The Lowdown on Vocabulary
The two most frequent questions students have about the GRE are:
- What math do I need to study for Quant?
- What vocab do I need to know for Verbal?
Last week we discussed how to begin preparing for GRE Quant. This week we'll discuss how to get off to a good start with vocab.
How is vocab tested on the GRE?
Strong vocabulary is an asset for the Verbal Reasoning and the Analytical Writing sections of the GRE. Strong vocab doesn't just mean "fancy" words; instead, strong vocab means building fluency with words that may be somewhat ordinary but just unfamiliar to you.
The GRE tests college-level academic English, the kind of language you find in higher level periodicals and journals such as:
An ability to grasp the main ideas, structure, and details from texts like these is essential for success on all of Verbal Reasoning. Your ability to demonstrate a command of this kind of style and language is beneficial to your Analytical Writing essays.
However, the GRE does go beyond testing your general vocabulary knowledge; on Text Completion and Sentence Equivalence problems, the GRE directly tests your familiarity with and command of difficult vocab words.
Two Approaches to Vocab Improvement
To succeed on the GRE, you have to study vocab in two formats:
Actively and habitually read material such as the publications cited above.
Study vocabulary lists to identify and learn unfamiliar words.
At PowerScore, we offer our "Repeat Offenders" vocabulary list.
Whether you're reading a journal or studying a list, you must keep track of the vocabulary you need to learn. There are several different and complementary ways to do this:
- Use an app on a smartphone like Cram, Quizlet, or AnkiApp.
- Make 3 x 5 flashcards for yourself.
- Keep a vocab journal.
In this post, we'll discuss how to keep a vocab journal.