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GRE and Where Vocabulary Fits In

The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) measures verbal & quantitative reasoning, critical thinking & analytical writing skills. This article gives some tips to help you improve your vocabulary and score well on the GRE.
For software designed to boost your GRE Verbal Score, also see the “GRE Vocabulary” link on the Ultimate Vocabulary website.

GRE vocabulary is not the only factor behind scoring high in the GRE. Apart from a high standard vocabulary, you should also have a fine general knowledge, good analytical ability and a thorough knowledge of your subject. These are the four pillars of the GRE. In this article, we will deal with GRE vocabulary.

GRE Sentence Completion Tip

Your vocabulary is absolutely vital to mastering the verbal section of the GRE test. One part of this will include the Sentence Completion section, which makes up about a quarter of your overall score. When studying your vocabulary, don’t forget to brush up on your sentence writing skills to ensure that you are as prepared as you can be. We recommend trying Time4Writing for your written GRE test preparation. They have 8 week long teacher-led writing courses that cover everything from the basic mechanics of a sentence all the way up to formal writing of essays and research papers.

Sentence Completion Top Tip…

“Cover up the answer options. Read the sentence. NOW -

think of a word that might fit, BEFORE you look at the

possible answers!!!”

Following this tip will ensure that you read the sentence

properly and engage the powerful problem solving part of

your brain from second one!

Other Tips for Mastering GRE vocabulary

If GRE vocabulary is a monster, then you must be the splendid superhero. You can reduce the monster to a dwarf. The trick is to connect a word to a person. Let’s take up a word, say ‘amicable’ (meaning friendly). If you know a friendly girl named Amy, then great. But even if you don’t, try to remember a fictitious character or create one in your mind. If you know a girl who is friendly, connect the word to her. There is a better chance of you remembering a word if you connect it to a face or a personality.

Research has shown that the human mind grasps and retains faces better than anything else. You remember the face of a person even when you have just given him/her a fleeting look. Connecting a word to a face is the quickest way to master GRE vocabulary.

Another great tip is to use vocabulary software. GRE vocabulary software (our favorite is Ultimate Vocabulary for the GRE Exam) is an excellent platform where you can pick up new words, practice through different exercises, and test yourself.

Discussing words is another excellent way to improve your vocabulary for the GRE. Your partner can be your friend or classmate, or someone your age. Your abilities should be fairly equal so that one doesn’t dominate the other.  You can learn together.

You also improve GRE vocabulary through talking. When you talk to somebody your mind is more alert than when you are studying alone. That is because you are using two senses instead of one. You are speaking, listening and reading expressions instead of just reading inanimate words. Moreover, as you speak a word or listen to it, you will have a much better chance of retaining it in your memory. Even half an hour of discussion about words everyday will make you memorize words much faster.

ESL Students – Master Your Vocabulary!

Building vocabulary words is key to reading, to writing, to verbal expression, and to building analytical and critical thinking. As such, it is easy to see how important a strong vocabulary is to mastering the GRE Exam. Studies show that building vocabulary involves far more than just memorizing words. The most effective way to really retain vocabulary is by actively using it.

ESL students might find some of the learning games in Time4Learning helpful in developing and retaining both a good working vocabulary and an understanding of the English language. Time4Learning has a phonics curriculum designed to create relationships between letters and the sounds they make. It also has lessons about phonemic awareness, which is the ability to hear and identify sounds in spoken words and reading comprehension.

Tools such as this, coupled with software programs such as Ultimate Vocabulary, will be instrumental in learning the skills you need to master the GRE Exam.

Master GRE Writing as well!

In addition to expanding your vocabulary, don’t forget to fine tune your writing skills! The most extensive vocabulary will be no good to you, unless you know how to use the words properly in text. We find that Time4Writing is an excellent GRE preparation tool. It offers 8 week courses including “Essay Writing for Standardized Tests”.

For ESL students, Time4Writing can be a helpful tool in learning the basics of English grammar and sentence structure. Learn the fundamentals so that when the time comes, you are able to write like a native!



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