The heart of Vocabulary.com is The Challenge. It's an adaptive game you play to help you improve your vocabulary.
To get started, just start playing. We'll get to know you.
The questions start out easy, but as you continue playing, we'll start to learn more about you and adapt to your unique vocabulary knowledge. Over time, we'll figure out which words you know and which ones you need a little more help with. Then, we'll keep practicing with you until you master the tough ones.
As you play, we'll start building a learning program designed just for you. You can see the words you are learning as well as your progress on those words at any time.
Studying for a test or already know the words you want to learn? No problem. Tell us which words you want to focus on, and we'll prioritize those. It's easy to make changes to your learning program.
Read more: Managing the Words in Your Learning Program
Playing the Game
You play the Challenge by answering questions in a series of rounds. A round contains 10 questions that test your knowledge or advance your mastery of 10 different words.
Get a question right? We'll award you some points. Get a question wrong? We'll show you a helpful explanation of the correct answer.
On many questions, we'll give you the option of taking a hint. If you take a hint, we'll give you some help, but you'll get half the points for getting the correct answer.
Once you’ve played a word, it will appear in the round scorecard on the right side of the question. It will show you whether or not you got the question correct and your progress on the word. At the end of a round, we’ll show you a round summary with highlights, including any achievements you've earned.
There are 10 different types of questions on Vocabulary.com, and each question you see can be presented in 4 different modes. The number of points you earn for getting the correct answer varies based on the question mode.
Earning Points and Achievements
As you answer questions correctly and learn words, you earn points. And as you earn more points, you are assigned a badge that represents your level. You start as a “novice,” and then as you hit different point goals, you’ll level up.
You can also earn extra badges based on various achievements, such as answering 5 questions correctly in a row, or acing a round.
At the end of each round, we'll show you a round summary that summarizes the words you saw in that round and what points and achievements you earned.
Read More: Levels and Achievements
If you answer enough questions correctly on a word that you’re learning, you’ll master it. You can see the progress on any of the words you’re learning in the small bar graph next to the word. Once you’ve mastered a word, the bar turns gold.
Just remember, mastering words takes time. That's why we give you a 1,000 point bonus for mastering a word.
Read more: What does it take to "master" a word?
Using Vocabulary Lists to Study for Tests, Homework & Quizzes
If you just want to focus on one list of words, start by making a list. Then click on the "Practice" tab. When you practice a list, you'll play only questions on the words in your list. We'll show you a few questions on each word in your list and focus on words that you struggle with. It's like a mini-version of The Challenge, but just on the words in your list.
Practice sessions are short exercises designed to be done in a single sitting. You can also practice a list more than once if you just want to refresh your memory.
We'll automatically add any word that you struggle with during a practice session to your learning program. If you want to master all the words on a list (which will take some time), click the "Learn this List" button. This will add every word in the list to your learning program.
Competition and Leaderboards
Of course you'll want to show off your new-found vocabulary dominance. Check out where you stand versus your friends, your classmates, and the rest of the Vocabulary.com community on our plethora of leaderboards.
Read more: Points, Leaderboards & Achievements
Monitoring Your Progress
Before you know it, you'll be mastering tons of words. Want to see how far you've come? Head over to the My Progress section. There you can see all the hard work you've put in, the achievements you've earned, and the words you're learning and have mastered.
Read more: Tracking Your Overall Progress