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Jobs and projects: Theme-based vocabulary tests

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In addition to the exam-based vocabulary lists you can also create so called «theme-based vocabulary lists». A theme-based source file should be a unique reference tool so producing it is a creative process rather than an automated routine. One of the most important questions is how to find appropriate words and phrases.
There are many ways to collect and structure theme-based lexical items. If you are a professional specialist chances are you have compiled a rich stock of resources such as reference books, dictionaries, glossaries, indexes and publications like magazines, research papers, dissertations, newspaper articles, project management guidelines, business correspondence and other documents you can use to build theme-based word lists. It is important that you draw the words from as many different texts as possible in order to create a unique document that contains a rich selection of lexical items that are related to one topic.
If you are a student you probably have a lot of study materials, notes and text books that contain glossaries, vocabulary lists and word sheets. Tap into these resources to create a source file that consists of the most frequently used words and terms. This exercise has many benefits — you are absorbing the materials you have to learn for your studies while building a tool that will serve people from all around the world on a regular basis.

Balance between nouns and verbs
Since topic-related terminology is made up primarily of nouns, abbreviations and acronyms it follows that your source file might contain more nouns than verbs and adjectives.
However, to make the tests more interesting and diversified you should try to keep a sound correlation between the various word types and as rule of thumb the ratio will be 50/20/20/10 (nouns, verbs, adjectives, others). Of course this pattern can vary depending on the topic you are working on.

Importance of the sample sentences
Each entry in your source file should contain at least three sample sentences that show the word in various contexts. It is vital that you select your sample sentences very carefully for the following reasons:
  • copy right issues:
    In order to avoid any copy right issues, you should always either create/write your own unique sentences or edit sentences from other resources in such a way that they become unique sentences.

  • different contexts:
    Referring to a variety of documents increases the range of contexts each of the words in your source file can be used in. Generally speaking the value of the source file you create increases with each unique sample sentence you add.

  • search engine optimization:
    English-test.net is a website that offers free materials for learners of English and the better our pages are indexed in the search engines the more people can benefit from our materials. Web-based search technology is becoming more and more sophisticated and it is a question of time until search engines such as Google are able to recognize the syntax of texts on web pages. One of the dominating factors to the ranking of a web page is the amount of content-rich text contained on that page. That's why it is vital that you add as many sample sentences to your source file as possible.


If you have any English grammar or vocabulary questions,
please post them on this English Grammar Forum.


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Your English Test Package will help you learn new phrases, idioms, expressions and English grammar structures every single day. And you won't even have to cram any grammar rules or vocabulary words into your head! Instead, you will be absorbing bits and pieces of the English language almost without realizing it. This worksheet package is the only printable English test collection currently available on the Internet. It contains 2206 ESL/EFL Tests covering a wide variety of topics and grammatical points.

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