User Guide


The Program Home Page

Below is the VocabularyShop program home page.  From here you can:

  • Configure the program using the setting menu on the menu bar.
  • Use program functions by clicking one of the 6 function icons.
  • Get help from the help menu on the menu bar.
  • Find out the current user, and date and time of the last program run at the bottom of the page
Program home page

The Vocabulary Building Flow

The general steps of using VocabularyShop to build/expand your vocabulary are listed below. You can also watch a Quick Start Guide to get a brief look at these steps.

  1. Create a user account for you.
  2. Decide which words you want to study, create your study strategy and priorities. Your study strategy will have great impact on the result.
  3. Configure the online dictionary, study session length, and text to speech properties if you don’t want to use the default settings.
  4. Add some new words to your word selection with the Select function; maintain between 50 to 100 new words in your word selection. You cannot enter the Study function with less than 10 new words in your word selection.
  5. Get familiar with new words with Browse function; use Dictionary Dialog to customize information of some words to make it easier for you to comprehend and remember them.
  6. Using the Study function to study and encode words into your long-term memory. This is an automated process; your progress will be monitored, recorded and used to decide which words you should study or review at any moment and how much time you should spend on each word.
  7. When all new words are used, the Study function will stop and ask you to add new words to your word selection. Go to step 4 to add some new words to your word selection.
  8. Inspect words in your database using the Browse function about once a week or after running the Study function to identify and fix any memory weakness on some difficult words you are learning and have learned.
  9. Practicing spelling of words you are learning about once a week using the Spelling function.
  10. Challenge and boost your short-term memory with the words from your database a few times a month with the Game function.
  11. Open a text file on the side, record any “low-hanging fruit” new words you encountered in your study, then add them to your database later with the Type-in method of the Select function.
  12. Check your progress with the Report function whenever you want.
  13. Change the online dictionary, study session length, and text to speech properties whenever you want. 

This is a general suggestion. People are different, their needs and situations are different.  Each one has to figure out his or her own flow of study to best serve his or her purpose. For example, people preparing for the SAT test will do differently than people participating in the Spilling Bee competition.

User’s Word Selection

A user’s word selection is a set of words a user puts in his or her database using the Select function.  It is divided into two parts.  Words added to the database through the Study List will be scheduled for the user to study automatically in the Study function. Words added to the database through the Known List become records of the user’s existing vocabulary and will not be scheduled for the user to study.  No duplicated word can exist in a user’s word selection.

User’s Database

In VocabularyShop, each user is represented by a database.  The database is created when a new user account is added and is deleted when the user is removed.

The database contains all information about a user’s study. The information includes the user’s word selection, study history, current status and schedule information of each word in the user’s word selection, as well as notes, customized definitions, and images the user attached to some words.  The database is an integral part of the study management intelligence.  The management algorithm communicates with the database to track the user’s study progress, and to schedule, manage and optimize the user’s study process.

A user’s word selection is one component of a user’s database. But this guide will use either term indiscriminately when there is no confusion. We may say, “add words to a user’s word selection” or “add words to a user’s database” arbitrarily, because they mean the same thing.

Word Group in Your Word Selection

In Browse function, Spelling function, and Game function, words in your selection are classified into five groups according to their status with the Study function. You will be asked to select a word group when running these 3 functions.

  • New Words: words you added to the Study List in Select function, but have not studied yet with the Study function.
  • Learning Words: words you are currently studying with the Study function. They have passed the first round of study but have not passed the last round of study.
  • Learned Words: words you have learned through the Study function. They have passed all round of studies and are defined to be learned.
  • Known Words: words you added to the Known List in Select function. These words will not be scheduled for you to study in Study function because you already know them well.
  • All Words: your entire word selection.