The vocabulary below is meant to help you with the more difficult words. If the word isn’t on the list then you are either supposed to know it or it is too specific to be worth learning and you don’t have to know it to answer the question. Symbols in brackets mean part of speech (see bottom of the list). Sentences in italics give examples of usage for some more complex words and phrases.
And remember — you are not given a vocabulary list (or a dictionary) at your real exam.
Rural (adj) — Relating to the countryside. People from rural areas are not used to the constant noise filling the city background.
Arduous (adj) — difficult and extremely tiring. Harvesting crops in autumn is an arduous, but necessary activity.
Breadwinner (n) — a person earning money for the household. Men in western cultures tend to be sole breadwinners in their family.
Purify (v) — to make pure, to clean. Air in forests feels so purified because of all the trees.
Harsh (adj) — rough, unfriendly and cruel. The harsh conditions of a soldier’s everyday life are something few people get used to.
Unearth (v) — to get from under the ground, to dig out. Also, figuratively: to discover some truth. After two weeks of excavations the archaeologists unearthed the ancient relic they’d been looking for.
Fossilized (adj) — turned two stone after thousands of years. Fossilized remains of long gone animals.
Hump (n) — a part of surface that stands out, resembling a small hill. Camels can have either one or two humps on their back.
Exuberant (adj) — energetic and full of life. A particularly exuberant friend of mine decided to go around the world on a bicycle.
Withstood(v, past) — past form of ‘withstand’: to be strong enough to resist or defend against something. It takes a really good boxer to withstand hundreds of blows for 12 rounds.
Comeback (n) — a situation when something or someone once again becomes well-known, famous, relevant, popular etc., after being so in the past. Vinyl records are once again making a comeback.
Punctuate (v) — to make something happen at an even intervals, especially when something else takes place. Last summer was warm, punctuated by rare raining periods.
Famine (n) — a situation when food is unavailable or in short supply. African countries that suffer from famine are the primary objective of many NGOs.
Ineluctable (adj) — impossible to avoid, unavoidable. Disappointment is ineluctable if your expectations are too high.
Recurring (adj) — happening many times. His recurring success is the result of the hard work.
Medieval (adj) — referring, related or originating from the Middle Age. Medieval Times is a great restaurant with a show to match!
Rigidity (n) — state of being rigid – strong, inflexible and unable to be changed. Rigid discipline is the key when it comes to army training.
Burden (n) — a heavy load. Also, something you can’t stop worrying about. Her childhood psychological trauma remains a burden even today.
Perceive (v) — to see or regard something in a certain way. The way we perceive art is very different and depends on many factors, such as education and general knowledge.
Speculation (n) — Making assumptions that have no factual basis. Groundless speculation about their neighbour’s divorce.
Straitjacket (adj) — if something is straitjacket, it limits one’s options and freedom. Straitjacket methods of school education.
Amid (adv) — between, in the middle, surrounded by. I was happy to spend the evening amid my former classmates.
Extinction (n) — state of being endangered to the point of nonexistence. Many species nowadays are facing total extinction.
Wisdom (n) — practical experience acquired over the course of life. Not every old person has wisdom, it doesn’t simply come with age.
Relevant (adj) — related to the immediate topic; true and applicable. For example, a relevant question is a question on the topic being discussed. Search engines rank websites on relevancy to the topic the user is looking for.
Preserve (v) — to save, to keep intact. It is our duty to preserve art objects of the past for the future generations to enjoy.
Thriving (adj) — successful, growing, developing. The small shop that has opened recently seems to be thriving.
Accommodate (v) —here: to provide something to someone who is need of it. It is impossible to accommodate every person’s needs.
Entrench (v) — to establish something firmly, in way it can no longer be changed. The white supremacy ideology was entrenched in nazi doctrine.
Appeal (n) — the good side or attraction of something. The main appeal of having a car is the freedom of movement it provides.
Reciprocal (adj) — involving two or more parties doing the same thing to each other. The two engaged in reciprocal insulting.
Capitalise on something (phr) — to use something one is strong at to benefit from it. The company tried to capitalise on its international presence as its main selling point.
Indefinitely (adv) — With no known end date, infinitely. The shop is closed indefinitely.
Dismantle (v) — to take something apart; to destroy something or stop it from functioning. The factory equipment had to be dismantled because there was no documentation to prove it had been bought legally.
Surplus (n) — extra amount of something; more than required. The surplus of food supplies was distributed among the homeless.
Dwelling (n) — a place of living, e.g. a house or an apartment. I invited her to spend the night in my humble dwelling.
Culprit(n) — something or someone who is the cause of trouble. My car had been acting strangely and as it turned out the culprit was a torn wire in the engine compartment.
Dwarf (v) — to make something look small or insignificant in comparison. My recent accomplishments have been dwarfed by my brother – he has recently become the president of a large business.
Merit (something) (v) — to qualify for or to be worthy of something. I am not sure if coming second in a local marathon merits such praise from the media.
Lukewarm (adj) — barely or unpleasantly warm. I finished my lukewarm coffee and headed home.
Mundane (adj) — usual, ordinary, dull and arousing no interest. I had to get back to my mundane task of writing down telephone numbers from newspaper ads.
Erroneous (adj) — wrong, incorrect. Your initial guess turned out to be erroneous.
Indicative (adj) — a sign that something exists. Her car in the driveway is indicative of her being home.
Contemplation (n) — serious, prolonged thinking . I spend almost twenty minutes in silent contemplation about recent events.
Stumble (on/upon) (v) — to find something or to literally trip on something. The room was too dark so I stumbled on a chair and nearly fell.
Despairingly (adv) — hopelessly. I walked home despairingly, bearing the sad news of having to quit my job.
Withdrawal (n) — if you withdraw from something, you stop taking it. Used mostly with harmful substances such as drugs, cigarettes and alcohol. My first week of withdrawal was especially difficult to go through – I couldn’t thinking about anything but smoking.
Bliss (n) — a state or a feeling of absolute happiness. It was a bliss – a warm, dry Sunday at the end of November.
Allure (n) — attraction or appeal. The allure and the glamour of a movie star lifestyle.
Dull (adj) — unattractive and boring. They kept having those dull conversations about going to Turkey on vacation.
Flair (n) — ability to do something well without much effort. He exhibited surprising flair in dealing with unhappy customers.
Scurry (v) — to move quickly in a hasty, busy way, in short steps. She scurried around the office trying to find the sticky note that apparently was very important.
Ponder (v) — to think slowly and carefully about something. I had to sit down and ponder what to do with little money I had left.
Wallow (v) — to stay in the same situation without trying to change it. Instead of trying to go out, she wallowed in her misery after her recent break up with the boyfriend.
Roam (v) — to move or travel around with no certain destination. It was a pleasant summer evening so I chose to roam the city streets.
Whine (v) — to complain, to cry about something. Keep on whining, it is not going to change a thing.