The Best and Worst GRE Word Lists (Plus Bonus Quiz)

Teacher helping student pointing at his notebook on the desk, representing GRE word lists - image by Magoosh

The GRE Verbal section LOVES testing obscure words that most students have never heard of before. Fortunately for all you aspiring GRE test-takers, there are hundreds of GRE word lists floating around, filled with the GRE words that tend to appear over and over again in official tests. Unfortunately, most of these lists are of quality that is…wanting (a GRE word that means lacking).

To help you navigate the extensive world of GRE word lists, this post goes over how to best use these lists and reviews some of the best GRE word lists out there. We even share the top 20 most tested GRE words—so get ready for a quiz at the end!


Table of Contents


How to Approach GRE Word Lists

When and How Vocab is Tested on the GRE

GRE words are tested—surprise!—only in the GRE Verbal Reasoning sections. There are three types of questions in the Verbal section, all multiple choice:

  • Reading Comprehension, in which you read a passage and answer a series of questions about it
  • Sentence Equivalence, in which you read a sentence with a blank and select two answer choices that will give the sentence the same meaning.
  • Text Completions, in which you read a sentence with one, two, or even three blanks and provide the choice or choices that best fit the context.

The Reading Comprehension questions that test on vocabulary (Meaning-in-Context questions) are more interested in how you use context clues to determine “less-common meanings of commonly used vocabulary words”; they’re not meant to test how expansive your vocabulary is.

Sentence Equivalence and Text Completion is where your knowledge of GRE words will come most in handy. Given that these question types make up about half of the entire GRE Verbal test, having a solid GRE vocabulary cannot be overstated.

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How To Memorize GRE Word Lists

Memorizing the Best GRE Word Lists - image by Magoosh

The key to memorizing new vocabulary—well, anything really—is to take an active, rather than passive, approach. Do not simply read through a GRE word list of unknown words.

Why? Well, our brains learn from being challenged. When you’re just reading each word and then the definition, you’re not actually challenging your brain.

For example, if you quiz someone 30 minutes after they’ve read a vocab list, they might remember the placement of words (“Oh yes, ‘stymie’ was next to ‘esoter…i…’ something, uh…”). But remembering the definition is much more of a struggle.

So here are a few tips to help you most effectively memorize new GRE words:

  1. Focus on high-frequency words. As you do your GRE practice, make sure to note which words come up more frequently and which come up less frequently; focus on fully memorizing high-frequency words first before conquering low-frequency words.
  2. Make a game out of GRE vocab memorization. Take advantage of flashcards and quizzes (much more on this below) and come up with mnemonics to remember more difficult words.
  3. Seek out the words in your everyday life! Look for them when you’re reading (and make sure you’re reading a lot!). Mentally describe experiences you have or concepts you encounter with your newly learned words. Or find ways to use them in your day-to-day writing or conversations—if you’ve figured out how to do this without seeming pompous 😉

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Choosing the Right Word Lists

To make the most of these GRE word lists, you have to make them fun and dynamic. Luckily for you, the internet has got your back, replete with free websites and apps that offer hundreds of vocab lists in the form of quizzes, flashcards, vocab-to-definition matching games, and more. In fact, every one of the following word lists has been gamified on,, and/or come in their own app form.

Choosing the Best GRE Word Lists - image by Magoosh

Given these resources, here are some good rules to follow:

  1. Practice mastering the words through GRE flashcards and games first.
  2. Read through the static GRE word lists in order to reinforce the words that you’re practicing and to also fill in information that may not be available in their game form (e.g. seeing how a word is used in an example sentence).
  3. Finally, look for these words in their natural habitat in order to truly understand how they’re used organically. A great resource to help you do so is Wordnik will not only define any word for you, but it will also link to blogs and articles where the word appears.

Not sure where to start with your GRE vocabulary studying? To help you out, we’ve created this quiz! Just answer a few questions about your vocab level, and we’ll recommend the right FREE GRE vocabulary flashcard set for you!

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GRE Word Lists: The Best and the Worst

Although knowing the top 20 most tested GRE words will certainly give you a leg up on test day, you’d need to make sure you have hundreds of GRE words in your arsenal to get a top-notch score. To help you with this aim, we have rounded up the best GRE word lists out there (along with the worst, so that you know what to avoid).

Best GRE Word Lists - image by Magoosh


The Best GRE Word Lists

Magoosh GRE Vocabulary Flashcards

digital gre flashcard depicting the word gregarious, best gre word list -magoosh

Magoosh’s Vocabulary Flashcards help you learn the definitions of over 1,000 high-frequency words. There are 20 decks of about 50 words each, sorted into categories of common, basic, or advanced. As you come across a word, think of the definition before looking at it; once you verify whether or not you know the meaning of the word, you can mark the card accordingly and the app will keep track of your progress.

Check out this video for how to use GRE vocabulary flashcards to boost your score:

Magoosh GRE Vocab Builder

gre vocabulary builder app

A great complement to our flashcards, Magoosh’s Vocabulary Builder uses multiple-choice questions to test your knowledge of word meanings, providing another way to master over 1,000 words. Like our flashcards, our Vocabulary Builder organizes words by level of difficulty and tracks the words you need to review the most. This allows you to truly customize your GRE vocab memorization, saving you valuable time and making sure you truly remember what you have studied.

Magoosh GRE Vocabulary eBook

Magoosh’s GRE Vocabulary eBook is probably one of the most interesting GRE word lists you will come across. Filled with 300+ of the most common GRE words, our eBook is essentially a collection of mini-lists organized around certain themes (e.g. most common words that students get wrong, words to do with money), which can help you memorize new vocab faster. Plus, all of these words are tested in our vocab apps. Click the button below to download it!

The Economist GRE Word List

In this post about learning GRE words by reading certain publications, I talk about The Economist as one of these publications that tend to be rich with GRE vocab.

Lucky for you, The Economist has now made that process so much easier by creating their own GRE word list of 300+ GRE words and linking a source article where each word appears (for iOS users, all this plus customized prep is on their daily vocab app). While the list itself is free, note that you would need to get a free account to read five articles a month or a paid account for unlimited access.

Other Great GRE Word Lists

If you’ve already been studying with the lists mentioned below, then you’re in good hands. All these GRE word lists contain high-frequency GRE words:

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The Worst GRE Word Lists

Barron’s 3500 AND 4,759 Word Lists

If you happen to come across these old lists by Barron, toss them aside. Hundreds of words are crammed on one page, definitions are vague, and words are not adequately shown in context. If you slog through them, you won’t know the difference between high-frequency and low-frequency words.

Nova’s 4500

This list is in Nova’s verbal book. Like anything Nova releases for verbal, avoid it. This list really is a travesty to GRE word lists. Words are vaguely—and often mistakenly—defined. Words you’ll never see are lumped together with high-frequency words. There is no better way to waste one’s precious GRE prep time than studying this list.

Random Internet Word Lists

These are a dime a dozen and often they poach Barron’s word lists. Others are just random word lists filled with archaic words or “analogy words” that appeared on the old GRE. Avoid these lists at all costs.

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Top 20 Most Tested GRE Words

Now that we’ve covered some memorization basics, here’s an opportunity to learn the top 20 most tested words on the GRE. Check out the list below and try to memorize all the definitions before taking the corresponding quiz!

  1. Ambivalent (adj.)
  2. Click here for the definition

    Having contradictory feelings.

    Erin was ambivalent about her freshman year in college; her classes were fascinating but she missed her high school friends.

  3. Auspicious (adj.)
  4. Click here for the definition


    The team’s run for the pennant started auspiciously with 24 wins. Two starting pitchers snapped their elbows mid-season, clearly an inauspicious sign.

  5. Belligerent (adj.)
  6. Click here for the definition

    Inclined to fight.

    After a few drinks Stevie was convivial; after two six-packs he became belligerent, challenging anyone around him to a head-butting contest.

  7. Capricious (adj.)
  8. Click here for the definition

    Unpredictable, whimsical.

    Because Mario was so capricious his friends felt they could not rely on him.

    Test yourself: Click here to try a question using capricious.

  9. Corroborate (v.)
  10. Click here for the definition

    To confirm, make stronger.

    Three witnesses were able to corroborate Lucy’s alibi that she had been at the bowling alley at the time of the murder.

  11. Enervate (v.)
  12. Click here for the definition

    To weaken; drain the energy from.

    Sitting in the windowless room, the tropical humidity soaking through the walls, I was enervated before noon.

  13. Ephemeral (adj).
  14. Click here for the definition


    Youtube has made fame truly ephemeral. Just ask Rebecca Black.

    Test yourself: Click here to try a question using ephemeral from our GRE product.

  15. Erudite (adj.)
  16. Click here for the definition


    A Rhodes Scholar, Maxine was a true erudite, and a formidable opponent on Jeopardy.

    Test yourself: Click here to try a practice question using erudite from our GRE product.

  17. Esoteric (adj)
  18. Click here for the definition

    Known to a select few.

    Many jazz artists once deemed esoteric have emerged due to the greater access users have to avant-garde music on-line.

    Test yourself: Click here to try a practice question using esoteric.

  19. Extant (adj.)
  20. Click here for the definition

    In existence (most commonly referring to texts).

    Few documents antedating the advent of papyrus are extant today.

  21. Fastidious (adj.)
  22. Click here for the definition


    A fastidious eater, Herman would only eat the center of anything he touched. As a result, his plate was strewn with the remnants of his dinner, an eyesore for the hapless dinner guest.

  23. Inculpate (v.)
  24. Click here for the definition

    To charge with wrong-doing; accuse.

    To inculpate Eddy with the murder was absurd; he’d been bowling with Lucy.

  25. Loquacious (adj.)
  26. Click here for the definition


    Carl was so loquacious his friends usually didn’t like to watch a movie with him.

  27. Magnanimous (adj.)
  28. Click here for the definition

    Big-hearted; generous.

    Upon receiving his first Wall Street paycheck, Jerry was so magnanimous he not only bought his Mom a car, he bought his Dad one too.

  29. Mercurial (adj.)
  30. Click here for the definition

    1. Changing one’s personality often and unpredictably.
    2. Animated, sprightly.

    One never knew exactly what the professor’s class would be like; he was so mercurial that many of his students thought of him as two different people.

  31. Pragmatic (adj.)
  32. Click here for the definition


    Edna never cared for abstract thinking and preferred the pragmatic world of business, in which every action, ideally, has an intended consequence.

    Test yourself: Click here to try a practice question using pragmatic.

  33. Prolific (adj.)
  34. Click here for the definition

    Producing or creating abundantly.

    Irving Berlin had one of the most prolific careers in song-writing history; dozens of his hundreds of tunes are familiar to us. Anyone dreaming of a “White Christmas?”

  35. Reticent (adj.)
  36. Click here for the definition

    Tightlipped, not prone to saying much, reluctant.

    Paul was reticent and preferred observing others mannerisms.

  37. Sanguine (adj.)
  38. Click here for the definition

    Cheerful; optimistic.

    A Yale graduate with a 4.0, she was sanguine about finding a job right out of college.

  39. Soporific (adj.)
  40. Click here for the definition

    Inducing sleep.

    Professor Moore’s lectures were soporific to the point that students, before they nodded off in class, would usually quip, “It’s time for Professor Bore.”

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Practice Quiz!

Please select the best answer for each question and press "submit" at the end to get an e-mail of your results.

Page 1 of 4

1. Written in Sanskrit, an ancient Indian language, all _____ Vedic literature is collectively known as the Vedas.
2. Expecting to be celebrated for his magnum opus—a 1,000-page treatise on the history of the stamp—the scholar was enraged by reviews deeming his book to be plodding and _____.
3. Ena is so magnanimous, I wouldn’t be surprised if she becomes a famous _____ one day.


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With the resources provided in this post, you’re well on your way to becoming a GRE vocabulary master! Just remember to make your memorization a dynamic and fun exercise. Before you know it, you’ll not only be in great shape for the GRE, but you’ll also have a whole new vocabulary with which you can improve your writing and general communications!

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  • Chris Lele

    Chris Lele is the Principal Curriculum Manager (and vocabulary wizard) at Magoosh. Chris graduated from UCLA with a BA in Psychology and has 20 years of experience in the test prep industry. He's been quoted as a subject expert in many publications, including US News, GMAC, and Business Because. In his time at Magoosh, Chris has taught countless students how to tackle the GRE, GMAT, SAT, ACT, MCAT (CARS), and LSAT exams with confidence. Some of his students have even gone on to get near-perfect scores. You can find Chris on YouTube, LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook!

71 Responses to The Best and Worst GRE Word Lists (Plus Bonus Quiz)

  1. Jane December 9, 2020 at 12:14 pm #

    Enjoyed the quiz

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert January 8, 2021 at 1:13 pm #

      Glad to hear it, Jane!

  2. Fawzul March 8, 2019 at 11:23 am #

    I think you can help me out. As a newbie, where should I start memorizing vocabulary? Please guide me how I can improve in vocabulary sphere.

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert March 8, 2019 at 3:48 pm #

      Hi Fawzul,

      Thanks for reaching out to Magoosh! I’m glad that you did, because I think that we can really help you to conceptualize your studies in a better way 🙂 We do not recommend that students think about ‘memorizing’ vocabulary. The GRE tests how vocabulary functions in context, not specific memorized definitions of words. It’s important to study vocabulary, but it’s just as important to read and see how words are used in context. Here are a few more blog posts that you may find helpful:
      How to Study Vocab for the Revised GRE
      Vocabulary in Context
      GRE Vocabulary

      Our flashcards are a good place to start to familiarize yourself with common GRE vocabulary. If you steadily work through a 5-10 words a day, you will quickly build your vocabulary! Just don’t make the mistake of only memorizing these definitions–make sure that you spend plenty of time reading and improving your ability to recognize vocabulary in context!

      • Gonzalo April 27, 2019 at 6:44 am #

        I am studying for the State Court Interpreter 
        ​Exam Preparation the Written Portion have you heard about it ? I am looking for some material that it could be helpful for me to study . Here is a sample of the test.

        Would you help me out after reading the mock exam and tell me which vocabulary package could be the best fit for me ?

        Thank You

        • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
          Magoosh Test Prep Expert May 3, 2019 at 2:50 pm #

          Hi Gonzalo,

          I”m afraid we don’t have any experience with the State Court Interpreter test! I’m sorry about that. In general, we recommend that student start with official materials, and it sounds like you have already done so. I recommend talking to people who are already working at interpreters to see if they have any study advice. Best of luck on your test!

  3. Dweep Gogia January 17, 2017 at 12:06 pm #


    You mentioned GRE High Frequency Words List on I browsed through the website, there are a number of word lists by the same name. Can you tell me which one are you referring to?


    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert January 18, 2017 at 6:52 am #

      Hi Dweep,

      There isn’t a specific user-created list we advocate over others—there are often great tools on the website. Just keep in mind that these are all user-created, so you should find one that looks well made! 🙂

      • Dweep Gogia January 19, 2017 at 5:05 am #

        Ok. Thanks for your help! Just a general question. This is my first comment on any of your blogs.. I did not get any notification on my email after your reply. Just wanted to know is that the case? Am I not suppose to get a notification after you reply to my comment?

        • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
          Magoosh Test Prep Expert January 21, 2017 at 2:15 am #

          Hi Dweep,

          Yes, it should give you an email notification. It may go to a spam/junk folder, so maybe check there!

  4. Neha January 3, 2017 at 11:54 pm #

    Hi, Chris ! I’m about to take the GRE in 15-20 days….and doing 4000 words is just not practical, I’m referring to Manhattan vocabulary list…do you recommend it?

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert January 4, 2017 at 10:35 am #

      Hi Neha,

      We actually recommend that you forget about word lists altogether! They are not a very effective way to learn vocabulary, especially since it misses the point of vocabulary on the GRE! The GRE doesn’t ask you to memorize vocabulary, but rather to understand how words function in context. Many students memorize thousands of definitions but still have trouble with the simplest TC and SE questions because of this! Learning 4000 words is cumbersome and difficult, and it won’t help you as much as learning the most common GRE words (like the ones in our GRE flashcards) and reading as much as possible. Ultimately, having a high-level reading practice and learning words in their natural context is the best way to prepare for the GRE. You can see more on this strategy here: Reading Vocabulary in Context.. We also have a Chrome extension that highlights common GRE words on your browser, which means that you can constantly reinforce your learning and pay special attention to common words 🙂

      • Titu March 15, 2018 at 10:41 am #

        such a great advice!!!

  5. Gourab November 25, 2016 at 8:39 am #

    Hi Chris,

    Could you please let me know if Magoosh 1000 GRE flashcards are enough to sit for GRE?


    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert November 25, 2016 at 2:51 pm #

      Hi Gourab,

      The Magoosh 1000 GRE flashcards are definitely sufficient for you to expand your GRE vocabulary for the exam! However, if you want to sit for the exam, I would highly recommend utilizing a GRE test prep resource, whether Magoosh or another test prep. To be comfortable with the exam and reach your target score, you want to have a lot of practice with both the Verbal and Quant sections of the exam, as well as time to focus on improving on your weaknesses. While completing Verbal problems, you’ll find that this will complement your studies (i.e., studying vocabulary) because you’ll learn more vocabulary as you do the problems! Feel free to check out the 1-Week free trial in Magoosh!

  6. Ram S October 13, 2016 at 2:53 pm #

    Hello Chris,

    I am a Magoosh GRE student. Apart from the Magoosh words, should I do both the Barron’s 1100 and Barron’s 800, or is the latter a subset of the former and the 1100 list would suffice? I am aiming for 160+ in verbal and thus I am trying to strengthen my vocabulary.

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert October 15, 2016 at 11:50 am #

      Hi Ram,

      We recommend that you choose one source and use it! There will be significant overlap between resources, so it’s not really necessary to go through all of them. However, it’s important to realize that remembering words and knowing how to use them is the result of more than just flashcards. It’s extremely important to see the words in real, natural English, which means doing a lot of reading. I recommend reading for at least half an hour a day, and if you have time, try to read for about an hour a day! As you read, make flashcards of the vocabulary words that you don’t know. Pause every so often, and recap the main message in your own words. This is the best way to improve your vocabulary and overall verbal skills for your 160+ target.

      For some specific articles suggestions, I’d recommend browsing through our “GRE Reading Comprehension Roundup“.

    • ozair November 16, 2016 at 9:58 am #

      HI chris, my question is that there are same words in vocabulary builder and magoosh flash cards ? or the are pretty much different from each other .i have learned around 500 words on flash cards.

      • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
        Magoosh Test Prep Expert November 16, 2016 at 2:59 pm #

        It’s the same set of words, but presented in a different way. The words in the flashcard app are– as you’d expect– represented in the form of flashcards– word on the front of the flashcard, definition and example sentence on the back.

        These same words appear in the Vocabulary Builder App. But there, the words from the flashcards are presented in a series of quiz questions. For each word, you see a multiple-choice list of synonyms and brief definitions, and you select correct answers from those lists.

        Studying a word n a few different contexts and learning it in a few different styles can really accelerate your vocabulary learning and help you remember the words more fully and accurately. So Magoosh recommends using both apps to reinforce your knowledge of the apps’ shared word list.

  7. Ebnul Karim October 13, 2016 at 5:20 am #

    Hello Chris,
    I’m following Magoosh’s 1000 list and also will look at Barrons’ 333 high Frequency words.
    Now my question is, is it necessary to follow that Barrons’ list separately?
    Will Magoosh cover up that 333 words?

    Another question is, in Magoosh’s lesson I still have difficulty in finding the Keywords for specific questions, it maybe lacking word knowledge or it’s contextual meaning.
    I’m running out of time, how can I overcome this problem within 2 weeks?

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert October 15, 2016 at 11:45 am #

      Hi Ebnul,

      We recommend that you stick to one source for GRE vocab. There will be significant overlap between Magoosh and Barron’s words–there is no ‘official’ list of GRE vocab, so all test prep companies use their experience and knowledge of the test to create their word lists. But even so, most word lists are similar because we see the same words over and over in the GRE. So I recommend that you choose one source and stick to it, and you can choose your source based on your learning style and which resource you like best 🙂

      As for the keywords in text completions my best recommendation is to take the time to study the explanation video for all of the questions that you struggle with. Take the time to read the text carefully, try to identify the key words and shift words yourself, and then compare that to the video explanation. If you struggle finding these words yourself, the best course of action is to study the explanations so that you can learn how to think about these passages. If you take the time to study these questions diligently, you can really improve your ability to recognize these key words and shift words over the next few weeks 🙂

      One more thing: since you have a Premium account, you can always send these messages to for a quicker response! Our blog comment policy is quite strict, and sometimes it takes us a while to get to them 🙂

  8. Md Abdullah All Sourav October 8, 2016 at 5:49 am #

    I am about to complete Magoosh 1000 words and Barrons HFW 333. I don’t have anough time to go for a long list anymore. I think I can master at most 400-500w before my exam. Which wordlist I should follow now?


    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert October 8, 2016 at 3:27 pm #

      There are quite a few addtioanl GRE word lists out there that could be helpful. has a variety of really good user-created GRE word lists you could check out. (We’ve mentioned one of those lists in this post, but there are others.)

      In all honesty, though, you may be reaching a “saturation point” for word lists. Word lists will only help you to a certain point. Once you’ve memorized enough words, you should shift your study focus to broader vocabulary comprehension skills such as active reading and vocabulary-in-context reading practice.

      These skills, combined with a mastery of several hundred high-frequency GRE words, will allow you to understand the sense of just about nay word you see, even if you didn’t find it on any word list or weren’t able to memorize it before the exam.

  9. Palash September 21, 2016 at 5:30 am #


    I am planning to give my gre in 20 days and aiming a score of around 320. I am consistently scoring 165+ in my math because of my engineering background but my verbal score is around 145. I need to score at least 150 in verbal.
    As English is my second language i don’t have a good vocabulary, can you please guide me how to work on to improve my score.

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert September 24, 2016 at 11:20 am #

      Hi Palash,

      The best way to improve your verbal score is with frequent reading every day and expandind your vocabulary. Our flashcards contain 1,000 of the most useful GRE words. So, to begin, I encourage you to try to master these words. Knowing high-frequency GRE words can definitely help, which is why we made the flashcards, after all! 😀

      Verbal improvement takes time, I’m sure that with more practice and repetition, you can master these words! Just remember to immerse yourself in these words and reading as much as possible — don’t only memorize definitions.

      On the other hand, unfortunately, knowing vocabulary is just part of the battle. If your reading comprehension abilities aren’t strong enough — if you’re not able to process complex sentences quickly enough — then even if you know many words, you will probably still struggle with verbal.

      So let’s look at the “big picture” for a moment. To improve your verbal score, it’s essential to read, read, read as much as possible. This will improve your knowledge of vocabulary in context, your ability to process complex sentences, and your reading comprehension skills in general. Make flashcards of key words you don’t know.

      Second, you need to practice focused, active reading. You need to read with purpose. Please see this article on how to read actively:

      To really improve, you’ll need to read GRE-level material. I recommend reading articles on topics you would normally not choose to read. This will help you to feel comfortable with topics and vocabulary you normally don’t encounter. You can find some good article suggestions here:

      You should also be using these reading materials to learn vocab in context. This is the absolute best way to improve your vocabulary, since the GRE focuses on vocab in context for the verbal section:

      I hope this helps! Verbal improvement takes time, but I”m sure that you can see some good progress if you follow these suggestions 🙂

  10. Rhea September 1, 2016 at 12:54 am #

    Hey Chris !

    Most word lists (especially the high frequency ones) aren’t updated . I intend to make my first attempt after 4 months (Jan ’17) . Which revised word list should I choose ?

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert September 5, 2016 at 11:39 am #

      Hi Rhea,

      Good question! 🙂 Many words are needed on the GRE, and there is no definitive list that guarantees things will go a certain way. Think of word lists more like mini insurance policies against GRE trickery rather than a guarantee that you’ll be able to handle the verbal section without any unknown words. I don’t know about all word lists, but we would adjust ours if students were suddenly reporting that our materials did not help them at all. We constantly monitor progress our students make and get a ton of feedback because we are invested in making sure that our products are doing their job!

      You can honestly pick any word list to get you started. As soon as you feel comfortable, you should shift to reading high quality reading materials and learning words in context rather than relying just on rote memorization of list after list. The context and tricky grammar matter as much as the words themselves! I hope this helps. 🙂

  11. Qasim August 26, 2016 at 6:45 am #

    hi cheris
    i have compteled magosh 1000 words but i want to boost up my vocabulary further can you please suggest me further vocabulary sources..???

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert August 26, 2016 at 4:46 pm #

      You got through 1,000 Magoosh words. Very impressive! Barron’s 1100 is a another good series to look at, although obviously, Barron’s resources and ours will have some vocab overlap. Really though, once you get to a very high level with your word lists, you should also start studying GRE vocabulary by reading vocabulary in context. With your strong base of memorized words, you should be able to pick up a lot of additional words by reading GRE-like articles, essays, and books.

  12. Qasim August 25, 2016 at 7:41 am #

    hey Chris Lele , hope you fine
    i have completed Magosh 1000 flashcard wors but I want to boost up my vocabulary can you please suggest me further resources for vocabulary…???

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert August 26, 2016 at 5:21 pm #

      Always wonderful to hear from such hard working students. 🙂 Once you get through all 1000 words in our flashcard set, I generally recommend two next steps: you may want to go through Barron’s 1100 words. There is some overlap between Barron’s 1100 and the Magoosh 1000, so this resource is a good way to expand your vocabulary a little further while also reviewing some of the words you learned with Magoosh. You should also start to shift your focus from flaschards and word lists to reading vocabulary in context. With the strong base of words you’ve learned, you can start picking up new words when you read GRE-like articles and books.

  13. Chinmay August 21, 2016 at 8:56 am #

    Hi Chris,
    I am absolutely fan of your blog, and vocab wednesdays. I have my GRE in a month. I have made up my mind not to use barrons or Kaplans wordlists ( # in kaplans word groups, the bunch of words stacked under one header sometimes mean entirely different and I find it erroneous. I was suggested that one should go for word groups only after one knows the meanings of the words, and per se should try to make it themselves.)

    I have narrowed my focus on three things a) Magoosh Vocabulary builder b) magoosh flashcard app c) MANHATTAN 500 ADVANCED + ESSENTIAL WORDS FROM QUIZLET.

    is it a good plan ? I need your opinion.?

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert August 21, 2016 at 5:48 pm #

      Thank you for your kind words. Honestly, I would say that is a pretty good set of vocabulary materials. (Even though I’m also pretty partial to Barron’s.) This is a great plan for the vocabulary wordlist portion of your GRE Verbal prep.

  14. rajasekaran July 18, 2016 at 8:26 am #

    hi chris. i want to know the difference between magoosh android app 1000 words and magoosh vocab pdf. does pdf contains all words from android app??

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert July 21, 2016 at 4:04 am #

      Hi Rajasekaran,

      Good question! The app and the pdf (which you can download from this Help article) contain the same 1000 high-frequency words 🙂 We created the pdf word list using the words on our flashcards to make quick review easier 🙂

      • rajasekaran July 21, 2016 at 7:48 am #

        but i printed magoosh flashcards pdf and i saw only 218 flash card words. am taking gre approximately in 30 days. i have manhatten 1000 words and magoosh online and pdf and also magoosh flashcards pdf. i want to to know on which i must put all my efforts now to get a target of 160 in verbal

        • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
          Magoosh Test Prep Expert July 21, 2016 at 12:08 pm #

          The 1000 word PDF is actually a separate eBook, different from our shorter GRE flashcard eBook. Here’s the direct link to Magoosh’s 1,000 word GRE vocabulary PDF.

          There’s no exact amount of words that I’d recommend in terms of getting a 160 in Verbal. Good GRE Verbal performance comes forma combination of reading comprehension skills, test strategy, and vocabulary knowledge. With vocabulary, how you use the word lists is more important than which word lists you use, or how many words you study. Be sure to use the word lists to gauge how many words you do and don’t now, and to learn how GRE vocabulary words are used in context.

          • Rajasekaran July 21, 2016 at 7:20 pm #

            thanks guys. i really appreciate your help to students and you care in replying each questions. even though we are not premium members. thanks again. i feel sad for not getting premium package in magoosh since i already spend more on princeton package and manhatten.

            • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
              Magoosh Test Prep Expert July 22, 2016 at 7:06 am #

              You’re very welcome, Rajasekaran!

              While we are a small team, we do our best to help students who use our materials/products, including our free resources, like our blogs and eBooks.

              Happy studying 🙂

  15. muhammad bilal February 2, 2016 at 2:14 pm #

    hi chris!

    came across this page today and its already helping me. i have a question or two for you. I am planning to give my Gre in about 3 months. i have done word-smart 820 or something word list and gre hotlist of 320 words.

    what should i do next to score good?
    do reply 🙁

  16. Tim Gilmartin October 21, 2015 at 9:34 am #

    Dear Chris,

    Is there a simple list somewhere of the 1,000 words that appear in the Magoosh Vocabulary flashcards? I am comparing the words in that list with the words in Princetown Review’s “Cracking the GRE” as well as in Manhattan Prep’s.

    It would be really helpful in avoided the time to check through each word in the flashcards. Any info would be appreciated!


    • Dani Lichliter
      Dani Lichliter October 21, 2015 at 10:16 am #

      Hi Tim,
      Great question! We actually have a GRE Vocab E-book that includes the most common vocab words. Check it out!
      Happy studying!

      • Tim Gilmartin October 21, 2015 at 10:21 am #

        Thanks Dani! Really appreciate it!

  17. Nilu August 23, 2015 at 2:42 am #

    Hello Chris,

    I have finished with your Magoosh Ebook which is wonderful start for me.
    I have following quistion if you can help it out about wordlist.

    1. I have android which provide 2 magoosh gre app for vocabulary other than e book so which should I get first …..I like quiz app but though confused about usefulness of each app.

    2. I want to know which other wordlist i should start ? I have heard about VERBAL ADVANTAGES – Charles Harrington Elster. How is it ?I am not very certain about its 500 wordlist for gre use…..So please help me by reviewing this or i should use other list.

    Thanks in advance !

  18. Siraj Memon August 6, 2014 at 6:27 am #

    Hi Chris,

    I am using Magoosh Vocab builder and flashcards. Do I need to use any other source as well for words?

    • Chris Lele
      Chris Lele August 6, 2014 at 11:57 am #

      I recommend the Vocab Wednesday videos. Sure, a lot of those words overlap, but many of the newer videos contain words not found in the flashcards. If you are still looking for words, you might want to check out the Manhattan GRE flashcards (there will be significant overlap, though).

  19. Zara July 19, 2014 at 6:49 pm #

    Hi Chris!

    Have been following the Magoosh site for quite sometime now and all your posts have been really helpful! But I’m having a hard time deciding which vocab book to follow. Between Word Smart and the Manhattan prep (1000 words) which do you think is better considering I have two and a half months before my test date and need to score 160 or above? Which one do you suggest will help me score higher given I’ll also go through the Magoosh flashcards? Also, if you suggest Word Smart, should I go with Word Smart for the new GRE (around 700 words) or Word Smart 1 and 2 (1523 words). Sorry for the long list of questions but I’m pretty lost at the moment!


    • Chris Lele
      Chris Lele July 21, 2014 at 11:36 am #

      Hi Zara,

      I think Word Smart is great a reference tool: you need to look up a GRE word you don’t know, and you want to get a definition, Word Smart is great. You don’t, however, want to go through the book, word for word. Sure, there are some quizzes to help with retention, but reading through a book with words in alphabetical order isn’t that effective for getting words to stick in your head.

      I’d recommend the MGRE flashcards or the Magoosh flashcards (which are free). And now, with doing such an excellent job of describing words and providing example sentences (all for free), Word Smart has kind of become obsolete.

      Here is the link to the Magoosh flashcards:

      Let me know which cards you decide to go with and how they work out 🙂

  20. Imtiaz Sarwar October 3, 2013 at 10:25 am #

    Hey Chris,

    I just found your blog and its just mindblowing. Speaking of word list, I am on the halfway of majortest’s 1500 word (1000+500). Have you found that useful ? what’s your take on majortest’s wordlist ? Eagerly waiting for your reply !

    • Chris Lele
      Chris Lele October 3, 2013 at 1:43 pm #

      Hi Imtiaz,

      Glad you’ve found the site helpful!

      As for wordlists–I’m not a fan at all. I don’t recommend them in general (nothing against majortest’s words specifically!). A much better way to learn–one that stimulates your brain–is using flashcards. We have free Magoosh flashcards:

      The flashcards each have example sentences so that you are understanding how a word works in context.

      Hope that helps!

  21. Cait June 18, 2013 at 6:21 pm #

    Hey. I was wondering what the exact link for the quizlet vocab sets we should use are? There are so many sets on there and I am not sure which is the right one to use.

    • Chris Lele
      Chris Lele June 19, 2013 at 11:51 am #

      Hi Cait,

      That is a good question. Since we haven’t officially sanctioned any of them, there is no definitive set. Basically, students have gone through our product and taken all the words that show up (or at least the ones they didn’t know). Since this leads to a bewildering array of choices, making your own set, using just the words you struggle with, is sometimes the way to go.

      A snippet of good news is we just released the magoosh flashcards, based on the vocabulary in the ebook:

      Good luck, and hope those help!

  22. Maryam June 15, 2013 at 1:57 pm #

    Hi Chris

    I studied vocabulary using the eBook (which was excellent, thank you for that!) as well as the top 300 GRE words from Quiz-let. What other sources should I use for vocabulary to cover all that is needed in this area?


    • Chris Lele
      Chris Lele June 19, 2013 at 11:53 am #

      Hi Maryam,

      That’s a good number of words!

      To supplement those there are two ways to go:

      1) MGRE flashcards – some overlap with the words you’ve studied, but a lot of new ones too in the 500 card deck.

      2) Barron’s 1100 Words You Need to Know – a little more dynamic than flashcards, and even more exhaustive than the first option.

      Once you’ve gone through either of those, vocab shouldn’t be much of an obstacle test day.

      Hope that helps!

  23. Carmen June 10, 2013 at 9:57 am #

    What is the best way to use Quizlet for long word lists? It doesn’t have an option for separating known words from unknown words so all the words are given equal attention.

    • Chris Lele
      Chris Lele June 10, 2013 at 1:01 pm #

      Oooh…that is sort of a problem. Hmmm…perhaps you could make a separate flashcard list out of those that you miss. So if there are about 30 words that you constantly mix-up, you could create “Tricky Words #1” list.

      Hope that helps!

  24. Samaira May 10, 2013 at 7:51 am #

    Just stumbled across your site today. Your posts are super-helpful.
    One quick question. Between “Word Power Made Easy” by Norman Lewis and Barron’s 1100 which one do you think is better? Which one do you suggest should suffice for the prep?

    • Chris Lele
      Chris Lele May 10, 2013 at 1:52 pm #

      Hi Samaira,

      Personally, I like the Barron’s 1100 book better. All the words are potential GRE words, whereas Norman Lewis’s book sometimes includes non-GRE words simply because they fit the category. Also, Barron’s 1100 has more dynamic quizzes and forces you to think about the words in context. Basically, it’s better for self-studying.

      Hope that helps!

  25. Alex March 11, 2013 at 9:58 am #

    Hi Chris,

    I’m wondering if you have read Barron’s 601 words? If you have, how is it compared to Barron’s 1100?

    Thanks a lot!

    • Chris Lele
      Chris Lele March 11, 2013 at 3:50 pm #

      Hi Alex,

      I actually have not – but I’ll pick up a copy now that you mentioned it!

      If it is just as good–and those 601 words are as really GRE-centric–then perhaps the 601 is the way to go (half the number of words :)).

  26. Arun March 5, 2013 at 8:51 pm #


    Can you share the official Magoosh Quizlet Flashcard set ? When I search in Quizlet for the string Magoosh, I get 296 Sets of Flashcards 🙂

    • Margarette Jung
      Margarette March 6, 2013 at 11:56 am #

      Hi, Arun

      We actually do not have an official set of Magoosh flashcards on Quizlet– all of the 296 sets were created by our students! 🙂 I looked through them, this seems like the best one:

      It includes example sentences, full definitions, and has a lot of words, which is great.

      Some alternatives:
      1. I would recommend creating your own flashcard set or list of words that you stumble upon while you’re studying with Magoosh or reading the blog, since the words that you do and do not know will not be the same as anyone else’s! Also, many many students have told me that making their own lists was very helpful to them in really remembering the words on test day.
      2. We’re working on official, printable Magoosh flashcards for all of the words in our Vocabulary eBook, but they will not be ready for at least a month.

      I hope that helps! Let us know if you have any other questions along the way :).


      • Achint Nigam March 8, 2013 at 1:20 am #

        The link provided does not work, it shows “Sorry, the creator of the flashcard set “magoosh-GRE” has limited access to just his or her self “.

  27. Pranitha Vangala March 5, 2013 at 7:23 pm #

    Thanks for your input on the cumbersome wordlists. What about Barrons 1100 words?

    • Chris Lele
      Chris Lele March 6, 2013 at 12:04 pm #

      That’s a great question! I actually didn’t even think of the Barron’s 1100 as a word list. It is so dynamic–quizzes, matching, in-context identifying–that it is more of a vocabulary book. That said, definitely use it :).

      • Vanan March 6, 2013 at 7:12 pm #

        How about “Word Power Made Easy” by Norman Lewis. If I’m done with this book thoroughly, will it suffice for the Vocab. part of the GRE? Plz help out Chris!


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