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.