8 Steps To Master GRE Word List


How to learn GRE word list?

Learning the GRE word list may seem like a difficult task but if you go about it methodically then it can be achieved. The thing you need to keep in mind is that you need to remember the words you learn or else the whole exercise becomes pointless. People may suggest you to use flashcards but learning through repetition is boring and it takes more time than you actually require. Follow the steps below and you will be able to master GRE word list.


Step 1 – Make a Plan

Glance through the entire GRE word list and mark out the words whose meanings you don’t know. Set a time limit by which you intend to memorize those words. This will give you an idea of how many words you need to learn every day. So if you have 6 months or 180 days to learn GRE word list of Barron’s which has 3500 words and assuming you don’t know a single word in the list, then you will need to learn approximately 20 words every day. That doesn’t seem that difficult?

I will also advise you to not set an unrealistic time limit; your brain can only take a certain amount of information in a day. Remember it is not about learning new words, it is about retaining them in your memory.


Step 2 – Target Root Words and Prefixes

Club words with the same prefixes or roots together to learn them easily. This shouldn’t take you more than a week. If you don’t know much about prefixes and roots, search the internet to get a general idea. GRE word roots and prefixes are available in Barron’s, after all the meanings. You can also search for them on the internet. Learning words through roots and prefixes will help you remember them easily.

After learning all the words in these groups, there will still be many words left to learn GRE word list completely.  Don’t worry! With a bit of effort you will be able to learn and remember them too.

Note – Most words are formed from some root or other. I will advise you to concentrate only on the main roots and prefixes. A good example would be the pre prefix which is used commonly.

Check out our movie The Good, The Bad and The Ugly which covers a few GRE roots.


Step 3 – Make or Search for Mnemonics

Pick your words for the day from the GRE word list. Now select one of the words. Try making a mnemonic for it; or if you find it difficult, search for a mnemonic on the internet.

On our website we are trying to target GRE word list so you can see our videos for some of the words. These videos use mnemonics to help you remember the words you learn. By watching them you will also get an idea of how you can create your own mnemonics.

Check out our Mnemonic Video Dictionary.


Step 4 – Create Sentences

Create a sentence for the word you learnt. Try making a weird sentence so that the word sticks in your brain. I will strongly advise you to make your own sentence. If you find it difficult then search for some sentences on the internet to help you create your own sentence.

Now note down the word, its mnemonic and the sentence you have created in a word document, excel sheet or any other software you are using. Repeat the above two steps for all the words you have selected. Noting down things will increase your retention and help you learn GRE word list systematically.


Step 5 – Revise Every Day

Revise all the words you learnt before going to sleep as this helps in increasing your retention.


Step 6 – Concentrate on Words You Didn’t Remember

Before selecting your words for the next day from the GRE word list, research about the words you didn’t remember from the previous day. By research I mean you can look for how the word originated or some other story about the word. This will help to strengthen your memory connection for that word.


Step 7 – Group Synonyms and Antonyms Together

Every time you come across a word in the GRE word list that has the same or opposite meaning to a word you have already learnt, place it just below that word in your document so that you can revise them together. This helps in forming memory connection between the words which will help you remember them.


Step 8 – Reconsider Your Target

After 5 days check on how many words you remember and according to that change the number of words you are targeting in a day. If you remember more than 85% of the words you can continue with the same number of words in a day or even increase them. If less then consider making that number less. Always remember to make this check after every 5 days as this also acts as a revision of the words you have learnt.

So be systematic in your approach to learn GRE word list and you will soon be mastering it without difficulty.

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