The Search for the Best GRE Flashcards
Looking for the best GRE flashcards? Here’s a quick list of excellent GRE flashcards that can help you prepare for the GRE.
While an online GRE prep course is crucial if you want to do well with the Graduate Record Examinations, it sure helps if you can supplement it with the best GRE flashcards.
After all, education specialists acknowledge that these flashcards can work effectively in encouraging your brain to remember crucial information. They’re very similar to the flashcards you may have used as a kid when they worked wonders for memorizing your multiplication tables.
However, GRE flashcards aren’t all the same. So, how do you pick the one that’s best for you?
We started with a list of the best GRE flashcards, made by the most reputable brands in the prep course industry. To find out which one suits your needs best, take a closer look.
Kaplan is one of the top names in the online prep course industry. They offer a set of flashcards that focus on the vocabulary part of the GRE.
Unfortunately, the actual cards aren’t all that impressive. They’re on the small side, measuring about 3 inches by 2 inches. That means they’re supposed to be easy to carry around with you.
But the paper used for the cards is so thin that it’s really off-putting to use these cards. They’re so fragile and easy to damage.
The font size is also a bit on the small side, so you may have some trouble reading the words even if you have good eyesight.
The good news is that you can register your flashcards at kaptest.com. That lets you use the app, which gives you the flashcard info via your smartphone or tablet.
The app also gives you video lessons on how to use your flashcards effectively and how you can build up your vocabulary.
The app also lets you categorize the vocabulary words into 3 separate groups.
- Words you’re already familiar with
- Words you’re somewhat familiar with
- Words you’re not familiar with at all
That way, you can use a different bunch of cards set to a different difficulty level.
The box gives you 500 flashcards, with each one featuring a vocabulary word that may come up in the GRE. You’re given the definition of the word, tips on how to pronounce it properly, and synonyms for the word.
You get about 8 synonyms for each word, which should help you to understand what it means. The card also uses the featured word in a sentence to help you understand what it means through context clues.
Kaplan does very well in explaining the meaning of each word through the use of a sentence. Each sentence used here can truly communicate the meaning through context clues.
Who Is It Meant For?
This is best for those who are just starting their vocabulary review. If English is your 2nd language, start with these cards.
The set isn’t for you if you plan to use the actual cards on the go since they’re so flimsy. You can use those cards at home, but you’re better off with the app. The online freebies are terrific and offer great value.
The Princeton Review is also another famous brand in the online prep course industry you can trust. They use actual experts and instructors, who themselves have all achieved superior scores on the GRE.
These are also small and somewhat thin, but they’re not as flimsy as the Kaplan flashcards. They’re all designed nicely, to help you memorize the vocabulary words more easily. The paper is not only thicker, but the lettering is easier to read.
This set also contains 50 additional flashcards that you can customize yourself. That is, you may put in your own vocab words to include in the set.
Register your flashcards online, and then you can use your mobile device to access these cards online. You get the same cards in e-form, which means you can just bring your smartphone with you wherever you go to access these cards.
Each vocabulary word comes with a definition and about 3 synonyms per word. Then it’s used in a sentence to help you understand the meaning via context. Unfortunately, this time the example sentences aren’t quite as clear in showing the meaning of the word, compared to the effectiveness of the Kaplan example sentences.
Who Is It Meant For?
Again, it’s best for newbies who want to focus on the more basic words that are likely to come up in the GRE. It’s great for those for whom English is their 2nd language, but the example sentences can be rather unclear unless you have some more familiarity with the language. This may be best for those who like to read a lot of English novels.
Barron’s market their flashcards as the #1 Choice of Students, but they may be right. That’s because they offer flashcards for both the verbal and math portions of the GRE.
The vocab words come with a definition, along with both synonyms and antonyms. The use of the antonyms is great, and we wish others would copy this feature. It offers a clearer explanation when they offer the opposite meaning of the word.
Then you also get an example sentence. This time, the example sentence replaces the vocabulary word with a blank. While it seems strange at first, at least it prepares you for the GRE. You’ll see the same types of sentences with blanks on the real GRE.
What’s missing is the pronunciation. It’s true that you’re not actually tested on the GRE on how you pronounce these words. But knowing how to pronounce a word gives you enough confidence to use these words out loud when you speak. That helps you to become more familiar with the words.
This is where Barron’s truly excel since most of the other brand names don’t even offer math flashcards.
You also get 250 flashcards for the math:
- 75 math facts
- 25 math strategies
- 65 questions (multiple choice)
- 65 questions (quantity comparison)
- 10 questions (multiple answers)
- 10 questions (numeric entry or “fill-in-the-blank”)
The cards here are of high quality, so you can really use them without worrying. Each of the cards even has a preset corner punch hole, so you can use a keyring to bunch them all together.
You also have enough space on each card so you can write down your own notes. This only works with the vocab cards, however. For the math, you don’t exactly have enough space to use as scratch paper.
Who Is It Best For?
This is great for those who want a more comprehensive set of flashcards. It’s also for those who really want the actual cards since this set doesn’t offer free access to online cards.
The vocab cards don’t offer pronunciation guides but offer antonyms. That means this is best for those who want a clearer definition, but who may not opt to use the words in everyday speech.
They offer a set of 500 Essential words, but there’s another set for 500 Advanced words.
These cards are of premium quality, and they also have the preset hole for the keyring. In fact, you actually get a keyring with your purchase. It’s enough to put in about a set of 20 cards you can go through at a time.
You also have enough space at the bottom to write additional notes, and to put in your own example sentence.
On one side you have the word, and you see if it’s a noun or a verb. If it’s a verb, you get the noun version as well.
On the flip side, you get the definition. This is actually just a few synonyms. Then you get the usage, wherein the vocab word is used in a sentence.
You then get related words, with other words that have similar meanings.
Finally, you get more info, such as the etymology of the word. This means the origin of the word, such as if it comes from Latin or Old French. In some cases, you also get a memory trick on how to remember what the word means.
As you can see, there’s no pronunciation guide and no antonyms. But you get a lot of clues on the meaning of the word, nonetheless.
Who Is It For?
Since there’s no online version of the set, this is for those who want to use the actual cards. You even get a keyring, along with high-quality cards with enough space for extra notes.
It’s also not limited to those who are just starting out. If you already have a nice foundation on the essential words, you can just get the advanced words set separately. That way, you get a leg up on the more difficult or uncommon words that may come up in the GRE.
Of course, it’s best if you can use the cards properly. One way to do so is to go through a set of 20 cards at a time. Once you’re done with those, then you can go on to another set.
You can even write a story with the cards. You may get a random set of cards. Pick one up, and then use that word in the first sentence of your story. Pick another card, and then use the word for the next sentence, and so on.
Or you can make a game out of it. You can use a Trivial Pursuit board (which actually uses flashcards too) and then advance through the board by getting the words right. This is great if you have friends who are also taking the GRE.
Flashcards are great for the GRE, and you should use at least one of these cards each day. They’re great supplementary study materials for your GRE prep course. They’re not enough in themselves for proper GRE preparation, but they can be a lot of fun.