There are tons of vocabulary words you need to learn in order to succeed on the TOEFL and in university level classes. In order to maximize the amount of words you know, you will want to think about memorizing words that are related to one another. There are several ways to achieve this. Memorizing one word and all those in the same word family, several words that are all on the same topic, or words that share the same prefix, suffix, or root.
One reason that it is particularly useful to memorize prefixes, suffixes, and roots is that they are often recycled. As a result, even though you may not know a particular word on test day, if you recognize the common component--the prefix, suffix, or root, you may be more prepared than you had thought.
Remember, when studying words for the TOEFL, you want to think about where the words might appear but also where you can use them in responses you produce.
How should you decide what terms to learn first? Of course, you want to learn those that are the most likely to show up on test day, and if you can stay on track using a list in which words are ranked by likelihood of appearance, this is a brilliant tactic. However, another way to keep you interested is to use current events in order to get you in the mood to study. Whether you want to take a silly, bizarre holiday like International Cat Day or an established holiday like the 4th of July to inspire your academic endeavors, harnessing the power of what is going on at the moment can help you better understand puns the day of the event or understand cultural traditions. If studying a list of 100 words a day listed in no particular order isn't your cup of tea, then why not use the calendar to find additional motivation?
So, let's get the ball rolling.
Cata (from the Greek kata meaning down from, down to, or sometimes against) is a common root that can be seen across all four sections of the TOFEL.
-CATALYST: a substance that increases the rate of a chemical reaction without itself undergoing any permanent chemical change.
-CATASTROPHE: an event causing great and often sudden damage or suffering; a disaster
-CATACLYSMIC: relating to or denoting a violent natural event
-CATHARTIC: providing psychological relief through the open expression of strong emotions
-CATAPULT: to hurl or launch
Catastrophe is strongly negative and would be extremely useful to reinforce your point in a conclusion paragraph, stressing how doing the opposite of what you advocate would have costly consequences. You can use it in the adjective form, catastrophic, too if that fits your sentence better. Cataclysmic is even more strongly negative and should be reserved for world shattering consequences.
Catapult can be used to answer independent speaking and writing questions when used in a figurative sense. A career or even a country can be catapulted, for example. Don't feel like you can only use it for discussing rocket ships.
Now use these new TOEFL vocab words to catapult your score to the next level. How? Try to work in at least one of the new words into a practice independent essay response. Need some practice questions? Grab my list of One Month of TOEFL Writing Questions for free.
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