The basic 3000

  • You need to know the 3000 most frequent words in English. You probably know many of them already.
  • This list includes about 80% of spoken and written English.
  • The best way to learn them is by using special books called graded readers. You can borrow readers from the library. Using graded readers will also help you get faster and more confident in your reading.

General academic vocabulary


Specialised academic vocabulary for your degree studies

This is special vocabulary and you will need to work at collecting it, not just learning it. How?

  1. Keep your vocabulary notes carefully. Make sure they are with the subject notes for that specific topic.
  2. Remember that each module usually has a new topic each week.
  3. Try to find a 1-page summary of the topic. This will show you some of the most important basic words for the topic. Remember that words used many times in one chapter are probably more important than words you see just once or twice.
  4. Next, print the lecture Powerpoint for that topic. Write notes and translations on the Powerpoint.
  5. Keep notes of the most common, key words and phrases in your reading for the topic.
  6. Help each other with vocabulary. You and other students can share your vocabulary notes, e.g. using a Wiki, or Google Groups or a Facebook page.


How to learn more vocabulary

  • There are many ways to learn vocabulary. The most important way is by practising your English – reading, listening, speaking and writing. This leads to deep learning, so you remember and can use new words and phrases correctly.
  • Free online programme, called Anki. Here are How to use Anki (PDF, 0.4MB).
  • Use a translating dictionary AND an English-English dictionary. This helps you learn more about how the word is really used in English.
  • Use books and websites.

You can borrow excellent vocabulary books from the library

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