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GREs Verbal: How to prepare?

  1. Aug 13, 2007 #1
    GREs!! Verbal: How to prepare??

    I know they say that having a good vocabulary is the key to success in the GRE verbal section. But I have memorized 3000+ words from Barrons's and it didn't raise my score much. Last weekend when I took the test, I rarely encountered the words that I had studied!

    I just wanna know how you guys studied for the GRE verbal section?? What is a good way to prepare for it? :confused:
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 13, 2007 #2
    Try using the words in various conversations. Also talk to yourself, that way you apply the words rather than just know the definition. This will also reinforce what you've just learned.
  4. Aug 13, 2007 #3
    My problem is not so much that I can't remember the words but more that the words I study rarely come on the real test!

    Either way, using words in conversation is a good idea but unfortunately its summer rightnow and school is out of session.
  5. Aug 13, 2007 #4
    You can't really expect to improve your score dramatically just by memorizing words before the test. If you've had a solid start at a young age, such as reading often, then your vocabulary would be better.

    Since you can't predict what words will be on the test and now that you've realized all of the words that you've studied hasn't appeared on the test, maybe you need to chose another study guide or practice using other lists. Don't just study off of one book.
  6. Aug 13, 2007 #5


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    I agree that the best way to increase your vocabulary is to read more. The problem is that you can't just read one book two weeks before the test and expect to increase your score. You have to read regularly, as DefaultName said, for it to help your vocabulary.

    To the OP, I would suggest doing practice problems instead of memorizing. This will be much more effective since it will give you a sense of the words they pick for the exam and it will help you get used to the questions and help you develop strategies for answering them.
  7. Aug 13, 2007 #6
    Do you guys have any good books in mind that helped you guys when you were taking the GRE's and contains a lot of practice problems and stuff?

    I already have Barrons, Princeton Review, Kaplan, and that PowerPrep software from ETS.
  8. Aug 13, 2007 #7
    Looks like you have the complete package. If these books haven't helped, I don't know what to say. You can keep cramming words, but I doubt you'll actually see an increase in score. Whatever score you get now is probably the level you will be at for a while, unless you know magic. I don't want to burst your bubble, but that's what it seems like -- you have a lot of the books already, and haven't seen any improvement... That's not a good sign. I thought you only have one book and you were studying from that, but if you have a plenty and still haven't seen an increase in score, you might want to try another method of studying. Perhaps you learn better using different techniques, other than memorizing.
  9. Aug 14, 2007 #8
    i took the general gre on saturday and got an 800 on both sections.

    i did NOT memorize ten thousand words or anything even close to that! instead, i kept a list of words that i didn't know for over a year, adding to it every so often. that list came to be about 130 words. i also looked over kaplan's list of top 100 gre words. i knew most of'em already, but i reviewed the ones i did not know a few times.

    generally, as kaplan suggests, it is much more beneficial to know a little bit about a lot of words than everything about just a few words.

    now, the verbal section tests your REASONING ability, so knowing every single word in the dictionary simply isn't good enough. you have to know how to infer shades of meaning, use connotations, etc.

    and, of course, a fraction of the test (about eight of 30 questions) is reading comprehension, which is a different skill entirely.
  10. Aug 14, 2007 #9
    oh, i'm not sure about the other practice guides, but in my experience, kaplan's practice tests severely underestimated my verbal skills.

    my high and low for the kaplan verbal tests were 660 and 600, whereas with the actual test and the two power prep tests, i got two 800s and a 740.
  11. Aug 14, 2007 #10
    How is that possible? How can you get 800 without memorizing thousands of words?? I am curious what words you have on that list. If you have a digital copy of that list, do you mind emailing it to me or posting it on this forum. My email address is swapniljain15 at yahoo.com
  12. Aug 14, 2007 #11
    This probably doesn't qualify as preparation advice, but...

    When I took the GRE a couple years ago, I didn't even study for the verbal section, and I got a 67th %-ile, which I think is fairly decent. Realistically, physics graduate programs look more at your physics score than the general verbal score, so it might be a good idea to ask yourself just how much time you really want to put into the general GRE. In retrospect, I feel like it was a waste of time even studying for the general GRE for more than two weeks.
  13. Aug 14, 2007 #12
    you don't have to know every single word on every single question. the test doesn't try to find out if you are a dictionary or not; the test requires you to use your reasoning ability. the words are just the tools.

    i've always had a knack for remembering obscure words. in high school, we always had vocab assignments from those dreaded "shostak" vocab books. i was always able to remember the words well after the exams. in fact, those words are the "sat" and "gre" type words, and the work i put in back then paid off now, i guess.

    i certainly didn't know every single word on every single question of every single test i took, but i knew enough of them to be able to pick right answers or, at the very least, eliminate wrong ones. verbal reasoning is really just a skill like any other one, and you can only improve it by effective practice.
  14. Jul 2, 2008 #13
    Re: GREs!! Verbal: How to prepare??

    really? the verbal score hardly matters even for top schools like caltech, mit, etc?
  15. Jul 2, 2008 #14
    Re: GREs!! Verbal: How to prepare??

    Exactly, the verbal score doesn't matter at all. The quantitative score also barely matters, it only may affect things if it is suspiciously low, below 700.

    How do I know this? I did pretty badly (in my opinion) on the general GRE and I still got in to nearly every graduate school to which I applied, including the ones you list as "the best". I don't remember my scores exactly, but I got in the low 700s for quantitative and the low 600s for verbal.

    Don't worry about the GRE, spend time instead working on your personal statement as I think that matters quite a bit.
  16. Jul 2, 2008 #15
    Re: GREs!! Verbal: How to prepare??

    hotforwords. :rolleyes:
  17. Jul 2, 2008 #16
    Re: GREs!! Verbal: How to prepare??

    personal statement? i thought grad schools only look at grades, letters of rec, gre's, and research experience?
  18. Jul 2, 2008 #17
    Re: GREs!! Verbal: How to prepare??

    The personal statement matters orders of magnitude more than the verbal GRE. People cheat on the verbal section of the GRE, and you aren't going to be writing about the "vicissitudes" of your experiment in a scientific report. For domestic technical students, the personal statement is really the only way they can tell if they're going to have to teach you English, too.
  19. Jul 2, 2008 #18
    Re: GREs!! Verbal: How to prepare??

    I'd also suggest that the general GRE verbal isn't much about reasoning at all; the antonym and analogy sections provide nearly no context and the etymology of the words isn't always common. Aside from the sentence completion questions, it was pretty much a straight vocabulary test.
  20. Jan 10, 2011 #19
    GREs!! Verbal: How to prepare??

    hello guys!!i'm writing gre exam on feb 17th.i started preparation for gre.im familiar with quants i can manage it but im totally in confusion and unable to start preparation in verbal.my mind is totally absent so u please help me guys how to prepare verbal ability for gre how to start it..if u have any schedule plan can u please suggest me?? thank you in advance:grumpy:
  21. Jan 10, 2011 #20


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    Re: GREs!! Verbal: How to prepare??

    Best way to prepare for the GRE verbal?

    Read a lot! Preferably starting when you are 6 years old.
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