4 Ways to Quickly Increase Your GRE Vocabulary
July 5, 2017
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?”
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?