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Thread: GRE: Level of Vocab for GRE Essays?

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    I find that most of you who post essays here use words that are more less endemic to the GRE world. Even some of the university professors I know are not familiar with some of the more obscure words found in the GRE word lists. One word that springs to my mind is obsequy. Most dictionaries label that word as a rare and endangered word.


    Most of my English teachers have always emphasised on the need to write clearly, using short sentences, and more importantly, using simple and widely understood words. Their argument is that using stilted English only serves to show one's conceit and obfuscate the meaning of one's prose, where as using more commonplace words helps to convey one's message to a wider readership. They point out that English is a first language only to a small fraction of the words population, about 1 in 12 according to latest estimates, where as it is a second language to at least twice as many.


    There are critics of this view, who point out that in order to write precisely and concisely, one is forced to use more esotoric terms. Using a wide vocabulary also helps to prevent the problem of word repition, which often makes the prose more unsightly. They also point out that such words show to the world your erudition, and thus the readers may be willing to accept your views more readily.

    What do you, the most honourable subscribers of this August Forum, think about this ? Your opinions and advice are most appreciated.

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    Ankylosaurus Forum Admin Erin's Avatar
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    Several people have asked about this. In many cases, it turns out, some GRE test takers are under the impression that since the GRE tests hard vocab, they should use similarly difficult vocab in their GRE essays.

    However, it is entirely possible to get a 6.0 on the GRE essays without using such vocab. IMO, it's even preferable to avoid such vocab in the essay--it's simply not necessary in most cases.
    ☼ Waiting for Godot

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    Originally posted by ErinBilly

    IMO, it's even preferable to avoid such vocab in the essay--it's simply not necessary in most cases.
    Thank you very much for your advice.

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    Re: GRE: Level of Vocab for GRE Essays?

    Try telling that to the ETS, so that they reduce their bombastic approach to the GRe verbal section.
    the dumbest dude

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    Re: GRE: Level of Vocab for GRE Essays?

    Actually, I was also a bit confused as the essays in the forum are very literally refined with many difficult words.I being a simple and compact writer started questioning my style as I saw these essays.But this post has definitely cleared my doubt.Thank you

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    Re: GRE: Level of Vocab for GRE Essays?

    Yes, it is true to use simple English while writing. Writing pompous language does not help.Sometimes examiner can be university students who need not remember all words they learnt while preparing.

    When started to write essays I realised this.

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    what do you think of the level of TOEFL essay and AWA? I know in GRE the level is much higher, one can sense this just by viewing the list, but if I manage to score 6 twice in toefl just by focusing on the issue and understand the question, I think may be all I need for AWA is just do the same without increasing my vocab level.

    In fact, even if I know a strong word , I prefer the simple one.. easier for me to get it right, will that affect my score??
    cause gre test "word choice" and "language fluency" not grammer and spelling ..

    advice please..
    ------ Samah ------

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    However, it is entirely possible to get a 6.0 on the GRE essays without using such vocab.
    Wow, thanks Erin, now I feel comfortable

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    If it puts anyone's minds at ease, I scored a 6 without using GRE vocab words and I am a notably horrid proofreader that makes up his grammar as he goes along. Solid analysis and argumentation are all that is required.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Modeler View Post
    If it puts anyone's minds at ease, I scored a 6 without using GRE vocab words and I am a notably horrid proofreader that makes up his grammar as he goes along. Solid analysis and argumentation are all that is required.
    Ah! It really put my mind at ease.
    Thanks for sharing your experience with us!

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