Reading and comprehending a GRE passage can be a daunting task: comprehending the meaning of a text becomes arduous due to complicated structures and sifting through it could be hard for many of you. The GRE Verbal section is not as difficult as you think. You need not be an avid writer or have extraordinary grasp in the English language to perform well in this section. GRE will not ask you a direct question about what the word means. They will expect you to understand the meaning of the word in context. The verbal section of the GRE actually tests your ability to understand vocabulary in context and analyze and interpret the essay or passage. 

So, if you are wondering how to improve vocabulary for GRE, here are some tips to ace GRE vocabulary. 

4 Tips to Ace GRE Vocabulary

1. Pay attention to words

Understand the meaning of the word by context. This is important to answer GRE verbal questions, especially, sentence equivalence and text completion questions. The meaning of the words can change depending on what context they are in. Hence, it is important to ensure that you truly understand the meaning of a sentence before you pick the words to be used in the sentence. 

2. Make a vocabulary notebook

Note down the unfamiliar words you come across while reading. Once you do that, you can look for their meanings from a dictionary. You can also do this in some note taking apps. When you write down the words, remembering them will be easier. Make this a habit during your preparation time and by the end of your preparation, you’ll be able to build a good vocabulary. Besides, this simple activity can improve your GRE  verbal score drastically.

3. Learn words by synonyms

Get in the habit of learning words by synonyms. In other words, while memorizing the meaning of a specific word, try learning the synonyms of a word. This will help you learn multiple words at the same time. 

Here are few examples for synonyms:

  • Difficult: Arduous, abstruse and laborious are all synonyms of difficult.
  • Calm (verb): Pacify, ameliorate, mitigate, alleviate, propitiate are all synonyms of calm.
  • Evil: Sinister, nefarious, amoral, malignant, and abominable are all synonyms of evil.

4. Use flashcards

Flash cards are one of the most effective ways to learn new words. Once you come across a new word, write the word on the blank side of the card, and if you find it tough to pronounce,  write the phonetic form of the word as well. On the other side of the card, you could write a short, easily understandable definition. It could be anything, like a  little phrase or a sentence that helps you remember the proper usage of the word. 

We hope you found the above article on how to prepare for GRE vocabulary useful. GRE Vocab preparation is no cakewalk, however, it is possible if you follow all the above tips and tricks. So, start your preparation as early as possible!


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