Context is King
Research shows that the vast majority of words are learned from context. Which begs the question as to why 1024schools still present lists of vocabulary. However, you are in charge of your learning outside the classroom, so to improve your vocabulary, pay close attention to how words are used in contemporary English.
Doing a search on a word or phrase using Google News (to search for news stories) will give you many examples of how that word is used in context today.