For CAT, a good vocabulary is very essential, although CAT does not test candidates on their knowledge of difficult words directly.
This is because the passages and answer options given in the Reading Comprehension section may have some difficult words. Not knowing their meaning could decrease the candidate’s ability to understand the passage.
Questions based on testing one’s vocabulary – the plain “synonym – antonym” questions used to appear in CAT in the early 2000’s; these have become very rare over the past 10 years. Although a good vocabulary definitely helps in handling CAT, purely vocab-based questions are almost non-existent these days.
An innovative way to remember the meanings of certain words is to know their origin. Quite a few words have an interesting origin, and there is a story, legend or myth associated with them. A number of words come to us from Roman or Greek mythology.
Very often, we find that we remember the story more than the meaning and that it helps us recall the meaning of the word itself.