English is an important language worldwide. Whether you want to communicate effectively at your school, college, or workplace or appear for an examination, English is the need of the hour. It is also important when you appear for interviews. If you understand English and communicate well, you will likely have the upper hand in interviews. All in all, the more you broaden your English vocabulary, the easier it will be to navigate exams and interviews.
To crack the most difficult examination in India, the UPSC, you must have a thorough knowledge of the English language. You should also be able to apply it wherever necessary. Without this, cracking the UPSC exam or even appearing for the interview can become quite tricky.
However, you need not worry anymore. In this article, we share tips and tricks to help you learn more words and build your English vocabulary. It will also help you improve your English speaking and writing skills.
Tips and Tricks to Learn English Vocabulary
Here are a few tips and tricks you should keep in mind when you start preparing for the English language for UPSC.
There should be no place for low confidence when you start preparing English for your UPSC exam. You should stop doubting your abilities and take the first step toward learning the English language. Once you can do this, the learning process becomes easy.
English was not even native to Great Britain—the country that we famously call the English Land today. It was brought to Britain by people of Northwestern Germany and Northern Netherlands. Thus, you can see that English was always a borrowed language. It has evolved through the years. This means you need to learn the language and enhance your English language skills according to the changing times.
For instance, if you want to say “I’m feeling sad”, do not use the word “sad” all the time. Instead, go through the dictionary and find its synonyms or relevant words that can replace it in a sentence.
To do that, you need to employ certain methods. These are:
When you learn a new word or phrase, you should associate it with specific people, situations, or images to remember it better. In this way, you will be able to remember the word for a longer time.
For instance, let’s take the word “prolific”. It means something or someone who is illustrious or excellent. It can be easily associated with an influential personality like Amitabh Bachchan or Premchand. This means that prolific is a positive word associated with great talent or personalities. Once you associate a word with a person or an image, your brain can retain it better, and it’ll help you during your examination.
This refers to the process of creating a group, cluster, or network of words that share a similar theme or root. You can also group words according to their antonyms or synonyms.
Let’s take the theme “anger”. Words that fall under this theme include vex, infuriate, etc. Although the meaning of these words may differ in context, they still fall under the umbrella of anger. This can help you remember that these words express negative emotions or have negative meanings and indicate anger. This will help you choose the correct option in the examination.
Let’s take the root word “De”, which means down, out, or apart. This means that this word is negative. A word that contains these letters as its root word will likely also be negative. This creates an image in your brain that you can use to recollect the word during your exam. For instance,
- Decline: Becomes less
- Debilitate: Weaken
- Debase: Lower
This will help you understand that a word that begins with “de” may never have a positive meaning. It will always be a negative word. This is one of the best methods to remember words and their meanings. If you can separate the root word from the rest of the word, you can remember the meaning of words at the drop of a hat.
Antonyms and Synonyms
Antonyms are opposite words, while synonyms are similar words.
Let’s take the word “lackadaisical”. The synonyms for the word are lazy, half-hearted, lukewarm, uninterested, uncaring, lax, careless, casual, offhand, relaxed, leisurely, insouciant, indifferent, and blasé. The antonyms for the word are motivated, energetic, ambitious, enterprising, and animated.
Through this method, you will be exposed to different words that help you understand and recollect the meaning better. They also highlight what the words might indicate. This will help you retain many words easily.
Interpreting the context correctly to remember the meaning
Using this method, you should be able to place a word in the right context to remember it accurately. When you read a newspaper or website and come across a new word, try to guess the meaning of the word. When you do this, understand the context in which the word has been used. One word can have both negative and positive connotations, depending on the context in which it is used. Hence, analyse words carefully.
Expose (negative): The reporter will expose the minister’s misdeeds.
Expose (positive): If you travel to other countries, you will expose yourself to different cultures.
Try to memorise the meaning of words as much as possible. For this, you need to widen your search and include more words while studying.
Use colourful cards of different sizes and write the meaning of words on these cards. It will help you remember better.
Create word bridges
As stated earlier, this method falls under networking, where you can create diagrams of words based on their theme, root, or meanings. Use arrows, shapes, or anything else that works for you to ensure your brain retains the words better.
In this article, we shared tips and tricks you can use when you study the English language. As discussed above, you must note that English is a language that demands practice and patience. It is an ever-evolving language. Hence, you need to evolve and adjust according to the language. For this, you need to learn new words and their meanings. For instance, the word selfie was not part of the English language until a few years ago.
English is an important part of the UPSC examination. If you can master the English language, many aspects of the exam may become easier. The examination may seem difficult at first, but once you start preparing, it becomes simpler. To facilitate this process, we have shared a step-by-step guide you may use to enhance your English vocabulary. Take the first step and identify what works best for you from the methods listed above. You can try word association, networking, flashcards, world bridges, or even thorough reading with context to develop skills in the English language.