Graduate Record Examination (GRE) score is mandatory to get into a postgraduate program at a top university in the USA. Even several European and Asian universities ask for a GRE score. Although I scored a perfect score of 170 in the quantitative section, I fell short of 17 marks from the maximum score in the verbal section, with my final score summing up to 323/340. I have a separate post for how to prepare for GRE. In this blog post, I will mention 5 best GRE prep apps that helped me bolster my verbal skills.
Related: How to prepare for GRE?
1. Magoosh Vocabulary Builder
There are around 1000 words in this app with 3 difficulty levels: Easy, Medium and Hard. The app is a flashcard and the best part about this GRE vocab app is that it lists down some unconventional uses of common words. For example, ‘becoming’ is a word that in its gerund form (verb) most commonly refers to ‘growing up to’ or ‘developing into something’. However, in its adjective form, it means ‘flattering’, ‘handsome’ or ‘pretty’. I will illustrate the usage in sentences.
Sentence 1: After the demise of his father, King Arthur gained control of the state becoming the supreme commander of the military.
Sentence 2: She looked gorgeous at the party and her becoming soft curls made her look prettier.
In sentence 1, becoming is used as a gerund while in the second sentence becoming is used as an adjective. GRE uses secondary meanings of words and this is the best free app that does a great job of illustrating such meanings with nice examples. Find the download link here.
Most GRE apps tend to offer little to no customization and are unable to cater to users’ individual strengths and weaknesses. If you want to prep in a focused way customized to your own needs, this is the best GRE prep app. The android app is a paid version that costs less than $3. I used the web version of Vocabulary.com extensively for GRE Vocab and this is absolutely free. You can create your own list of words and practice it again and again. You can customize the list as per your requirements. Let’s say you can create a list of GRE words with the origin of words tracing back to Greek Gods and Greek Mythology. I created such a list and named it ‘GREEK MYTHOLOGY Words‘. I added words like Narcissism, Procrustean, Herculean, Bacchanal, Mercurial, Plutocracy, Sisyphean, Martial and Tantalize to the list. This is a great way to cluster words which is useful for last minute revision. You can refer to a few of the lists I created during my GRE preparations.
3. Galvanize Ultimate English Prep: GRE & all exams
This is one of the best free GRE flashcards apps. It has sets of words which get unlocked as you master a set. The user experience is quite interactive. Since Galvanize is a GRE coaching academy, you can find other resources like testimonials of high achievers and profile evaluation for US universities.
4. GRE Vocabulary With Mnemonics
Mnemonic is a system devised to easily remember meanings or large chunks of codes through the use of patterns or fascinating ideas. The best part about this app is that the mnemonics help you remember words easily. Lots of advertisement videos will mar your experience. However, this is a great app as it contains the Manhattan’s 1000 List of Words, Barron’s GRE word lists like the Barron’s 1100 and Barron’s High Frequency 333 words list, Kaplan 900 wordlist and Magoosh 983 Wordlist. This is a curated app and strongly recommended. You can use it time and again in addition to the Magoosh Vocab Builder app if you are not comfortable in remembering certain words and their usage or if you get confused with 2 words. You can download it here.
5. GRE Vocabulary Pictionary
All of us have different strengths in remembering words. Some of these are using mnemonics, rhymes, stacking images, converting a word to an image and several other techniques. There are many of us who can relate words to pictures for easy referencing. If you are one of them, this app is for you. You can download the app here.
I believe that no app is foolproof in itself. Some apps have words in stock which are not relevant to GRE while a few others fail to elaborate on the usage of words in complex sentences. I used ‘The Economist GRE Daily Vocabulary‘ app for a few weeks to learn advanced level GRE words. Actually, I had started with vocabulary building without taking any mock GRE test. So, after taking 2 tests, I realized that the advanced GRE words are not necessary unless you are very ambitious. Some experts also suggest Quizlet and Volt for vocabulary preparation. However, I would suggest you to use a mix of 2 or 3 of the above-mentioned apps to prepare for the verbal section and keep on practicing as much as possible.
I hope this list aids in your GRE preparation. If you find this article useful, please share it with others.