Studying for the GRE | Post 4

Rachael Kroot
April 19, 2012



I hate standardized tests.  I guess everyone does, but I do even more.  I’m really good at studying for things like midterms and finals.  I take good notes in class, cram the night before, and do well enough. But you can’t cram for the GRE.  When I took the SATs in high school, I didn’t bother studying at all.  But when it came to apply to grad school, I felt like I had too much at stake to blow it off.

I bought the Princeton Review’s “Cracking the New GRE” study guide months in advance.  I chose the Princeton Review book over others because when I skimmed it in the book store, it seemed to be a relatively easy read.  Most other versions were too dense and boring for me; I would zone out every other sentence or so.  I don’t know about you, but if I can’t manage to study a page of material in less than half an hour, I am probably not going to get much out of it.

Somehow, the Princeton Review managed to keep my attention.  The book was divided into sections, just like the GRE itself.  I started with the verbal section, because, well… that came first in the book.  It gave a description of the different types of questions I could expect to see on the test, as well as strategies on how to tackle them.  What I quickly realized, however, was that doing practice questions wasn’t worthwhile if I didn’t know any of the words.

Are you as bad at vocab as I am?  No worries, the writers at the Princeton Review designed the book to help people like us.  They included a “Hit Parade” of words most commonly found on the GRE.  Nervously, I flipped to the page and took a look at word #1…

- Abscond (verb): to depart clandestinely; to steal off and hide

Sounded familiar, the definition made sense, it was something I could remember.  Good start.  Word #2…

- Aberrant (adjective): deviating from the norm (noun form: aberration)

Admittedly not a definition I was familiar with.  What if I associated it with something?  I had just read “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo,” maybe her behavior could be described as aberrant.  Worked for me.

Further down the page were arduous and assuage.  Finally, some words I was comfortable with.  Are you unsure as to what they mean?  When you’re studying for the GRE, a dictionary should be your best friend.  Go look them up!

I made it my personal goal to study 15 words that day.  That meant there were 285 left to go.  Ugh, I hate vocabulary!  15 words at a time sounds much more manageable; luckily, I started studying far in advance that I was able to take things slow.  

 Rachael has a B.S. in Geography from the University of Maryland and is currently applying to graduate school for broadcast meteorology.


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