When I was training for the 2011 USA Memory Championship I was training for an event that was memorizing a poem. I then Googled the phrase ‘most common words’ so I could create substitute pictures for the most common words and I memorized a list of about 300 of the most common words. Examples are:
how, when, with, what, and, the, is, his, that, in, but, some….
Much of the English language (and any language I am sure) is simply repeating the same words over and over. The average American will use about 3,000 words, however the dictionary contains about 50 times as many words. What is the benefit of increasing your vocabulary? Well, if you are a student taking the SAT the answer is obvious. However, even if you just want to learn a new language or learn a new subject in school such as anatomy or geology having a larger vocabulary will help you. The more you understand about the English language the more similiarities you will find in foreign words you are wanting to learn.
How do you improve your memory and memorize vocabulary?
Here are a few points:
1. Read with a dictionary and when you don’t know a word don’t skip it but look it up!
2. Read subject that you haven’t mastered or are not familiar with and you are certain to encounter new words and then look them up!
3. Keep a vocabulary journal and write down the new words you learned. Seeing it written down and writing it down will help your memory
4. Get a calendar that has a ‘Word of the Day’ or find a good word of the day email service and learn a new word every day
5. When you memorize a vocabulary word keep the definition as simple as possible. In other words, keep it to one word. You may use a thesaurus for this. For example the word ‘Ardor’ you want to find out what it means and the thesaurus tells you it is a synonym for passionate. Keep it simple. One word gets a one word definition.
6. You mind remembers pictures. Use some memory training to memorize vocabulary. So don’t just saw your words but SEE THEM. For example the words:
Neophyte = beginner
Take the first word and turn that into a picture for your memory. You may see boxers fighting but they are on their knees. It is a ‘knee fight’ and then take the definition and turn that into an image as well. So you see a bunch of bees and they are drinking gin for the word ‘beginner’. In this example you have a knee fight and the audience is bee’s drinking gin. So you have turned the word into a picture and the definition into a picture and then attached the two in your story. This kind of image creation really makes it easier to improve your memory in regards to remembering vocabulary words.
Improving your memory of vocabulary words isn’t just all about learning more words. Of course it will help you on exams like the SAT but it is also about helping you become faster at learning other languages or even new subjects. Heck, you just might get really good at crossword puzzles as well!