Viv's Vocabulary Database (Version 3.8)



Trouble shooting: Viv has disabled most Access short cut keys, but there are two combinations which may lead to unexpected screens appearing. Pressing Ctrl + N will open the 'new database' window. To make this disappear, just press the 'Escape' key and you'll return to where you were before. Pressing Ctr + W results in the database closing, but not Microsoft Access. If this happens, you'll see a blue page with "Viv's Vocabulary Database" written at the top left. To close your database, press Alt + F4 (you can also right-click the Microsoft Access icon on the taskbar at the bottom of your screen and select 'Close window').

What's new in version 3.8?

This version has a new format and has been designed for use with Windows 7 and Office 2007. Most actions can now be performed using the keyboard - pressing the underlined letters in the bbuttons works in the same way as clicking them. You can also now select sections in the grey boxes by using either the Tab key or cursor left or right keys, then press 'Enter'.

For students and teachers:

Storing, editing and reviewing words

When you use Viv's Vocabulary Database for the first time it will ask you to type in your first name (don't forget to start your name with a CAPITAL letter). You only have to do this once as the program will remember your name and use it every time you use your Vocabulary Database. There is one word, as an example, in the General Vocab. section. Firstly decide which of the vocabulary sections is best for the word(s) you want to add to your vocabulary database. If it doesn't fit in any section, add it to 'General Vocabulary'. Use the Tab key or cursor left/right and 'Enter' to select the section in the grey vocabulary section boxes (you can also click on them with the mouse). Write the word you're trying to learn (don't use capital letters unless the word requires one e.g. a country, and don't use an article (a/an/the) or 'to' unless it is necessary e.g. (an ordinal number). You can also add expressions, phrasal verbs and idioms, but try to keep them reasonably short (the best way to organise phrasal verbs and idioms is using Viv's BON database ). Press 'Tab' or 'Enter' put letter(s) representing the part of speech of the word in brackets, if you move the mouse over this box you'll see a list of recommended abbreviations:

V = verb                                       ADV = adverb                            COMP = comparative

N = noun                                      EXP = expression                        SUP = superlative                    

ADJ = adjective                           PREP = preposition                    ABB = abbreviation                    

After writing the part of speech in brackets, write the translation of the word or expression in your language. Press 'Tab' or 'Enter' then write a context sentence, this you can copy from a bilingual dictionary if you can't get a native speaker to check it. It's important that you write the target word or expression exactly as it appears in the 'Word' section. You can add 'ed', 's' or 'ing' for past, continuous and plural forms. When you press 'Enter' or 'Tab' the program will automatically change the word into asterisks, with one asterisk representing each letter. Press 'Enter' or 'Tab' again and repeat the process for as many words as you want to add to this section, then click on the 'Finished' button. You will then return to the blue 'Add Words' page. Note: You can also store just words without a context sentence, but it will be more difficult to remember these words when you test yourself. The 'Word' and 'Means' boxes shouldn't have more than 70 characters and the 'Context sentence' mustn't be longer than 100 characters. You don't need to save anything - the program does this automatically for you. To search for a word or expression, press enter until the cursor is in the column  you want to search (either English or your language). Now click on the "Look up a word" button at the top left of the screen (or press 'Ctrl + F'). Type the word you want to find in the 'locate' box, then select 'any part of a field' ('qualquer parte do campo' in Portuguese) and press 'Enter'. The program will automatically locate the word or expression you are looking for. When adding more words to a section which already has words, hold down the 'Alt' key and press 'A' (or click on the blue 'Add new word' button at the bottom of the screen) and the cursor will automatically move to a new word box. Press 'Escape' to leave this page.

On the blue 'Add words' page there are also buttons which let you see all your words (in alphabetical order - press 's') and print out all the words in your Vocabulary Database (press 'p').

Testing words

If you press 'Enter' when you start the program (or press the letter 't'), you'll go to the green 'Test Words' page. Use the Tab key or cursor left/right to select section you wish to test and press 'Enter', or press the letter 't' to select 'Test all my words'. Choosing 'All words with context sentences' will only test these words. Type the word asked for and press 'Enter'. If you don't know you can press 'Enter' without typing anything. Unless you select 'All words with context sentences', the words will be in alphabetical order, not the order in which you added them. 

If you are wrong, the following will happen:

5. When you've finished, the program will tell you. Check your score and press 'Enter' to record your test result. If you scored less than 60%, when you return to the green 'Test words' page, press 'Enter', check the words you got wrong, then delete your previous guesses and test yourself again.

6. If you want to finish the test before answering all the questions, press 'Escape' (Esc) or click on the red "Finished" button. You will be asked if you want to record your test result or not. Press 'Enter' to record your score, or the letter 'N' to leave the 'Test my vocabulary' page without recording your score. If you want to continue testing all your words later on, click on the 'reverse order' button and you will be able to test the words in your Vocab Database in ascending order. If you have pressed 'Esc' by accident, you can either press the 'Tab' key twice and 'Enter' or click on the "Cancel" button to return to the test. 

7. If you are testing "All my words" or "All words with context sentences" and you have previous guesses you haven't deleted, the program will ask if you want to continue with the test or start the test again. If you are near the end of a long test, Press 'Enter' to continue, and then think about whether your previous guess was correct or not before pressing 'Enter' again (you can change it if you think that it was wrong). If you are at the beginning of a test, or you haven't got many words, press the letter 'N', and your previous guesses will be deleted and you will return to the first question in the same test.

8. If you want to continue a previous, unfinished test of a section with more than 20 words, when asked to delete your previous guesses, select 'Cancel' (press 'Tab' twice, then 'Enter'). Then click on the red 'Finished' button. Finally, select 'Cancel' again and the blue 'Reverse order' button will appear. Click once on this button with the mouse to test your remaining words in reverse order. When you reach the place you finished in the previous test, a message will tell you that you have previous guesses you haven't deleted. Press 'Enter', then Escape twice and finally 'Enter' to record your test score for the words you have just finished testing.

See the words you got wrong in the last test?

This green button (or press 'Enter') will open up a report with all the words you got wrong first time, or couldn't remember. You can print this page if you want to (Ctrl + p). The correct word appears on the left, followed by the word in your language, and the context sentence, if you've written one. On the right is either your first guess (even if you got the word correct in a second attempt), or a question mark if you didn't know the word. Moving the cursor (->) to the right will hide the answers and you can try to remember the word. The number of pages will be indicated at the bottom of the screen. To go to a new page, use the mouse to click once on the arrow pointing to the right next to the number 1 at the bottom-left of your screen. (see a screenshot showing this)

Press 'Escape' (Esc) when you've finished using this page.

Delete your guesses from the last test?

Before you can test the same section a second time, you must delete your answers from the previous test. Click on this button (or press 'Tab' + 'Enter'), and your previous guesses will be removed automatically. 

Revise, edit or add new words?

This button will take you to the blue 'Add words' page where you can see the words on your Vocabulary Database and add more words.

Test all my words

Selecting this option will test all the words in your Vocabulary Database in alphabetical order.

Past test results

Clicking on this button will show you the results you got in previous tests when you recorded your results. Click on the red button (or press 'Esc') to close this window. 

For teachers:

The teacher's version of this program (see Viv's web site) has various features designed to make the program more useful to language teachers:

1. No deletions, edits or updates - Use this option if you want to create a class vocabulary list. Students can revise and test the words, but not make any changes to them. You can uncheck this box again to add more vocab. and context sentences to the same or a different section. This option is advisable if Viv's vocabulary database is used on a student self-access computer.

2. Always record test results - This option has been designed to facilitate class vocabulary tests (if the school has one computer per student). When this box is checked, the student cannot leave a test until all words have been tested. The program will also automatically record the student's result as soon as they have answered the last question in the test. A recent addition to this feature is that the 'Delete your previous guesses' button is also hidden, so that student's can't accidentally remove the list of words they got wrong or didn't answer. This feature can be used in conjunction with the 'No deletions or updates' option above.

3. New student notebook - After finishing a level of English, the student will probably start a new vocabulary notebook at the next level. If your students start a new vocabulary database at the new level, it's very likely that they will add words which were already on the previous version of their database. Therefore, Viv has added a feature whereby checking this box, changes the 'All words with context sentences' to 'All words in my new notebook'. In future, this option, at the bottom of the grey box on the right, will only show or test words which have been added at the new level. However, all of the other vocabulary sections will show both old and new words. After this box has been checked, the next time you go to the 'Teacher's options' page, you will see that the date when the new notebook was started has been registered. 

Using Viv's Vocabulary Database in class

See 'Advanced features' for how to create a back up copy. Using Windows Explorer, change the name of the copy of the "Viv's Vocabulary Database" in the 'Vocabulary' folder to the name of one of your students (e.g. "Fred's Vocabulary Database"). Right click this file and select 'Create shortcut'. A new file of only 1KB with the same name will appear. Cut and paste this file (or drag it with the mouse) onto your desktop. Double clicking on this file will automatically open up the 'Viv's Vocabulary Database' program. Go back to the 'Backup' folder, copy the program file and paste it into the 'Vocabulary' folder. Change the name to the next student's and create a new shortcut. Make as many copies as there are students by repeating this process. If you like, you can create personalized shortcuts for each student. If you right click the shortcut on your desktop and select 'properties' you can change the icon (or your students can choose one) for each student, making it easier for students to identify their file. I keep all my students' Vocabulary Databases in a folder on the desktop.

I recommend using the program several times with the students before giving them a copy to take home with them (they will need a copy of Microsoft Access on their home computer). It's essential that if students use this program by themselves, the context sentences are checked for mistakes regularly. This can be done if the students send their copy to you as an e-mail attachment or bring it on diskette or re-writable cd-rom. The context sentences are easy to check and edit using the 'See all my words' button on the 'Add words' page.

After testing one or more sections, I usually check the words students' didn't know, then finish using the program by selecting 'Finish using Viv's Vocabulary Database'. The next time students use the program, I start by reviewing the words they got wrong previously by selecting the green button on the 'Test Words' page, then I get the students to delete their previous guesses using the red button. After this, clicking on the blue button takes the student to the 'Add new words' page, where they can add more words and finally test all the words in their database. When there lots of words in the various sections, 'Test all my words' may take a long time, so you can test half the words, record the test result, then in another class, test the remaining words using the 'reverse order' button (see note 8 in the 'testing words' section). When a student has hundreds of words, it may be best to only test one, or a combination of sections in class. When testing sections, you only need to delete past guesses periodically (when returning to test a section for the second time). In this way words the student didn't know in previous tests of other sections get revised several times before being deleted. You can keep track of your students' scores and the last time they tested a particular section by opening the 'Past test results' page.

Advanced features

Help writing context sentences