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GRE Vocabulary | Problems faced , Vocab Words and Practice [2021 Guide]

Preparing for GRE might seem like crossing a never-ending ocean. Keeping up with the vast GRE vocabulary, in particular, can be a little demotivating for someone who has come across this opportunity-a way to make it to one of the top universities in the world!
Exams like GRE that help you gain admission overseas try to check your language competence by way of testing your vocabulary. Increased vocabulary can be of help in an English-speaking country hence the test focuses on developing a diverse set of vocabulary.
Like a guiding compass, our experts at the GRE Test Prep would like to help you figure out ways to help you gain an edge in the GRE Vocabulary test by giving you a few pointers!

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Problems that you usually face with GRE vocabulary

Talking to our students while preparing a suitable study plan for them has given us an insight of what they go through when it comes to GRE vocabulary. Following are the problems that you might possibly face.

  • Often confused by words that are synonymous with each other
  • Improper use of vocab words in a given context
  • Inability to reproduce words from your memory

Listed below are a few ways that can help you tackle these problems in no time!

6 Ways to Build your GRE Vocabulary

Regular practice equals consistent progress! 

Whenever you have a bunch of words to be memorized, you need to find easier ways to learn them by heart. It is important to keep in mind that a few tricks up your sleeve can go a long way in keeping you well on track with regard to learning. And also, there is always the choice of adapting it to your own learning style! It is important for you to follow a routine where you set a goal for yourself and work accordingly to improve your GRE vocabulary. Sounds preachy? Well, to make it a bit interesting and a lot easier, here are ways that can quicken your pace of learning!

1. Learning through Apps- Vocabulary Builder

Stats from 2018 have reported that a person’s average screen time per day comes up to 3 hours and 15 minutes. Can we turn it into something productive and make it more fun at the same time?

 Galvanize’s GRE Vocabulary App, designed specially for an engaging content, works towards helping the learner retain words in the memory with more ease. Visually appealing and competitive in nature, this app aims to make learning more interesting. You can use it on the go, anywhere, anytime. It has a potential GRE vocabulary list of 1800 words divided into 60 sets that can help you in building a strong GRE vocabulary for tests such as these. The first set is absolutely free!

We understand learners better!

  • Feedback is important and you get one after every quiz because it emphasises on the areas you have to work on!
  • Before you start any set, you will be asked to sort out words you already know to focus on the new ones.
  • Learn words through context, everyday examples, pictures and quizzes!

2. Making up hints with mnemonics

When you have a hard time remembering the words, you can relate the words to pictures or something personal so that you will not forget the word.

For example,

  • The word ‘abstain’ meaning restraining oneself from doing something, can be remembered by linking it with ‘stain’ meaning dirt which you must not get on your clothes. Although this method might seem too childish, it can actually work wonders in keeping your brain hooked.
  • The word ‘laudable’ can be linked to the word ‘lord’ who deserves praise. This will help you arrive at the true meaning of the word- deserving praise and commendation.
  • To distinguish between ‘regret’ and ‘sorrow’ is sometimes difficult because they can be both used in a sad situation. Hence, one can remember ‘regret’ by linking it with a memory of not taking up a hobby and ‘sorrow’ with a memory of losing your favorite pen. This personalized touch can be helpful in retaining words in your memory and improve your GRE vocabulary.

Here is new approach to learn GRE vocabulary with ease. This techniques is called “Kangaroo word method”. Follow the below illustrative show to understand and adapt this technique to improve your vocabulary.

[bctt tweet=”#GREVocabularyTip Making up hints with mnemonics : Relating words with pictures/ anything of your choice” username=”galvanizeprep”]

3. Bringing the words under an umbrella

If you feel a lot of words seem synonymous with each other or tend to have a common subject then categorize those words together and learn them based on their occurrence in the category.
For example,
Jubilation, Delight, Exuberance and Glee can all come under the category ‘Happy’. When you do this, it is easier to get them organized for learning.

4. Gathering high frequency words

If you’re having a hard time figuring out where to start, then you can look out for word lists that have already put together important words. Lists like the Barron’s 333 High Frequency Word List can help kick off your vocabulary learning. Use these words during conversations and while writing for effective learning. Start practicing with 1800 Galvanize Word List that has been compiled by language experts who have reviewed past test papers.

[bctt tweet=”#GREVocabularyTip : Using GRE Flash Cards: This is a good way to test your preparation and also learn from it. Quickness of answering is key here. ” username=”galvanizeprep”]

5. Reading the Right Books

Books like Word Power Made Easy by Norman Lewis and Merriam Webster’s Vocabulary Builder can give an overview of how root words can easily build your GRE vocabulary since you will have acquired a number of common word systems that can help you breakdown new words.

6. Using GRE Flashcards

Time to time, you will need to reveal your competitive streak in games using flashcards. GRE vocabulary flashcards may contain pictures which might need to be described using the words you learnt. They may also contain words which you have to guess by asking yes/no questions about it. Peer learning through quizzes can actually work as a motivational factor.

7. Revisit, Revise, Relearn

It is important to go back to the words you learnt regularly in order for it to remain in your working memory.

  • When you revisit, you will know if all your exercises have been fruitful in boosting your learning.
  •  When you revise, some words you learnt which may have slipped your memory can be refreshed. 
  • At the end of this, you might have a few words that might still not strike your memory. At that time, you have to take those words back to your learning list and in a way reboot the word into your system.

Testing Vocabulary in GRE

Your vocabulary is tested under the GRE Verbal Reasoning section of the paper. GRE Vocabulary Tests check your vocabulary as a prerequisite to affirm one’s command over verbal reasoning. Hence, the test contains multiple choice questions which check your understanding of the vocabulary and also your ability to appropriately use the word in a particular context.

The need for such requirements can be traced back to the focus on developing a diverse set of vocabulary that we talked about in the previous section. Instead of looking at the test as a hurdle to be crossed, it is necessary for you to realize the purpose behind it. Your course of study in an English-speaking country might expect you to have a multidisciplinary knowledge that you can impart- given that, you have the right words to express yourself.  Be it while writing a research paper or analyzing a text, you require a well-built vocabulary at your disposal!

GRE Vocabulary Words

The best way to ace GRE Vocabulary is to be good with words and here’s a resource that can help you do just that!

GRE Vocabulary Words

GRE Vocabulary App

Want to use an addictive gamified Vocabulary App to boost your vocabulary skills?

This app has over 1800 words to help you boost your vocabulary game. It’s also important to understand that learning vocabulary is not a very fun thing to do and this application manages to make it fun!

What more do we need!

Here’s the world’s best rated vocabulary App 

Get a clear picture of the assessment with
free GRE Practice test
Start Now!

What you have to do!

  • You are expected to not just read the text at face value but to interpret it as an essential part of comprehension.
  • You must use the given information to form a set of judgements and based on that, try to answer the given questions.
  • The GRE questions have blanks scattered across a short passage that need to be filled using the choices given below. The number of choices given per blank depends on the number of blanks given on the whole. This is how the GRE test tries to elicit your vocabulary usage.
  • Thorough learning plays an important role because your quickness in answering the questions can be of immense help when you really need to focus on GRE quant or other areas which might need your effort and time.
  • In order to save time, get a gist of what the passage is trying to say. Your goal must be to restore the coherence of the passage grammatically and logically. So, rule out words that have nothing to do with the topic. Other ways of ruling out words would be by seeing if it adds more meaning to the passage and make it better than before.

Follow this guide to get tips on “How to score 160+ in GRE verbal

Apart from these 6 ways to build your vocabulary for the GRE, what other ways exist that can help you broaden your vocabulary? Let us look at them now!

Read from a wide range of sources :

As a GRE Aspirant, you should be looking to read from a wide range of sources – be it books, article, publications and magazines. Why do we recommend this? Look below. : )

Read articles of different genres and topics 

This is the best thing you can do while reading for the purpose of building your vocabulary. Reading from a wide range of sources exposes you to different styles of writing, various patterns of thoughts and most importantly, various topics under the sun. You will accumulate a lot of knowledge by reading articles from different genres and will also become familiar with the jargon used within that particular genre. 

For example – if you are reading articles from Psychology, then you will start to recognise concepts such as catatonic states, schizophrenia, neuroplasticity, and psychosis. There’s a few new words for you huh? : P 

Articles from sources such as the Guardian, Aeon, etc. are of an excellent quality from a reading and learning standpoint. This will also broaden your vocabulary, because you are learning new things that you may not be familiar with.  

Word curiosity and contexts :

Whenever you read anything, and you come across a particular word that you may not be familiar with, we recommend you search for the meaning of this word and reread the sentence within which you came across the word. This will help solidify the idea of this word w.r.t to the context of the sentence you just read and will go on a long way in vocabulary retention. 

Be curious about the meaning of this word and do not get intimidated by it. After all, words are abstract concepts used to help us communicate. Not frighten us.  

Don’t make the mistake of trying to use words to sound ‘fancy’ :

too often we try to incorporate the words that we learn into everyday use with the purpose of sounding grandiose. Refrain from doing so. While I agree that some words are littered across the content that we consume, others exist to aid in communication. They help name things and ideas effectively. 

Watch a few TV Series :

honestly, well written TV Series such as House M.D, Breaking Bad and Sherlock will help you build your arsenal of words in an exciting and engaging way. 

  • The last one – don’t think of building your vocabulary as a task – this one will be a little vague and hard to wrap around your head, but hear me out. When we attach the word ‘task’ to building vocabulary, things can start to go downhill due to lack of motivation. You will start to resent the vast number of words that the English language contains. Instead, what you can do, is to be curious about reading and words. Learn in such a way that entertains and educates you. Think of words as little decoders, helping you unravel those complicated English Paragraphs! 

Frequently Asked Questions about GRE Vocabulary

  1. How many words should we learn per day?

Although we can learn up to 50 words per day, learning 10 words a day also makes a difference depending on your consistency. According to your ability, you can increase the word count as you go. You can use Galvanize’s GRE Vocabulary Builder App to remain consistent in your learning and keep track of your progress by testing yourself.

  • Which is the fastest way of learning GRE words?

There are shortcuts to make learning easier and more efficient but to guarantee fast learning you must make use of your strengths. If you’re good at memorization, then work towards learning the appropriateness in word usage. Some might have a longer attention span which they can use to their benefit by increasing the number of words to be learnt per day.

Try : GRE Practice test with score analysis

Still have questions, write to us in the comments below!

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FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

Where is GRE vocabulary tested? 

  • It is tested under GRE verbal reasoning with MCQs

What are the general problems faced by the students in GRE Vocabulary?

  • These are the common problems faced by students : confusing synonyms, improper use of words and memory recollection issues

What are some good ways to improve GRE Vocabulary?

  • Vocabulary Builder Apps, Making up hints with mnemonics, Bringing the words under an umbrella, Gathering High Frequency Words, Reading books & Using GRE Flash Cards

Quick Summary:

    • Improving your vocabulary can come in handy and will be helpful in English speaking countries and this is what our GRE Vocabulary section aims to achieve. 
    • It is tested under GRE verbal reasoning with MCQs
    • Student Problems : confusing synonyms, improper use of words and memory recollection issues
  • 6 Ways to Build Vocabulary :
    • Learn through apps : Vocabulary Builder : Apps makes this process easier and more fun! 
    • Making up hints with mnemonics : Relating words with pictures/ anything of your choice
    • Bringing the words under an umberlla: Categorize synonymous words and learn from the category
    • Gathering High Frequency Words : Get a high frequency word list which could be a good place to start
    • Reading books : This could further strengthen your preparation
    • Using GRE Flash Cards: This is a good way to test your preparation and also learn from it. Quickness of answering is key here. 
    • Revisit, Revise, Relearn

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