How to remember the English vocabulary

Learn vocabulary and never forget it - here you can find out how!


  • vocabulary you need to, do you need to repeat often, to memorize them.
  • Repeat vocabulary according to system (e.g. SRS) so as not to forget them anymore.
  • Even more You know vocabulary in the language, the easier do you memorize new vocabulary.
  • The application is best new vocabulary in conversation or written.
  • With vocabulary boxes you have an overview which vocabulary needs to be repeated.

It is important to repeat and check the vocabulary regularly so that you never forget them again.

The problem with learning vocabulary is that it is quickly forgotten.

At school I studied vocabulary extensively for the vocabulary test. However, I have them after the test (sometimes before) immediately forgotten.

If I learned too quickly for the test, fittingly, I forgot it right away during the test.

The key to remembering vocabulary is of course to repeat it over and over again. Until they are tight.

How do you learn the vocabulary, however, how often and especially when do you have to repeat and query it, to memorize them permanently?

Read here: The Complete Step-by-Step Guide to Learning Vocabulary (and Never Forgetting).

Query vocabulary: what does science say?

How often and when to repeat vocabulary is the basis of a lot of research.

The repetition method, in which vocabulary is always repeated at the optimal time, is called "Spaced Repitition System(SRS).Piotr Woźniak from Poland has defined an algorithm for the SuperMemo software according to which vocabulary should be repeated.

The word is always asked when the probability is 90% that the word will be remembered. This is the case at the following time intervals:

  • Step 1: Learning - for the first time
  • Step 2: Repeat (1) - after 8 hours
  • Step 3: Repetition (2) - after 2 days
  • Step 4: Repetition (3) - after 8 days
  • Step 5: Repeat (4) - after 1 month
  • Step 6: Repetition (5) - after 2 months

The times always refer to the first day. For example, the third repetition takes place 8 days after day 1, i.e. learning. The graphic shows this process on a timeline.

How often and when do you have to query a word in order to remember it permanently?

My system for querying vocabulary

However, I have the problem of dividing the vocabulary so that I always know exactly when which vocabulary have to be repeated. Subordinating my vocabulary to this system turned out to be almost too complicated. Monitoring the time periods is a challenge and is actually only possible with suitable learning software (e.g. Vocabulary trainer apps).

That's why I set up the following system, that has turned out to be the most efficient for me. Here I use index cards and an index card box (In this post you will find out why I still use flashcards to learn vocabulary):

  • Step 1: Learn the vocabulary until you sit down.
  • Step 2: Repeat the first time a few hours later.
  • Step 3-5: Briefly check the vocabulary every day afterwards. This can be B. happen at breakfast. It should only take a few minutes. This is where vocabulary from several steps come together (the vocabulary from yesterday, the day before yesterday, etc.). I learn about 15 words a day and that's why it takes about ten minutes for me.
  • Step 6: Ask again a day later. In this repetition, it is important that the word comes out like a shot. If it takes you longer to remember the vocabulary, return to step 3.
  • Step 7: Now translate the vocabulary from the foreign language into German. If you know the vocabulary well, that won't be a problem. But sometimes you forget what the word means in German.
  • Step 8: You put the vocabulary aside for now and check it again in 2-3 weeks.
  • Step 9: After a few months, you finally repeat the vocabulary. After that, you should know them permanently.

Any vocabulary you forgot goes back to step 1. Then the process starts all over again. Usually you will remember 80-90% of the vocabulary. With each step, around 10-20% of the vocabulary is lost and has to be returned.

To save time, you can skip steps where you quickly memorized the vocabulary.

Annotation: I visualized this whole process once. You can download all of these steps as a graphic here for free: Visualization of the flashcard method.

With this method you have a few more steps. You don't have to plan exactly when to repeat which vocabulary. You will s the vocabularyOr maybe don't forget it again for the time being.

I prefer to study with index cards, because I have more control over my vocabulary. I can write them down flexibly on index cards and sort them as I wish. In addition, if I lose my smartphone or the app causes problems, my collection won't be lost as quickly. But it is also possible to carry out the optimal process with a vocabulary trainer app.

Find out here: My 5 favorite strategies for learning vocabulary.

Too complicated; too involved? Here is a simple system for repeating vocabulary

If you find it too time-consuming to learn with the system almost every day, then here is an alternative system. This can be done without having to repeat it every day and with less expenditure of time.

Of course, the results are not as good as with the previous system. But vocabulary can still be learned efficiently this way:

  • Step 1: Learn the vocabulary for the first time until it sits.
  • Step 2: Repeat the next day.
  • Step 3-5: Choose 2 days a week that are at least 2 days apart (e.g. Monday and Thursday). Query the vocabulary over a period of 2 weeks. Of course, it doesn't matter if the query takes place one day before or one day after.
  • Step 6: Query from the foreign language into German.
  • Step 7: Finally, ask again 2-3 weeks later.

I have also had good results with this system. Deviating from the proposed rules is of course allowed. But you shouldn't have longer week intervals between repetitions. You will usually remember about 80% of the vocabulary.

How many vocabulary should I learn a day?

The question now arises as to how many words should be learned at the same time and how many per day. The following dates are of course only a guideline. You can also learn new vocabulary a lot less a day, just every other day, or just every week. What language you are learning - whether it is English, Spanish, German, French, Italian or Russian - plays a role in the number of new words you should learn per day however, does not matter.

I would recommend the following, depending on your level in the foreign language:

  • Beginner: 3-5 words at the same time, about 10 per day of study
  • Advanced: 5-8 words at the same time, around 15-20 per day of study
  • Professionals: about 10 words at the same time, about 20 to a maximum of 50 per day of learning

The more vocabulary you learn, the faster it goes

With every other language you learn you will learn new vocabulary a little faster. You begin to understand the logic of the word structure of language. The structure of vocabulary in most languages ​​is limited to a few basic rules. However, you will only understand these basic rules once you have learned some vocabulary in the language.

The application is best

Application is the best way to memorize vocabulary. It does not matter whether you use the vocabulary in a conversation or when writing a text. Always try to use your new vocabulary and incorporate it into sentences. So they stay hang much better.

Read here: Quickly memorize vocabulary with donkey bridges.

Where do I put my index cards?

This is my AOL card box that I use to query my vocabulary.

How do you know which step a word is at? You can do this by creating an additional tab. It says: “1. Repetition "," 2. Repetition "etc.

Or you can buy an index card box. In this you can move the index cards. For example, I use the 5-step box from AOL Verlag (*) (costs only € 5). Any other box is of course equally suitable. In some further steps, the cards have to be discarded elsewhere.

How does this system work for you or do you have a system that works better for querying vocabulary? What do you like or dislike about my system?

What should you do now?

  1. Buy a vocabulary box in which you can put your index cards.
  2. Make a decision on which days you want to study.
  3. Every time you know a word you push them one step further in your box.

And - how did you like my contribution? Please leave me a review:

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