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How to Memorize Vocabulary

Here are some easy-to-use strategies that can help you memorize and learn new vocabulary for the long run.

1. Recitation:  By saying a definition out loud and repeating it, you are more likely to remember it.

Tip: Try recording the definition and playing it back, singing the definition, or imagine teaching it to someone else.

2. Reading/Writing:  For some individuals, repetition in writing and rewriting the words with their brief definitions helps them to memorize new vocabulary. 

Tip: By defining them with your own words, you are more likely to remember it.

3. Association:  Another strategy is to link/connect the vocabulary word or definition with something you already know.  

Tip: It is a good idea to relate the new information with one of the five senses (sight, sound, scent, touch, taste).

4. Dividing the Parts:  You can also use your background knowledge on the word prefix and suffix to help you remember the definition. Example: the word dislike (the prefix dis- means away, apart, or opposite of).

5. Visual aids: Using pictures, symbols, charts, and diagrams can also help you to remember information.

  1. Matching Game:  Find pictures from the internet or cut them out of magazines that match the definition of the new vocabulary terms. Then, write one of the vocabulary words on the front of an index card and the definition on the back.  The object of this study game is to match the word to a picture.
  2. Flashcards:  On the front, write the vocabulary word and draw a picture/image that relates to the word. On the back, there are three steps: write the definition (you can also do this in your own words), use it in a sentence that would help you remember what the word means, and write the word’s part of speech (i.e. noun, verb, etc.). Your goal is to try to memorize the definition by only looking at the front of the card

Tip: By using the word in a sentence, you are more likely to remember its meaning.