GRE Vocabulary

I have been spending a little time working on preparing for the GRE by learning its vocabulary. I am having a little difficulty with it because I have not really had to artificially expand my vocabulary in a while, usually words just come naturally to me, but these aren’t like that. I usually do pretty well with words when I can identify their root word, but these are words that don’t have the benefit of an identifiable root (words like ‘panegyric’, ‘skullduggery’ and ‘cacophonous’). The words that really fluster me are the short ones, like ‘agog’, which apparently means highly excited. I don’t see something like ‘agog’ and see excited, I look at it and I see something that seems more like a phrase to describe muddy water. I do wonder why we have so many words that mean nearly the same thing.

I feel a bit like I’m back in 3rd grade again. I used to love working with words, and in some ways I suppose I still do, but I’m in a bit of a time crunch and I can’t just pick up one or two at a time and try to work with them. I suspect the best way for me to work through these words is to simply start using them. That seems to be the only aegis against a horrible GRE score. I have nothing against learning the words at all, I’m just aghast that I won’t be able to. I would very much like to learn these words in such a way that they coalesce into my normal vocabulary so that I may in general be better at communication. Presently, I am trying to recall all of those little techniques that I used to use to try to memorize new words and to expand my vocabulary.

If anyone has any tips on how to learn words, I’m listening.