Yes, the GRE Verbal Section can be tough and daunting. Such difficult words really scare me too! Even English major students struggle to prepare effectively for this section of the test. As you might be aware, the GRE verbal section is divided down into three components:
1. Text Completion. Fill in the blanks of a sentence with the right word so that the sentence makes sense.
2. Sentence Equivalence. Figure out which two words from a list of six fit a provided sentence.
3. Reading Comprehension. Answer comprehensive questions for short passages.
This might sound easy enough, but the verbal GRE score takes time to improve. Here are some tips to help you ace your verbal score.
1. Learn and memorize VOCABULARY, VOCABULARY, and Lots of VOCABULARY
A robust, thorough vocabulary is the best way to tackle the Text Completion and Sentence Equivalence portions of the exam. If you build a library of words in your mind, the verbal test will automatically grow easier.
● Get a list of common GRE vocab words online.
● Make a comprehensive list of words you don’t recognize.
● Use flashcards to flip through GRE words while waiting in line for coffee, or while sitting in the back of an Uber.
2. Knowing word roots
This can help you in two major ways on the GRE.
First, instead of learning one word at a time, you can learn a whole group of words that contain a certain root. They’ll be related in meaning, so if you remember one, it will be easier for you to remember others.
Second, roots can often help you decode an unknown GRE word. If you recognize a familiar root, you could get a good enough grasp of the word to answer the question.
● Ab: off, away from, apart, down
abdicate: to renounce or relinquish a throne
abstruse: hard to understand; secret, hidden
● Able/Ible: capable of, worthy of
changeable: able to be changed
combustible: capable of being burned; easily inflamed
● Ac/Acr: sharp, bitter, sour
acerbic: sour or astringent in taste; harsh in temper
acrimonious: caustic, stinging, or bitter in nature
3. Learn 10 – 20 words a day
You have to face it that one cannot learn 3000 words in a week, or even a month’s time. Learning a new language and new vocabulary takes a lot of time and patience. But at the same time, it requires that you keep in touch with the language every day without fail. And you can do so, if you have small but achievable daily targets. Aim to learn atleast 10 or 20 words perfectly every day. If you follow a strict deadline, you can easily learn more than 500 words per month which means, within a few months’ time, you will be ready to take the GRE without any fear of vocabulary!
4. Start reading articles from the New Yorker, Scientific American, The Atlantic, and The Economist.
The best way to prepare well for the reading comprehension is to get familiar with the content by reading strategically. These magazines, among others, have prose that is similar to that on the GRE. Think about the following questions while reading through the passages:
● Topic: What is this article really about? Figure out one or two words that would describe the topic briefly.
● Purpose: Why is the author writing this piece? Some writers have informal discussions about engaging topics. Others seek to convince the reader of something. What does the author want you, the reader, to take/learn from this passage?
Hope these tips added some value for you. Waiting for you to ace the GRE Verbal