There are many apps that can help you learn vocabulary. Many of them are fun because you can learn new words by doing quizzes and games. You can also use them anywhere on your phone or tablet. So what are the best apps for learning new vocabulary? First, let’s talk about the things to look for in a good vocabulary-learning app. Then, let’s talk about some apps available.
Try to use apps that quiz vocabulary in different ways. It’s important that you quiz the meaning of words. But it’s also important that you quiz how the word is used in context (eg. in sentences, paragraphs etc). It’s also good if you can quiz the sound and orthography (spelling) of the word.
Good apps will test both recognizing and retrieving words. Recognizing words means you understand the meaning of the word when you read or hear it. Retrieving words means you can choose the correct word when given the meaning or context.
Try to use apps that use spaced-repetition. This means the app will remember and repeat the words from your earlier quizzes etc. It will repeat the words after a set time. For example, if you get a word wrong, it will repeat the word the next time you do a quiz. If you get a word correct, the app will wait three days before repeating it. If you get the word correct again, the app will wait two weeks before repeating it. The time between repeated correct words gets longer. Spaced-repetition learning helps make sure you know words. It also helps you to not forget words.
Try to use apps that also quiz English phrases. English has many phrases. They can help make your English more natural. But phrases can be difficult for learners. It can be difficult to guess their meaning from their words, for example, take place (=happen) or out of the blue (=something surprising). Some apps can help you practice these.
Click the link below for a short list of my recommended vocabulary-learning apps (and websites).
Use your vocabulary apps often. It’s better to be using them regularly and for short lengths of time. For example, 10min twice a day is more effective than than 2 hours once a week. It also helps to make a daily routine for your vocabulary study eg. on the train to school or work.
Recommended free vocabulary apps and websites (part 1)
Recommended free vocabulary apps and websites (part 2)
More tips for your English self-study (Amazon eBook & print book)