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Obscure Vocabulary


In this video, we're gonna address the question here. And that question is, when is a word too obscure for the GRE? Now, you may be asking yourself this question if you're using other publishers or other vocab lists besides Magoosh. Because the words we've drawn from, here at Magoosh, in our vocab book, and the words that pop up on vocab Wednesday, are not obscure words.

Or they're not too obscure for the GRE, unless I explicitly mention or say in the video that, hey, this word probably won't show up on the GRE. Sometimes I'll just throw a word in there cuz it's interesting and it fits the theme, but very rarely. But otherwise, if I don't say that, you can trust that every word that is in the vocab book is fair game for testing.

But if you're using other lists, you really don't know. So I would say, just from my experience going through Kaplan, the Manhattan GRE is a little bit on the on the fence. But the Princeton Review, a lot of them, they basically use words that you definitely see on the GRE, it's very rare that you get obscure words. But if you are using maybe Manhattan GRE or some of these other sources, and they do actually have some nice flash cards which are fine.

But if you're actually using the text completion or sentence equivalence book, you'll wanna know, hey, should I even bother memorizing this word? So a great way to answer that question, well, there's two ways, actually. One is with, enter the word in, if it comes up with fewer than 300,000 search results, it's probably too obscure. Now of course, this is not a perfect method because sometimes there's a random weird word that also happens to be somebody's last name.

Or the name of a company, or some weird internet meme I don't even know about. And so in that case, it's gonna be much greater than 300,000. Maybe a more foolproof method is going to And there, they have a little search box basically at the top, so you can just enter a word in there. And it'll take you to all of the editions, this is pretty crazy, but all of the editions from, I think it's 1880 or something, so 130, 135 years of New York Times.

And has this word shown up, and if so, they give you the instances. What you're looking for is a word that comes up at least once or twice a year. If it's coming up maybe twice every three or four years, probably a little bit on the obscure side. If it's coming up five times in the last 130 years, then the word is clearly way too obscure for the GRE.

So good little thing to determine there. Main point basically in this video is, stick to high frequency words as much as possible. As i mentioned, the Magoosh ebook is good. The flashcards by Manhattan GRE are good, In terms of the words they mention, Princeton Review, Kaplan's, Baron's, those are pretty good.

But again, there's sometimes these, what I think are shoddy or questionable sources online that will throw in some very obscure words. And so if you wanna venture out there, do so at your own peril. But know at least that there is a way to make sure you're not memorizing words that won't show up on test day. And besides that, that should really be all you need to worry about when it comes to obscure vocabulary on the GRE

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