Preparing for the verbal section of the GRE invariably entails memorizing a gigantic list of words. GRE test takers find this quite intimidating as they visualize themselves literally drowning in words.
Have no fear-flash cards are here!!!
Popular among GRE test takers, flash cards are a great tool to get you started and build a great GRE vocabulary. Here are some tips to get you started on your GRE vocabulary:
- Color code the words – Negative words in RED, Positive words in GREEN and NEUTRAL words in GREY. The color association will help you recall the connotation of the word and will visually aid your GRE vocab learning process. So
- vilify which means to criticize harshly is in red color
- approbation that means to praise is in green color
- ambivalent that means having a mixed feeling is a neutral word and hence in grey color.
- Group words – write synonyms of the words on the flash cards to help you get more words from one flash card. For e.g. while learning the meaning of the word “obdurate”, learn more GRE words by listing out its synonyms—“adamant”, “recalcitrant”, “refractory”, “intractable”, “intransigent”, etc. You just got six words for the price of one .What color will you give these words?
- Make sentences – WRITE, yes WRITE sentences with the words on your flash cards. Even with all electronic aids available to use – your good old handwriting is one of the most effective learning tools!
- Park, don’t stow away – once you know the words really well – put the flash cards always and review them once in a while to refresh your memory.
- In context vocabulary – don’t just concentrate on learning the meanings – see how the same word is used in a different context. Here is an example:
- Sheer: This is sheer nonsense!
- Sheer: I prefer drinking sheer wine!
- Sheer: A cave on a sheer cliff!
- Sheer: Sheer silk
- Have a Flash Card buddy — team up with a friend to work and prepare flash cards – this way both of you can optimize your time by teaching and testing each other.
- Use symbols – classify words in larger groups; e.g. all words that are scientific can be given an appropriate symbol, words indicating generosity can be symbolized with an “overflowing”
- Try mobile apps for flash cards – while the old school techniques work best for vocabulary you can try some popular mobile apps to work on your vocab while on the go
- Use the words – use new words at least twice in a week so that you learn it for better retention. Don’t worry about being spot-on, instead focus on using the word in any way that you can
Don’t forget that the GRE emphasizes on vocabulary in context of a sentence and it is equally important to have a strategy to focus on the meaning of the sentence.
Mnemonically-enabled flash cards are an integral part of a Manya-The Princeton Review GRE class in which vocabulary is taught not just via Flash cards but also though other means such as etymology (aka word-roots) and vocab games.