The New General Service List and the New Academic Word List cover more than 90% of the words in academic texts. It is worthwhile studying these words.
Learning vocabulary takes a lot of work. As you read, you will guess at some words that you don’t know. Some words will seem more important than others. They will be repeated many times. Some words will be important for general communication and some will be specifically for your major.
You have to make an effort to learn these words. Find a good dictionary and use it (Check out the “Tools” section of this website for suggestions). Make vocabulary lists. Use smartphone and tablets apps to make flashcards or go old school – use paper notecards. Review vocabulary often. And, most importantly, read. You will learn the vocabulary better if you see it used over and over in context.