How to Raise Your Verbal Score on the GRE

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Sponsored by GRE Word of the Day

I’ve written generally in the past about why taking the GRE is important for physician assistant school applications, as well as my tips for how to study for taking the GRE, but let’s break it down further and focus on the Verbal reasoning portion of the exam.

According to ETS, the main objective of this section is to interpret passages, understand the underlying meaning of text, and show comprehension of words and their respective relationships. Reading comprehension is tested with reviewing paragraphs and answering questions related to what words mean or how they contribute to the overall message of the text. All of this to say, you better know your vocab. Text completion is about plugging in the appropriate word based on the information available to form a complete thought. Sentence equivalence is similar, but you have to choose 2 answers that could complete the sentence and indicate the same meaning. For the most part, the GRE is a strategy test, but when it comes to words, it’s all about memorization and understanding.

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I’ll be the first to admit that my biggest mistake when studying for the GRE was not focusing on the Verbal section long enough. I tend to be a good standardized test taker, but it is impossible to cram for the Verbal section. I foolishly only gave myself a week to study for the test, and between trying to understand the strategy and practice, I wasn’t very motivated to sit there and try to memorize thousands of vocabulary words. As a science major, I had one English class freshman year, so I was a bit rusty. Please learn from my experience, and if you know you’re taking the GRE at any time in the future, start studying today! (Yesterday would be even better.) If you can bust out definitions of “fusillade” or “miscengenation” you’re one step ahead.

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Another mistake I made was just trying to learn from a list of words and definitions in a GRE study book. Staring at pages of hundreds of words is extremely overwhelming, boring, and makes them all start running together. It basically felt like I was reading the dictionary, and I had trouble retaining the information because I wasn’t applying it. That’s where GRE Word of the Day can help you out!


GRE Word of the Day is a free resource that was created by recent graduates to help other students increase their verbal reasoning scores. Most of us are visual learners, so GRE Word of the Day combines a word and definition with an illustration to help you remember and retain the meaning while seeing it applied. You can even get these GRE vocab words sent straight to your inbox daily, which is a great way to make sure you’re doing a little bit at a time. They are also posted on Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook, and Twitter (@teambootcampgre) daily so you can learn while browsing social media. My best tip for increasing your Verbal Reasoning Score is to make this studying a part of your everyday routine to avoid the overwhelm that can come with trying to cram it all in at once. GRE Word of the Day makes that very simple, so take advantage of these free resources!

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