5 Vocabulary-Building Tips and Tricks for IGCSE and A Level Students

The IGCSE and A Level examinations carry immense weight. Simply put, students can’t afford to skimp on strong preparation and secure mediocre grades. Based on how well you perform, you could attend one of the most prestigious universities globally. As you study a competitive program, you’ll get closer to entering your dream profession. That’s a little far away though, isn’t it? Let’s focus on something that’s in your control for now: vocabulary.

As you sit your IGCSE and A Level English examinations, you should master the art of using good grammar, proper syntax, accurate spellings, correct punctuation, and, of course, a varied vocabulary. As you check these boxes off the list, you’ll impress your examiners and secure excellent grades. A rich vocabulary will also help you write a great university application letter and submit excellent papers during your undergrad.

In this blog, we’ll walk you through five vocabulary-building tips and tricks for IGCSE and A Level students. If you have any questions, feel free to leave us a comment towards the end of the blog. Let’s get started!

1. Watch Quality YouTube Videos, Movies, and Shows

Audio-visual content is more appealing, engaging, and retentive than text-based content. If you want to expand your vocabulary and have fun at the same time, this should be your go-to approach! Watch quality YouTube videos, movies, and TV shows. If possible, opt for educational YouTube videos that present new ideas and thoughts while keeping you entertained.

The King’s Speech, Atonement, Testament of Youth, and The Queen are a handful of vocabulary-rich movies. If you’re up for a TV show, Planet Earth, Explained, The Great Greek Myths, Downton Abbey, The Crown, and Sherlock are some great options.

2. Read, Read, Read!

Reading is undeniably the best way to improve your vocabulary. Download the iOS or Android app for The Guardian and read at least one article daily. Additionally, read more books by critically acclaimed writers—fiction or non-fiction, that’s your call.

Need some inspiration? Here are seven novels you should read for a better vocabulary. You can also read magazines as long as they’re reputable.

Reading can quickly backfire if you choose the wrong novel, newspaper, or magazine. Careful selection will go a long way in actually improving your vocabulary, not worsening it.

3. Download “Elevate” on Your Phone

Elevate is considered one of the best vocabulary-building apps out there. The best part? It tackles more than just vocabulary. You’ll also get a chance to polish your communication and analytical skills.

Elevate includes numerous games that help build a range of English language, reading, writing, and listening skills. It’s an award-winning app, so you know you’re on the right track!

Most of the games on Elevate are free, so you don’t have to worry about buying the paid version. As you collect more points, you’ll progress from the beginner stages to more advanced stages.

4. Look Up Synonyms

As one of our favourite strategies, this one works exceptionally well. Let’s say you’re working on an essay. Instead of using common words, look up synonyms. If you want to use the word “talented” in your essay, run a quick Google search for “talented synonyms.” You’ll come across a range of synonyms: proficient, accomplished, adroit, artistic, etc. If you want to use the word “boring,” a Google search for “boring synonyms” will fetch results like monotonous, nondescript, jejune, insipid, lacklustre, banal, etc.

If a word is new to you, make sure you look up its definition and sentence usage. This will help you understand whether it’ll fit your sentence contextually. Learn how to use the word, create a flashcard, and add it to your deck. As you continue to come across new synonyms, build your deck, and use these words, you’ll expand your vocabulary. We recommend revisiting new synonyms every week. Try to make a sentence or two for each. This will help keep the words fresh in your memory. The last thing you want is to discover new words, only to forget them.

5. Play Vocabulary-Building Games with Your Friends and Family

The best vocabulary-building strategies are the ones that are the most fun! We recommend playing vocabulary-building games with your friends and family. You can opt for online games or play some good ol’ Scrabble. Either way, you’ll manage to grow your vocabulary by leaps and bounds. With anything, consistency is essential. Make sure you continue playing these games over the next few months and years.

You can also create your own games. Try this: take a notebook and write down a word on it. It could be anything; try to keep it as simple as possible. Let’s say you’ve written “sad.” Sit down with your friends or family and ask everyone to take turns writing synonyms. The person who writes the most complex synonym will win the round. Make sure you set a time limit; each person should get no more than 40 seconds to come up with a synonym. This will keep the game fast-paced and exciting!

About the Author

The author is an education specialist at Cambridge Home School. Established in 2002, the institution has over 20 years of experience and counting. Cambridge Home School provides a quality cambridge online education UK to students living in the UK, Europe (including Western Russia), the Middle East, Africa, and Central Asia.

Parents can choose from four best homeschooling programs uk: Primary Prep/Key Stage 2 (ages 8 to 10), Lower School/Key Stage 3 (ages 11 to 13), Upper School/IGCSEs (ages 14 to 16), and Sixth Form/AS & A-Levels (ages 17 to 19).

The institution provides a vast online library of educational resources, uses an independent, well-rounded, and interdisciplinary curriculum, and has a team of MA/PhD qualified subject specialist teachers on board. Parents can explore their admissions process and term dates for more information about the enrolment process.

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