How to improve GRE vocabulary?

Planning to Study Abroad? Register Now & Get a Call from Us.

The GRE evaluates your word skills that ETS believes the average college graduate should know. Make a habit of learning new words every day, and you will develop with excellent vocabulary in no time. Here we will discuss how to improve GRE vocabulary, but before that let us see what kinds of vocabulary questions are there in the GRE.

The vocabulary required for the GRE is hugely different from the normal vocabulary. Not knowing the exact meanings of words but understanding that they belong to a family of words is all the skill you need. Do GRE vocabulary practice with the help of the given tips, sharpen your vocabulary, and increase your chances of acquiring admission in your dream university.

Types of vocabulary questions in the GRE

The Verbal section of GRE consists of 3 different types of questions and you will need advanced vocabulary skills in order to tackle all three types. Let’s discuss each of these question types with there relatable  vocabulary abilities:

1. Reading Comprehension Vocabulary Questions:

Reading Comprehension questions require you to read a given passage and answer questions related to that passage. While not all of these questions will directly relate to vocabulary words but some of them will ask you to identify what is the meaning of the particular word in the context of the passage.

2. Text Completion Vocabulary Questions:

Text Completion questions are a type of multiple choice question where you are asked to fill in the blanks with words and will have 3 possible answer choices per blank space. To tackle these kinds of questions, you will definitely need to have strong vocabulary skills, as many of the given answer choices will probably include the use of vocabulary words.

3. Sentence Equivalence Vocabulary Questions:

In these questions, you will be given a single sentence that has one blank in it, and you are asked to choose two words from given six possible answer choices to complete the given sentence. It should fit the meaning of the sentence and create sentences that mean the same thing. So in these questions, you will find many of the answer choices as vocabulary words.

Get here the list of books and other resources for your exam: GRE Preparation Books and other Materials

Tips to get involved with GRE vocabulary

1. Read, read, read.

Make a habit of reading good books, magazines, and newspapers regularly. Start focusing on the words you don’t know or have never heard before.. You might be tempted just to skip them, but train yourself to notice them, write them down,  look for its meaning and use it wherever suitable.

2. Learn to go through the dictionary every now and then.

Get used to searching up for news words, You can use a dictionary for that. Don’t think that the first definition was written there is the only one you need to know. The GRE exam often tests secondary definitions, so go through all of them.

3. Convert new words in your own definitions.

Now that you have learned the dictionary’s definition of a new word, translate it in your own words. You will find it much easier to remember a word’s meaning if you make it your own, use that word in your normal conversation.

4. Say words out loud.

Yes, you have heard right, speak the words loudly, this might feel strange at first, but it works. Saying a new word out loud will help you remember it and you will easily get to know about it if it appears in the exam.

5. Keep a GRE vocabulary list.

Maintain a notebook to make a list of new GRE vocabulary words. Writing the words will make you easier to memorize. Jot down the words when you find it. Also, note down the sentence in which the word was originally found to remind yourself how the word looks in context. Preferably, you should build your GRE vocabulary by reading newspapers, magazines etc

6. Use GRE flashcards 

When you practice, copy all the unfamiliar words you encounter in different flashcards. Keep a few flashcards in your pocket every morning and read them whenever it is possible for you. Waiting for the train at the station? Look at your flashcards. Standing in a long line at the cafeteria? Look at your flashcards. 

7. Prioritize practising the word which GRE often uses.

When you face new words during the GRE practise test, add them to the top of your vocabulary list. They have been used before on the GRE and there are chances to be used again. You can find a list of some of the most frequently used words on the GRE Online, practice them well.

8. Visualize the words.

Use your imagination to create an image to fix a new word in your mind. The creative the image is, the more you will remember. For example, if you are trying to remember the word voracious, which means having an insatiable appetite for an activity, visualize an incredibly hungry bear eating huge piles of food. The voracious bear will help you to remember the meaning of the word. 

9. Understand word roots.

Many GRE vocabulary words have quickly identifiable word roots to help you with the answer. For example, the word “posit” includes the roots “placed /put,’ which means place. Once you learn these roots, without looking in the dictionary, you can easily figure them out. By learning these common roots, you will be able to work better with words you have never seen before. 

10. Practice by using your new words in everyday conversations.

Developing a powerful list of GRE vocabulary words requires a lot of practice. Try using a GRE vocabulary word into your routine conversation.  Using a new word in writing or conversation as often as you can help you remember it for a longer period.

11. Note down the small differences between similar words

The GRE question includes words which have a similar meaning in the answer choices to confuse you. As such, it becomes essential for you to examine each answer choice and find out the potential difference between them. So it is better to practice the similar words of the new vocabulary.

12. Start Learning from your Mistakes

Mark all the unknown words you come across and look at the answers where you were wrong. Understand the exact meaning of a particular word and try to note down all the words you studied a long time ago. Don’t take your mistakes in an easy way and think about each wrong answer and try to do it differently next time. These mistakes should be avoided for high score: 6 Common mistakes made by GRE test takers 

Vocabulary is the most important aspect of the best GRE preparation. One of the major mistakes which most of the GRE test takers make is in the verbal section through spending more time on cramming words. Try to conquer your weaknesses. Hope these GRE vocabulary tricks help you tackle the Vocabulary section of GRE.

All the best..!!

Know all the 3 sections of the GRE exam here:

 Analytical Writing section of GRE

Verbal Reasoning Section of GRE

Quantitative Reasoning Section of GRE