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Test Your GRE Vocabulary Skills

How strong is my vocabulary?

As you prep for the GRE, this is a question you may have already asked yourself. Practice tests and practice questions have already given you a sense of this. Yet it is never a bad idea to get a vocab assessment. Below, I’ve done my best to pick words indicative of a certain level. Simply define each word. Below the words are definitions and instructions how to score. A scale detailing your score is found at the very bottom.


Good luck!


Level 1 – Words everybody taking the GRE should know (if you don’t already)

1. Indifferent

2. Implicate

3. Elaborate


Level 2 – Words you’ve probably seen before

1. Meticulous

2. Rebuke

3. Volatile


Level 3 – Difficult words that you still need to know

Whether you score a 170 or a sub-150, you will see the medium-level section on the GRE. Level 3 words can definitely show up in the medium section, and can maybe even show up in the easy section. If you do not know any, don’t despair. Simply commit yourself to studying more words. You WILL be able to get to this level if you follow my advice on learning vocabulary.

1. Inimical

2. Petulant

3. Confound


Level 4 – Words for the top 10%

For those hoping to score in the 160s for verbal, you should know at least two of the three words below. These are words that would likely only show up in the most difficult verbal section.

1. Sententious

2. Lassitude

3. Sartorial


Level 5 – Very difficult

Really speaking, Level 5 doesn’t really pertain to the Revised GRE. The test has done away with vocab obscurity and shifted the focus to syntactical complexity (meaning, really long and confusing sentences).

Nonetheless, in the spirit of vocabulary—and in that random one off chance that the Revised GRE will throw in difficult words—welcome to Level 5. And don’t worry if you do not know a single one. You can still get 170 on the verbal section.

1. Gnomic

2. Autochthonous

3. Numinous


Now, add up your points. To do so give each question a point value based on the following: whatever level a word is part of, give yourself that many points for knowing the word. For instance, if you knew the word lassitude (a level 4 word), give yourself 4 points.




1. Indifferent – not caring; neutral

2. Implicate – charge with wrongdoing (can also mean to imply)

3. Elaborate – (v) explain in detail ; (adj.) detailed



1. Meticulous – careful

2. Rebuke – sharp disapproval

3. Volatile – changing suddenly



1. Inimical – hostile or antagonistic towards (describes situations not people)

2. Petulant – whining in a childish manner

3. Confound –1.  To completely confuse   2. Mix up



1. Sententious – moralizing in a condescending manner

2. Lassitude – weariness, lack of energy

3. Sartorial – relating to the way one dresses



1. Gnomic –  pithy, usually in a way that is cryptic

2. Autochthonous – indigenous

3. Numinous – supernatural


Point Scale

35 – 45: Your vocabulary is very impressive. As long as your reading comp skills are up to snuff, you should do very well on the GRE.

30 – 35: You may well likely know every word that could pop up on the GRE. Nonetheless, go through books such as Word Smart, Barron’s 3500-word list, and make sure you know every single word. There will probably only be a few stragglers that fell through the cracks.

25 – 30: Do not limit yourself to one list. To grow take advantage of various GRE lists, making sure you know all the words contained within. Since your vocabulary is already relatively strong doing so shouldn’t take as long as you think.

20 – 25: You have a strong vocabulary, but to give yourself a boost, make sure you are learning from a large enough list. One thing you can do is to go through the official test and make sure you know every word:

10 – 20: Use this as an opportunity to brush up on your vocabulary skills. Read the following on how to do so:

Below 10:You may be new to the GRE, but don’t despair. Just make sure to focus on learning vocabulary. If you’ve been studying awhile, you may want to redouble your vocab efforts. More importantly, you should ask yourself, how you are learning words. Is it the most optimal method?


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