There are some sites with word lists dedicated to thousands of words that they say you should learn for the GRE. Talk about overwhelming! One of the questions any future GRE test taker might have is how to prepare to tackle the vocabulary section of the GRE. It might not seem too practical to try to memorize 4,000 words, or to read every known book of reputable English literature. And you are right! Luckily, we are going to help you get on the right track towards the Grad school of your choosing. Tune in as we go over the steps you will need to take to come up with a useful and effective vocabulary list for the GRE.
How to Begin Tackling GRE Vocabulary Lists
Remember to begin preparing with a well enough allotment of time before your actual exam. Without further ado, let’s get started with those vocabulary words.
The first thing that you are going to want to do is to choose some material from GRE word lists. You can find these anywhere from the internet to study material books. Remember, if you choose your word lists online, read some reviews to make sure that these lists are reputable and see what other students have to say about them. Of course, do not choose lists based on words that look easy or have words that you are already familiar with. Below is an example of a rather varied word list:
Aberrant abscond advocate aggrandize
Amalgamate ambiguous ambrosial anachronism
Anomalous antediluvian antipathy arbitrate
Assuage attenuate audacious aver
Banal barefaced blandishment bombast
Breach burgeon buttress cadge
Caprice castigate catalyst caustic
Chicanery complaisant conflagration corporeal
Corporal corroborate craven culpable
Dearth deference depict deprecation
Depredation descry desiccate diatribe
Diffident disabuse disparaging dispassionate
Dissemble dogged dogmatic eclectic
Efficacy effluent emollient emulate
Encomium endemic enervate engender
Enigma ephemeral equivocal erudite
Esoteric eulogy exacerbate exculpate
Exorbitant explicit extant fathom
Fawn feign fervid fervent
Fledgling florid floundering garrulous
Gossamer guile guileless hapless
Headlong homogenous iconoclast impecunious
Imperious implication imply improvidence
Inchoate incorrigible indelible ineffable
Infer ingenious ingenuous inhibit
Innocuous insensible insipid insular
Intransigent irascible laconic latent
Laudable leviathan loquacious lucid
Lugubrious magnanimity malevolent misanthrope
Misnomer misogynist mitigate nefarious
Noisome obdurate obviate occlude
Opaque ossified panegyric peccadillo
Pedantic perfidious petulant philanthropy
Phlegmatic placate plastic plethora
Ponderous pragmatic precipice precipitate
Precursor prevaricate prodigal propitiate
Pulchritudinous pusillanimous quiescence rarefy
Reproof rescind sagacious sanguine
Sate saturnine savant sedulous
Specious superficial tacit taciturn
Temperate tirade tortuous tractable
Turpitude tyro vacuous venerate
Verbose vex viscous volatile
Voracious waver wretched zeal
Once you have your word list in place, decide how you are going to want to study it. Going over and reading your list is the first thing you are going to want to do, but then you have to decide which method will be best for you to grasp the material. Here are some suggestions:
- Hard copy: If you would rather not read your material off a laptop or computer screen, print out your vocabulary words so that you can have hard copies. Hard copies are also good if you want to take notes on your words as well.
- Flashcards: Flashcards are great for practicing the words and studying. However, they might take awhile to make, so be sure that you are not in a time crunch.
- Onscreen: If you want to type out your vocabulary words, consider using Microsoft One Note so that you can insert things such as: pictures or audio files to help make the memorization easier.
Another way to make your memorization process a little clearer is to alphabetize your words. This helps you group together words that begin similarly, or that have similar prefixes or suffixes. However, if seeing too many similar sounding words at once will confuse you, do not try this idea.
You can arrange your words base on more things than their beginning letter. For instance:
- Prefixes and suffixes
- Part of speech (noun/verb/adjective/adverb)
By knowing the part of speech and suffix or prefix of a word, you can also better understand the words meaning; as many words with the same prefix or suffix have similar connotations.
Find the Root Word
You will find that many of your vocabulary words are based off of English or Latin roots. Many of your words will also have the same root, which will make understanding them and grouping them together easier.
As we mentioned before, memorization by association can be helpful in the memorization process. To spice things up a little bit, try adding in audio or visual associations to some of your words. For instance, if you have the word “recumbent”, which means to lie down or recline, then you can have a picture of a man on a reclining chair, or a person lying down. This makes things fun, right?
If you have ever heard of mnemonics before, you would know that it is a great way to get your brain to remember things. Whether you use silly, personal, or completely irrelevant things to memorize your words, mnemonics will make memorizing easier. For example, consider music mnemonics, which requires you to make a song or a jingle to remember what you need to memorize.
Group Words Together
Remember that the GRE does not as for word definitions. Instead, they ask for you to find relationships in sentence structures. Therefore, grouping your words together based on meaning could prove helpful.
Eventually, memorizing bunches of words or flashcards will get boring. Gather some of your GRE-studying friends and make a game night out of your GRE word lists. It will be a fun and interactive way to incorporate learning!
Although it may seem like it, the GRE vocabulary list is not as daunting as it may seem. As you begin to go over words, the memorization process will get easier as your brain gets used to visualizing word definition and structure. Remember to keep practicing and do not get discouraged early on. Check out Udemy.com’s helpful online courses for any further help, and good luck on your exam!