FCE Vocabulary Building

Vocabulary, vocabulary, vocabulary – that has been my mantra to my FCE students over the years. The more vocabulary you know, the more likely you are to pass the FCE exam. However, it is not enough just to learn a word off by heart, you also need to learn how to use it!

Did you know that there are over 500,000 words in English? Luckily you don’t need to learn them all! The good news is that the average native English speaker only uses about 1% of this in his/her everyday speech.

FCE Vocabulary: How to Learn

The number of words you learn is not as important as how you learn them. FCE vocabulary that you need to learn can be put into two main categories:

  • Words that you need to passively know – that is, words that you need to be able to understand when you read or hear them.
  • Words that you need to actively know – that is, words that you need to be able to use yourself.

As you work towards your FCE exam, you will find that it is not enough to just know the meaning of a word, you will also need to know:

  • words usually associated with it (collocations)
  • it’s grammatical characteristics
  • it’s pronunciation
  • it’s register (formal, informal or neutral)

It is also important to remember that you won’t learn by studying FCE vocabulary books alone, you will also learn through reading and listening to English as much as possible.


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How Do You Best Learn and Revise FCE Vocabulary?

There is no right or wrong way to learn vocabulary. In our FCE Vocabulary: The Key to Success series, we have explained some of the most common ways to build your vocabulary. You can then try out one or more of the vocabulary building tips and decide what method best suits you.

Remember – you will need to actively use a word a minimum five times before you learn it. Some vocabulary will even have to be used up to 20 times!

Avoid missing any of the FCE vocabulary building tips as they are published by subscribing to our free email notification service and start on your road to success on the FCE exam.

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