When you meet new words, you have to make an effort to remember them. Whether you heard it first in the news or at the back of a milk carton, you have to try to record it, write it down somewhere. But how do you retain the words you learn? Is it possible to remember all the words you have met over time? 

Expanding your vocabulary is a ‘must’ to succeed in any English exam, but to do this requires an enormous amount of time and practise. To do this easier, you have to treat vocabulary-building systematically. 

Read our guide on how to make your first vocabulary notebook.


If you like the idea of taking down notes with pen and paper, a dedicated notebook is a good option since it keeps everything in one place. A notebook with alphabetical or color-coded tabs can do the trick, as long as you have a system to organise your entries to make sure it’s easily searchable: is it by date and time, or do you put nouns ahead of the verbs?


Notecards are portable vocabulary notebooks: you can easily put them in your pockets! Dedicate each notecard to a single word and definition, shuffle a deck or two every day and memorise each word during commutes. You can easily jot down new words when you see one with blank notecards in hand. However, that can also be a disadvantage since you can easily lose them, so make sure you store them in one place.


Just like notecards, sticky notes can be used as portable vocabulary notebooks.  These work as reminders to stick to any kind of surface, may it be on your desk or your own vocabulary notebook. 


If you want to access your vocabulary notebook anywhere you are, go digital. You can create a blog dedicated to daily new words, or download a note-taking app for your notes and scribbles. You can even draw a sketch or take a picture of the page or website where you found the new word!

If you’re indifferent to using both paper and digital apps, you can even combine these methods and see what works for you. Make sure that your vocabulary notebook matches your learning strategies: are you a visual learner who learns best through sketches and photos? Do you find it easier to remember the things you write down on paper? 

Remember: There is no single recipe to do this. We encourage you to do the methods you think will fit your learning strategy best. Try to make it a habit to write down words every day! 

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