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.
Highs, lows (n) — high and low points of something. Can be used separately. Everybody’s life has its highs and lows, good and bad periods.
Persuade (v) — make someone do something; convince. The policeman couldn’t be persuaded to let us off with a warning.
De-clutter (v) — make less cluttered — filled with (usually unnecessary) objects.
Superfluous (adj) — exceeding the necessary minimum, over-the-top. Some customers might get turned off by the superfluous decorations.
Claim (v) — state, say to be true. She claims that she know every big celebrity in this city.
Distraction (n) — something that takes your attention away. You should avoid looking at various distractions while driving.
Unaware (adj) — not knowing; not conscious of. I was unaware that you two know each other.
Knack (of) (n) — a certain skill or ability. Peter has a very special knack of persuading people.
Gravitate (v) — to be influenced by or drawn to something; attracted to. Young people often gravitate to whatever is fashionable right now.
Carve (v) — to cut something into pieces or to give shape. I like to carve wood into figurines of animals.
Ferocious (adj) — fierce or cruel like an animal. The ferocious indigenous people of this land are wary of strangers.
Identity (n) — identification of oneself; individuality.
Draw back (phr v) — (here) make to come back.
Formidable (adj) — inspiring feat or respect because of great size or strength. Mike Tyson was a formidable opponent for any professional boxer, no matter his skill or experience.
Disembark (v) — get off a ship or an aircraft. Attention to passengers: please be careful when you disembark the ship.
Notorious (adj) — well-known for bad reasons, infamous. This teacher is notorious for flunking students he doesn’t like.
Strike (n) — an organised protest of workers against the employer. The protesters refuse to work until their demands are fulfilled.
Profoundly (adv) — deeply, intensely.
Bound to (adj) — supposed to, should. They are bound to arrive by tomorrow’s evening.
Reflect on (v) — to think or mediate about something. I took a minute to reflect on the situation we’re facing.
Inconvenience (n) — something difficult or causing trouble. The minor inconveniences we had to experience were nothing compared to the utter joy the trip brought to all of us.
Unpretentious (adj) — not claiming to be important or remarkable. Most self-made men tend to drive unpretentious cars despite their huge wealth.
Transcend (v) — exceed, go through or beyond. This masterpiece transcends time and remains one of the greatest piece of art.
Home run (n) — a home run is a figure of speech coming from baseball that means ‘great success’. Hiring that new employee we really hit a home run — he transformed the company in two years’ time.
Quotidian (adj) — happening every day. Her quotidian routine includes gym and swimming pool.
Ignite (v) — to set on fire. To trigger or awaken. One way to ignite woman’s passion for you is to explicitly ignore her.
Unprecedented (adj) — never occurring before, unparalleled. The popularity of the book was unprecedented — it became a national best-seller almost overnight!
Enthral (v) — to enchant, captivate.
Ambiguity (n) — having possibility of being interpreted in two different way.
Well-meaning (adj) — with good intentions, with goodwill. He used to be a well-meaning young man, but after his wife left him be became depressed and angry.
Hypocrisy (n) — practice of having double standards. Doing things that you tell other people not to do.
Complication (n) — something that makes matters complex, difficult. His illness has one complication that might eventually lead to serious consequences.
Convinced (adj) — sure of something. My mother is convinced that I should focus on my studies rather than my career in sports.
Underestimate (v) — to think of something as insufficiently good/dangerous/serious etc. We underestimated the other team and came unprepared — that is why we lost the game!
Relevance (n) — relation to something. Your ideas have no relevance to what we’re discussing — we are talking about cars and you keep telling us of your bicycle.
Attitude (n) — person’s general views on a topic. What is your attitude to people who choose not to have children?
Retail (adj) — sold in small volumes as opposed to wholesale, where sales take place in bulk. Retails sales went down 20% after the story of inferior quality products got published by the press.
All the rage — the latest most popular or fashionable thing at the moment. The Beatles were all the rage in the sixties.
Gawp at (v) — to stare in a stupid way at something, to gape. When I was fourteen I would spend days gawping at foxy girls at school.
Armistice (n) — a truce, an agreement to have a short period of peace during war.
Inspiration (n) — something that elevates you spiritually, makes you want to do something creative or unusual. Women were the usual inspiration for most artists.
Flamboyant (adj) — extravagant, loud and tending to show-off. Flamboyant teens are popular with girls of their age.
Breed (n) — group of animals in a species;(fig) a type or a kind. In this day and age non-commercial musicians are a dying breed.
Garland (n) — a wreath of flowers or leaves worn around neck.
Adornment (n) — something worn for decoration.
Recession (n) — a temporary decline in economy. The recession of 2008 forced employers to lay-off many people, which resulted in a spike of unemployment.
Seduce (v) — to win someone over, to attract (in a sexual way). Seducing a married man should be regarded as crime.
Infancy (n) — childhood, can be used figuratively. The industry of car manufacturing in China is still in its infancy.
Unearth (v) — dig out, discover, make known.
Stiff (adj) — inflexible, rigid; difficult to change. Fishing rods are usually made of strong, stiff material.
Spectacular (adj) — interesting to watch, grand in appearance. We got two free tickets to Dan’s spectacular show.
Exhibition (n) — public display of art, music, movies, cats — practically anything. Electronic Entertainment Expo takes place every year and showcases the latest advances of computer industry.
Mundane (adj) — ordinary and boring, everyday; banal. Doing the same mundane work for years can have negative long-term effect on your personality.
Proceed (v) — to continue, to carry on. Proceed with your task as if nothing has happened.
Self-denial (n) — limiting oneself, not allowing yourself to eat, buy, or do something you want to because it isn’t healthy, you can’t afford it or for other reasons.
Lavish (adj) — abundant, generous, extravagant. Gatsby would give lavish parties every other day in his grand mansion overlooking the sea.
Bold (adj) — daring and brave.
Predict (v) — to know that something would happen beforehand; to foretell, foresee. Meteorologists attempt to predict natural disasters to lower the negative impact they entail.
Solely (adv) — only, alone. The microwave should be used solely by the employees and nobody else.
Commonplace (adj) — dull, obvious; trite; usual. These cars are commonplace in my town. They are probably ubiquitous all over the world.
Eerie (adj) — mysteriously scary, weird. The family across the road has an eerie atmosphere surrounding them.
Rebellion (n) — organised resistance; uprising. Peasant rebellions were commonplace during the Middle Ages.
Aficionado (n) — ardent, passionate supporter of something.
Precursor (n) — something or someone who precedes. It’s hard to believe that huge, brick-like mobile phones of the nineties were precursors of the modern slim smartphones.
Prophetic (adj) — containing a prophecy, predictive.
Avid (adj) — keen or enthusiastic. Many UK citizens are avid supporters of their home football teams.