On November 30, I wrote the GRE exam. The scores of this exam were necessary for my application to the MPH program. One of the sections for this exam was Verbal Reasoning.

A couple of passages are given to the candidate and questions asked on the purpose of the passage, synonyms, antonyms, and a lot of other vocabulary related questions. I had a study time of 3 days to understand this and the other two sections for the exam. I found the Verbal Reasoning the hardest.

I found my vocabulary is painfully minimal. I did not know synonyms. Words like ” abjure” floored me. ” Equivocate”, a word commonly used in the exam was another word, which try as much as I did, I could not master. Finally from my research background, I tried to understand it as – equity- equal distribution- unable to say which one or which side- and finally the real meaning-intentionally use vague language.

As a non- native English speaker, it seems my vocabulary is not all that it should be. I have been trying to correct this deficit the past days’. I am surprised that for a person who reads books in English by the ton, my vocabulary is extremely deficient. When I write, I notice recently that I struggle for words and when I read back on what I have written, often my sentence constructions are all wrong. It seems I need to do some severe re-doing of my knowledge of English.

I have often found that reading books like P.G. Wodehouse, immediately brings a change in my vocabulary and the speed at which I am able to enunciate my ideas. I am also keeping my GRE preparation book titled ” Essential Words for the GRE” until I can master all the words in said book.

Do you ever feel at a loss for words or synonyms or antonyms ? Is it a problem only for people for whom English is not the first language ?