If you’re preparing for a major test like the SAT or GRE, or simply want to improve your everyday vocabulary, Phocabulary for the iPhone and Android is a must-have tool.

The app features 500 handpicked words and combines them with memorable imagery that will help you recall them. Other apps feature a higher count of words, but Phocabulary’s focus on word retention makes it stand out from the crowd. That’s why we’re selecting Phocabulary for VentureBeat’s Mobile App Spotlight, where we highlight innovative new apps.

Phocabulary is available in a free ad-support version that only offers “Easy” words, and a full version that costs $1.99 on the iTunes Store and Android Market. The paid version of the app contains more difficult word selection.

The app offers several ways of interacting with the words. Flash Card mode is the simplest method, allowing you to quickly move between words, look up synonyms and antonyms, and favorite them. The Photo Quiz mode displays a word and asks you to choose an image that best describes it. Finally, the Word Quiz mode asks you to choose from several words to best describe an image.

In my testing of the app, I found that it generally did a good job of making me aware of new words. And as the developers theorized, pairing the words with imagery definitely helped me remember them better.

Phocabulary was developed by Nashville, Tennessee-based Inventive Gadget. The group is spearheaded by Tom Nguyen, who cut his teeth in programming by creating gadgets for Google’s personalized homepage, iGoogle. The developers are currently working on iPad and Android tablet versions of Phocabulary.

Want to have your mobile app featured like Phocabulary? Then submit to our Mobile App Spotlight!

The Intel AppUp developer program is sponsoring VentureBeat’s Mobile App Spotlight. However, VentureBeat’s editorial staff selects apps for the program according to its customary editorial standards, without input from Intel.