Improve Your Vocabulary For The GRE

How to Improve Vocabulary for GRE?

The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is a test to measure the aptitude and knowledge of individuals who want to study in the various colleges of the United States, Canada and certain other English speaking countries of the world.

This test is divided into three broad sections each of which contains various sub-categories. The Verbal Reasoning section of the GRE test contains three sub-sections and each of those sub-sections assesses the prowess of the test-taker in the various attributes of the English language. Vocabulary, grammar, punctuation, sentence building, quick reading techniques etc. are a few areas of English that need a dedicated focus from students to do well in this section of the test. We are trying to explore a few methods to improve vocabulary in the following points:

How to improve vocabulary for the Verbal section of the GRE test?

1. Make a Vocabulary List:

A vocabulary list is a list, which demonstrates a few English words, with examples, their meanings, and usages. Students should ideally make a note of all the new words that they come across in the process of their test preparation. The Verbal section of the GRE measures skills like understanding explicit as well as implicit word meanings, synonyms, rules of grammar, common English phrases, etc. Therefore, along with word meanings, a vocabulary list should also contain synonyms, sentences, and phrases. Thus, the list can also work like a self-made dictionary and thesaurus, to improve vocabulary.

2. Read:


There is no replacement for the amount of knowledge a good book can provide to a student taking the GRE test. Apart from the course books, if students can read casually, then they can do wonders to their vocabulary and the skills of English language usage.

Examples of great books to improve vocabulary are:

  • New GRE Vocabulary Flashcards by Kaplan
  • Verbal Workout for the GRE by Princeton Review
  • Barron’s Essential Words for GRE


There are various blogging websites, dedicated to the test, that one can have access to over the Internet. Reading blogs will help you increase general and specific knowledge along with increasing your speed of reading. The new words that you come across while reading blogs can also be added to your own vocabulary list. Another good way to improve vocabulary is to start writing a blog. This is because, through the reviews and comments that one receives on the written material, a fair amount of self-assessment is done. This also helps in using good English and building confidence to apply and remember words. A few test specific blogs are available at the following links:

News Websites and Newspaper Articles:

Though the news is often better enjoyed when heard, it is sometimes remembered longer, when read. International news websites of CNN, CNBC and BBC are great for reading news. Though only the Analytical Writing section of the examination demands explicit knowledge of issues and general awareness, but it will not harm the student to read newspaper articles for better reading, comprehension and general knowledge. News does not only provide knowledge, but it also opens new avenues for thought and application of knowledge. A word or phrase read in one context can mean something completely different, when used in another. Newspaper reading helps in application of similar thoughts and words in different situations; a skill which is a must have for this test.

3. Attend Webinars:

Seminars which are held over the Internet are called Webinars. Webinars are held on various topics and issues. For the test, there are many subject-specific webinars which are held to improve subject-matter knowledge. Webinars are held by trainers/speakers/tutors/experts, who talk about a subject or topic in detail. Attending these webinars is not only a cost effective way of gaining insight into a topic, but it also helps students improve their vocabulary by learning new English words, their usage and applicability.

An example of a GRE Webinar: vocabulary list is a good aid for students to improve their English language skills for the GRE. All test aspirants should ideally have a list of words and sentences that they have learnt during preparation. They should also make notes for the new information that they have acquired on the GRE and its language skills. To conclude, it must be said that the above-mentioned are not only ways to get a stronghold of the English language and vocabulary, but they can also be used as options to prepare for the  test as a whole.