Does mastering 3500 words ensure a GRE score of 320 or more Part 2

Now that you’ve figured how to go about learning words (from Part 1), it’s important that you learn more about the questions that appear in the actual GRE exam. If you become a master of this, learning and retaining words can also become interesting since the entire framework is already pre-loaded in your memory.

What does each question in GRE Verbal test?

Ability #1: Your ability to grasp the core of the passage (if it’s reading comprehension). It also checks if you can differentiate the main idea of the passage from the supporting details. The main idea of a passage can be stated or implied.

For example, take a look at this short passage:
For the past few years, the Post has argued in its news and editorial pages that “redskins” is a pejorative term for American Indians, and that calling the local pro football franchise by that name is both racist and offensive. By contrast, the Redskins ownership has argued that the term is intended as a compliment, not a slur: The team originated as the Boston Braves, but when it moved to the nation’s capital in 1937, the name had already been changed from Braves to Redskins, no offense intended.
Source: “The Post’s Failed Crusade,” The Scrapbook, The Weekly Standard, 06 Jun 2016.

The main idea of this passage: Contrasting views exist on the use of the word, Redskins, to refer to American Indians.
The supporting details provided to support the main idea: The opinion of the daily, Post, is that it is a derogatory term and that the football franchise called Redskins, should change their name.

The opinion of the football franchise, Redskins, is that the name is not derogatory; in fact, it is more of a compliment.


Ability #2: How intelligently you are able to draw conclusions from the limited information provided over some tough sentences or paragraphs. (Though I know it’s challenging, it’s interesting! Believe me!)

For example, read this short passage:
The author of this volume—a professor of Spanish and Portuguese studies at Northwestern—wrote it with provocative intent. But whether The Myth of the Andalusian Paradise will stimulate the academic and media debate he desires cannot be predicted. Darío Fernández-Morera’s arguments are undermined by the stridency of some of them, the novelty of others, and, for close readers, his failure to resolve ambiguities in Spanish Islamic history.
Source: “Moorish Dreams,” Stephen Schwartz, The Weekly Standard, 06 Jun 2016.

What conclusion can you make of Morera’s arguments in his book, The Myth of the Andalusian Paradise?
You can conclude that though Morera intended his book to be provocative and trigger argument, it failed to do so.For your own understanding, the author has provided with three reasons:
a) It was too loud;
b) It was too novel in some places;
c) It did not adequately address the uncertainties that exist on Spanish Islamic history.


Ability #3: Ability to understand the context of text completion and sentence equivalence questions that tests your vocabulary skills.

Take a look at this example of a text completion question:
It is observed that entry of multinational corporations in a developing economy is often accompanied by phenomenal increase in wages, triggering a wave of consumerism that ousts __________ out of people’s consciousness.

  1. prudence for saving
  2. need for austerity
  3. virtues of sharing
  4. discrimination in judgment
  5. qualities of patience

In this example, it is important for you to know the meaning of the word, ousts, to complete the blank. It means, drives out or expels. The context of the passage is on consumerism. Increase in wages lead to increased consumption of goods by people. This makes them careless about their spending. So the prudence for saving, is driven out of their consciousness. So the correct answer is option A.

Whether it is the reading comprehension, text completion, or sentence equivalence section, all the questions demand a good knowledge of vocabulary which is why a GRE score of 320+ would be impossible without learning and retaining GRE words.

Three Steps for Better Vocabulary: 

1) Read Everyday

If you are an avid reader, then probably you should look at increasing the pace and complexity of the books that you read. But if you’re not, then it’s high time you started reading. Try reading novels, if you have more than six months for your GRE. If you have less time, reading news articles, magazines, and journals should help. Both your Vocab and reading skills would eventually become strong, which is the core to scoring well in GRE Verbal.

2) Learn from Context

While reading can be laborious and boring, learning words from context is not! Whenever your eyes capture a word that is not already loaded in your memory, you have numerous options in front of you. Though ignoring it might seem like the most-favorable option, we would advise you to refrain from doing so.

So, what are the other options?

Try to learn the meaning and then frame a sentence using a very memorable scene. It can be literally anything (even something that is absolutely absurd). Try to track the root words. Almost all words have roots.

E.g. Polyglot
You must be aware that poly means many. So polyglot means many of something. By knowing the root, you understand half of the word. Polyglot is a person who knows many languages. I bet there can be nothing more interesting than tracking the root words. Some of the common root words and their meanings are listed below.

3) Relate and Learn

Relating the GRE words to something funny would help you remember loads of words effortlessly. Relate it to incidents, characters in a movie, cartoons etc.

E.g.: Loquacious
Loquacious means talkative. Probably, relating the word to your most talkative friend should do justice. (Caution: Don’t try that word with your girlfriend; it might end on a bad note ! )

How to learn words -1

Learn Words with Picture Mnemonics, Root words and Audio Pronunciation. Download the free eBook on mastering GRE Vocabulary


  • Actively engage with GRE words. Maximize the use of the words so that they become a part of your sub-conscious memory.
  • Don’t just learn words by rote. That is never going to help you score above 320 in GRE. Be enthusiastic about learning words (at least till you get your score card in your hand!)
  • Connect your actual experiences with the GRE words. That would build a curiosity around the word and would help you choose the word from your memory with ease.
  • Most importantly, make notes and revise the words regularly. Don’t just stick to the basics. Explore! Both the sections in GRE—Verbal and Quant—are equally challenging. The only difference is that, there are no shortcuts in Verbal. So, to score above 320, you should learn, retain, and recall at least 3000 to 3500 words to effortlessly cross the magic mark.


Can you apply all the techniques that you learned just now and answer this question?

Let’s see how many of you get it right. In the meantime, I am waiting for my comment box to explode with your answers/comments/queries.

Richard was really ____ when the funeral was on, but he began to sob when he saw his bereaved mother crying at the loss of her husband.

  1. obstinate
  2. emotional
  3. impassive
  4. reluctant
  5. reserved

Which word would suit the blank?

I’ll make this easy for you. Here is the picture!

GRE Prep- 1 GREedge

Try applying the techniques and answer this question.
Comment and let us know what you think is the most difficult part about learning GRE words.

Our GRE experts will provide solutions in the comments below!

Related site: GRE Word List

Happy learning with GREedge!


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12 Responses

  1. Suman says:


    • Shruti Ganesh says:

      Hi Suman,

      Good guess!

      Now, try relating the word to the picture clue provided below and recheck if your answer is correct.

      Which of the above words could best describe the expression on his face? 🙂

    • Shruti Ganesh says:

      Hi Hardik,

      You are close to the answer in terms of capturing the emotion, but think closely if reserved is the right word. Note that the clue here is “but began to sob…” which means the word that should occupy the blank is an opposite.

      if you want expert assistance for learning GRE words, you can attend our exclusive online seminar on 24th September at 7 PM.
      You can register here:

      See you there! Good Luck!

    • Shruti Ganesh says:

      Hi Richa,

      Impassive is the correct answer and congratulations on being the first one to get it right! 🙂

      If would be helpful to our reader if you could share what helped you arrive at the right answer so that they can follow the same!

      Looking forward to your reply.

    • Shruti Ganesh says:

      Hi Priya,

      That’s an interesting choice, but I’m afraid that’s incorrect. While obstinate (meaning stubborn in one’s beliefs) may sound right, it is not the most appropriate choice of words. Consider the other options and look for the tell-tale sign in the question – “but began to sob…”

      You can try more questions by downloading our eBook for practice. Or, if you want to understand how to identify the right words, you can attend our expert online seminar with our Co-Founder, Mr. Yogish Lavanis on GRE word learning on 24th Sept, at 7PM. Register here:

      I look forward to seeing you there! 🙂

  2. Mahesh C Magai says:


  3. Akshay Jadhav says:

    Impassive fits perfect.! 🙂

  4. Kiran says:

    actually he would get emotional after he sees his mother…but before that he was expressionlesss i.e impassive

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