I am preparing for a standardized test which tests one's English, primarily his/her vocabulary and contextual reading skills. I believe that I have a decent grip on my grammar but need to work hard on my vocabulary, to get a perfect score on the Verbal Aptitude section.

Currently I am reading words from Magoosh's app and using Google, wordnik.com, and an English dictionary app to find different contexts and connotations for each word. Then I just write down these words in a book and try to use them in sentences of my own. This process is both efficacious and arduous.

Any suggestions for an easier method will be much appreciated.

  • Unfortunately, SE sites aren't designed for discussions and opinions. This question is really likely to get closed.
    – M.A.R.
    Jul 7, 2015 at 19:15
  • This question could invite opinions, but an objective answer is possible if there have been any studies on the subject, or if someone is an ELL teacher with related experience, or something along those lines.
    – DCShannon
    Jul 7, 2015 at 19:36
  • Suggestion: play.google.com/store/apps/…
    – word-lover
    Nov 2, 2018 at 16:35

2 Answers 2


"efficacious"? I had to look up that one. Well, usually for common English vocabulary improvement, I would suggest watching BBC and reading, reading novels and the top selling English newspaper if you are in a non - English speaking country or just famous journals (national and international).

So there is only so much you can improve your vocabulary from sources that I mentioned above, and they are the most common sources most people turn to, when it comes to improving their English vocabulary. Just like you used "efficacious" in your question which is not very commonly used (In my opinion, I might be wrong or not well informed), I would have just used effective instead of "efficacious", there are so many words which I consider to be tedious or overkill to represent/communicate simple ideas and efficacious seems to fit the bill.

But in your case, you are preparing for a standardized test and these tests always require you to memorize and understand so many words like these(Totally unnecessary, you tend to never use half of the words , ever in your life , or end up forgetting most of 'em after the test is over, IMHO of course). So there are always good books, just for the purpose of teaching you words related to that exam/test. The books written just to prepare you for the test is your best bet, because improving your vocabulary of the sake of acing the test is a specialized circumstance, because the common sources like TV channels, newspapers and journals are aimed at the general population, so it has to be simple and concise so that everyone can understand it and not loose interest as well, so they wont work for specialized circumstances such as a standardized test. So in conclusion I would say, get a good book that helps you prepare for the exam.


You will hear various answers. My view is the most efficient way is reading novels and making systematic vocabulary notes. Reading an interesting novel is entertaining and studying the vocabulary with making notes can be interesting. I can do it for a long time without tiring. I find it boring to learn words from cardboxes and similar things.I never did it, it is boring, tiring and inefficient.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .