, newspapers, fiction, and non-fiction books. You can also listen to talk shows such as TED Talks. Listen to them with subtitles. Write down the difficult sentences. You can refer to the Official Guide to the TOEFL test-latest Edition for some help.

When you come across a new word, read the full sentence. Then try to guess the meaning from the context. Check for its meaning in the dictionary later. You will soon become good at guessing the meaning. This is very helpful for the reading section.

7. Are Flashcards helpful?

Flashcards make learning enjoyable. Use different colors based on categories. Mention the word on one side and its meaning and example sentences on the other.

You can also use online Flashcards like Quizlet, Anki app, and Flashcard Online.

8. Learning words from your custom-made TOEFL Vocabulary List

Rote-learning is not the only answer to improving your vocabulary. There are certain words used only while speaking. Written material uses certain other words. Learn by understanding the context. Use them while speaking to others or writing down something.

Take up online exercises, and you will master the new words immediately.

9. Quality rather than quantity

Quality is more important than quantity. This holds true for the reading, speaking, and writing sections. Examiners prefer good material rather than a long one. Do not beat around the bush. Do not use complex words to show off. Use simple sentences while writing or speaking. Meet the word limit, but do not try to go overboard.

10. Number of words to learn per day

Experts advise learning at least 5 new words every day! Build at least 1000 words into your vocabulary list by the end of your preparation sessions. Revise the older words often. Keep making sentences with the words. While learning, read out loud. This helps with the pronunciation.

11. Tips for attempting writing sections

To write well, you must read. Read different styles of writing and observe them. Read different materials daily. This will give you a wide variety of writing styles. Keep practicing different styles until you find the one for you. This will help you learn how to make coherent sentences.

You will learn to use various words in various contexts. This will help you understand the word meaning. You can make notes on articles you are reading. Use these notes can to make 60-second oral responses and word summaries. This helps in speaking as well. You can also use words from the custom-made list for making these notes.

12. Refer to the old TOEFL papers

TOEFL aspirants can try to make a list using old TOEFL papers. The exam has a specific pattern. You will be able to devise this from the old papers. There will be certain repetitions in the papers. Knowing these will make the actual test easy. The old papers are also good for making word lists.

13. Revise

Revise the words at periodical intervals. These revisions will help you during the final exam. You will not spend time remembering word meanings.

If you find any difficult and unfamiliar words, you can relook at them at the review stage. You can also attempt various TOEFL Vocabulary Tests available online. They help in revision as well. You may also learn new words from the tests.

Keep all the above points in mind. Your custom-made lists of words and sentences will be very helpful. Keep revising and exploring. Do not stress too much. Get a good sleep before the exam. If you keep calm, you will score well.

Best of luck!

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