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37 of 38 people found the following review helpful
on September 11, 2012
If you've been studying for the GRE, I'm sure you know that no one book is enough. I personally purchased 15+ study aides from Amazon and I can honestly say that this was the most helpful for strengthening my vocabulary and making the definitions "stick."

The authors are extremely witty and come up with hilarious sentences that you will remember. (I took the GRE a month ago and I still think of this book's sentence for "assail" whenever I hear that word... I mean, it has the phrase "come at me, bro" in it. You'll never forget that.) I remember sitting at Starbucks and having people stare at me because I was laughing so hard while reading these sentences. I also remember thinking that studying for the GRE couldn't and shouldn't be this fun. But aside from its entertaining quality, the most important thing about this book is that its method actually works. I bought Manhattan's GRE flashcards--both the essential and advanced set--and I definitely recommend those as well (they're easy to carry around and study whenever you have a few free minutes in your busy schedule). But the problem for me was that there were some words that I could NOT remember, regardless of how many times I looked at the flashcard; the word just was not registering in my brain. That's where this book came into play. For those particularly difficult, why-do-I-not-know-this-even-though-I've-seen-it-a-million-times words, these mnemonic devices did the trick. Because the sentences are so unique/outlandish, they're not easily forgotten.

In short, I highly recommend this book as part of a comprehensive set of study tools. You can either use it how I did (as described in the preceding paragraph), or you can use it right from the start by making flashcards for all the words or reading through the book and highlighting the ones you don't know.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
Tutors Brian McElroy and Vince Kotchian believe that mastering challenging vocabulary is easier when you employ mnemonics or catchy memory devices. "GRE Vocab Capacity" contains a thousand words arranged alphabetically, with concise and clear definitions and off-beat sentences that are designed to trigger an emotional or sensory response. For example, the authors define "quash" as "to completely stop from happening." Their sentence is, "The best way to quash an invasion of ants in your kitchen is simple: squash them." Theoretically, the gross image of dead and dying ants and the fact that "quash" and "squash" rhyme will help ingrain the meaning of "quash" in test takers' minds.

Some of the sentences are silly, off-color, and/or touch on sensitive topics, such as strippers who pole dance, movie sex-comedies, and drug dealers. Brian and Vince issue a disclaimer stating that some of their material contains "adult language." Their target audience is high-school and college students who want to master vocabulary words likely to appear on the Scholastic Aptitude Test or the Graduate Record Exam.

"GRE Vocab Capacity" would be a useful tool for individuals who find vocabulary particularly challenging. The authors assign each word a rating on a scale of one to four, one being "basic words that could appear on any level of an exam," and four being "uncommon words" that are good to know but rarely used. The words appear in an easy-to-read font in bold type, and in upper case letters when used in a sentence.

Although proper pronunciation is not necessary for standardized tests such as the SAT, a pronunciation guide would have been useful. An important aspect of adding words to one's mental lexicon is incorporating them into everyday speech. To do this, students need to know how words like "machination," "schadenfreude," and"prescient" are pronounced. On the plus side, "GRE Vocab" contains a handy appendix with prefixes, suffixes, and root-words that should boost students' ability to recognize English language patterns. For example, knowing that "ante" means before and "chron" means time could be the key to understanding and remembering "antedate" and "synchronize."

Should test-takers throw away their flash cards? Not necessarily. Absorbing new words is a complex and never-ending process. It pays to use various methods and see what sticks. Reading quality literature and a good daily newspaper, looking up unfamiliar terms in a dictionary, and making lists of challenging words are all excellent ways to boost your vocabulary for life. Still, it cannot hurt to try "GRE Vocab Capacity," since it will make you laugh while you learn. You may even find yourself impressing your friends when you tell them, "I feel enervated today since I slept fitfully last night in a room without air-conditioning. I hope that a quick nap will rejuvenate me."
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on July 9, 2012
I was very impressed. Finally, a vocabulary book focused on a unique approach to remembering words and their meanings. What the authors of GRE Vocab Capacity do is provide a series of memorable memory devices for remembering each of around eight hundred words and their meanings. The chosen words are the most frequently found words in the GRE, as well as in other standardized tests. Although the authors say that the words in this edition are specifically targeted toward the GRE exam, but also helpful for students preparing for other standardized tests such as the SAT, ACT, ISEF, SSAT, GMAT, LSAT or MCAT, I have found the book to be an excellent resource for anyone who wants to improve their vocabulary.

The format of this book is what makes it different, entertaining and conducive to learning. There is a simple three step structure for each word. First, the word is clearly defined along with its part of speech. Then, the reader is told what similar, more familiar, easily remembered word or word group to think of that links the mind to the original vocabulary word. This word association is called a mnemonic. Finally, the authors provide a sentence designed to help the reader remember both words through a variety of associations. Here are two examples:

Abridge (verb): to shorten
Think: A BRIDGE
A BRIDGE would ABRIDGE my commute, which involves driving around the canyon

Acrimonious (adjective): bitter
Think: A CRIME ON US
Committing A CRIME ON US makes us ACRIMONIOUS

Most of the mnemonic devices in the book work well, creating links in the brain so that recall of the original vocabulary words is easy and long term. The only drawback is that one has to remember the devices as well as the vocabulary word. This can usually be offset by the help that the devices give for recall. And many of them are fun to learn. AS the authors say, one has to reinforce one's learning by doing only a few vocabulary words at a time and repeating what has already been learned. So if you are a person who is studying specifically for the GRE or for any other standardized test, or a person who is just looking for a book to help improve your vocabulary, this is the book that is worth looking into. You may not take to all the mnemonic devices, but there is enough associations in here to make it worthwhile.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on July 25, 2012
This book is BRILLIANT! These guys have been able to put together over 600 Mnemonics that make it so much fun & easy to learn! I have been using Mnemonics for many years & it has been an essential way to learn & pass all of my tests to date. I highly recommend this book if you want to pass your tests with Flying colors! Thanks guys!
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on July 9, 2012
It's hard to overstate the importance of learning vocabulary for the new GRE (and, frankly, for lots of other standardized tests). This book- at four bucks! - has an extraordinary rate of return. Its two major accomplishments:

1. Providing mnemonic devices for 600 words that test designers love most. Words like "perfidy," "inchoate," and so on.

2. Giving the reader a framework for creating their own mnemonic devices.

The authors' bizarre (often brilliant) mnemonics will resonate. Here's one example:

"Sanguine (adjective): optimistic.
Think: SANG WIN.
The penguin SANG that he would WIN; he was SANGUINE."

I don't know man. I can picture that optimistic, singing penguin and- by extension- remember the word sanguine.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on September 6, 2012
This book is a must have when studying for the GRE or any test that has a lot of vocab. From personal experience it is extremely challenging to retain a large volume of words and their definitions by just using note-cards or something similar. These mnemonics really increase vocab retention by providing a way to remember the info that isn't just memorization. I can't say this enough, but this a must have if you want to increase your vocab knowledge!

Here is an example: Accede (verb): to express approval. Think: AGREED.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on June 20, 2013
I have yet to take the GRE, but this is a GREAT book for increasing your vocab. I enjoy how they make it so easy and in many cases funny when learning new vocabulary. Some of the examples I will never forget thus I will never forget the word. GREAT JOB! I'm just praying that when I get to the exam some of the great mnemonics you have will just pop into my head. This is my favorite vocab book, I have a number of them from store shelves but this book is in a league of its own.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on October 10, 2012
I haven't taken the GRE yet, but I love this book. Other vocab books don't even come close. The mnemonics really do work, and I've learned (and retained!) much more vocabulary than I thought I'd be able to. In addition, some of the mnemonics are absolutely ridiculous, which makes them stick in your mind even better.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on August 13, 2014
I owe a lot to this book! This was almost my exclusive vocab preparation for the GRE, and I scored in the 80th percentile on the GRE Verbal section. I was hesitant to use these memory tricks to learn vocab because I thought that they wouldn't stick (and a lot of websites out there say that they won't), but I honestly don't know a lot of complex vocab, so I needed a way to learn it fast. I prepared using this book for about 4 weeks. I learned one to three letters a day (somewhere between 30 and 70 words a day). I would recommend using it early, because this felt like a lot of new words to absorb each day. The words in this book are nearly the same as those in the Manhattan Prep Advanced Flashcards (I unfortunately bought both). I used the Quizlet app to enter each day's words and study them. I can't say enough about this book. If you want to prepare yourself for the GRE in the best way possible, buy this book now! HIGHLY RECOMMENDED
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on August 27, 2012
Just like everyone been saying about this book, it's very helpful. I wish I knew about this book a long time ago because this book makes learning new words rather fun than what you would get from most books. Everyday I'm studying at least 10-12 new words and the best part that I like about it is that I remember each and every single one of those words so far. For those who are planning to take a test coming up or just want to brush up on your vocabulary, this is a good start for you and I promise you that you won't regret paying for this book. For this book to cost $4.99, I was skeptical at first but I'm glad it was worth getting. If you don't believe me, just get the book now and see if for yourself.
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