Most of us get by without the knowledge of or the understanding of difficult words. Since simple English is the order of the day, we do not make an attempt to read or understand challenging material unless we are forced to. GAMSAT unfortunately forces you to improve your vocabulary if you want to ace the passages that it contains and clear the test. But how do you improve your vocabulary and study for GAMSAT and manage your life all at once? Hopefully you are reading this article in the first year of college and not the last because it is not easy to learn complex words and hope to remember all of them on the day of the test.
Sections I and II of GAMSAT ask you to be articulate in expressing your opinion. In Section I you are given reading comprehension and asked multiple-choice questions based on them and the passages are often literary works that contain words that you may not be very familiar with unless you have worked on your vocabulary. With a half-baked knowledge of words you may end up with a completely inaccurate understanding or analysis resulting in a very poor GAMSAT score, even if you do well in the section testing your knowledge of science.
So how do you improve your vocabulary for GAMSAT? The best way to do this is to learn words in context. This is because your brain remembers words better when there is a context attached with it to aid in its definition. Reading editorials and reports in newspapers might bring you across words and idioms in such contexts that will help you understand not only the word itself but also how it is used. Spending a few weeks reading such materials will dramatically improve your understanding of words and their usage.
It is also a great idea to keep a notebook handy where you can record words that appear in conversations and dialogues and that you do not understand the meaning of. For one, it is ok to not know many words and to ask the meaning of the word from the person who has used it. But this may not always be possible, for often you may hear new words being spoken on TV or other media. The wise thing to do is take down the word as you hear it and later check its spelling, meaning and usage in a dictionary. Online resources will also provide you with synonyms and antonyms for the word so that you have a clearer understanding of it.
A third way to improve your vocabulary is to use specific vocabulary building books. However this is not absolutely essential because GAMSAT does not test you on word meanings. It only requires a good vocabulary for you to understand and use in the test. So, you need not memorise words but need to know only the general meaning of those words.
Another great way to learn new words and test your own knowledge of them is to play word games. Crosswords, Scrabble and other word games available online will help you learn new words as well as put to test the words you already know. This is a great way to learn synonyms and anagrams because you do not want to get stuck with a word’s definition on the tip of your tongue.