Updated on 2/19/2013 to include a word root appendix and an index of words.
This book will embed GRE vocabulary definitions in your brain (in a fun way, not an evil-government-microchip way)!
Brian McElroy (Harvard, ‘02) and Vince Kotchian (Boston College, ‘97), two of San Diego's most sought after test-prep tutors, provide a series of clever, unconventional, and funny memory devices aimed toward helping you to improve your vocabulary and remember words long-term so that you don't ever forget their meanings.
The vocabulary words in this book are best suited for students at a 9th-grade level or above. The words in this edition are specifically targeted toward the GRE exam, but they are also helpful for students who are preparing for other standardized tests such as SAT, ACT, ISEE, SSAT, GMAT, LSAT or MCAT, or anyone at any age who simply wants to improve his/her knowledge of English vocabulary.
Why This Book Is Different
If you’re studying for the GRE, SAT, or any other standardized test that measures your vocabulary, you may be feeling a little bit anxious – especially if you’ve taken a practice test and encountered words you didn’t know (or maybe never even saw before)! Whether you have seven days or seven months to prepare for the test, you’re going to want to boost your vocabulary. But it’s not that simple – you’ve got to remember the words you learn. And on many GRE text completion and sentence equivalence questions, getting the right answer comes down to knowing the precise definition of the words.
You could make vocabulary flashcards. You could look up words you don’t know. You could read a book with lots of big words. But unless you give your brain a way to hold on to the words you learn, it will probably have a harder time remembering them when they appear on the test. That’s the problem with most vocabulary books: the definitions and sentences in the books aren’t especially memorable.
That’s where this book is different. We’ve not only clearly defined the words but we’ve also created sentences designed to help you remember the words through a variety of associations - using mnemonics.
A mnemonic is just a memory device. It works by creating a link in your brain to something else, so that recall of one thing helps recall of the other. This can be done in many ways – but the strongest links are through senses, emotions, rhymes, and patterns.
Consider this example:
Quash (verb): to completely stop from happening.
The best way to QUASH an invasion of ants in your kitchen is simple: SQUASH them.
Now your brain has a link from the word quash (which it may not have known) to the word squash (which it probably knows). Both words sound and look the same, so it’s easy to create a visual and aural link. If you picture someone squashing ants (and maybe get grossed out), you also have another visual link and an emotional link.
Here’s another example:
Eschew (verb): to avoid.
ESCHEW people who say "AH-CHOO!" unless you want to catch their colds.
The word eschew sounds similar to someone sneezing (ah-choo!), so your brain will now link the two sounds. If you picture yourself avoiding someone who is about to sneeze in your face, even better! Again, the more connections you make in your brain to the new word, the easier it will be for you to recall it.