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There are many ways to build your vocabulary for the standardized test: Reading, Roots, Prefixes and Suffixes, Mnemonics, and Eponyms to name a few.
One of the key elements in the success of a standardized test is having a very good command over vocabulary. Even if there is no specific section of the vocabulary in the test, it still plays a prominent role. On GRE Reading Comprehension passages, Text Completion, and Sentence Equivalence questions, vocabulary is tested either covertly or overtly.
Even math questions can sometimes be designed to see if the test-taker understands specific terms and language. So, if you want to see a huge difference in the overall score of your test, devote some time every day to learning vocabulary.
The first and the most important requirement for improving your vocabulary is to read voraciously. In your reading, do not just adhere to one specific genre. Your reading material should include both fiction and non-fiction such as novels, newspapers, magazines and even articles on the internet. Words in context will always help you not only in understanding the meaning of the difficult words but also in retaining their definitions.
Roots, Prefixes, and Suffixes:
Learning about Roots, Prefixes, and Suffixes is another important part of building your vocabulary. More than 60 percent of English words are derived from Greek and Latin roots. So, becoming familiar with Roots, Prefixes and Suffixes can be tremendously beneficial in trying to guess the definition of an unfamiliar word.
Most students tend to forget whatever they have learned in no time. It may be because of short-term memory or because of monotonous learning practices. In this regard, the best way to retain whatever you have learned for a longer period is using mnemonic devices. A mnemonic is a device that helps you remember something by associating what you are trying to remember something you already know. The mnemonic devices can be in many different forms: Patterns of letters, Ideas, Pictures, and Images, anything that can help you remember. For Example, The word Assiduous meaning is hard-working. You can remember this word using the first three letters (Ass) of the word as your mnemonic device. An ‘Ass’ is a donkey and the donkey is known for hard work – donkey work.
There are many words in English that have derived from the names of real, fictional, mythical or spurious characters or persons. These words are known as eponyms. The background knowledge of these words will be interesting, informative, and helpful in remembering the meanings of the words for a long time. For example, the word Malapropism came from a character named Mrs. Malaprop in the play ‘The Rivals’ by R.B. Sheridon. The meaning of this word is an amusing error that occurs when a person mistakenly uses a word that sounds like another word but that has a very different meaning. If you say preposterous (silly) instead of saying prosperous, that is called Malapropism.
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