My method of learning new vocabulary

Has anyone figured out the best way to learn vocabulary? I’m struggling with it and I need help. I’ve tried several times to stick to a routine, but it has never worked. When I had first started out, I would write down all the words in an A4 sized paper or a book and leave it at that. I could never really recall them and reading them out every single day wasn’t fun.

Then I moved over to Memrise because everyone seemed to be going on and on about SRS. Once I was there I realised it was too slow a process for me and I needed something that would make me go through a greater number of words in a short amount of time and help me commit them to memory. Then came Anki decks. All this while, I continued making lists after lists of words that I would never go through.

Anki gave me what I wanted. I modified the settings so as to be able to learn more words everyday. But that meant I would have a lot of words to review the next day. Missing a day meant adding to that pile and it started having a negative effect on me. It made me cringe every time I opened the application and looked at the number of words I had to go through that day.

I can’t tell if Anki is a better option than all the resources out there. But one thing that I’ve learnt out of all of this is that I need to change the way I study. And so today I tried something different. I studied the word in the context of a sentence. These are the steps I took.

I went through my N3 vocabulary deck on Anki and noted down 10 words. (These were review words and I vaguely remembered learning them).

I took the first word and wrote down the Kanji and the meaning next to each other.

Then I went searched for the same word on this site. I wrote down a few example sentences using the said word.

I highlighted the words and grammar points I wasn’t aware of. I made it a point to make a little note explaining their meaning and usage.

The reason I wrote down example sentences was because it helped me get an idea of where and how to use the word. Writing a few of them down one after the other meant repetitively reading the word. This could increase familiarity with both writing and reading the word.

Another advantage of writing the sentences was that I came across a lot of ways to express myself in Japanese. In order to speak like a native one cannot depend on word-to-word translation of English. I also came across a lot of new vocabulary as well as instances of Keigo.

The only disadvantage I’ve come across is that this method is time-consuming and is unsuitable for anyone who has a little more than a fortnight before the exams.

How do you learn new vocabulary? I would love to know your methods.


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