GRE Preparation - Word lists for Graduate Record Examination GRE Vocabulary
by Sungwoo Park


Copyright (c) 1998 Sungwoo Park. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, no Front-Cover Texts, and no Back-Cover Texts. A copy of the license is included in the section entitled "GNU Free Documentation License".


Following are word lists that I wrote while I was preparing myself for the Verbal part of the GRE General Test in 1998. Although they were written primarily for the Verbal part, I think they are helpful for the Analytic part as well. I think that the best strategy for GRE is to be acquainted with GRE through taking actual GRE examinations administrated by ETS, but it is undeniable that a good vocabulary is essential for excellent GRE scores.

Since the Verbal part of GRE is by no means a simple examination that tests the examinees only for vocabulary, expanding your vocabulary does not always result in higher scores. You should, however, retain a large vocabulary in your brain at least on the actual GRE test day in order to obtain high scores in the Verbal part, since in some sense quite a few questions just attempt to test whether you can tell the meaning of a particular word or not.

I recommend that you memorize all the words in the word lists below if you must obtain really high GRE scores for this reason, that reason, or whatever. Those whose GPA is relatively low might desire to compensate for their low GPA by obtaining very high scores. (In my opinion, this is not a good strategy; you'd better spend more time writing your research papers, rewriting your statement of purpose, or preparing yourself for GRE subject test, especially if you specialize in computer science.) At a glance, you might ask yourself if you could memorize all of them and never forget them at all; stuffing more than 5,000 new words you have never seen before into your brain could be done without difficulty only by Raymond in the movie `Rain Man.' In my opinion, the answer would be 'No, you cannot,' if you are trying to memorize these words in the same way as you have learned new English words so far. But, the answer would be 'Yes, absolutely,' if you are trying to memorize these words only for the GRE test itself.

The definition of the words in the word lists is based on Barron's GRE word list (usually known as the 33000 word list), American Heritage dictionary (because of concise definition), Longman dictionary (because of precise definition), and Oxford dictionary (as a complement to Longman). I think that it is a very good practice to understand and memorize the meaning of every word in English, which you would surely agree while solving GRE questions.

The word lists below are presented in the same order that I learned them in 1998 when I was preparing for a GRE test. Before printing and carrying the lists with you all the time, you should think for a while if you could benefit from the lists, and if you suppose so, how you could use them. The lists were really helpful to me, but it may not be the case for you; they may contain some words which will never appear in any GRE administration. Or you could try programs helping you to learn the vocabulary such as Gretools. Whether you benefit from these word lists or not, I wish you as good GRE scores as you desire. Good luck to your GRE and also your future academic life in the United States!

1. Barron's word list (4,842 words)
The original Barron's word list has about 3,500 words. This word list also includes about 1,300 additional words not in the original Barron's word list which I thought should be memorized together. Their definition is preceded by a 's' mark in the Ascii text file and a heart symbol in the Postscript files. (LaTeX was used to create Postscript files from Ascii files.) You might change the Ascii text files for your own use. You may ignore 'n' marks in the Ascii text file and spade symbols in the Postscript files; they indicate that accompanying words were new to me.
2. Big Book word list (876 words)
Big Book is a volume of 27 actual GRE administrations, published by ETS. This word list might help you review actual GRE tests in Big Book and save your time. It also contains a list of words which are related with 'walk' and 'piece'. Stay away from this word list before studying Big Book!
3. Barron's word list - scrambled
Reading a word list so many times occasionally allows you to guess the meaning of a particular word even without looking at the word itself but just by recalling its position, which is bad :-) This is why I created this scrambled list. After learning through Barron's word list twice or more, you will find yourself why I wrote a C program for scrambling Barron's word list!
4. Additional words
If you have so much time that you may sleep for 12 hours everyday, try it. This list is based on the book GeRo Vocabulary by Jungki Kim and contains many important words. I learned the word proffer for the first time in this book and it appeared in an antonym question on my GRE test!

You may have to install some software such as Ghostview for printing Postscript (PS) files if you are using a PC. For printing PDF files, you need Acrobat Reader. Printing the hand-held note Postscript file for Barron's word list with double-side printing gives one sheet for each section. A 'h' mark in a line of the Ascii text files indicates a new page to be started on double-side printing. Exercise notes may be helpful if you prefer memorizing words by writing them.

Word Lists
Full list
Hand-held note
Exercise note
Barron's word list
4,842 words
TXT
PS PDF [A4]
PS PDF [US Letter]
PS PDF [A4]
PS PDF [US Letter]
PS PDF [A4]
PS PDF [US Letter]
Big Book word list
876 words
TXT
PS PDF [A4]
PS PDF [US Letter]
PS PDF [A4]
PS PDF [US Letter]
PS PDF [A4]
PS PDF [US Letter]
Barron's word list - scrambled
4,842 words
TXT
PS PDF [A4]
PS PDF [US Letter]
PS PDF [A4]
PS PDF [US Letter]
PS PDF [A4]
PS PDF [US Letter]
Additional words
230 words
TXT
PS PDF [A4]
PS PDF [US Letter]
PS PDF [A4]
PS PDF [US Letter]
PS PDF [A4]
PS PDF [US Letter]


Afterword:
  • I was able to memorize all the words on the day of my GRE test. My final GRE score was Verbal 97%/Quantitative 99%/Analytical 99%/Subject 99% (in computer science).
    Messages from visitors of this webpage:
  • Hello, wanted to thank you for the wonderful manner you had arranged the material for the wordlist. It's exactly what I was looking for! And is a blessing!! A lot of efforts on ur part it looks like! N. Pandya (23 Apr 2009)
  • Thanks a lot for providing the GRE material. It should be helping me a lot in my prep. Thanks again. bhishek Kulkarni (12 Jun 2010)
  • I am preparing for GRE now, and thank you for your material. I used your material in my python script that extracts the etymologies of all the words in Barron's word list. The script and the etymology file can be obtained from http://viswanathgs.wordpress.com/2010/12/03/etymosucker-python-script-to-extract-etymologies-for-barrons-word-list/. Thank you again. Viswanath (3 Dec 2010)



    Sungwoo Park
    email: gla at postech.ac.kr
    Last updated: Jan 1, 2006