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Building up GMAT Vocab, one email at a time....

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Building up GMAT Vocab, one email at a time.... [#permalink] New post 11 Mar 2010, 21:08
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For what it's worth, a word a day may help build GMAT vocab....

Recently I've found through a friend a few websites that offer to send subscribers one word to their email box daily. As I'm stuck at LAX for an extended period, thought I may as well check them out. Full Disclosure: this is completely my own opinion / I'm getting no compensation or anything for this.

For background, thought this would an effortless, low-intensity way for people who need to build up their vocabulary but are otherwise busy with work and life. If you have more than just a few months, then this might be worth it as a low-stress way to learn a lot of new words that may help for GMAT prep. Disclaimer: these websites are all dedicated to people who love vocabulary ("word nerds"), and not necessarily dedicated for GMAT per se. But I figure why not -- one can probably judge for themselves if a word is too easy or too esoteric.

The first one I'm looking at is Merriam-Webster >>
- Main Page = http://www.merriam-webster.com/cgi-bin/mwwod.pl
- Archive = http://www.merriam-webster.com/cgi-bin/wodcalendar.pl
- Sign Up = http://www.merriam-webster.com/word/subscribe.htm

All in all, the words seem to be a good mix of easy / medium / hard. Several of them (like today's word - "will-o'-the-wisp") are interesting to know about but probably not GMAT material. One interesting thing is that they even dedicate a daily podcast to their word of the day, but it's basically just the explanation you'll find in the website or email -- helpful if you're an auditory learner, otherwise adds little value. The "Did you know?" section is more or less a history of the word -- interesting reading and perhaps a good tool for remembering a word, but not as useful as the explanation and example sentence.

Posts 2 (Dictionary.com) and 3 (Wordsmith) coming up....
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Re: Building up GMAT Vocab, one email at a time (Post 2).... [#permalink] New post 11 Mar 2010, 21:28
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Next is Dictionary.com >>
- Main Page = http://dictionary.reference.com/wordoftheday/
- Archive = http://dictionary.reference.com/wordoftheday/archive/
- Sign Up = http://dictionary.reference.com/wordoftheday/list/

Like Merriam Webster, but quite a lot more varied and interesting. These guys are for serious word nerds. They have links to synonyms and related searches as well as many example sentences as well as a lot more explanation for contextualisation. You really can get quite a lot vocab-wise from this site in general. Some other neat features --
- They have grammar help too >> http://dictionary.reference.com/writing/ (all links; English Zone is the best of them)
- Word games >> http://dictionary.reference.com/fun/ (if you need a breather)
- A Podcast that's more than just rehash >> http://dictionary.reference.com/features/podcasts.html (but not GMAT-focused per se)
- Forums! We all know how useful Gmat Club is; 'nuff said if you need help with vocab >> http://forums.delphiforums.com/dictionary/start/

Given the above, I suspect this one will be my preferred source. One more post to go....
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Re: Building up GMAT Vocab, one email at a time.... [#permalink] New post 11 Mar 2010, 21:30
Expert's post
Thank you - I think this will definitely be helpful to some international folks.
I do have to crash the party a bit - GMAC ran a research study on the correlation between studying vocabulary words (fancy ones such as for GRE) and GMAT results and did not find any correlation between studying vocabulary and GMAT performance - that is for Native speakers.

However, if you are not a native speaker - absolutely use any opportunity to improve your english vocab.
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Re: Building up GMAT Vocab, one email at a time (Post 3).... [#permalink] New post 11 Mar 2010, 21:40
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Last (but perhaps not least) is Wordsmith >>
- Main Page = http://wordsmith.org/words/today.html
- Archive = http://wordsmith.org/awad/archives.html
- Sign Up = http://wordsmith.org/awad/sub.html

Run by a guy named Anu Garg who's apparently quite famous in the English language world. More basic than Dictionary.com, but slightly better than M-W due to a more comprehensive archive and a bulletin board (http://wordsmith.org/board/). Words tend to be harder from this email. It's also easier to catch up if you miss an email or two through the "this week's words" section. There are some tougher ones from this email than the others -- this week's "trichotillomania" for instance. One unique feature is the use of a "theme" for each week's word selections -- perhaps a good memory aid.

Well, those are the best sites / daily emails I've found so far. Hopefully helpful to people trying to build up their vocabulary for GMAT or otherwise. Any and all feedback is welcome. Happy studying!
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Re: Building up GMAT Vocab, one email at a time.... [#permalink] New post 12 Mar 2010, 08:15
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I have to agree with bb on this one.

For the purposes of preparing for GMAT, you should not waste your time studying vocabulary.

Sure, for the sake of improving your English and understanding of more sophisticated passages, studying vocabulary will help. But if your focus is on GMAT performance, you should focus your time on recognizing idiomatic expressions and getting yourself familiar with different ways to express the same idea. Different sentence structures can convey different subtleties--and that comes with practice and exposure to various writing styles.

Since most people operate on a limited time budget, we do not recommend you spend time on vocabulary books with the intent of improving your score unless you want to improve your overall English ability for reasons outside of the GMAT.
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Re: Building up GMAT Vocab, one email at a time....   [#permalink] 12 Mar 2010, 08:15
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