How to Use Flash Cards for GRE to Improve GRE Verbal Score

Raghuram Sukumar GRE 3 Comments

Scoring high in the GRE Verbal test section is not an easy task for many of you. Almost every student I have encountered have high GRE Quantitative test scores, but most of their Verbal scores tend to be below 400.

In some cases, I have seen verbal scores of around 280. Improving your GRE vocabulary will certainly help you score more in the Verbal section.

Reading through Barron’s word list and trying to remember all the words is not an easy task, but that’s when using GRE Flash Cards come in handy.

If used in right way, remembering words from Barron’s wordlist is very easy and even an enjoyable task.

GRE Flash Cards – How to Prepare One

There is no rocket science behind creating flash cards. All you need are a small piece of thick blank paper or board and pen. I suggest you to buy empty visiting cards (business cards).

When you are studying from Barron’s word list, if you have difficulty in remembering some words (I’m sure there will be many), then write down those words in the flashcard along with the different synonyms. Write one word per side of the card.

[How to Memorize Barron’s GRE Words]

How to use GRE Flash Cards

Option 1

From the previous step, let’s  assume you made 53 cards with difficult GRE Verbal test words. Always have around 5 to 10 cards with you (in your shirt, pant pocket, wallet, bag, etc.).

Carry the flash cards with you always. Whenever you get a chance, try to take the look at the words and remember the synonyms of that word.

It’s okay if you cannot recollect the meaning of that word. If you can remember the words, then it’s good for you. Keep doing that ’till you remember all the words.

Option 2

Another option will be to hand over the cards to one of your friends and have him or her say the word and see if you can give the meaning/s of the word. I followed this method.

Almost everyone in my class knew I had been carrying cards and we set some moments together when I will give the cards to them to ask me the meanings of words.

One of my friends liked the word "Mangy" (because of the way it’s pronounced) and we still make fun of each other even after many years.

So now you know one of many techniques I followed to remember potential words that will be used for GRE Verbal. I was able to read and remember most of the words in a one wordlist per day.

Within 45 days, I could remember 90% of the words (3,500 in total). For the remaining 10%, I used the flash cards.

But as you can see in my blog articles, I never used any such fancy words…I wish I could still remember those good vocabulary terms. 🙂

Improving Vocabulary Takes Time and Effort

One of major reasons why I cannot remember those words is because I never used them after taking the GRE. It was useful only ’till I took GRE and TOEFL.

But you might know that after reading words to improve your GRE vocabulary, it takes time and consistent effort. In those 45 days of preparation, I spent at least 3 hours in a day only studying the wordlist.

I used other effective techniques that I will write about in future articles. It’s also good to note that improving one’s vocabulary alone will not improve your verbal score, but it’s the starting point.

You also need to work on your reading comprehension, sentence completions, antonyms, and other language elements.

[Tips to Improve your GRE Reading Comprehension Test Score]


  1. I have been reading this blogs for past few weeks. Am planning to give GRE by end of this month. All the tips and strategies provided here are very useful and makes me to realize what is actually required for preparation more than learning.

    It would be great to if you can provide me a study plan for rest of my days before taking up my GRE. My recent mock test score was 1200 (500V + 700Q). Am working hard to increase it to 1500+. Give your suggestions to improve my score.

    This blog is awesome.

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