TV Shows For GRE Vocabulary Study

TV Shows for GRE Vocabulary

This list is intended to be fun, and by no means are we insinuating you can get a decent GRE verbal score simply by watching TV. Resources like the Wall Street JournalThe New Yorker, and Magoosh vocabulary apps are excellent for assimilating words into your everyday vocabulary. That said, there are times when our brains can’t handle another dismal news article or deck of flashcards. Despite your exhaustion, it’s still possible to ease your GRE vocabulary burden and relax at the same time. We suggest watching any of these shows with a pen and pad of paper handy. When you hear a word you’re not sure about, jot it down. You can then look up the formal definition and some additional examples of its usage. The brilliance of this is that (1) it feel effortless (2) it will be easier to remember a word after you’ve heard it used aloud, often in a joke and (3) the best way to study GRE vocabulary is by learning them in context, which this method forces you to do.
Unfortunately, the US entertainment industry thinks very little of the American people, so the list is short and the shows are fairly old. Age aside, they still comprise the highest density of GRE vocabulary you’re likely to find on TV.

 

Frasier

Easily the best show for GRE vocabulary prep. Each episode has anywhere from 5 to 40 GRE vocabulary words. The show is witty and high brow with timeless jokes that make the words easier to remember. They also do an excellent job of using words in a context that is applicable to the GRE vocabulary sections. The types of words they use run the gamut, with no particular focus on one area, making it great for almost every background. Bonus: their obnoxious attention to grammar wears off on you quickly. It’s a great refresher for those who may need some brushing up on things like when to say “who” or “whom” and proper sentence structure.

 

The West Wing

While it’s hard to compete with Frasier in the GRE vocabulary department, The West Wing puts up a fantastic fight. An award winning show with legal and politically oriented GRE words.  You won’t get the same breadth, but the show often sounds like a slightly watered down version of the NYT. It’s also likely that you’ll learn a bit about politics, geography, and if Bartlet has anything to say about it, American history. Great show for those from the physical sciences who likely have little exposure to this type of rhetoric. The West Wing, like Frasier, also has plenty of grammar nazis.

Star Trek: The Next Generation

No, we’re not just putting this on here because here at academical we’re all trekkies (though we are). For humanities and social science students you’re likely to pick up a good amount of science vernacular in this show. Words like “caustic” and “amorphous” will abound, and while most instrumentation is made up, the adjectives for them are not. In episodes with a lot of social interaction or those set in the past you’re also likely to hear words like “affectation” and similar GRE vocabulary words.

 Boston Legal

While the show has some trashy moments, there are still some great words to be learned. Not surprisingly, they tend to reflect a more legal bend, but you’ll get a reasonable cross section. The biggest downside is that the concentration of words tends to be dense and sparse, i.e. you’ll get a highly GRE-oriented 5 minute monologue followed by two episodes of nothing. Still, when you get to hear a word like “fungible” used in a real sentence, it’s kind of exciting.

Honorable Mentions

These shows have a lower density of GRE vocabulary words, but the grammar and narrative are high quality enough that they deserve a mention. Each show has a slightly different focus, so it’s a good idea to pick a show based on what you’re least familiar with to help you with context. For sentence completion the real trick is truly understanding how words are used in real life, making TV a decent tool for developing intuition.
  • The Big Bang Theory
  • X-files
  • House
  • Downton Abbey

 

If you have any suggestions, please leave a comment below!

 

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TV Shows For GRE Vocabulary Study

March 31st, 2016

TV Shows for GRE Vocabulary

This list is intended to be fun, and by no means are we insinuating you can get a decent GRE verbal score simply by watching TV. Resources like the Wall Street JournalThe New Yorker, and Magoosh vocabulary apps are excellent for assimilating words into your everyday vocabulary. That said, there are times when our brains can’t handle another dismal news article or deck of flashcards. Despite your exhaustion, it’s still possible to ease your GRE vocabulary burden and relax at the same time. We suggest watching any of these shows with a pen and pad of paper handy. When you hear a word you’re not sure about, jot it down. You can then look up the formal definition and some additional examples of its usage. The brilliance of this is that (1) it feel effortless (2) it will be easier to remember a word after you’ve heard it used aloud, often in a joke and (3) the best way to study GRE vocabulary is by learning them in context, which this method forces you to do.
Unfortunately, the US entertainment industry thinks very little of the American people, so the list is short and the shows are fairly old. Age aside, they still comprise the highest density of GRE vocabulary you’re likely to find on TV.

 

Frasier

Easily the best show for GRE vocabulary prep. Each episode has anywhere from 5 to 40 GRE vocabulary words. The show is witty and high brow with timeless jokes that make the words easier to remember. They also do an excellent job of using words in a context that is applicable to the GRE vocabulary sections. The types of words they use run the gamut, with no particular focus on one area, making it great for almost every background. Bonus: their obnoxious attention to grammar wears off on you quickly. It’s a great refresher for those who may need some brushing up on things like when to say “who” or “whom” and proper sentence structure.

 

The West Wing

While it’s hard to compete with Frasier in the GRE vocabulary department, The West Wing puts up a fantastic fight. An award winning show with legal and politically oriented GRE words.  You won’t get the same breadth, but the show often sounds like a slightly watered down version of the NYT. It’s also likely that you’ll learn a bit about politics, geography, and if Bartlet has anything to say about it, American history. Great show for those from the physical sciences who likely have little exposure to this type of rhetoric. The West Wing, like Frasier, also has plenty of grammar nazis.

Star Trek: The Next Generation

No, we’re not just putting this on here because here at academical we’re all trekkies (though we are). For humanities and social science students you’re likely to pick up a good amount of science vernacular in this show. Words like “caustic” and “amorphous” will abound, and while most instrumentation is made up, the adjectives for them are not. In episodes with a lot of social interaction or those set in the past you’re also likely to hear words like “affectation” and similar GRE vocabulary words.

 Boston Legal

While the show has some trashy moments, there are still some great words to be learned. Not surprisingly, they tend to reflect a more legal bend, but you’ll get a reasonable cross section. The biggest downside is that the concentration of words tends to be dense and sparse, i.e. you’ll get a highly GRE-oriented 5 minute monologue followed by two episodes of nothing. Still, when you get to hear a word like “fungible” used in a real sentence, it’s kind of exciting.

Honorable Mentions

These shows have a lower density of GRE vocabulary words, but the grammar and narrative are high quality enough that they deserve a mention. Each show has a slightly different focus, so it’s a good idea to pick a show based on what you’re least familiar with to help you with context. For sentence completion the real trick is truly understanding how words are used in real life, making TV a decent tool for developing intuition.
  • The Big Bang Theory
  • X-files
  • House
  • Downton Abbey

 

If you have any suggestions, please leave a comment below!

 

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