GRE Verbal Questions – Expert Tips On How To Solve Them

The Graduate Record Examinations, also known as the GRE, is a standardized exam done for the purpose to assess the test taker’s ability to think outside the box when it comes to analytical writing, mathematics, and vocabulary. The majority of GRE test takers are students looking into Business Schools and in some cases Law Schools and also students considering  Master’s ( M.A., M.S., M.Ed.), MBA’s, or Doctorate (Ph.D., Ed.D.).

Now, what is the GRE made up of? The GRE consists of three main sections: Analytical Writing Assessment, Quantitative, and Verbal. All these sections sum up to a total score of a minimum of 260 and a maximum of 340. To break it up, each section of the GRE takes up a specific percentage out of the total score. Both the Verbal and the Quantitative Reasoning scorer lay on a 130-170 score scale, in 1-point increments. The Analytical Writing, however, lays on a 0-6 score scale, in half-point increments. 

In today’s read, our main focus will be on the GRE’s Verbal Section and questions.

The GRE Verbal Section

The GRE Verbal section consists of around 20 questions that need to be completed within 30 minutes. This leaves you with approximately between one minute to four minutes per question, depending on the question type. The order in which the question types appear is as follows:

  • Text Completion
  • Reading Comprehension
  • Sentence Equivalence

1. GRE Verbal – Text Completion Questions

For these GRE Verbal questions, you are provided with a small passage made up of one to six sentences, with one to three blank spaces to fill in. It is asked of you to fill in the blank space with the most suitable option provided to you. When it comes to the forms in which these questions can come in, there are two distinctive forms. In that passage, you might have three blank spaces to fill in, and for that, there is a list of three options to choose from per blank space. You can also come across questions that have one blank space per passage. To fill it in, you are given a list of five options. In both cases, there is only one right answer.

Here, your ability to interpret and understand the full picture is tested. You are expected to fully comprehend what you are given so that you can put the missing pieces together and still get a harmonious passage.

Example

In parts of the Arctic, the land grades into the landfast ice so _______ that you can walk off the coast and not know you are over the hidden sea.

(A) permanently
(B) imperceptibly
(C) irregularly
(D) precariously
(E) relentlessly

Correct Answer:  B

Apex’s Expert Tips

  • Before anything, take a step back and make sure that the whole passage’s idea makes sense to you. Do you feel like all the points are clear to you? Do you feel confident in completing the sentence? This is important because your answers are fully based on your understanding of the passage. If you missed the passage’s main purpose, chances are, you missed the points to its questions too. 
  • While reading, in your own words, try to predict what might come next in the passage. Try to complete the text while reading and see if the harmony is still there. When you’re done with that, move on to the next step, and try to link your predictions for the text completion with the options given. If you could not find the exact same completion, choose the option with the closest concept. Trust your gut. 

2. GRE Verbal – Reading Comprehension Questions

These types of questions come in three different forms, which are:

a. Select-in-Passage: This form of question requires your referral back to the given passage for the reason of direct extraction. That means you have to select a sentence directly from the given passage that best suits a certain description that you are asked to substitute.

b. Multiple-Choice Questions – Select One Answer: The classical and traditional multiple-choice questions you are used to with five answer options for you to choose from.

c. Multiple-Choice Questions – Select One or More Answers: This last form of Reading Comprehension questions gives you a list of three answer options, and you are asked to select all the answers that you think are correct and suitable. This means that your selected answers can be one, two, or even three.

All these questions are there to evaluate your ability to summarize, identify writers’ points of view, understand larger pieces of text, draw conclusions, and to be able to reason from given information.

Example

Questions 1 to 3 are based on this passage

Reviving the practice of using elements of popular music in classical composition, an approach that had been in hibernation in the United States during the 1960s, composer Philip Glass (born 1937) embraced the ethos of popular music in his compositions. Glass based two symphonies on music by rock musicians David Bowie and Brian Eno, but the symphonies’ sound is distinctively his. Popular elements do not appear out of place in Glass’s classical music, which from its early days has shared certain harmonies and rhythms with rock music. Yet this use of popular elements has not made Glass a composer of popular music. His music is not a version of popular music packaged to attract classical listeners; it is high art for listeners steeped in rock rather than the classics.

Select only one answer choice.

1. The passage addresses which of the following issues related to Glass’s use of popular elements in his classical compositions?

A. How it is regarded by listeners who prefer rock to the classics
B. How it has affected the commercial success of Glass’s music

C. Whether it has contributed to a revival of interest among other composers in using popular elements in their compositions
D. Whether it has had a detrimental effect on Glass’s reputation as a composer of classical music
E. Whether it has caused certain of Glass’s works to be derivative in quality

Consider each of the three choices separately and select all that apply. 

2. The passage suggests that Glass’s work displays which of the following qualities?

A. A return to the use of popular music in classical compositions
B. An attempt to elevate rock music to an artistic status more closely approximating that of classical music
C. A long-standing tendency to incorporate elements from two apparently disparate musical styles

3. Select the sentence that distinguishes two ways of integrating rock and classical music.

Correct Answers:
1. E
2. A and C

3. The correct answer is the last sentence of the passage.

Apex’s Expert Tips

  • When answering, try to derive the answer from the basis of the information given. This means that no outside knowledge is needed nor accepted.  Make sure that you try to find the answers from the provided information. You might feel like the presented views in the passage are the exact opposite of yours, and for that reason, go into the exam with an open mind and expect to encounter different points of view.
  • These types of questions revolve around different and variant topics like sciences, business, art and humanities, and/ or recent topics that can be academic or nonacademic. If by any chance you were unfamiliar with the material provided, don’t panic! All the questions asked can be answered nonetheless. Keep in mind, though, if you feel like the passage is too difficult for you, save it for last and move on to the next question.

3. GRE Verbal – Sentence Equivalence Questions

These types of questions can seem a little similar to the Sentence Equivalence questions. That being said, these two question types assess your ability to draw conclusions and test your capabilities to be able to complete passages while being given only partial information.  

Sentence Equivalence Questions include a single sentence, accompanied by one blank to fill. You are asked to choose the best two options that would complete the sentence’s coherence and main point from a list of six options.

 These types of questions examine your capability when it comes to conclusion making, and your ability to focus on the sentence’s meaning as a whole. They train you to look at the bigger picture but still keep an eye out for smaller details. 

Example

It was her view that the country’s problems had been _______ by foreign technocrats, so that to ask for such assistance again would be counterproductive.

A. ameliorated
B. ascertained
C. diagnosed
D. exacerbated
E. overlooked
F. worsened

Correct Answers: D and F

Apex’s Expert Tips

  • Try your best to understand the main ideas mentioned in the sentences. However, here it is mostly important to understand the whole idea at hand, by making out bullet points that can summarize the whole idea provided. Through that, the right answer will become clearer. 
  • Make sure that the pair of words you have selected makes sense and can still produce harmony and coherence in that sentence. Substitute both words in the sentence before making your final decision. Don’t rush.

To Conclude

All the information mentioned above might seem overwhelming and you might be getting ahead of yourself, but with practice and dedication, everything is possible. Stay grounded and get to know your strengths and weaknesses and get ready with your GRE preparation schedule accordingly. Do not miss any chance you get to learn and grow even more.

Here at ApexGMAT, we understand how this journey can get a little challenging and sometimes frustrating. That is why we stand by our students and support them each step of the way. 

Do not miss the chance to talk to our instructors in a 30-minute complimentary call now!

 

Contirbutor: Lilas Al-Sammak

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