GRE Vocab Test: Top Vocabulary Words, Toughest GRE Vocabulary, Practice Questions 

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GRE test takers should have a strong hold on their vocabulary to ace the GRE verbal section. The Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) verbal reasoning section presents a significant hurdle for aspiring graduate students. This is where GRE vocabulary comes into the equation. Cultivating a robust vocabulary repertoire is not merely an auxiliary skill; it is the bedrock upon which success in the verbal section is built. Possessing a strong command of vocabulary transcends rote memorization. It fosters a profound understanding of the nuances and subtleties of language, empowering test-takers to deconstruct complex passages, and discern intricate sentence structures. 


By diligently honing your vocabulary, you equip yourself with the analytical prowess necessary to navigate the verbal section with confidence and precision. You transform potential obstacles into stepping stones, paving the way for a stellar performance on the GRE and, ultimately, your academic aspirations. That being said, read the entire article to know more about GRE vocab test.

Top 20 GRE Vocabulary Words 

GRE Vocabulary: Vocabulary plays a major role in the GRE exam. A strong grasp of vocabulary can definitely bolster your chances of securing better scores on the GRE exam. That being said, GRE vocabulary is primarily used in the GRE verbal section. It is imperative for test takers to broaden their GRE vocabulary and understand their correct implementation in a daily context to maximise their GRE verbal scores. That being said, a good grasp of GRE vocabulary can help you ace different types of questions in the GRE verbal section, such as ‘sentence equivalence, text completion, and reading comprehension’. Here are the top 20 GRE vocabulary words that you can implement to score better.

WordMeaning Example
AnomalySomething that is unusual or unexpected. Doctors found a major anomaly in her brain during the health assessment. 
Equivocal Not easily understood or explainedHis instructions were equivocal, due to which the confusion arose in the first place.
LucidVery clear and easy to comprehend. The text was lucid and easy to follow. 
Precipitate To cause His smoking precipitated the spread of cancer in his body.  
Assuage Something unusual or unexpected. His humour assuaged the tension in the room. 
EruditeHaving great knowledgeHe is erudite in the fields of physics and metaphysics.
OpaqueNot able to see through, not easily understoodThe subtext behind the film was still opaque to me in the end. 
Prodigal ExtravagantThe prodigal businessman bought a yacht for his dog. 
Enigma Something that is mysterious and puzzling. His death still remains an enigma to me. 
FervidPassionate He is fervid about reading novels. 
PlacateTo make someone less angryYou can placate her with a bouquet of flowers. 
ZealEnthusiasm I could see the zeal in his eyes towards filmmaking. 
AbstainTo restrain from doing somethingYoungsters should abstain from consuming alcohol and cigarettes. 
Audacious BoldHis film was audacious enough to tackle such mature themes. 
DesiccateRemove moisture You should desiccate your clothes after drenching in rain.
Gullible Easily persuadedShe is gullible enough to trust anybody. 
Laudable Deserving praiseHer work of art is laudable. 
Pedant A person who makes an excessive display of learningRaj, a pedant, downplays others for not having enough knowledge on films. 
VacillateTo waver between different opinions or actions He was unable to conclude as he was continuously vacillating between different options. 
AdulterateTo make something impureHe adulterated the concentration of the chemical compound. 

Toughest GRE Vocabulary Words

Here are some of the toughest GRE vocabulary words that often pose a challenge to test takers while attempting the verbal section. You should keep abreast of such words in order to ace the GRE verbal reasoning test.

WordMeaning Example
Capricious WhimsicalThe old man became more capricious with his age. 
Prosaic Dull/DryHis response sounded very prosaic. 
Prolix LengthyHe found the film very prolix and boring. 
AbateReduceHis term of sentence was abated due to his good behaviour. 
CastigateReprimand He was castigated for his ill deeds. 
Catalyst StimulusHis actions acted as a catalyst to the event.
CausticSarcasticHis words sounded caustic and hurtful. 
Censure Criticize The man censured the artist’s paintings. 
GainsayContradict His own words gainsaid his actions. 
GalvanizeUrge/CoatThe object was galvanized with a sheet of aluminum. 
Garrulous TalkativeShe is a garrulous woman. 
Gregarious SociableIt was easy talking to her. She is a gregarious woman. 
HarangueLectureHe harangued him for his callousness. 
Hedonism Indulging in self pleasure Her acts were very hedonistic in nature. 
Guile CunningShe is a guile woman who likes to manipulate everyone. 
Zoilus A bitter criticThe journalist was a zoilist who critiqued every piece of art in front of me. 

GRE Verbal Practice: Questions & Answers

A strong command of vocabulary is undoubtedly instrumental in achieving success on the GRE’s verbal reasoning section. This section, widely acknowledged as the most demanding, necessitates thorough preparation for students to excel. Scored on a scale of 130 to 170 in one-point increments, the verbal test assesses a candidate’s ability to critically engage with various question formats, including reading comprehension, text completion, and sentence equivalence. 

Therefore, prioritizing vocabulary development can significantly enhance your ability to navigate the complexities of the verbal reasoning section and ultimately contribute to a stellar performance on the GRE.

GRE Text Completion Practice

GRE Text Completion questions test a candidate’s ability to discern the appropriate word or phrase within a provided passage. These passages, typically ranging from one to five sentences, contain strategic omissions indicated by blank spaces. Test takers must choose from three answer choices per blank (five for single-blank scenarios) to comprehensively complete the passage with logical coherence and maintain its intended meaning. This sample question exemplifies the structure and format of a GRE Text Completion task.

Question: Upon visiting the Middle East in 1850, Gustave Flaubert was so         belly dancing that he wrote, in a letter to his mother, that the dancers alone made his trip worthwhile.

  1. Enamoured By
  2. Overwhelmed By
  3. Flustered By
  4. Taken Aback By
  5. Beseeched By

Answer: Enamoured By 

GRE Sentence Equivalence Practice

The sentence equivalence questions consist of one sentence with six answer choices. Test takers are required to choose the two answer choices that logically complete the sentence. Here is a sample question. 

Question: Possessed of an insatiable sweet tooth, Jim enjoyed all kinds of candy, but he had a special         for gumdrops, his absolute favorite.

  1. container
  2. affinity
  3.  odium
  4. Nature
  5. Disregard
  6. predilection

Answer: Affinity & Predilection 

GRE Reading Comprehension Practice

These questions require you to read and analyse the given passage and come with answers based on your assessment. Here are some sample questions along with their answers. 

“Called by some the “island that time forgot,” Madagascar is home to a vast array of unique, exotic creatures. One such animal is the aye-aye. First described by western science in 1782, it was initially categorized as a member of the order Rodentia. Further research then revealed that it was more closely related to the lemur, a member of the primate order. Since the aye-aye is so different from its fellow primates, however, it was given its own family: Daubentoniidae. The aye-aye has been listed as an endangered species and, as a result, the government of Madagascar has designated an island off the northeastern coast of Madagascar as a protected reserve for aye-ayes and other wildlife.

Long before Western science became enthralled with this nocturnal denizen of Madagascar’s jungles, the aye-aye had its own reputation with the local people. The aye-aye is perhaps best known for its large, round eyes and long, extremely thin middle finger. These adaptations are quite sensible, allowing the aye-aye to see well at night and retrieve grubs, which are one of its primary food sources, from deep within hollow branches. However, the aye-aye’s striking appearance may end up causing its extinction. The people of Madagascar believe that the aye-aye is a type of spirit animal, and that its appearance is an omen of death. Whenever one is sighted, it is immediately killed. When combined with the loss of large swaths of jungle habitat, this practice may result in the loss of a superb example of life’s variety.” 

Question: Based on the information given in the passage, the intended audience would most likely be

(A) visitors to a natural science museum
(B) professors of evolutionary science
(C) a third-grade science class
(D) students of comparative religions
(E) attendees at a world cultural symposium

Answer: A (visitors to a natural science museum) 

Question: Consider each of the choices separately and select all that apply. Which of the following statements can be logically inferred from the passage?

(A) Taxonomic classifications are not always absolute.

(B) The traditional religion of Madagascar involves augury.

(C) There are no longer enough resources on the main island to support the aye-aye population.

Answer: ‘A’ and ‘B’ 

So that was all about GRE vocabulary. Hope the blog has answered your queries regarding the topic. 

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Q1. How to increase your vocabulary for GRE?

Ans: The only way you can enhance your vocabulary is by inculcating a habit of daily reading and consuming English content on a regular basis. 

Q2. How to get a 300 on the GRE?

Ans: While achieving a score of 300 on the GRE may seem within reach, aspiring for a significantly higher target necessitates a more nuanced approach. While minimal preparation and enrollment in a course might contribute, consistent and dedicated effort remains the cornerstone of exceeding the 300 mark. To consistently score above 300, consider dedicating roughly 3-4 hours per day to focused study for a period of 3-4 weeks. 

Q3. What is easier GRE or GMAT?

Ans: While the quantitative reasoning section of the GRE may present less difficulty compared to the GMAT, the GRE’s verbal and analytical writing components pose significant challenges. Unlike the GMAT, the GRE demands the production of two analytical essays and features a verbal section that places considerable emphasis on vocabulary. Therefore, aspiring test-takers seeking to excel on the GRE must prioritize developing robust writing skills alongside a comprehensive vocabulary repertoire.

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