How To GRE Verbal Like An Expert

If you are interested in attending graduate school, it may be mandatory to take the GRE. This standardized exam tests your capabilities as a student and lets prospective schools know how well you may function during your graduate studies. The GRE is split up into numerous sections: Quantitative, Verbal, and Analytical Writing. Often, test takers tend to spend the most time on the Quantitative Section, as proficient quant skills are more difficult to establish than verbal skills. However, it is important not to overlook the benefit of studying for the verbal section of the GRE exam. In order to Verbal Like an Expert, you need to fully understand the sections, question types, and layout of the GRE Verbal section. 

GRE Verbal Section

The Verbal section of the GRE has three questions types. These include:

    • Reading Comprehension
    • Text Completion 
    • Sentence Equivalence 

These three sections have been meticulously designed to measure your ability to analyze and break down written data while synthesizing the information garnered from the passages/sentences/paragraphs. The aspects of the GRE verbal sections are meant to imitate the types of verbal work often confronted in graduate-level work. Showing prospective graduate schools that you are proficient in the verbal portion of the GRE shows admissions committees that you can handle the difficult and strenuous nature of the graduate school workload. This includes thinking ‘outside the box’ while drawing conclusions and interpreting information from the given material. 

Reading Comprehension

During graduate school students are confronted with words and phrases not common in the English vocabulary. From reading scholarly works to writing academic essays many pages in length, being able to use archaic and uncommon words in the correct way is essential to doing well not only on the GRE but also in graduate school and the professional world. 

The structure of the reading comprehension section contains around 10 different passages varying in length and topic. Including passages ranging from a paragraph in length to numerous sections. The content of these written passages encompass topics ranging from biology to humanities. The verbal comprehension tests your ability to: 

    • Understand and interpret words, sentences, paragraphs, and passages
    • Summarize texts and differentiate their main points
    • Drawing conclusions, reasoning, and inferring missing information
    • Analyze the assumptions and perspectives from authors 
    • Interpret strengths and weaknesses of an argument 
    • Consider various explanation 

These skills are tested through a number of questions based on the passages. The majority of these questions are multiple-choice questions. At times the questions are asked in a format where you are required to select multiple correct answers out of a list of potential answers or where you have to select a particular sentence from a given passage. 

Text Completion

As the title suggests, in the text completion section test takers are asked to complete a portion of a sentence or passage with the correct word. This assesses your ability to create a coherent sentence using uncommon words or phrases. The question structure of this section uses a passage template of one to five sentences each composed of one to three blanks. Per each blank, test takers have five different answer choices to choose from. 

When answering text completion sentences remember that credit is given per each blank. These blanks are scored independently of each other meaning an answer given in the first section of the passage does not affect the answer of the last portion. Tips for completing the text completion section include:

    • Answer the blanks as a complete set as opposed to answering each blank individually 
    • Make sure to pay attention to the grammar and style of the passage when deciding on your selection. 

Sentence Equivalence

On the sentence equivalency section test takers should be able to properly draw conclusions from given information. The structure of the section includes a sentence with a single blank and six potential answers where you need to select two proper answers. Test takers need to be able to discern the correct choice so that they formulate a sentence that is coherent and complete. When completing a sentence equivalence question be sure to read the sentence all the way through. Fill in the blank with a word that you believe fits best, basing the second answer off of the first answer choice you have chosen. Often, the GRE has question pairs as part of the potential answer in an effort to throw the test taker off. Once you have selected the potential answers, be sure to read through the sentence one last time to be sure the words fit properly. 

To Conclude

Excelling on the verbal reasoning portion of the GRE may appear as less of a challenge than the Quant portion of the exam. However, it is vital to do your due diligence when studying for the GRE. The Verbal Section is important for all future graduate students. Applicants must be able to show admissions committees that they can interpret the works of scholars and draw unique conclusions. This is especially true for anyone hoping to enter into the social science and humanity fields. We offer help with future GRE test takers at any point of their studying timeline. To learn more about how we can help you excel on the GRE and obtain admission to a top graduate program, visit us at our website.


Contributor: Dana Coggio

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