Stressed About Studying for the GRE? Start by Reading the News!

As I opened my GRE study book, armed and ready to get into the thick of it, I was greeted by stress and anxiety regarding just how little I was prepared for this test. Since the GRE is such an important part of getting into graduate school, the idea that I was not at all prepared to take it left a large knot in my stomach. After completing my first practice test, I discovered that there were many “academic” words I didn’t know and thus could not use in the sentences I was given. As someone who requires more than just flashcards to learn a new word, I immediately decided that I needed to find a better way to learn words for the GRE.

After searching endlessly for a solution to my problem, I stumbled upon some really great advice: a helpful way to learn high level vocabulary is through something as simple as reading the news! As Vanderbilt students, we have a free subscription to The New York Times--a news outlet that provides hundreds of high level articles every day for people just like us to learn tons of new words (yes, I know that this is not why they write the articles--but it certainly is a nice perk!). As I read a few articles every morning, I write down the words I don’t know or that I am unsure about. Later in the day, I find the definitions and create a sentence using the word that is meaningful to me in some way or that uses word play to convey the meaning. I started this a week ago, and have already learned 50 new words! If you are feeling stressed about studying for the GRE, take a deep breath and just start reading.

As for the math portion? I’m leaving well enough alone for now. I’ll let you guys know how that goes (as soon as I get to it 😬).