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Memory Games: Synonyms and Collocations

Memory Games 1 Vocab

Memory Games: Synonyms and Collocations

Half of the Core Test of the Aptis exam is based on vocabulary. There are four types of questions in the vocabulary test, and we’re going to practise two of them here: synonyms and collocations. 


Synonyms are words with the same – or nearly the same – meaning. For example, large and big, or finish and end. Many of the words in the test aren’t exact synonyms; or they’re only synonyms in certain contexts. They have shades of meaning. So you have to have to find near-synonyms of the words they give you. For example, kind and helpful, or well-off and wealthy.


Collocation means grouping words that ‘go together’, or sound right.  For example, we say commit a crime, make an appointment, do your hair, get a shock. These examples are all verb + noun, which we’re going to practise here. (There are many collocations with make and do, and you can practise those here. Other possible combinations are: adjective + noun, noun + noun (such as collective nouns),  adverb + adjective and verb + adverb. Phrasal verbs (verbs + prepositional phrase)  are also examples of collocation.

Synonyms and collocations memory games

Sometimes synonyms and collocations can be a bit difficult or boring to practise.  So with that in mind, we’ve made you some memory games.  In English, we call this game ‘concentration’ or ‘pairs’.

Click on two cards. If you get a matching pair, they stay grey. If you don’t, try to remember where the cards are, and have another go. We’ve chosen to have six pairs, as this is the best way to keep the game mobile-friendly. If you scroll down to the bottom of the page, you’ll see the solution. But no peeping before!

These games are intended for those doing Aptis General, and the language we’ve used is around B1-B2 level.

Adjective Synonym Pairs

Verb and Noun Collocation Pairs

We’ll be posting more memory games soon.  Meanwhile, try Vocabulary Test 1 and Vocabulary Test 2.

And there’s a complete list of the vocabulary exercises and more in our Guide to the Posts.

If you want more collocation practice, try the excellent ‘English in Use’ series.


Adjective synonym pairs

idle = lazy, thoughtful = kind, impartial = fair, comical = funny, controlling = bossy,  pleasant = kind

Verb and noun collocation pairs

clap your hands, go to war, keep a secret, catch the bus, fall in love, find a clue  

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