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How to Improve English Vocabulary (With Lockcard 1.3.0!)

Jewel Enrile
Jewel Enrile
August 19, 2021
How to Improve English Vocabulary (With Lockcard 1.3.0!)
Illustrations by Yuxuan Wu

Our memories cannot be trusted. Can you remember how many times you've forgotten your wallet at home or to text back your friend? It's even more awful as a student, or anyone learning something new. You study all night only to blank out during a test.

It's even more frustrating when you're learning a new language.I would know: I somehow managed to speak three languages during my final Spanish oral examination. Even when I'm fluent in English, I constantly switch languages when I forget one word or another.

So, don't worry. It's not just you, it's also me - it's all of us, and Ebbinghaus' forgetting curve.

But there is a solution. If you want to learn English vocabulary and actually remember all those English words, Lockcard is here to help. Our latest update makes it possible for you to learn as much as you can, the best you can.

Wait, I'm getting ahead of myself. Let me explain:

What's The Forgetting Curve?

The forgetting curve is to blame for our bad memory. The Forgetting Curve is a theory that goes way, waaay back into the 1880s, but it's been well-reproduced and tested since!

With the Forgetting Curve, German psychologist Hermann Ebbinghaus proves that memory weakens over time. Look at the graph below:

The Forgetting Curve, by Herman Ebbinghaus. It's a handy graph and a sad fact for our memories!

If you're learning a new language, the forgetting curve is essential to your efforts. Language-learning is nothing without vocabulary. To be able to form a coherent sentence in a new language, you need all those words with the right context and meaning.

The thing is, vocabulary involves a lot of memorization. And our memory already fails us 90% of the time.

Here are two key things to remember about the forgetting curve, and how we can reduce it:

  • All information will fade away over time.
  • However, we can retain this information by re-learning it!

How Can You Re-Learn?

It's easy! We have four methods - and we applied all of them in building Lockcard.

how to review according the Forgetting Curve and not forget
Spaced learning, overlearning, making learning meaningful, and challenging yourself - the four steps you need today.

1. Spaced Learning

Review what you learn over time and you refresh your memory. Retention drops fast after you immediately learn something new, so make sure to review your info quick! Over time, you can have more gaps in between review sessions.

Read more: what's wrong with rote learning?

2. Overlearning

Overlearning is simple! Basically, it's just continuing to practice no matter what - even when you feel like you've already mastered a skill.

Interested in learning a new language? We've got tips on how you can do so at home.

3. Make Learning Meaningful

Learning nonsense or without a purpose will lead you nowhere. Be organized and use visuals!

Our tip: use retrieval cues to apply meaning into what you're learning and memorizing. Retrieval cues are prompts to help you remember what you need.

4. Challenge Yourself!

Feeling confident about how much you've learned and remembered? Don't stop there! Test yourself, do impromptu quizzes, and see how much you've actually retained. See if you can progress better!

Need to focus? We know, it's hard as hell. We've got tricks for that, though.

How Lockcard Benefits Your English Vocabulary - and Stops the Forgetting Curve

Some screenshots of how you can use Lockcard as your personal dictionary...

Essentially, the best way to learn English vocabulary is to apply all four re-learning steps above.  And guess what? We've got all four steps in Lockcard. Here's how you can use our app:

  1. Download it onto your device. Make sure you allow notifications!
  2. Whenever you come across a new word as you read or study, search up the word on Lockcard. You get the definition and it'll test you later on!
  3. Buzz, buzz. Lockcard will notify you! Long-press the notification to test yourself.
  4. Rinse and repeat! Add as many words as you want to learn - we've got unlimited notifications. Sky's the limit!

It sounds simple, but there are layers of re-learning baked into the process!

...and as your personal tester, when you want, how you want! Reveal flashcards and study as much as you wish. Download it here.

How Lockcard (Scientifically) Benefits You:

  1. Being tested on what you learn makes you retain things better. Lockcard's primary purpose is to keep your memory sharp by sending you flashcard prompts all throughout the day. The best part is that you can test your English vocabulary right on your phone!
  2. Remember retrieval cues and how they can help you remember what you need? That's what our flashcards are all about.
  3. Overlearning helps you progress much, much faster - which is why Lockcard allows you to have multiple, unlimited notifications in a day! You can improve English skills at your own pace. Settle for learning one word a day, or go for ten. Learn as much as you like, and retain it, too.

Search once, remember forever. It's English vocabulary-training made easier. Try Lockcard out today! Add it on to constant reading and studying, and you're well on your way to success.

Charlotte Chen, Designer @Duolingo

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