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GRE Vocabulary- How to memorize the words?
April 10 2024

The vocabulary list for GRE is a matter of anxiety and worry for most candidates. Learning 3500 words is a daunting task, especially when its value in GRE is not instantly observable. However, if learning the words is tough, memorizing them is tougher, rather toughest.

In this article, we will be listing a few ways to effectively learn and remember GRE vocabulary, along with a weekly schedule for it.

Before we begin, it is important to keep in mind that GRE vocabulary does not test your memory power or your mugging-up skills. GRE is a test of your reasoning and critical skills. So while doing your GRE preparation, more than learning multiple words or growing vertically, learn horizontally.

What does this mean?

It means when you learn about a word, learn its synonyms, antonyms, different verb forms, and correct usage. It is your ability to apply that word in different scenarios, understanding how it relates to a given passage that will be assessed in GRE.


The GRE tests a candidate’s reasoning and critical skills. It doesn’t test your vocabulary. However, a person with a good vocabulary can answer the questions accurately. One can relate to a sentence better as compared to a person having a poor vocabulary. Besides, learning plenty of words aids you to construct precise sentences. This helps in conveying your ideas without using trivial common words. This in turn improves the quality of your essays. Therefore, don’t only learn new words, but also know to apply them correctly in sentences.

How to get started with the GRE vocabulary?

The 2 common challenges that one faces while learning new words-

1. Prioritizing the important words to learn from the 3500-word list

2. Remembering its meanings and applying the words in the correct situation

In order to deal with the 1st issue, the most effective way to learn 3500 words is by breaking them down. One can create a list of 300 words with the highest frequency of having appeared in past papers. The 2nd challenge is to analyze what you have learnt. Once you are able to recall the meanings, you must be able to use the words accurately. One can tackle this issue by testing oneself on a regular basis. Every activity will have an impact on your verbal section. For instance, knowing the usage of words will help you in sentence completion. Learning the synonyms will assist you in choosing accurate words for sentence completion.

Make sure you revise the words on a daily basis. Many times, students tend to forget the words they have learned due to a lack of revision. Also, repetitive studying is useful only when done routinely. Otherwise, it is pretty useless!

A good practice of learning something new is by using pictures. It has been proved by research that using visuals helps students to learn better. We tend to associate things with images & hence, remember them. This is because our brain processes visual data in a different way. Also, it stores it in a separate area too. Each word can be associated with a feeling/event, which in turn can be represented by an image.

Thus, you can learn difficult words using visuals or creating mental pictures of them in your mind.

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Anisha Mukhija

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