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4 Ways to Quickly Increase Your GRE Vocabulary

July 5, 2017
Kaplan Test Prep

Follow these steps to expand your GRE vocabulary.

Use all the tools at your disposal to master Verbal Reasoning.

Strong vocabulary skills are necessary to earn a high score on the GRE, so we often hear the question, “How can I increase my GRE vocabulary before Test Day?”

The GRE Verbal Reasoning section tests your vocab in a few different ways. To master sentence equivalence and text completion questions, you should start building your vocabulary now.

1. Use GRE vocabulary flashcards

The first step to becoming a wordmaster is to get into the habit of using flashcards. Reviewing your flashcards on a daily basis will help raise your score by exposing you to new words and helping you draw connections between words.

To make your own flashcards, simply refer to a list of common GRE vocabulary and write the words on one side of the card with definitions, synonyms, sample sentences, and pronunciations on the other—or simply grab Kaplan’s GRE Flashcards + App Set. The best part of using flashcards is that you can practice with them anytime, anywhere.

2. Make unfamiliar words relevant to you

As you study, create a backstory for vocab words that are frequently tested on the GRE verbal section, or associate them with something meaningful to you. This will make them easy to learn and fun to study.

Do you have a brother who is pugnacious or a cousin who is pusillanimous? Associate these descriptive GRE vocabulary words with people in your mind. Creating mental connections will help you master new vocab.

3. Learn word groups and associations

Think like a thesaurus, not like a dictionary. Knowing detailed definitions for 100 GRE vocabulary words is not as useful as knowing approximate synonyms for 200–300. Kaplan’s Verbal Workbook has a chapter devoted to vocab, and in it are several pages of word groups. For example, grouped under “Difficult to Understand” are 14 related words, including abstruse, cryptic, and enigmatic. If you learn this group, you will recognize any of these words on Test Day.

4. Create a support system

Get friends and family involved. Send out daily emails or texts using your GRE vocabulary word of the day, and ask your study partners and supporters to use these new words with you. Trust us, they’ll enjoy it. Who wouldn’t want to incorporate the word nugatory into their day?

Download our free GRE Vocabulary Flashcards for Android or iPhone to start working towards a higher Verbal Reasoning score today.



Kaplan Test Prep

Kaplan Test Prep


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