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Advanced English Vocabulary Exercises with Answers


A wide range of vocabulary is the distinguishing feature of an impeccable speaker. An adroit speaker will boast off an expansive range of vocabulary, which means that he/ she will have multiple words and expressions to replace a particular word or expression. Limited vocabulary skills can cripple your expression significantly. With a limited vocabulary, you will not be able to capture your thoughts precisely with the right words, due to which your thoughts will not be able to make the desired impact on your audience. It is for this reason that a good vocabulary is a prerequisite for effective writing also. An expert writer will have an excellent range of words and expressions to capture his/ her imagination effectively. Hence, Having a Good Vocabulary in the chosen language of communication is as needed as salt in food. 

Vocabulary is categorised into two parts-active and passive. Active vocabulary comprises the words that are readily used by a person when speaking and writing. Passive vocabulary comprises the words,whose meanings are known by the person, but are not used frequently while speaking and writing.An impressive speaker not only keeps adding new words to his/ her active vocabulary but also converts passive vocabulary into active vocabulary. 

In an MBA entrance examination, vocabulary plays a significant role both directly and indirectly. It is an integral part of the Verbal Ability (VA) section. As discussed in the Reading Comprehension (RC) section, questions meant to test the aspirant's vocabulary are asked directly as part of the passage comprehension. Also, a good vocabulary enhances the aspirant's chances of doing well in all the other sections where the aspirant is required to write or speak. Therefore, the aspirant needs to develop a good vocabulary to capture his/ her thoughts with the right words. This will enable the aspirant to leave a good impression and become a confident communicator. 

This module is designed to provide handy tips to the aspirants to brush up their vocabulary skills with respect to the MBA entrance examination as well as for daily communication. 

Vocabulary Building Techniques

  • Etymology

One of the best approaches to expand vocabulary is through etymology. Since a large number of words in the English language have their roots in Latin and Greek language systems, memorising  the roots and its meanings will enable you to unravel the meanings of all the words built on a particular root or at least give a vague idea about the word, enough to help you in the MBA entrance examination. For instance, by memorising the meaning of the Latin word 'ego'- self, you can easily decipher the meaning or the context of words built on the root 'ego'- egoist, egocentric, alter ego, egotist and so on. Similarly by memorising the meaning of the Greek word 'anthropos'-mankind, you can understand words built on this root- anthropology, philanthropy, misanthropy and so on. It is to be noted thatunderstanding the meaning of the root word and the way  prefix/ suffix get added to the root to change the meaning of the word can significantly boost your vocabulary. The table given below illustrates how new words are formed by using the root word or by adding a prefix or suffix or both:

Root Meaning Example
verto turn introvert, extrovert, ambivert
monos one monogamy, monomial, monologue
bi two bigamy, bilateral, bilingual
mania madness maniac, kleptomania, megalomania
misein hate misogynist, misogamist, misanthrope
ambi both ambivalent, ambiguity, ambidexterous
psyche spirit, soul, mind psychic, psychopath, psychology
gyne woman gynaecologist, misogynist 
autos self autocratic, automatic, autobiography
 bios life biopsy, biography, biology

This table shows how new words get formed based on a root word. This is one of the best ways to add to your vocabulary. By memorising a handful of roots, suffixes and prefixes, you can unravel thousands of new words and use them in your communication. This strategy can be applied while solving the entrance exam. By recognising the structure of a word- root, prefix, suffix, you can work your way through the unfamiliar part of the word.

  • Associations

Another way of enriching your vocabulary and remembering more words is by making associations. For every new word that you learn, try to associate it with another word, phrase or object. For instance, 'garage' can be linked to cars, azure (blue) to clouds, sweltering (hot) with sun. Making associations of words, especially with pictures, helps to retain the word in the mind for a longer time.

  • Ideas

According to the Greek philosopher Plato, everything exists as an idea. Connecting with words with the idea denoted by that word helps build the vocabulary. For instance, 'guilt', 'sin', 'penitence', 'justice' are not just ideas in themselves but also fall under the idea of 'crime and punishment' or 'values' and an 'egoist' denotes the idea of 'me first'. 

  • Reading

Reading gives you a chance to come in close proximity to words and enhances your vocabulary base. By coming across new words, their contexts and the picture they create, you can add innumerable words to your language. Hence, the more you read, the more your vocabulary increases. 

Regular use of these strategies will have a significant impact on the aspirant's vocabulary skills, which will be of great help while giving the MBA entrance exam.

Test Yourself

Q1. Choose the closest meaning:

i. dishevelled appearance

a. untidy b. fierce
c.foolish d. Unhappy

ii. parry a blow

a. fear b. expect
c. ward off d. Ignore

iii. a clandestine meeting

a. prearranged b. hurried
c. public d. Secret

iv. a glib talker

a. smooth b. awkward
c. loud d. Boring

v. feel antipathy

a. friendliness b. hostility
c. suspense d. ashfulness

vi. an indefatigable worker

a. well-paid b. tired
c. tireless d. Pleasant

vii. anopthalmologist

a. eye doctor b. skin doctor
c. heart doctor d . foot doctor

viii. shows perspicacity

a. sincerity b. Mental keenness
c. love d. Longing

ix. an anomalous situation

a. dangerous b. unusual
c. unhappy d. Common

x. to simulate interest

a. pretend b. feel
c. stir up d. Lose

Q2. Find the synonym of the following words.

i. peril
ii. splendid
iii. want
iv. furious
v. annoy
vi. inactive
vii. accord
viii. considerate
ix. glitter
x. vanquish

Q3. Find the antonym of the following words.

i. abundant
iii. despair
iv. frequent
v. feeble
vi. miser
vii. optimist
viii. rude
ix. shallow
x. voluntary

Answer Key


i. untidy
ii. ward off
iii. secret
v. hostility
vi. tireless
vii. eye doctor
viii. mental keenness
ix. unusual
x. pretend


a.  risk/uncertainty/hazard
b. impressive/lavish/beautiful
c. desire/need/demand
d. enraged/livid/violent
f. passive/dormant/dull
g. pact/concord/harmony
i. glamour/sheen/luster


a. few/lack/scarcity
b. ugly/disagreeable/repulsive
c. cheer/joy/contentment
d. sporadic/intermittent/ceasing
e. capable/strong/competent
f. spender/wastrel/spendthrift
g. pessimist/bearish/disheartened
h. gentle/polite/refined
i. full/significant/raised
j. obligatory/forced/involuntary

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