11 Easy Ways To Build Your GRE Vocabulary

What’s the best defense against the overwhelming number of answers? A formidable vocabulary. Your vocabulary is the best way to increase your GRE verbal score.

The GRE is a test of words that ETS (the GRE’s creator) believes an average college-educated adult should understand. A good GRE word is one that you haven’t learned while studying for it or anywhere else. You will quickly learn new words if you have a routine.

1. Read, read, read.

Be a good reader of magazines, books and newspapers. Pay attention to unfamiliar words. It’s easy to just skip words (as it is often), but you can train your mind to notice them and write them down.

2. Learn to love your dictionary.

It’s important to learn how to search for words. You don’t have to be able to find the first definition. Secondary definitions are frequently tested on the GRE. Make sure you look through all of them.

3. Your definitions are yours.

Once you have the definition of a word in the dictionary, it is time to put it into your own words. It will be easier for you to recall the meaning of a word if it is your own.

4. Use your voice to speak.

Although it may seem odd at first, it’s actually quite effective. You can help yourself remember new words by saying it out loud.

5. Maintain a GRE vocabulary checklist.

A list of GRE vocabulary terms can be kept on your smartphone or in a notebook. Writing down something helps you remember it. When you find the word, write it down. To remind yourself of the context in which the word appears, copy the sentence where you first found it.

6. When you are on the move, use GRE flashcards

You can keep 5-6 flashcards with you every morning. Stuck on a delayed subway train? Your flashcards are there. Is it difficult to stand in line at the coffee shop while you wait? Your flashcards. Our Essential GRE Vocabulary makes GRE flashcards simple. It contains 500 cards and gives you access to the entire deck online.

7. Prioritize learning words the GRE tends towards testing.

You can add new words you learn on the GRE practice tests to your vocabulary. They are likely to be used again, as they have been used in the past on GRE. Our book contains a list of some the most commonly tested works for the GRE.

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8. Visualizations are a great way to get started.

To fix a new word in the mind, use your imagination. The more imaginative the picture, the better. To illustrate, imagine a voracious bear that eats huge quantities of food. This will help you remember voracious . This will help you remember the meaning.

9. Learn the roots of words

Many words have the same origins. Ben, bene, or bon can all be translated as “benefiorection”, “benediction”, and “benefactor”. These common roots will help you to be able use words you have never heard before. This knowledge will be very useful when narrowing down your answer options.

10. Make sure to use your new words whenever you can.

The key to developing a strong vocabulary takes practice. Drop a GRE word in your next conversation. You will retain the word better if you use it often (in writing or in conversation).

11. Don't forget GRE math vocabulary!

Quick, what’s an integer? Is 0 odd or even? Is there any even prime number? GRE loves testing your knowledge of integers as well as fractions and decimals. It is vital that you have a good understanding of the “vocabulary” in math to answer questions. Check out these GRE Math Practice Questions.

GRE practice

Our GRE practice test is conducted in the exact same way as the actual thing. You’ll receive a customized score report that highlights your strengths as well as areas where you can improve.


  • camdynelliott

    Camdyn Elliott is a 35-year-old educational blogger and school teacher. She has been writing about education for nearly a decade, and her work has been featured on sites like The Huffington Post and The New York Times. Camdyn is the founder of the education blog Education Week, and she is also the author of the book "How to Teach Like a Pro: A Guide to Effective Teaching Methods for College and Career Students."

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