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Karen L

Any way to improve GRE verbal?

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Hi there,

I am planning to take my GRE in June. Basically,i have around 3 months to prepare. What really freak me out is that i took the Barron's test last weekend and it turn out that my GRE verbal score is about 131-139. The school that i am planning to attend require 70th percentile for verbal and math. Is there any way to improve my verbal section in the very short period of time. Please advise!!!

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Figure out what your weaknesses in the verbal section are... I would suggest getting a book with a bunch of practice problems and tests and just working through them. You can also focus on learning latin root words and suffixes/prefixes if vocab is your weakness. 3 months should be plenty of time if you lay out a block of time to study each week.

Good luck!

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If I were going to seriously study for the verbal the things I would do are take as many practice tests as possible specifically for the reading sections. Understand why you were wrong and why another answer is right. In addition to that, start memorizing vocab (make sure your studying common GRE vocab if there is such a thing).

3 months is plenty of time, you will be hitting 70% easy peasy

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I took the old version so I'm not sure if it's still the same, but about half of the "hard" words that showed up in the verbal section were exactly from the list of words given in the Princeton Review book. Making the flashcards takes a while, but it was worth it in my opinion.

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My verbal was astonishingly low when I took my first couple practice tests, but I ended up getting a very high score (top 5%). The best advice I can give is to be very careful when reading and use the language of the passage to answer the questions. Do not choose the answer you think it means or you think it implies, but the answer that has the closest language association.

Also, I got vocab flashcards and did 20 words per day. Any words I was certain of by the end of the day were reviewed at the end of the week, and any words i was uncertain on I included with the next days 20 words. I think that really helped increase my score.

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There's a free Kaplan vocab app in the iTunes store (and probably the Android one as well) - I really liked using it. Good luck!

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I got a 500 out of 800 for my SAT verbal back when I was in high school - I felt pretty embarrassed among my other friends who were scoring in the 600 and 700s. When I began tackling the GRE, I promised myself I would deliver on the Verbal Section.

In December, I took a diagnostic GRE - and I scored somewhere in the 140s for my Verbal. Thats when I hit the vocabulary and practice tests hard.

I used 3 vocabulary programs from the App Store to boost my vocab using my iPhone:

* GRE Vocab Genius

* Barron's GRE Vocabulary

* Kaplan GRE Vocabulary

I learned all of the Barron's and Kaplan GRE within 2 months. The Vocab Genius is a LOT of vocabulary; I couldn't finish it all but it did help a ton. I also purchased the Barron's GRE flashcards and used that to help me out.

I also purchased the Barron's and Kaplan 2012 Revised GRE books. I read through, front to back and did all the practice tests - make sure you time yourself.

Also - make sure to take the PowerPREP II practice test at ets.org/gre and see how you do there. The key is to practice over, and over, and over again.

After three months of studying, I earned a 160 for my verbal score (86th percentile). I'm in engineering... so this was triumph for me.

Best of luck!

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I took the old version so I'm not sure if it's still the same, but about half of the "hard" words that showed up in the verbal section were exactly from the list of words given in the Princeton Review book. Making the flashcards takes a while, but it was worth it in my opinion.

I had the opposite happen, I studied about 400 words and not ONE was on the test.

Honestly I would say study latin roots, and forget about the "common words". I think its a waste of time.

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I had the opposite happen, I studied about 400 words and not ONE was on the test.

Honestly I would say study latin roots, and forget about the "common words". I think its a waste of time.

Same thing happened to me - I learned about 600 words the week before the test (yup, lots of cramming) and none of them were on the test. Yeesh!

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I would add that because RC is half of the verbal section, that you should also really focus on learning to parse difficult reading passages. Read online articles from the Economist or science articles from a major newspaper, as I think most people find the dense science-based passages the most difficult (unless you of course are in science). Also, pick up a novel that's a little hard, but not arcane, and make sure to look up every word you don't know. Try something by Kazuo Ishiguro, as I found his books make good use of some words found on vocab lists. Finally, I would advice focusing on how the test makers make the test. Lots of info out there about this, like the test makers will never let a politically incorrect answer be correct or that words like "all" or "none" can be red flags in answer choices.

Concerning vocab, I will somewhat agree with others but suggest learning lots of words and looking at their etymology, instead of just rote memorization of words and suffixes, prefixes, etc. Looking at the etymology is helpful for understanding that word and then also applying it to new, unknown words. And somethings the origin of the word makes it very memorable. For instance, look up the origin of the word "laconic."

You have plenty of time, so good luck!

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