GRE Verbal Reasoning: Vocabulary Building Tips

The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) includes a Verbal Reasoning section that assesses your ability to understand, analyze, and evaluate written material. A strong vocabulary is crucial for performing well in this section, as it helps you comprehend complex texts and answer questions effectively. In this article, we'll provide you with effective tips for building and improving your vocabulary for the GRE Verbal Reasoning section.

 1. Read Actively

One of the most effective ways to expand your vocabulary is through reading. Make a habit of reading a variety of materials, such as books, newspapers, magazines, and academic journals. Actively engage with the text by highlighting or underlining unfamiliar words. Pay attention to how these words are used in context.

 2. Use Flashcards

Create flashcards with new words you encounter while reading or studying GRE-related materials. On one side of the flashcard, write the word, and on the other, its definition, synonyms, antonyms, and example sentences. Review these flashcards regularly to reinforce your vocabulary.

 3. Learn Prefixes, Suffixes, and Roots

Many words in the English language share common prefixes, suffixes, and roots. Learning these affixes can help you decipher the meanings of unfamiliar words. For example, the prefix "uni-" means "one," and "verse" refers to "turning," so "universe" means "one turning" or the entirety of space and time.

 4. Use Vocabulary Apps and Websites

Take advantage of technology to enhance your vocabulary. There are numerous vocabulary-building apps and websites available, such as Magoosh, Quizlet, and Memrise, that offer GRE-specific word lists and quizzes.

 5. Maintain a Vocabulary Journal

Keep a vocabulary journal where you record new words, their definitions, and example sentences. Use this journal to practice writing sentences or short paragraphs using the words you've learned.

 6. Read GRE Prep Books

Consider investing in GRE test preparation books, as they often include vocabulary lists and exercises specific to the GRE Verbal Reasoning section. These books can be valuable resources for building your GRE-related vocabulary.

 7. Join a Word-of-the-Day Service

Many websites and apps offer a "Word of the Day" service that delivers a new word to your inbox or mobile device each day. Incorporate these words into your daily vocabulary practice.

 8. Play Word Games

Engage in word games and puzzles like Scrabble, crossword puzzles, or online word games. These activities make vocabulary acquisition enjoyable and interactive.

 9. Group Study and Discussion

Join or form a GRE study group and engage in discussions about complex topics. Conversations with peers can introduce you to new words and their usage.

 10. Review and Practice

Regularly review the words you've learned and practice using them in sentences. Testing your knowledge through practice questions and quizzes will help reinforce your vocabulary.

 11. Simulate Test Conditions

When you practice GRE Verbal Reasoning questions, do so under simulated test conditions. This will help you become accustomed to the timing and format of the test.

 12. Read Challenging Material

Expose yourself to challenging and complex reading materials, such as academic journals, scientific articles, or literature. These texts are likely to contain advanced vocabulary that can boost your GRE preparation.


Building a strong vocabulary for the GRE Verbal Reasoning section is an ongoing process that requires dedication and consistent effort. By incorporating these tips into your study routine, you can expand your vocabulary and feel more confident when encountering complex texts and questions on the GRE. Remember that vocabulary building is not just about memorization; it's about understanding word usage and context, which is essential for success in the Verbal Reasoning section.