Happy 2015 Magooshers! We updated this post with new resources that came out in the last year. Some are so new that they’re still in beta, but we’ve tried them out and can safely say – be glad you’re studying in 2015. Technology is on your side. Enjoy the best vocab resources of 2015!
GRE Vocabulary Builder App
Meet Magoosh’s newest app! The GRE Vocab Builder provides a fun way to quiz yourself on the 1000 most important GRE vocabulary words. Like the Magoosh Flashcards (below), the Magoosh Builder App let’s you quiz yourself on all levels of GRE vocab words. It’s available online, but you probably want to download it on your Android or iPhone so you can study ALL THE TIME. Seriously, it’s addictive.
Our Magoosh GRE flashcards cover high-frequency GRE words and have clear definitions (did I mention the colorful example sentences?). The flashcards are free. You can print them out, or you can download the flashcard app, which makes learning words easy (there is some newfangled algorithm it uses that makes words more likely to stick).
Manhattan GRE has a useful set of flashcards. Clear definitions, well-written example sentences and interesting tidbits (such as a “backstory” on certain words) make these a necessity. Words are broken up into two levels, so you can make sure that you are studying the words that are right for you.
Barron’s 1100 Words
For those who like the old book approach, this Barron’s vocabulary workbook is great. Learn the definition of words by inferring how they are used in context (an indispensible skill on the GRE); take weekly practice quizzes; peruse the glossary to see how each of the words is used in context (example sentences are taken from a variety of reputable resources).
This vocab resource is so new that the website is still in beta (as of January 2015). Here’s the gist: you save ProfessorWord to your bookmarks bar (on any device), and then when you visit a website with words you don’t know, click “Run ProfessorWord!” The app will highlight and define challenging words, and you can click on any word to see its definition. It’s free. And awesome.
Blank flashcards (Quizlet.com)
Not all the words you’ll encounter as you do GRE vocab exercises and read (see below) are in the resources above—so make sure that you have blank flashcards. Quizlet.com makes it easy for you to make flashcards online for any words you stumble across during your prep.
Speaking of new words, instead of using a straightforward dictionary, with its dry, and often abstract definitions, try vocabulary.com. Each word gets a little story along with an example, so words are more likely to stick (it’s sort of like my Vocab Wed., posts but in condensed form).
GRE Vocab Wednesday
Every Wednesday I choose a GRE Vocab Wednesday theme, along with GRE words that fall into the selected category. For the five or six words I choose, I write a post describing the words and using them in examples. I also post a video on youtube in which I try to make the words more memorable. On the wacky-austere scale, my presentation is much closer to wacky.
Read, read, read
There is no better way to reinforce vocabulary than be encountering it unexpectedly. Since, you aren’t going to bump into the word “prosaic” as you walk down the street, a great place to see GRE words are from reading. Nytimes.com, The New Yorker, and The Atlantic are great places (all offer many articles for free online).
Don’t just read the breaking news or the sports score; choose long form stories (usually 3 pages or longer). Also, check out my Magoosh Article of the Month posts for recommended reading that comes complete with lists of GRE vocab words to look out for. And remember to have a set of blank flashcards, Quizlet or paper-based, for those unknown words you encounter.
For more study aids, check out our big list of free GRE resources. 😀