GRE Vocabulary Games

Instructor: Matthew Hamel

Matt has degrees in Journalism and Business and has taught a variety of courses at high schools and universities around the world.

While taking the GRE (General Graduate Examinations) for admission into graduate school may seem daunting, a strong vocabulary can help to mitigate this concern. In this lesson, games and activities are provided for either individual study or classroom use.

GRE Vocabulary

Whether you're taking the GRE (Graduate Record Examinations) general test or subject tests, a strong vocabulary is absolutely vital. When you comprehend and use advanced vocabulary correctly, your academic confidence can grow immensely. At this point, you've already completed a major milestone--undergraduate success! No matter what advanced degree you are working towards, a comprehensive knowledge of English vocabulary is essential. The following activities have been specifically designed to improve GRE vocabulary comprehension and retention.

GRE Vocabulary List

The first step is to prepare a list of GRE vocabulary words you feel may be challenging in an actual testing situation. There are numerous textbooks and online sources of GRE vocabulary words, and no doubt you've already assembled a list. For the sake of this lesson, the following high frequency words can be used, particularly in a classroom setting.

  1. abate - become less in amount or intensity
  2. chicanery - the use of tricks to deceive someone
  3. disseminate - cause to become widely known
  4. gainsay - take exception to
  5. latent - potentially existing but not presently evident or realized
  6. aberrant - markedly different from an accepted norm
  7. coagulate - change from a liquid to a thickened or solid state
  8. dissolution - separation into component parts
  9. garrulous - full of trivial conversation
  10. laud - praise, glorify, or honor
  11. abeyance - temporary cessation or suspension
  12. coda - the closing section of a musical composition
  13. dissonance - disagreeable sounds
  14. goad - stab or urge on as if with a pointed stick
  15. lethargic - deficient in alertness or activity
  16. abscond - run away
  17. cogent - powerfully persuasive
  18. distend - cause to expand as it by internal pressure
  19. gouge - an impression in a surface, as made by a blow
  20. levee - an embankment built to prevent a river from overflowing

GRE Vocabulary Games

There are many different ways to learn and remember vocabulary. By this point you've hopefully figured out what methods and techniques work best with your personal learning style. When you use these games, try to keep in mind both what is and what isn't working and then adapt the steps of the game to increase its effectiveness.

Visualize It

  1. In the morning or before you begin studying or performing any academic work, write down 5-10 new vocabulary words on a single post-it note. Try to choose words that are new to you, but that you feel may come up during the course of your study.
  2. Memorize the words (including a short definition) and then put the post-it in your pocket.
  3. Every time you come across one of the words on your list, take the post-it out of your pocket and put a check next to that word.
  4. At the end of the day take a look at your post-it and review the following questions.
  • How many of the words did you find?
  • In what context?
  • Which words were the most frequent?
  • Which words did you either never or seldom come across?
  • Did your mental definition of the word match the manner in which the word was being used?
  • Which of the words on the list should be remembered and why?

This activity is designed to be repeated daily or at the very least, a few times a week. The goal is to come across new words on your own list while determining which of the words are frequently or often used and which words are seldom or never used. It's also a great way to see words in context, instead of relying solely on a dictionary definition.

Vocabulary is Everywhere

This is game that can last for weeks or months and can be played continuously throughout the day.

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