TOEFL iBT Vocabulary

I got more vocabulary questions in my second and third iBT tests compare to the ones in my first test. Based on my experience, there were several difficult vocabularies in the iBT exam and sometime I had no idea to understand the meaning. To cope with this type of vocabulary question, my tips are as follows:

Tips on the iBT test day

1. Understand what the passage, where the vocabulary appears, is talking about.
2. Look for the explanation of the vocabulary in the passage. It is usually indirect description. It can be example, synonym, or contrast.
3. Guess the answer based on the context of the reading.
4. Do not take too long time to decide what the appropriate answer is. Again, just guess (of course academic guess) if you still have not found the appropriate answer.

Tips to increase vocabulary capability – Before the TOEFL iBT exam day

1. In my opinion, our English vocabularies can not be increased dramatically. It is an accumulation of reading result for a long time. Therefore, my suggestion is that you should try to read many resources, for example newspaper and magazine in English. There are many free online newspapers in the internet. And, try to guess the meaning of new vocabulary based on the context that you read. Do not open the dictionary first!

2. Try the vocabulary exercises if you have some TOEFL iBT materials. If in your TOEFL materials there are vocabulary list and exercises, there are two methods to sharpen your vocabulary ability as follows:

* Doing the exercise first, afterward you check the answer in the vocabulary list; or
* Read the vocabulary list first (read it twice, do not memorize it unless you want to get headache), therefore you try to do the exercise.

Examples of TOEFL iBT Vocabularies

Abrupt (adj.) - sudden, hasty, unexpected
Affluent (adj.) - rich, wealthy, prosperous, well-to-do, thriving
Agile (adj.) - graceful, nimble, lively
Benevolent (adj.) - benign, kind, compassionate, good
Blatant (adj.) - flagrant, obvious, overt
Brisk (adj.) - lively, quick, vigorous, cool chilly, invigorating
Cling (verb) - stick, adhere, hold
Cruel (adj.) - brutal, vicious, ruthless
Defiant (adj.) - rebellious, insubordinate
Dwindle (verb) - decrease, diminish
Eerie (adj.) - strange, odd, unusual, mysterious, frightening
Flimsy (adj.) - fragile, frail, weak, feeble
Fuzzy (adj.) - furry, hairy, unclear, blurry, unfocused, hazy, uncertain, indefinite
Grim (adj.) - severe, dreary, bleak, somber
Gullible (adj.) - innocent, naïve, trusting, credulous
Incessant (adj.) - constant, ceaseless, continuous
Infinitesimal (adj.) - tiny, minute, minuscule
Lucrative (adj.) - profitable, money-making
Ominous (adj.) - threatening, menacing, dangerous
Obscure (adj.) - unfamiliar, ambiguous, little-known
Painstaking (adj.) - careful, conscientious, thorough
Perilous (adj.) - dangerous, risky, ominous, hazardous
Plausible (adj.) - likely, credible, believable
Profound (adj.) - important, significant, deep
Remnant (noun) - remainder, balance, fragment
Renowned (adj.) - famous, celebrated, notable
Scorn (noun) - mockery, derision, contempt, ridicule
Shrewd (adj.) - clever, sly
Sturdy (adj.) - strong, rugged, well built
Thwart (verb) - prevent, impede, obstruct
Torrent (noun) - flood, deluge
Utter (verb) - speak
Utter (adj.) - total, absolute, complete
Woe (noun) - trouble, distress, sorrow
Yearn (verb) - desire, crave, want

Note: Even though one vocabulary question is scored one point, we still can increase our Reading score if we can do it well.