If you are interested in attending graduate school, you are probably considering taking the GRE. This is a standardized exam that not only tests your knowledge and skills but also reveals your potential when applying to graduate schools. The GRE is divided into several sections: Quantitative, Verbal, and Analytical Writing. Many test-takers tend to focus on the Quantitative Section because quant skills are considered more difficult to develop than verbal skills. However, you should be careful not to overlook the benefits of spending enough time preparing for the Verbal Section of the exam. If you want to crack the GRE Verbal Reasoning section, here are some pro tips on how to do so.
What should you expect on the GRE Verbal Reasoning section?
Before we jump into the tips, let’s briefly go through the types of questions you should expect on this section. The Verbal section of the GRE has three questions types – Reading Comprehension, Text Completion, and Sentence Equivalence questions. These three sections are designed to evaluate your skills of analyzing written data and finding the essence of the given information. Showing prospective graduate schools that you can score high on the verbal section of the GRE exam proves that you can handle a challenge as tough as the graduate school workload. Since the GRE tests your English language and analytical reasoning skills, it is important that you can think outside of the box, interpret information and draw conclusions from any written material that you are given.
1. Work on improving your vocabulary constantly
If you want to ace the GRE Verbal Reasoning section, it is important to make constant efforts to improve your vocabulary. Sometimes, it may be overwhelming to see many unfamiliar words in a text. You may not know where to start. That is why you have to come up with a specific approach for learning new words. For example, while you are reading a book or an article, look out for new words in the text. Whenever you come across a new word, highlight it and write it down in a list. Then check its meaning in a dictionary that provides a border context of the meaning and use of this word. Top dictionaries for learning new words are the Oxford Learning Dictionary and the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary.
When you are finished with the list of new words you found in a text, start memorizing the first few words of this list for the first few days. You should progressively increase the number of words you aim to learn per week. Another interesting approach for learning vocabulary is to use flashcards or apps that in the form of a game will help you expand your vocabulary unconsciously.
2. Read English literature
The GRE Verbal section will test your ability to understand vocabulary in context. You should learn to focus your attention while reading on how certain words are used and how sentences are constructed. This exercise will help you gain a deeper understanding of how English grammar works. There’s no better way to understand and learn how to use new vocabulary. If English is not your first language, we suggest reading your favorite books in English. You have already read them once, so it would be easier for you to focus on the vocabulary and learn new words.
Another effective alternative is reading the news in English from newspaper articles or magazines. While reading, try to understand how a word has been used in a sentence. This can help you crack the Text Completion and Sentence Equivalence sections on the GRE exam. Once you know how a word can be used in the context of a sentence, you can analyze every paragraph easily and find the word that would be the best fit for it.
3. Regularly study for the Verbal Reasoning section while preparing for GRE
Studying regularly is very important if you want to crack the Verbal section. Preparing for this section is a long-term journey which takes more time than just a few days or weeks before the exam. Try improving your English language skills on a daily basis by expanding your vocabulary, reading more, and listening to English speech. Spend a sufficient amount of time on your GRE preparation and you’ll ace this exam!
Understanding the importance of regular and systematic studying for the GRE Verbal Reasoning section is the key to success that will help you deal with any verbal task on the exam day. Improving your vocabulary and developing your reading skills is crucial for scoring high on the GRE. Here at Apex, we know that this may be a challenging task. Hence, we are more than happy to support you on your GRE journey and assist you in every step of the process. You can sign-up for a 30-minute complimentary consultation call with one of our instructors who can help you crack any section of the GRE exam!
Contributor: Diana Materova