GRE Writing: Common Compound Words Even Grad Applicants Mess Up

Test PrepThe Graduate Record Examination, also known as the GRE, tests the vocabulary skills of students in both its verbal reasoning and analytical writing sections. For some students, compound words can be a stumbling block on the GRE. For instance, a student may use a compound word in the wrong context or misspell a few of them while crafting an essay.

Our expert instructors at Veritas Prep can help students who want to expand their knowledge of compound words along with other types of vocabulary words. At Veritas Prep, students learn strategies that enable them to absorb unfamiliar vocabulary words as well as their definitions. Check out some examples of common GRE words and learn how to use them correctly on the exam.

What is a Compound Word?

A compound word is a combination of two words. There are three types of compound words that students should know. A closed compound word is two words pushed together to form a single word. Some examples of closed compound words include softball, childlike, keyboard, and makeup. There is also the open compound word. An open compound word is similar to the closed compound variety except that there is a space between the two words. Some examples of open compound words are post office, full moon, real estate, and middle class. There are also hyphenated compound words, such as over-the-counter and mother-in-law. One common mistake students make is unnecessarily hyphenating compound words (PDF). When students understand the nature of compound words, they have a better chance of using these words in the correct way on the GRE.

Compound Words That May Appear on the GRE

Students who are working to strengthen their vocabulary skills in preparation for the GRE may want to look at a list of compound words that may appear on the test. Some compound words that may be seen on the GRE include hallmark,watershed, piecemeal, foreshadow, superstructure, taskmaster, science fiction, aide-de-camp, and editor-in-chief. Students studying with a Veritas Prep instructor learn how to recognize the different types of compound words and use them correctly. In our online GRE prep courses, we guide students on how to write an effective essay using appropriate vocabulary. Also, we offer tips to students on when to use compound words to make an essay all the more convincing.

Tips for Word Problems

Students who dedicate a part of their study time to expanding their vocabulary are less likely to run into unfamiliar words on the GRE. But if a student does encounter one, there are some ways that they can figure out a word’s definition. For instance, a student who sees the word lodestar in the verbal reasoning section may be unsure about its meaning. One tip to employ here is to dissect the word. The word star is familiar to the student, whereas the word lode may not be. It’s a good idea for the student to examine the multiple-choice options to find one that somehow relates to the word star. In short, a student must choose an answer option based on the part of the word that they are familiar with. Also, when it comes to tips for word problems, it’s useful to look at the suffix of a word when trying to determine its definition. Fortunately, many common GRE words contain suffixes. The meaning of the suffix can offer clues to the meaning of the entire word. For example, the word convalescent has the suffix “-escent.” This suffix means “in the process of.” The student may know that the root word convalesce means to recover. These pieces of information enable a student to choose the correct multiple-choice option.

Using Compound Words in an Essay

Memorizing a list of compound words can assist students as they write sample essays in preparation for the GRE. They can practice using compound words in the right context and work on spelling the words correctly. Sometimes, a few compound words used in the right places can help to fully express a student’s ideas.

Students who want to improve their vocabulary skills for the GRE can get the help they need from our team of instructors at Veritas Prep. We use quality study resources that are effective in helping students achieve their best possible score on the test. Contact our office and let our professional instructors prepare you for the GRE!

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