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Friday, May 18, 2012

A Strong Vocabulary and Professional Development go together

Is your vocabulary as strong as your ambitions or you have obsequiously accepted the turgid eloquence of boasters rather than being a pertinacious learner yourself?

In today’s world, Vocabulary is essential in everything we do. Vocabulary is an important aspect of our personal and professional self. Vocabulary is often taken as an indicator of a person’s capabilities. Take the various competitive exams for instance. Whether it is MBA entrance like CAT, CMAT or GMAT or job oriented exams like IBPS. English is one of the core subjects in all these exams and vocabulary is an essential component of it.

Hence, learning, understanding, knowing, and having a good vocabulary is like cracking 25% of these exams. Good vocabulary not only helps us with exams but also helps us with our own personal and professional growth. Accurate use of vocabulary leaves an impression on people we interact with which in turn boosts our morale. While it’s easy to appreciate the importance of developing a good vocabulary, the bigger question is “How to improve our vocabulary”? Here are some suggested ways to develop a strong vocabulary.

The first step in vocabulary development is developing a READING habit. The more you read, the more you learn. However, reading the right content is very important. Reading material that is too complicated and full of jargons may do more harm than good. The reading material should be comprehensible and well structured. If the paragraph or the contents are a blend of unpronounceable and profound words, it becomes difficult to concentrate and maintain interest. Magazines like Reader's Digest or news articles from The Time of India or The Hindu would be the best for starters.

Here is an approach to extract the most while reading:

• Have a marker and a dictionary handy while reading

• Read slowly, a sentence at a time

• Mark the word you are unable to understand

• Try understanding the word in the context of the sentence

• If you are still unable to understand, look through the dictionary

• Note it down in your book along with the meaning and a sentence.

• Keep reading it to utilize the word in your regular conversations.

Tedious... isn't it? Though time consuming at first, eventually you will get used to this exercise.

Creating a study circle with a common goal may also be very useful. As much as possible, converse in English. Make it a point to speak to your colleagues in English. The more you speak, the more your vocabulary is improved. While in a conversation, if you do not understand a particular word, or if you come across an interesting word, make a mental note of it and write it on a “post it” as soon as you can. You can look for it later either in a dictionary or on the net. But then, not every day, do we meet people having a good vocabulary. Do not give up. Ask a friend to help. Try to infuse the words you have learnt. If it turns out to be incorrect, both of you can have a good laugh over it. Remember, speaking helps us tremendously in improving our vocabulary.

While developing a good reading habit and communication skills are the best way to develop a vocabulary, it is a rather long term exercise. For those with a target at hand such as an exam date or placements to go for, it might be better to go for a faster technique.

Flashcards are one of the most commonly used methods to remember difficult words. Flashcards are a set of cards which bear information and are used for learning; in this case - vocabulary. The word is written in front while the meaning and a sentence are written at the back.

Learning on the computers, especially online can be interactive and efficient. Innovations like adaptive learning are making learning smarter than ever. Mati–Gati is India’s First Adaptive Learning System. In adaptive learning, the system maps the strengths and weaknesses of a student and matches the difficulty level of questions accordingly. The idea is to provide maximum learning in limited time. Mati – Gati offers several courses and Vocab Champion course is the best to learn and improve vocabulary. It teaches a student in the form of asking questions and providing the right answers and an explanation like a flashcard. Vocab Champion has over 10,000 practice questions and covers every aspect of vocabulary (Synonyms, Antonyms, Idioms & Phrases, Foreign words and Base Roots). With the help of a prep–O–meter, a student can keep track of his performance.. This product is available on

Having a good vocabulary requires regular practice and hard work. Though difficult at first, you will get used to the exercise and the best part will be when you start utilizing the words in your daily conversations and notice the change it’s brought to your language. The real impact is when vocabulary becomes an aid in your professional development.

About the Author: Aparna Kamath is an educationist. Working as an assessment coordinator at Trusanga Educational Services, she collaborates with colleges and universities on student development projects.

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