Learning GRE vocabulary can be overwhelming. Where should you start? How can you find the best GRE words to learn?
To help you get a leg up on learning GRE vocab, we’ve created several GRE vocabulary PDFs for you. We have a GRE word list, GRE vocabulary flashcards, and even a list with blank definitions for you to use for GRE vocabulary practice!
Our GRE Vocabulary PDFs
We’ve created four GRE vocabulary PDFs for you based on our master list of 357 essential GRE words to know. These words were assembled from our own investigation of official GRE practice materials and by synthesizing the top GRE words from other test-prep experts. You can trust that these words will give you a great vocab foundation for attacking the Verbal section of the GRE.
For your studying convenience, we’ve made the following GRE vocabulary PDFs for you:
- A complete, alphabetized GRE vocabulary list of 357 words you need to know. These include all definitions and parts of speech.
- Another PDF of our 357 GRE vocabulary words sorted by parts of speech, again with all definitions.
- A complete set of GRE vocabulary flash cards from our word list.
- A GRE word list pdf with blank definitions for you to complete vocab practice exercises on your own.
How to Use These GRE Vocabulary PDFs
So now that we’ve made these handy GRE word list PDFs for you, how should you use them?
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This complete word list with definitions functions best as a handy reference. It will also help you figure out what words from the list you already know, and which you still need to learn.
I don’t advise trying to learn the words just from a list, though. Something that involves self-testing like flash cards or the blank definition GRE words PDF below is a more effective way to drill information.
This is just another GRE vocabulary list PDF, organized by parts of speech, in case that’s an easier way for you to wrap your head around a big list. It will also help you get a sense of how these words are deployed and get you thinking about how you might use them in sentences.
You might think that flashcards are basically a self-explanatory resource, but there is a best way to drill flash cards, and that way is the waterfall method.
The waterfall method involves working through smaller and smaller subsets of flashcards as you learn the definitions, then working back up through until you’re confident you’ve learned them all. Here’s how it works:
Let’s say that you have 100 flashcards. First, you’ll go through the cards one by one. For each card where you know the definition easily, you’ll put it in your “Know it” pile, on the left. If you don’t know the definition, put it in your “Struggled” pile on the right.
When you’ve gone through all the words, pick up the “Struggled” pile. Next you’ll go through this pile. For words where you know the definition, place them in a second “Know It” pile next to but not combined with the first “Know It” pile. For words you don’t know, make a new “Struggled” pile. Repeat this process, placing knew “Know It” piles in a row from left to right. This creates your “waterfall.” Repeat this until the “Struggled” pile only has 4-5 words.
Now, you’ll move back up the waterfall. Starting with the last “Struggled” pile, repeat it until you know all the words in the pile. Then, add the most recent (the one furthest to the right) “Know It” pile. Go through those words. If you miss any words at any point, go through the entire pile you currently have again until you get all of the words right. Seems brutal, but this will guarantee that you really know the words! Don’t pick up more cards until you can get through the whole pile with no trouble. Continue this process until you get all the way back up the waterfall. When you’ve reached the top of the waterfall again, you know all the words!
This is the best method to drill vocab flashcards because you study the words you don’t know as well many more times than if you just studied the entire stack over and over. As time goes on, your “Know It” piles will be bigger and your “Struggled” piles will be smaller and smaller, until you don’t even need to waterfall at all because all the words will go in the “Know It” pile!
Once you feel like you’ve memorized the words and definitions using flashcards, you can use this GRE word list PDF to make your own vocab quiz!
There are a couple things you can do to use this PDF as a GRE vocabulary quiz. First, you can go through the list and try to write out the definition(s) of each word—this will really test whether you’ve truly memorized the definitions of these words.
Of course, while having instant recall of the definitions is great, you also need to understand how these words are deployed in context. Thus, another great way to use these sheets is to write sentences that use each word. This will help make sure that you understand how the words are used in context. You may want someone with a strong vocabulary to look the sentences over to make sure you’ve used the words correctly!
Key Takeaways: GRE Vocabulary List PDFs
Learning vocab is an essential part of preparing for the Verbal section of the GRE. Here at PrepScholar, we’ve made your vocab prep easier with our GRE vocab pdfs! We’ve got a complete list of 357 vocab words, our 357 words sorted by parts of speech, a set of vocab flashcards, and our list of GRE words with blank definitions.
You’ll need more than just vocab prep to crush the GRE. Check out our guide to the best GRE prep books, our expert review of the Manhattan GRE book set, a list of four great GRE question of the day sites.
Some of the most essential prep resources come from ETS. But you need to know how to use them effectively! Check out our expert how-to on using the ETS official guide to the GRE, and where to find the six official ETS practice tests!