I've my professional exam in coming days. In that exam at least 10 direct questions will come of vocabulary. It could be either Antonyms or Synonyms. But the main hurdle is vocab would be of high level. Could anyone put some light on the aspect that how should I prepare and share some good link so that I can learn some indispensable words. I'd highly appreciate your constructive suggestions.

  • Do they publish study guides specific to your exam? If some company "makes a living" selling study guides then that's probably your best bet although I imagine that the test designers also attempt to pick words that aren't in the study guides. I also expect that the test designers attempt to make their tests accurately reflect the proficiency of the test taker. So if you are truly proficient then I imagine you'll do fine. If not, attempting to cram will do both you and your future employer a disservice. – Jim Apr 10 '13 at 7:34
  • Buy a book and read it. That is the only way. – Thor Apr 10 '13 at 7:35
  • @Jim: Definitely No. – Sudhir Apr 10 '13 at 7:35
  • @Sudhir- Wow, that's surprising since pretty much every test ever offered has somebody selling a study guide for it in the US. Whether they are useful or not I don't know I've never used them. – Jim Apr 10 '13 at 7:37
  • @Jim:Words would be of basic nature. But the problem is that the usage of those words are infrequent or you can say very rare. – Sudhir Apr 10 '13 at 7:38

I'm going to tell a funny story about this. In the U.S., high school students are given an exam that assesses their readiness for college (there are actually two such exams, the SAT and the ACT).

My high school wanted its students to do well, so we spent an entire term in English class prepping for the SAT. We were given a list of 500 vocabulary words to learn, and were tested on those weekly. We took practice exams as well.

When I took the exam, not a single word that we learned in English class appeared on the exam. However, there was one word I recognized on the exam, and I had learned the meaning of that word in school. Specifically, I learned it in – of all places – woodworking class!

The word was pithy, which I had never seen before, but I remember my woodshop teacher explaining an anomaly on a piece of wood I was using: "That's the center of the tree; the inmost part of the tree's rings. It's called the pith." From that little lesson, I was able to discern the meaning of pithy during the exam.

My point? The words that will actually appear on your exam are a closely-guarded secret. However, test makers don't just randomly pick words out of the dictionary; they try to pick words that can accurately assess a person's vocubulary. Many of them are picked out of literature, so Thor's advice to "read, read, read" is quite solid. If your exam is coming in a matter of "days," though, the probability that you'll learn a word between now and test day that will actually show up on your exam is extremely low. It would be better to simply invest your time in practice tests, if they are available, to get used to the format of the exam questions, which are unlikely to change, and can be mastered.

There is no way to build an impressive vocabulary in weeks or even months. Such mastery of words takes years to acquire.

Incidentally, my wife has an extremely impressive vocabulary. She got this by buying a blank notebook, writing down unfamiliar words as she came across them, looking them up in the dictionary, writing down their definitions, and then re-studying that notebook from time to time. As I said, though, this took several years of patience and hard work to eventually pay discernable dividends.

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Find/make a list of words that can appear on the exam (possibly combine vocabulary from prior lessons), and then check each with a thesaurus. Each word has an entry both with synonyms and with antonyms. Learn at least some - most popular of them.

The disadvantage is that the lists of synonyms are quite long including words with narrow meaning overlap and very obscure ones, but I don't know any "simplified thesaurus", sorry.

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