How to build Rich Vocabulary for exams like CAT or GMAT

Having rich is essential no matter whether you are a student or a working professional. As a student, it helps to grasp the core meaning of the topics you read and for professionals, it helps to deal with jargon of various legal documents. For exams like CAT,GMAT, SNAP, NMAT or other management exams, Vocabulary plays a major role. Rich vocabulary can fly you with stellar marks whereas a poor vocabulary can land you score below average.For such exams, vocabulary of around 3500 – 5000+ words is must to score really well.

Okay, before diving straight to the solutions of your problem. l want to tell you that the solution is going to be long from point of reading but it will be important and effective to build your vocabulary.
So only if you are really serious about building up your word power, then this post is you. Keep reading.

The solution is divided mainly into 3 parts : 1) Problems 2) Ways 3) Things to do

Before knowing the ways to enrich your vocabulary, lets first figure out what the obstacles are which block your route of building vocabulary.

Problems faced in enriching your vocabulary:

1.) Retention :
What is retention? You might have to tried to remember words by writing it in a copy or by cramming it in your school days especially during your exams. You might came across the words which you have seen or read somewhere before, sometimes even checked its meaning in the dictionary but till find difficulty to recall it meaning when the word comes again. This act of keeping things in one’s memory is called retention.
Failing to recall meaning words which you read before is quite normal and happens with almost all of us. There is nothing to worry to about if you don’t remember meaning of words. This happens because you don’t come across those words frequently so you don’t remember it properly or in worst case you are unable to recall it at all.

2.) Contextual meaning:
You might have seen that some words having different meaning which depends on the context its being used.
For example: Let us consider the word “Credulous” which means : a quality of a person to gets easily influenced by someone or showing too great readiness to believe things.
If I say, “That kid is so credulous”, then here credulous refers to quality of being innocent or unwary
But If I say,”The manager is so credulous that he didn’t even read the reports”. Here Credulous refers to being dumb or fool. A person who is at managerial post should not accept or believe anything without reading or verifying it.

3.) Frequency of Interaction/Usage of words:
This is the main reason why people forget words. You come across some words at very low rate. This happens because of your own interest of ideas of various topics. For example: If I talk about a student whose main subject is Biology, then there is high probability that he/she might know and understand jargon used in her subject better than a mathematics or commerce student. Reason ? because that student is interacting with those words included in her subject at much higher rate than students belonging to other streams. She/he knows and remember because he/she has been dealing it with for longer time at higher frequency.

4.) Lack of interest:
People who do not like reading or are not interested in state where they do reading at regular basis are the ones who finds cramming new words to build their vocabulary as a burden. People who lack interest of reading/writing or speaking in English finds building up their vocabulary a tough job. People want they learn a new word by just reading it or using it once but unfortunately, its not a cushy job without interest. If you really want to enhance your vocabulary, then you have to develop a interest towards it. Without inclination towards vocabulary, you cannot be as productive as your efforts.

Ways to build up your vocabulary :

1.) Visualize a Word:
Its quite obvious that you remember a story and scenes of movies much better than listening or reading the same story from a book. Ever wondered why does it happens? There is scientific reason behind this. Its because our brain receives signals from your sense organs. More the sense organs involved, Better you remember. While listening to story, only your ear are active. While reading, only your eyes is sending those signals but when you watch a movie, your eyes and ear both are involved in it. This is the reason why practical things are well understood than theories.
So whenever you find a new word, try to build a story related to it to remember it.
Example : Word “Pandemonium” : wild and noisy disorder or confusion; uproar.
You can break it down and visualize it as : a Panda sized Demon is in a stadium, running after audiences, creating noisy disorder by its uproar.
Tip : The more weird your imagination will be, the better you will remember.

2.) Relate the word with another related known word:
Making a link of unknown or new word with known word helps to remember it because that known word.
For example: Word “Ferocious” : savagely fierce. You can relate this word with a tiger. “A Ferocious tiger”, keep in mind that how a tiger is. A Tiger is ferocious animal. Keep it in your mind in such a manner that whenever that word “ferocious” come across you, the linked known word comes automatically in your mind.

3.) By breaking down the word:
Sometimes, some words are not easy to remember. Maybe either there is meaning is typical or their length is long. In such cases, you need to break it down into simple words of your choice. For example : Word “Absolve” : to declare free from guilt. Lets break it down as “Ab” & “Solve”, Now suppose you had an fight with your friend, he did a mistake but now you want to end the matter so you will “Ab-solve” it. You can remember it as Hindi word “ab” and “solve”, you need to end the matter, so we generally say in Hindi “Ab matter solve ho gaya..” means matter has been ended or solved.

4.) Relating words with someone you know:
Some nouns and adjective can better describe the person you know or live with. Such words are:
Poltroon : one who is utterly coward. In Hindi, we say “fattu or darpok”. That is what this word mean.
Grandiloquent :One who is extravagant in language.
Loquacious : One who is very talkative and usually talks senseless.
Laconic : One who replies in short and brief words in rude manner.
Obstinate : One who is not ready to listen anyone and will do whatever they like. A synonym for Stubborn.
Agnostic : One who does not believes, usually doubtful and don’t believe in existence of God.
Belligerent : A person who is aggressive and is always ready to show his aggression.

and so on. There are many words which you can relate with your family members, friends or even well known celebrities to learn and remember such words.

5.) Know the base meaning or Root words of the words:
Do you know most of the words in English are made on words taken from other language like Greek, Latin, French, Spanish and also Hindi.If you focus on learning the root words on which a word is coined along with its meaning, then there is high probability to will learn at much faster rate. You will be able to guess meaning of some words which you never even heard of just by grasping its root word.
For example: The following words are made on Root word “Acr” : Bitter, Sour.
Acidic : Things which have bitter or sour taste. Always Used for taste.
Acrid : Things which have unpleasantly bitter or pungent smell. This word is always used for smell.
Acrimony : Bitterness or ill feeling
Acerbic : This word can be used for a person, smell, or taste having characteristics of bitter or sour.

Now a question may arise in your mind where you will find such word roots.
The answer is “Word Power made easy by Norman Lewis”. Trust me, This is the best book to build up your vocabulary. The author of this book, Norman Lewis, had sold many copies of it and is still in demand. This is so good that no replacement of this is yet found. This book is most effective vocabulary builder in the English language.

If you are a beginner and are seriously interested to increase your vocabulary, then THIS IS A MUST READ BOOK.

Click to buy >> WORD POWER MADE EASY by Norman Lewis.

Things You must do to build up your word power:

You need to trigger all 5 factors that helps anyone to learn any word or language.
These are the following 5 triggers that you need to focus on
1. Reading
2. Listening
3. Watching
4. Practicing
5. Thinking

1.) Reading books, novels, magazines, blog, Newspaper, journals etc:
You agree it or not but reading is the master key to unlock treasure of rich words. Think for a person whom you know for having great vocabulary, maybe great businessman or leaders, you will something one thing in common that is they all read. They all are readers. They almost read more than 10 books in a year. I am saying very below number. Great writers and people fond of reading also read up to 52 books in year. This means One book per week.
Its not necessary that you go for reading only heavy books. If you are beginner, who haven’t read a single book out of your study syllabus, then you should start with some thin books related to area of your interest. It Can be a novel, a magazine, a personal development or vocab builder book. You can start with anything that you like. But I recommend you to start with WORD POWER MADE EASY by Norman Lewis itself. It is worth reading. Also Six weeks to words of power by Wilfred funk is also good.

Other thing that is important and must is Newspaper Reading. Read Newspaper on daily basis. That is also a English Newspaper. If you aren’t in habit of reading one, you can start with Times of India for 2-3 months, then can move to The Hindu and then to The Guardian or The Economist. The Hindustan Times, The times and other will also work fine but the suggested are recommended If you think, you have better than average vocab power than you can directly start with The Hindu.

How and What to do read in Newspaper:
By reading newspaper it doesn’t mean that You should go for first page headlines, then some city news and jumping to page of your interest maybe Sports page. No, If you are really focused to bell the cat, You should not do this. Start with Editorial page, Its a page where publishers publish opinions on different topics. This page have sections which have articles on different topics. You have to read this first, then you can move to Nation news, global news and yes Business news is also must read page. You are appearing for CAT/GMAT to get entrance into business schools. So if you don’t like business news, starting with reading only headlines and One full article of your choice. This will slowly help you develop interest in business news. Then you can read sports news, front page and other pages of your choices if you want.

So the order is : Editorial > Global News > Business News > National News > Sports or Politics > Front page > Other pages of you choice if you want to read.
You should spent at least One hour on reading where Newspaper reading is must apart of reading blogs, journals, articles, novels or books.

2.) Listening to podcasts, speeches, debates, news:

Listening is very essential part of learning. Listen to podcasts, speeches, debates, news, which are presented in English language. If you do this daily, you will come across variety of words dealing with different ideologies. The best part is you will hear them at regular frequency so the words and their meanings will keep on refreshing every time when you listen them.

3.) Watching English movies, web-series, sports channel without sub-tittles:

If you enjoy watching these all things, just make sure you prefer watching them without sub-tittles. This will improve your listening and understanding power. If you are not at all able to understand in the beginning then its okay, you can watch with sub-tittles initially but don’t make this your habit. After 1-2 months, continue watching without sub-tittle otherwise you will become dependent of sub-tittles.

4.) Practicing :

Practice is only key to success. There is no shortcut to success. Hard work and determination are key ingredients of anything achievable. So practice every easy or tough word that you learn using any of the ways mentioned above.
Usage of words is necessary. This will be like test of above three discussed factors i.e. Reading, Listening & watching. If you are doing well with above factors,you will not face much issue in practicing part. Use the words that you learn in your day to day life no matter you can practice them While speaking or writing or anyway. Any kind of activity that brings learnt words in usage is fine and good to go.

5.) Thinking :

This is the most important thing and also the think which people values the least. Most of the people try to learn words, making notes, cramming words, sitting for hours, spending lot of time but can achieve maximum output of it just because they don’t think about the words. No matter you find something can be framed with a easy word. Always try to look for alternative word for it. Its closest synonym which can nearly fits perfectly in that frame.
Train your brain to thing of other words. Look for a good/tough word for easy ones and Easy word for tough ones.
This may be tough in the beginning but Trust me, this will really help you a lot.

Thank you so much if you read it till end. Hope you get my points and are ready to implement it to build up your vocabulary.
Please comment down in comment section if I missed any point or something you want to add or suggest.
Have good time ahead.

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