cort888

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Hi,

So for anyone who has scored decent on the verbal GRE section I was wondering how you went about studying for it and any additional tips/tricks that helped you that arent listed in the standerd prep books. Just incase your curious: I'm planning on taking my GRE in about 2 weeks and enrolled in Princeton prep. I have hundreds of vocab flashcards but somehow am still not scoring near the range I need to be (around 680).

Thanks!
 

phillydave

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Nov 1, 2009
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Hi,

So for anyone who has scored decent on the verbal GRE section I was wondering how you went about studying for it and any additional tips/tricks that helped you that arent listed in the standerd prep books. Just incase your curious: I'm planning on taking my GRE in about 2 weeks and enrolled in Princeton prep. I have hundreds of vocab flashcards but somehow am still not scoring near the range I need to be (around 680).

Thanks!
I did well on the verbal. And I can give you several tips:

1. Flash cards

2. Flash cards

3. Flash cards

4. Flash cards <--- most important one



Honestly, all kidding aside, I was a lunatic for the preceding 2 months before the GRE. I lived with 3 of my friends, each wanted to tape my mouth shut on several occasions because I practiced using all of the pretentious words during conversations and wouldn't stop until I took the test. Dedicate an hour or two per day, either all in one session, or between other activities, and go through your words constantly. Also, mix up the cards, I realized my brain was remembering the order of the definitions rather than the meanings of the words.

Also, for the writing section, PRACTICE WITH THE TIME LIMIT!!!! I didn't do this and it cost me a good score.

Good luck!

*Edit*

On mixing up the cards: do it every time you go through a stack, and mix different stacks together. My brain also tended to remember what definitions were in what stack after a while. I generally did stacks of 15-20 words at a time.
 

justme08

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Aug 24, 2008
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Just curious which word lists are you making those flashcards from? I just purchased this weekend the Cracking the GRE, and a math review book (it's been a while, expect for the bit used in chemistry).
 

daydreaming

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Mar 17, 2009
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Take this with a grain of salt because I didn't score that well on the verbal (560) and skipped 9 reading comp questions like an idiot because I couldn't focus on the words even though I am an avid reader, but I am studying again to re-take. Consensus online seems to be that the Barron's vocab is the best to memorize. You can google to find a pdf of the whole list (about 4095 words) but I recently also found a pretty cool free adaptive online flashcard program with the whole list. I'll post it just in case you want it. (I keep forgetting if we can post links on here, so if this is against the rules please delete it and sorry in advance.....and OP just google anki)

http://ichi2.net/anki/

After you download the program, install, and open it up, click on download then shared deck. Search "GRE" or "Barron GRE" to filter the huge list of shared decks the program has. That is the whole Barron's list on there. Load it up and voila. It has some very useful features which allow you to sort and review the words based on how well you think you know them.

Good luck and I hope this helps.
 

Wildcat06

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I got 99th percentile verbal using all Kaplan supplies, especially their flashcard book and the games on the CD that comes with the general GRE book. Honestly I did not have the patience to make all those cards so was happy to buy them, although my mind did also start memorizing the order. Worked well for me though :)
 

phillydave

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I got 99th percentile verbal using all Kaplan supplies, especially their flashcard book and the games on the CD that comes with the general GRE book. Honestly I did not have the patience to make all those cards so was happy to buy them, although my mind did also start memorizing the order. Worked well for me though :)

Yeah, making the cards was unbelievably boring! However, the process of making them definitely was a big part of the studying the words and definitions.
 

buzzworm

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I got 99th percentile verbal using all Kaplan supplies, especially their flashcard book and the games on the CD that comes with the general GRE book. Honestly I did not have the patience to make all those cards so was happy to buy them, although my mind did also start memorizing the order. Worked well for me though :)
Same here. For me, the process of making the flashcards doesn't seem to be that important to learning the words, so I decided to use the pre-made ones and save myself a lot of time and effort. I also ended up getting 99th percentile.
 

krisrox

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I "only" got in the 92nd percentile, but I was surprised at how well I did considering vocab is a weakness for me. I thought the Barron's vocab book was the most helpful. I wouldn't just stick to one brand, though, as the Kaplan materials all seemed to have the same words and other brands had different words.
 

cara susanna

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I actually don't think studying vocab is always the best way to a better score. Sometimes you have the vocab but just need to learn how to approach the problems. That was the case for me, anyway.
 
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I finally looked up my percentiles last night, and I scored in the 94 percentile for verbal. I studied my flash cards like crazy... while eating breakfast, lunch, dinner, on the train, waiting in line at places... I took 5 minute breaks every hour during work to study the flash cards. After a while I did start to get used to the order, so I had to reorganize them every day.

Making my own flash cards took a lot of time, but I think it helped me learn. Also, writing sentences using the words and looking up the root of the word really helped. I also used the Word Smart book by Princeton Review, which was a welcome change to the flash cards.

I would strongly suggest practicing the timed essay section as well.
 

phillydave

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Also, if you have time, familiarize yourself with Latin roots. A friend told me to do this and it really helped with words that I was blanking on.
 

krisrox

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I would strongly suggest practicing the timed essay section as well.
I would advise against this and instead focus your efforts on learning vocab/ practicing for the math section. Most psych programs don't even look at the writing portion of the GRE- at least not the old version.
 

RejectClinical

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I would advise against this and instead focus your efforts on learning vocab/ practicing for the math section. Most psych programs don't even look at the writing portion of the GRE- at least not the old version.
I agree. It never came up in any of my interviews. I got a 4.5 (which is the 62%)....I never prepared for it either--woops! They really seem to only care about quant and verbal, esp since you provide them with a writing sample via SOP.
 
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I would advise against this and instead focus your efforts on learning vocab/ practicing for the math section. Most psych programs don't even look at the writing portion of the GRE- at least not the old version.
Well, what I meant is - don't ignore it completely! The first time I took the test, I ignored this section assuming I would be fine. I scored in the "ok" range. The second time I took the test, I upped my efforts on all sections, raising my overall score 200 points and my writing score by 1. When I absolutely could not study any more vocab words and thought I might die if I did another math problem (ok, so I might be exaggerating here...), I practiced the writing portion.

EDIT:

I don't want to sound argumentative... I just don't want people making the same mistake that I made! :oops: Every person is different, so do what works for you. Good luck, Cort888!
 
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RejectClinical

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Well, what I meant is - don't ignore it completely! The first time I took the test, I ignored this section assuming I would be fine. I scored in the "ok" range. The second time I took the test, I upped my efforts on all sections, raising my overall score 200 points and my writing score by 1. When I absolutely could not study any more vocab words and thought I might die if I did another math problem (ok, so I might be exaggerating here...), I practiced the writing portion.

EDIT:

I don't want to sound argumentative... I just don't want people making the same mistake that I made! :oops: Every person is different, so do what works for you. Good luck, Cort888!
in that case, i definitely agree. I thought that the writing section would be a no brainer....so why bother practicing??? So i didn't...and ended up with a not so great score so i can definitely see where you are coming from:thumbup:
 

phillydave

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Well, what I meant is - don't ignore it completely! The first time I took the test, I ignored this section assuming I would be fine. I scored in the "ok" range. The second time I took the test, I upped my efforts on all sections, raising my overall score 200 points and my writing score by 1. When I absolutely could not study any more vocab words and thought I might die if I did another math problem (ok, so I might be exaggerating here...), I practiced the writing portion.

EDIT:

I don't want to sound argumentative... I just don't want people making the same mistake that I made! :oops: Every person is different, so do what works for you. Good luck, Cort888!
Ditto

in that case, i definitely agree. I thought that the writing section would be a no brainer....so why bother practicing??? So i didn't...and ended up with a not so great score so i can definitely see where you are coming from:thumbup:
Ditto


Bottom line: If you want a good writing score, practice with a time limit.
 

buzzworm

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Ditto



Ditto


Bottom line: If you want a good writing score, practice with a time limit.
I agree with the others who have said that writing score doesn't seem to matter much -- but that being said, it doesn't hurt to do well on that too. I did well with only about a night's worth of studying for it, which I think was mostly due to the two big tips I picked up from my Kaplan book:

1. Write as much as humanly possible without leaving the essay unfinished. At some point, someone did a study where they found that writing score was strongly correlated with length of the essay.

Oh, and to maximize your writing time (and therefore the length of your essay), don't spend any time deciding which side of the issue to argue - just pick a side and go. It doesn't matter if you actually agree with what you're writing.

2. Use a lot of "GRE words" -- i.e. the words you've been studying for the verbal section.

The graders for the writing section have a ton of essays to grade and something like 30 seconds to spend on each one, so they don't have time to do an actual in-depth analysis of your work.
 
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kapinkkidowski

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Yeah, I think flash cards are good; I dont remember what percentile I scored but I got a 710? I figure that is pretty high up.

I made my own flashcards with the word on one side and the definition on the other. I'd then go through and quiz myself. The ones I got I put to the side, the ones I got wrong I placed on the bottom of the quiz pile. I kept going until I had no more in my quiz pile (sometimes this meant getting some words wrong 3 or 4 times). Then I took all the cards, shuffled them, and repeated...a million times. I found thiIs strategy useful because the words I couldnt remember I ended up studying more. I'd also do this the other way around, looking at definitions and quizing myself on the word(s) it was referring to.

I basically copied every word out of the Kaplan GRE verbal workbook...and to be honest, there was not one word on my GRE that did not appear in that book (even though on some I coudn't remember what the word meant, despite all the studying). I think I studied for about 2 months.
 
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I also used flashcards and scored in the mid 90th percentile. I honestly practiced all the time - I had a set of cards on me at all times. Not sure if you have an ipod, but I actually found an app that has GRE words! I used this too and some of the words actually came up on my test (which is more luck than anything else, but it still worked...)

A professor also told me to remember which words were adjectives, adverbs, nouns and verbs. At the time it was annoying, but on the test is was helpful because I could immediately eliminate words that were clearly wrong based on syntax.
 
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phillydave

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Not sure if you have an ipod, but I actually found an app that has GRE words!
Pardon my pop-lingo, but OMFG. I wish I had known about that.

And great point about memorizing word types (adj, noun, verb), that was such a huge help, like you say, in eliminating answers.
 

kbean

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Add me to the flash card list. I memorized every single word in Word Smart for the GRE (as well as assorted lists from other study books).

What really helped me was associating words with people I knew--I still think of the word "acumen" when I see this wicked-smart doctor I work with. Word Smart also had some pretty funny sample sentences that were ridiculous but very helpful in memorizing the words.

I also agree that knowing word types is helpful, as is being able to deconstruct words and figure out their roots.
 
Jan 14, 2010
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Also, I made up the most ridiculous cognitive shortcuts to help me remember word definitions, similar to what kbean mentioned.

For instance, I will never forget the definition of pugilism: The skill, practice, and sport of fighting with the fists; boxing. I imagined a pug (the dog) wearing boxing gloves and getting ready to fight.
 

YoungestOld

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If you have family/friend/roommate who tolerates it (and who doesn't know a wordsmith somewhere?;)) I recommend using your most difficult words in conversation as much as possible. Many people will find this obnoxious, but those who don't will likely enjoy it and it's great for memorization.

For the Reading Comp passages (which I found less vocab dependent), do all you can with PowerPREP to get inside the author's heads. The passages they give you are choppy and don't flow well, so these can become a big time sink. Also prepare for wildly varying length: Sometimes they throw 95-liners at you, sometimes it's just 25.

Good luck!
 

glowstick

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I recommend lots of practice -- take the tests, and then look up those words. I'm not the sort of person who's patient enough to memorize words -- and most of 'em won't be on the test anyway -- so just practice, and go over each test carefully and see what you did wrong.

Then again, you all seem much more dedicated at studying than I ever have been.