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In this video we’re going to address the question here. And that question is: when is a word too obscure for the GRE? Now you may be asking asking yourself this question if you’re using other publishers or other vocab lists besides Magoosh .
Because the words we’ve drawn from here in Magoosh they are in our vocaby ebook. And the words that pop up on Vocab Wednesday are not obscure words. Or they 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 ‘cause it’s interesting seeing if it fits the theme, but very rarely.
Otherwise, if I don’t say that, you can trust that every word that’s in the vocab ebook 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, Manhattan GRE is a little bit on the fence. But the Princeton Review, a lot of them, they basically use words that you definitely see on the GRE, very rare that you get obscure words, but if you are using a 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 sense equivalence book you’ll want to 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 google.com.
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 fool-proof method is going to NewYorkTimes.com and they enable a 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 from 1880 or something.
So like a hundred and thirty, a hundred and thirty five 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 coming up five times in the last hundred and thirty years, then the word is clearly way too obscure for the GRE.
So good little thing to determine there. Main point basically of this video is stick to high frequency words as much as possible, as I mentioned, the Magoosh ebook is good.
The flash cards by Manhattan GRE are good. In terms of the words the mention. Princeton Review, Kaplan Barons, those are pretty good. But again there are sometimes what I think are shoddy or questionable sources online that will throw in some very obscure words.
If you want to 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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