How to Study for GRE Vocabulary?

Want to improve your GRE verbal score? If so, then you need to grow your GRE vocabulary list. Learning GRE vocabulary can be pretty daunting and exhausting. Unfortunately, there is no shortcut when it comes to studying for GRE Verbal

You need to keeping reading and studying to build on your vocabulary list. Fortunately, there are several ways that your GRE vocabulary prep can be fun and effective. Here is how:

1. Use Flashcards

While flashcards may seem old-fashioned, they can be very handy when studying for GRE vocabulary. Write down the word on the blank side and then write the definition on the side of the line. 

If you are having trouble with pronunciation, it helps to write the word phonetically. This way, you will have an easy time identifying the word when you hear it.

2. Use Flashcards Everywhere You Are

Take several flashcards with you everywhere you go and use them as much as possible. Look at your GRE flashcards when you are stuck in traffic, in a long line at the café, or when running on the treadmill. 

The gym is especially a good place to use your flashcards since your body is moving and your brain is well-activated. Take a word and repeat it with every movement you make. This is a win-win situation.

3. Associate Each Word with a Face or Motion

Using sensory learning methods can help you remember a particular word. For instance, you can associate a certain word with someone you know or with a motion. Associating a word with an expression can help cement its meaning and you will memorize it better.

4. Get a Study Buddy

Finding a study buddy will make studying GRE vocabulary easy and less tedious. Studying with a friend or a group allows room for friendly competition that will make you forget you are studying. You can also take turns saying and defining the word. 

5. Say Words Aloud

This may seem awkward, but saying words out aloud will bring remembrance.

6. Integrate the Words Into Your Daily Use

 A good way to memorize GRE vocabulary is by integrating them into your day-to-day activities. Try casually using the words in your conversations as much as you can. Of course, you should do this carefully. Dropping the words in the wrong crowd may not come off well. 

It is also not recommendable to use GRE vocabulary in professional contexts since you risk using them incorrectly. And if you use them correctly, you will likely come off as trying to sound smart. Besides, you can write stories or essays and use the GRE words.

7. Use Google Images

Doing a Google search can be helpful when you want to learn about the words. Similarly, you can use Google images to get an image of the word, and this is more likely to stick with you. Furthermore, consider printing the image and place it on your flashcard.

8. Find Your Own Definition

Once you have understood the dictionary definition of the word, paraphrase in your own words. This is more like owning the word. By doing this, you will be surprised how much it will be to remember the meaning of the word.

9. Study Word Roots

Always seek to understand wood roots since several words share the same origins. Learning wood roots will greatly help with remembering their meaning. For instance, “ soliloquy has the roots “sol/solo” and “loquay”. 

Sol/solo means alone while loquay means speech. Hence, it is easy to understand that soliloquy is a speech that one makes alone. Be sure to check test prep books and online sites to study word roots.

10. Use Books and Apps

There is a wide range of helpful books out there that you can use to study for your GRE vocabularies. Good examples include Kaplan’s GRE Prep and GRE Prep Plus by Magoosh. High-quality GRE prep books feature practice questions and answers, sample tests, and a comprehensive vocabulary list. You can find our top GRE prep course picks here.

Furthermore, there are numerous GRE apps like the Magoosh GRE Prep and GRE+ from Arcadia that you can use. Besides, some GRE study apps incorporate vocabulary games in their study plan.

Just do your research and identify reliable prep books and apps that you can use to study GRE vocabulary words.  

11. Pen Down Unfamiliar Words

When studying for GRE vocabulary words, you may encounter unfamiliar words that you have never heard or read about. This is true when you adopt the habit of reading magazines, books, and newspapers.

In this case, it is important to write down the words when you find them even if it is on your phone. Jot down the words in a separate document that you consider your personal GRE word list. With this document, you can study new words and build your vocabulary list.

12. Repeat

It is normal to set aside new words that you have finished learning. This is especially true if you are confident that you have completely mastered them. However, studying GRE vocabulary should be done continuously. 

Otherwise, you risk forgetting the words if you neglect them. Once you are done with a group of words, always take the time to review them even as you study a new list. 


No doubt studying for GRE vocabularies can be a difficult task. However, the above tips can come in handy if you are determined to learn these words. Develop a routine to study new words continuously and avoid cramming as much as possible and you will grow your vocabulary in no time. 

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