Improve your Vocabulary

Many studies indicate the importance of vocabulary for achieving academic success.   


Without sufficient vocabulary for academic purposes, the following would be difficult:

  • to understand lectures,
  • read your textbooks and other reference materials needed for your assignments,
  • participate in tutorial discussions, present effectively, 
  • contribute as a productive team member,
  • communicate with your professors and teaching assistants, and more.


How much vocabulary is needed at university so that you can be an efficient learner?

  • For 98% comprehension rate of what you listen to in a lecture, you should aim to have a receptive vocabulary of between 6000-7000 word families  (Nation, 2006)
  • For 98% comprehension rate of academic texts, you should aim to have 8000-9000 word families (Nation, 2006). 
  • Some estimates suggest 10, 000 word families are needed for academic texts (Hazenberg and Hulstijin, 1996).


So, expanding your vocabulary needs to be a top priority.

The best way of expanding your vocabulary is through constant exposure to well-written texts. On our General Vocabulary page, you can find useful links to news articles and good sources of non-academic reading.


How do I get into one of these CTL English Language Development Support seminars or Cafés?

Your homepage on the Intranet will list the upcoming seminars and Cafés for the next 10 days. You can click on the link there and sign up. If you wish to know the whole CTL English Language Development Support seminar and Café schedule for the whole semester, please see the calendar.