5 GRE Memorization Technique
Posted on
Apr 2022

5 GRE Memorization Techniques

Preparing for the GRE exam requires dedication, constant effort, and determination in order for one to achieve a satisfactory score. While there is theoretical knowledge that should be acquired and cannot be neglected, there are a few tips and tricks that you can learn relatively easily. The latter can save you some precious time so that you can focus on what is more difficult for you on the exam. Our tutors at Apex are 700+ scoring professionals who tailor their approach according to the mental and cognitive abilities of each client. Through this method of Cognitive Empathy, they help our clients learn tips on how to deal with the GRE exam and find simple solution pathways. Here are four of these GRE memorization techniques that our clients are taught.

1. Memorize the answer layout.

Some question types have the same responses. On the GRE, answers to the Data Completion Questions are presented in the same way. These being: 

  1. Quantity A is greater.
  2. Quantity B is greater.
  3. The two quantities are equal.
  4. The relationship cannot be determined from the information given.

As a test prepper, you can memorize these statements, given they remain the same throughout the entire GRE. We suggest memorizing a more simple form of these answer types. For example: 

  1. A is bigger
  2. B is bigger
  3. Both are equal
  4. Cannot know 

By using this as a memorization technique it will cut down on the time you spend on the test. You won’t need to reread the answer types each time you come in contact with them. 

2. Practice the vocabulary in everyday life.

Specialists argue that people can easily improve their English language skills if they broaden the size of their vocabulary by transferring words from their passive to active vocabulary. When a person knows what a certain word means but doesn’t ever use it in everyday life, this word is in their passive vocabulary. Once this word gets used when speaking or writing, it can be easily recalled from memory whenever it is needed. In this way, people can learn to use the word in a sentence while also considering the appropriate context and suitable collocations. This can be an immense benefit when preparing for the GRE, as the vocabulary section on the exam is quite challenging.

What many people do and what we would also suggest is using flashcards for memorizing the words and engraining them in your memory. Then commit to using a handful of them during the week. You can also keep a notebook with the most difficult terms, their dictionary definitions, and examples to revert back to them as your vocabulary grows.

3. Use Acronyms and Mnemonics.

If you are a couple of years out of school or if you are just having a hard time remembering mathematical concepts and formulas, the Quantitative portion on the GRE can seem like a daunting task. We understand this, which is why we avoid using math on the GRE all together! But sometimes, the best path is the most direct. Remember some basic math equations and formulas using the following tricks: 

  • Simple Interest Formula
    • Interest = principal x rate x time 
    • I = prt 
    • Remember the equation as: I am Pretty! 
  • Distance Formula 
    • Distance = rate x time
    • D = rt
    • This equation can be remembered as the word: dirt
  • Linear Equation
    • Y = mx + b 
    • B for begin / M for move 
    • To graph a line, begin at the B-value and move according to the m-value (slope) 
  • Multiplying Binomials 
    • (x – a)(x + b) 
    • Remember FOIL for the order: 
      • First
      • Outside
      • Inside
      • Last 
  • Order of Operations
    • When answering an equation which looks something like this: 7 x (4 / 6) + 2 = remember: PEMDAS or Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally 
    • Parentheses 
    • Exponents 
    • Multiplication
    • Division
    • Addition
    • Subtraction

4. Apply a visual meaning to things.

It is a common fact that people’s brains process visual stimulation much faster than textual information. That is why some people who have superior visual memory can recall visual information easily. Their brains have established relations between visual objects and data. This type of memory is very important when it comes to many academic tasks including doing reading comprehension exercises and mathematical operations. Naturally, it can be used on the GRE as well. So, if you are one of these people, or if you have never consciously used your visual memory to your advantage, this is your sign to try.

While studying, look at what is around you and apply meaning to objects. For example, when you are working on a particular math problem, stare at the radiator in your room. Then, during the exam (if you are taking the GRE online), look at the radiator once you come in contact with a similar problem. This trick will help your brain in remembering what you learned beforehand. If you are taking the GRE onsite, consider pieces of clothes or jewelry which you will wear during your test. Perhaps fiddle with a ring on your finger while memorizing words, or wear a favorite sweater which you associate with certain mnemonic devices.

5. Apply the knowledge you are learning often.

Reading information out of a textbook and taking notes is the approach most people have when learning. Although this may seem useful, people seem to forget most of the information they read about. For this reason, applying what you just read about in real life can be very useful. One way to do this is to practice doing questions in different locations – at a restaurant, while riding into work, while cooking dinner, etc. This will challenge your brain to think strategically in various situations and prepare it for the dynamic environment of the testing facility. You can do this both with the quantitative and qualitative portions of the exam. Plus it would look extra cool if you are seen jotting math equations down on a napkin while waiting for your food at a restaurant. 

These GRE memorization techniques may seem straightforward, but they require work. However, hard work does pay off in the long run! The amount of work you put into your studying can dictate where you end up attending school, and thus the job you receive after graduating. While you are not your GRE, your test score does play a large role in your overall application to your dream school! If you are looking for extra help in preparing for the GRE, we offer extensive one-on-one tutoring with high-achieving clients. You can schedule a complimentary, 30-minute consultation call with one of our tutors to learn more! 

Contributor: Dana Coggio

Read more
GRE Verbal Reasoning Section
Posted on
Feb 2022

How To Crack The GRE Verbal Reasoning Section?

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!


To Review 

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

Read more
GRE Verbal Section
Posted on
Jan 2022

GRE Verbal Section – All You Need To Know

The business world is dominated by numbers, charts, and graphs. Thus, most business school hopefuls understandably focus on developing their analytical thinking and math skills when preparing for the GRE exam. But it’s a mistake to neglect the GRE verbal section. Effective GRE test prep requires a balanced, well-rounded approach.

Here’s what you need to know about the GRE verbal reasoning section. 

What is the GRE verbal section and what does it test for?

The verbal section of GRE primarily evaluates the test taker’s overall command of standard written English, their ability to analyze and evaluate arguments, and critical reading skills. As such, the verbal section is made up of three types of problems: reading comprehension, text correction, and sentence equivalence

The 3 sections have a total of 36 questions, with a time limit of 65 minutes. This leaves, on average, 1 minute and 50 seconds per question.

How Is GRE Verbal Section Scored?

The verbal section of GRE, like the quantitative section, is evaluated on a scale of 130 to 170 in one point increments. A 162 on Verbal and a 166 on Quant is considered an excellent score – it is a 90th percentile score that will be competitive for most graduate programs. 

“What are GRE percentiles?” you may ask. Basically, the GRE ranks test takers by percentile. The percentile system uses GRE scores from the previous three years to calculate how applicants performed compared to their peers. For example, if an applicant scores in the 80th percentile, it means he or she performed better than 80% of test takers over the last three years. 

Although the GRE scaled scores don’t change over time, the percentiles do. Graduate schools assess both the scaled and percentile scores to get an adequate understanding of the applicant’s strengths and weaknesses. 

Language on the GRE Verbal Section

The language on the verbal section is more sophisticated and academic than what is used in everyday vocabulary. If you aren’t accustomed to reading formal English, your verbal prep might require some extra time and energy. 

It will be easier to identify errors, main points, and bias statements once you’ve trained your ear to formal English. Practice reading formal texts efficiently and effectively, and avoid vernacular texts. Instead, choose sources that are known for using elevated writing styles, such as The New Yorker or The New York Times. 

GRE Reading Comprehension

The reading comprehension subsection of GRE evaluates not only the candidate’s understanding of words and statements, but more importantly, the underlying logic behind them.
In this subsection, you’ll find passages of texts followed by several questions about the text’s details and implications. Some passages draw from various disciplines, such as the physical, biological, or social sciences, while others refer to business-related fields. 

Here are some tips to make the process less tedious and more efficient:

  1. Read the whole passage without taking too much time to memorize details
  2. Analyze the logical structure of the passage
  3. Ask yourself:
  • What’s the main argument?
  • What does the author state explicitly? What is implied?
  • How would you describe the author’s tone and attitude?

Keep an eye out for opinionated words–for example, “clearly,” “obviously,” or “apparently”–these words hint at the author’s attitudes, and they’ll help you suss out the main point. 

GRE Text Completion

Text Completion is another subsection of GRE consisting of questions designed to test candidates’ abilities to build coherent and meaningful sentences. What test-takers should do is to read short passages that miss crucial words in them. Then, based on the remaining information, they need to choose the word or short phrase that would best fit the blank and thus, construct clear and logical texts.

Here are a few tips to nail the GRE Text Completion subsection: 

  • Don’t focus only on the sentence with the blank space, read through the whole passage to learn the context.
  • Don’t waste too much time on the first blank – if you can’t think of anything at the moment, continue filling the rest and then come back to it.
  • Keep an eye on words like although, therefore, as they are connective words setting the direction of the passages.

GRE Sentence Equivalence

Similarly, the sentence equivalence subsection of the GRE aims at assessing a candidate’s ability to formulate a meaningful “whole” by choosing the proper way to fill in the blank spaces. Test-takers will have to complete a sentence by choosing two of the six answer options to fit one blank. The two words must be synonyms and lead to the constructing of a sentence with, more or less, the same meaning. No credit is provided for partially correct answers. 

Here are some tips to consider while doing the GRE sentence equivalence subsection:

  • First and foremost, you need to equip yourself with rich vocabulary, as you need to identify perfect synonyms. 
  • As there may be more than one set of synonyms among the answers, make sure that the words chosen by you are appropriate for filling in the blank.
  • After you’ve made your choice, make sure to read the sentence again in order to ensure it is grammatically and logically coherent.


Taking the GRE quantitative section into account, there are a number of score combinations that will lead to the same overall score, which leaves plenty of room to maneuver. However, given the rise in GRE quantitative scores in recent years, total scores and percentile rankings have shifted. This gives candidates an opportunity to boost their overall scores by mastering the verbal section of the GRE.


Contributor: Bilhen Sali

Read more
How To GRE Verbal Like An Expert
Posted on
Nov 2021

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

Read more