How to Study for a Vocabulary Test: 15 Strategies

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Developing your vocabulary is a complex process, but possible! Time and consistency are vital to being fluent in vocabulary, whether in your native or foreign language.

To ace that vocabulary test, you must build your vocabulary skills. You can achieve this by:

  • Exposing yourself to new words for enough time till you grow familiar with them,
  • Understanding the definition of the word,
  • Recognizing synonyms,
  • Learning the context in which the words are commonly used,
  • Practice using new words in print and orally.

Keep reading to learn 15 fun and creative strategies to study vocabulary effectively.

Understanding the Vocabulary TestUnderstanding the Vocabulary Test

Before we talk about how to study for a vocabulary test, first, let’s understand what a vocabulary test is all about in the first place. In simply words, it is a test that assess the depth of you vocabulary understanding. It evaluates how well you understand the usage of words, and the context in which the word is applicable.

Depending on the test, the difficulty of the word may range from basic to extreme. Whatever the case may be, if you will be taking a vocabulary test, the most important thing is to remember the different context to use certain words. So, whether you are studying vocabulary for school, or a job application, understanding the basics will help you ace the test with ease.

Types of Vocabulary Tests

Types of Vocabulary Tests

Vocabulary tests are multi-choice tests used to distinguish learners’ level of vocabulary knowledge. The different types of vocabulary tests are related to measuring the learners’ ability to read, speak, write, and listen.

Reading vocabulary test

Reading tests are a significant part of vocabulary building. It involves your ability to read letters and words. With this test, your comprehension abilities is evaluated as you will be given a text to read and quizzed based on it.

Speaking vocabulary test

As part of the general vocabulary test, your ability to be speak fluently will be evaluated. It comprises the correct pronunciation of words and using them in the proper context. When taking a speaking vocabulary test, the examiners note different things such as your fluency and coherence, grammatical range and accuracy, lexical resource, and correct pronunciation, among others, depending on the situation.

Writing vocabulary test

A writing vocabulary test examines your ability to spell words. Verbal expression is much easier than putting the expression through writing. To ace this test, you must understand the root of words. In a writing test, the examiner looks for correct spelling, choice of words, punctuation, and proper structuring.

Listening vocabulary test

Finally, the listening vocabulary test examines your ability to understand the words you hear. For this test, you will be asked to write or tick the correct answer based on what you hear.

Format and Structure of the Test

Format and Structure of the Test

There are several types of vocabulary test formats and structures. Knowing the different types will help you muster the best way to learn vocabulary words and definitions for the test. Some of the most common vocabulary test format and structure includes:


In this format of a vocabulary test, the word is presented, and the student is supposed to identify it through the definition of synonyms. Essentially, this type of test is open-ended.


In this format of a vocabulary test, you are provided with a test word but offered several definitions, antonyms, and synonyms, of which you must choose the correct option. It could be a test to match words with the meaning, with a picture, in a category, the odd one out, or fill in the blank.


Matching words is another format of vocabulary testing where two columns of words are presented to students requiring them to match the answers.

5 Fun Ideas to Study for a Vocabulary Test

5 Fun Ideas to Study for a Vocabulary Test

If you are wondering how to study vocabulary words fast, try studying them in a fun way. When learning is fun, it is much easier to comprehend as you will be more invested in learning. Make practicing for a vocabulary test fun using the following ideas:

1. Make a word map

A word map is a great idea to deepen your understanding of words. It broadens your knowledge of the different concepts of words by learning the synonyms of words. And the best part is that you can make a word map with friends, making learning more fun.

2. Download word games

If you have a smartphone, downloading a word game on it is another exciting way to boost your vocabulary. You can download several word games, such as crossword puzzles, scrabble, etc. While it may seem like an ordinary game that is fun, subconsciously, you are learning new words and their spelling.

3. Try vocabulary sketch notes.

If you are a visual student, sketching common words in a sketch note is an excellent way to remember them. Considering the amount of time you put into drawing the word, whenever you see that object, chances are high that you will remember it, its meaning, and the context in which you can use it.

4. Identify objects with friends.

Trying to identify objects with friends in a group is a great way to make learning fun and interactive. Anywhere you find yourself, indoors or outdoors, there will be a bunch of objects you could name. You can make the game even more fun by awarding points to yourself based on who named the most objects correctly.

5. Sorting by category

In vocabulary, knowing what category a word belongs to is an excellent way to pass the test. Every word belongs to a category, be it a noun, verb, adjective, and so on. However, a word may belong to more than one category depending on the context in which it is used. Now, based on the context of a sentence, you can randomly pick words from sentences with people and categorize them.

5 Creative Strategies to Study for a Vocabulary Test

5 Creative Strategies to Study for a Vocabulary Test

A clear strategy is a creative way to study vocabulary words for a test. Some vocabulary learning strategy you can take advantage of includes:

1. Try flashcards

Using flashcards is one of the oldest ways to learn new words. You can learn with flashcards on paper or digitally. In either case, take a card; on one side, write a word; on the other, write the definition. It’s best to have a friend help you out by calling out the word, then you spell it and say the definition.

2. Use the Frayer model

The Frayer model is another effective yet very creative way to study vocabulary. With the Frayer model, you create a chart with words and assign them your terms. Note that the terms you assign to each word can be unique to you because the word reminds you of something. This way, when you hear a word, you easily remember the word you assigned to it and its context, which the word reminds you of, making it easy to know the definition of words.

3. Find words related to your spheres

The choice of words you often use says a lot about the sphere or crowd you talk with often. So, whenever you hear a new word, write it in your notebook, and check for its definition. This strategy is a no-brainer when it comes to learning new words. And over time, the notebook can become more like your own dictionary.

4. Write a story

The more you write, the better you become in that language. So, take a moment to write a story, fiction or nonfiction. Also, consider taking up journaling to boost your writing skills. When you journal, you write highlights about your day, which helps you to be creative with your words.

5. Have conversations with native speakers

Also, increasing your engagement with native speakers is another excellent way to learn faster. Speaking with people who are fluent in the language helps you pick up a lesson or two.

5 Active Learning Techniques to Study Vocabulary

5 Active Learning Techniques to Study Vocabulary

Studying with the mindset that you will have to know how to remember vocabulary words for a test requires you to take a more active technique in your vocabulary studies. Below are some straightforward techniques to study better for a vocabulary test.

1. Practice more with literature

When you read more, you understand the different usage of words in different contexts. As such, you can quickly broaden your knowledge of words, helping you become highly articulate.

2. Find context in new words

Also, you should find different contexts in which you can use a new word. A word could be used as a noun in one sentence and in another sentence as a verb which will mean different things. Context matters a lot when building your vocabulary. And while learning it, ensure you apply it in your everyday speaking to help it stick.

3. Practice words and opposites

Another active approach you can take to make learning your vocabulary fun is by practicing a word and its opposite in meaning. By doing this, you will end up learning way more words based around one word. Doing this with words you use every day expands your knowledge and fluency.

4. Deconstruct words

Also, whenever you learn a new word, always deconstruct it by learning its root of origin. This learning method helps you understand why some words are spelled the way they are and why they mean what they mean.

5. Learn common words used in vocabulary tests

Finally, reviewing the past questions to learn what words were used in the previous tests will help you know if your knowledge of words is vast enough. Otherwise, focus more on how to study for a vocabulary test the night before; you might be lucky, and a few words or its synonym or antonym might be repeated.

How Many Vocabulary Words Should You Memorize a Day?

How Many Vocabulary Words Should You Memorize a Day?

The best way to learn vocabulary words and definitions is to learn within the recommended number of new words to memorize in a day. Going over this limit makes it hard to remember, which may end up messing up everything you’ve read. The ideal number of words to learn per day is 5 to 8 if you are a conservative learner. But for an aggressive approach, learn about 25 to 40 words a day.

Wrapping Things Up: How to Study for a Vocabulary Test?

Overall, studying for a vocabulary test is essential if you want to increase your chance of success. Writing a vocabulary test goes behind knowing how to speak the language. Understanding why certain words are used the way they are or their pronunciation is critical to passing a vocabulary test. So, when you’re studying for a vocabulary test, doing so within the scope of the test will help you be better prepared. If you follow through with everything we have suggested in this guide, you can walk into that testing hall knowing you are going to ace the test in no time.

Enjoyed this post? Check out our other study tips for more helpful advice.

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Professor Conquer

Professor Conquer started Conquer Your Exam in 2018 to help students feel more confident and better prepared for their tough tests. Prof excelled in high school, graduating top of his class and receiving admissions into several Ivy League and top 15 schools. He has helped many students through the years tutoring and mentoring K-12, consulting seniors through the college admissions process, and writing extensive how-to guides for school.

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