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Thread: Using a dictionary whilst doing verbal practice.

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    Using a dictionary whilst doing verbal practice.

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    Hi,

    I just started going through my Manhattan 5lb book, in preparation for my GRE on November 14. I am realizing that there are a lot of really difficult words in the text completion and sentence equivalence sections. I was wondering if it is advisable to use a dictionary whilst doing the practice or does that just beat the purpose of doing the practice in the first place? I ask because sometimes the choices have words that are so obscure that I can't narrow the choices past 2 or three options. What do you think I should do? Thank you.

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    Re: Using a dictionary whilst doing verbal practice.

    I wouldn't use a dictionary. The GRE is a reasoning test. By looking up the words, you're reducing the amount you have to think through questions, a vital skill. Kind of like riding a bike with training wheels.

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    Re: Using a dictionary whilst doing verbal practice.

    Hello,

    I agree with Vince that using a dictionary won't be too helpful for the test. You may end up relying on it and the, when it comes time for the test, you may feel that you still need the dictionary. What I like to do when I am unsure between two answer choices is try and put the words into sentences to give them context. Sometimes you think you don't know a word, but after structuring it in a sentence, it may become more familiar.

    Good luck!

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    Re: Using a dictionary whilst doing verbal practice.

    I would agree that you should not do practice questions with a dictionary handy.

    What I would suggest, however, is to make note of words that you do not know. I would make flashcards (https://quizlet.com/ allows you to do so online) with these words. Later on, I would go back, make sure the definitions are known, and some examples of how they are used! You do not want your dictionary to be a crutch, but you also want to make sure that you are adding words to your vocabulary as you go!
    https://getglib.com - A great community resource for practicing for the GRE AWA!

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    Re: Using a dictionary whilst doing verbal practice.

    Hey cfrv93. One of the problems with using a dictionary is that you'll end up learning much more about words than you need to learn. Instead, you'll find it much more efficient to use a thesaurus, as you'll just see synonyms for words. This will help you improve your vocabulary in a very efficient manner.

    While the GRE is a reasoning test, a strong vocabulary base can be very helpful for attacking many of the text completion and sentence equivalence questions. Also, the GRE does have many words that tend to appear more frequently than others. So I'd suggest doing as many practice questions from ETS as possible, and feeling free to use a thesaurus to learn the words that you don't know.

    Remember to spend more time learning and reviewing your mistakes and less time mindlessly practicing problems. Make sure you truly understand exactly why got each question incorrect, and how to avoid making the same mistake again in the future. The key to a great GRE score is not being a superb English student, but instead learning and improving while you practice realistic GRE questions.

    Finally, I would suggest taking advantage of FREE resources. There are many places where you can get GRE word lists, flashcards, etc. to help improve your vocabulary. Again, this is NOT something you should be paying for. Here's a course I've used before for FREE. Very comprehensive and targeted GRE vocab list. The Ultimate GRE Vocabulary Course PrepScholar GRE

    So avoid that dictionary, use free resources to improve your vocabulary, and practice smarter, not harder.

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