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Number of words to learn for GRE?

Yike Lu

Finder of biased coins.
I started learning 3500 from Barrons but find many words useless?
That's because most GRE words ARE useless. I got a 700, but had a head-start prepping for the SATs earlier in life. The words for GRE that go beyond the SAT are useless.

My general take on GRE verbal is that prep via memorizing words is not going to yield a big improvement on your score if you only have a short time frame. Better to brush up on grammar, reading comprehension, etc. These things can be learned relatively quickly, and on top of that actually make a difference in communication, unlike learning meaning of the word "dross" for example.
 

Kenny L

Volatility Smile
Sometimes I wonder which one is actually a better gauge of one's language ability: the GRE Verbal that focuses on vocabs; or the AWA that focuses on essays and arguments.
 

Lyosha

Psychic in Training
I've noticed that people that beat my GRE verbal score are usually not more eloquent speakers, if that tells you much.

Then again, I studied 0 words for GRE. I did take a small SAT-prep class back in the day, but it wasn't overly effective and was ~8 years ago.
 
I've noticed that people that beat my GRE verbal score are usually not more eloquent speakers, if that tells you much.

You can be an eloquent speaker with a small vocabulary that includes a high percentage of cuss words. More seriously, using a number of abstruse words is likely to lose your audience: politicians like Bill Clinton know this very well. So he uses a basic voabulary, mixes in personal anecdotes and well-known metaphors, a bit of humor ....
 
I've noticed that people that beat my GRE verbal score are usually not more eloquent speakers, if that tells you much.

I couldn't agree more. I know of Chinese students (from China) who studied for the old GRE for less than a week yet they scored 700+ on the verbal. Perhaps it's an insult to those who devoted more time reviewing for it and to semi-native speakers like me. (semi because I think in English and am more fluent in it than my native language)

Oddly enough, that friend of mine didn't know what "transfer", "texture", and "octopus" meant until I mentioned them in small conversations.

Oh well...
 

drupollini

epsilon machine
It depends on where you're scoring and how much time you're giving yourself. If you're higher scoring and have a lot of time, I'd recommend going through Barron's (the one with 3500, which is the best for vocab) and making a vocab card for each word you're not 100% solid on. But, keep in mind, that the new GRE test doesn't test vocab as much as the old one (no analogy or antonym questions).
Also, since they haven't figured out the percentiles yet, any practice test score you're going to calculate is going to have a range. Assume the most conservative score is the correct one.
Note: As my tone suggests, I teach a GRE prep class; good luck :)
 
i have 2 months but i felt some of the words on Barrons 3500 could never be on the test now. i would rather spend my time on words i will be tested on. what would be the best vocab source for new gre? i am targeting around 1500 words?

It depends on where you're scoring and how much time you're giving yourself. If you're higher scoring and have a lot of time, I'd recommend going through Barron's (the one with 3500, which is the best for vocab) and making a vocab card for each word you're not 100% solid on. But, keep in mind, that the new GRE test doesn't test vocab as much as the old one (no analogy or antonym questions).
Also, since they haven't figured out the percentiles yet, any practice test score you're going to calculate is going to have a range. Assume the most conservative score is the correct one.
Note: As my tone suggests, I teach a GRE prep class; good luck :)
 
am not sure if I am missing something here...but the New GRE has gotten rid of antonyms and synonyms...took GRE back in 2002..with barron's wordlist managed to get 640 in verbal...GRE is a piece of cake compared to CAT for admission to IIMs.
 

drupollini

epsilon machine
i have 2 months but i felt some of the words on Barrons 3500 could never be on the test now. i would rather spend my time on words i will be tested on. what would be the best vocab source for new gre? i am targeting around 1500 words?
2 months is a lot of time if you want to be serious about it. 3500 words is ambitious, but I doubt you will need to review all 3500 (you'll know a lot of them already). same goes for the 1500, which makes me think that it might be a little too conservative.

maybe try a mixed solution? master the 1500 words, take some practice tests, see how you do. if you don't do as well as you want, go through the 3500 words. you'll know even more of them after mastering the shorter list.
 
2 months is a lot of time if you want to be serious about it. 3500 words is ambitious, but I doubt you will need to review all 3500 (you'll know a lot of them already). same goes for the 1500, which makes me think that it might be a little too conservative.

maybe try a mixed solution? master the 1500 words, take some practice tests, see how you do. if you don't do as well as you want, go through the 3500 words. you'll know even more of them after mastering the shorter list.

well if i learn 1500 words i will be targeting for a month to learn them and then there wont be any time for the 3500. is there any good 1500-2000 word list you know of?
 

Yike Lu

Finder of biased coins.
But, keep in mind, that the new GRE test doesn't test vocab as much as the old one (no analogy or antonym questions).
I'm so glad they did this. I may have scored high, but a large amount of the vocab tested is just a waste of time.
 
Learning lots of English words may seem to be a "waste of time" for those pursuing quantitative fields as are we, but remember that the same test is also taken by English majors and other humanities types who are seeking to do Ph.D.s in their respective fields.

Those people may have similar feelings about the many mathematical formulae that we have to master in our studies, which are tested in the quant portion of the exam...
 

Yike Lu

Finder of biased coins.
I'd argue it's a waste of time even for English majors. Essentially English majors study to be writers, and good writing does not involve lots of extremely high vocabulary, as it would be unreadable (where is Professor Bob?).

On the flip side, when reading literature, unrecognizable words are typically not seen in such abundance that they cannot be looked up in a dictionary.

Remember that the idea of the GRE is to test what everybody "should have learned" in undergrad. The vocab tested is just TOO arcane, and learning it is more a process of memorization than comprehension. I agree there should be a minimum standard, but IMO that minimum standard is more than well enough served by SAT level vocab.
 
I scored an 800 verbal on the GRE without studying for it. If you're well-read, you will probably be okay. If not, re-take it.

If you miss a word on the GRE vocab, it's probably a word that should never be used anyway.
 
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