reading comprehension gre

GRE Reading Comprehension - Handy Tips

Updated on 20 July, 2022
Mrinal Mandal

Mrinal Mandal

Study Abroad Expert

Before learning about the GRE reading comprehension section in detail, you should get an overview of the examination. The GRE is a globally accepted examination for business and law school admission. The GRE scores are recognized by leading universities across the globe. The reading comprehension GRE is a part of the Verbal Reasoning section. The other sections include Analytical Writing and Quantitative Reasoning.

Reading Comprehension for GRE: Overview

As mentioned earlier, this portion is a part of the Verbal Reasoning section. The entire section aims at testing candidates for their abilities to understand and analyze text while assessing relationships between various words, ideas, concepts, and parts of sentences. You will have to create efficient GRE reading comprehension strategies since this section contains passages on various topics. They may have content from social sciences, biological sciences, physical sciences, humanities, arts, and daily aspects. 

As your GRE reading comprehension practice book will show you, the questions are all about analyzing your skills in reading passages critically and understanding complex concepts. However, the biggest thing to remember is that everything that you need to answer these questions is present in their respective passages. No specialized knowledge is required in this case. 

Question Types

You should closely evaluate the GRE reading comprehension practice questions at the outset. Here are some more details in this regard. The questions are designed to evaluate the various skills of candidates. These include the following: 

  1. Being able to understand the meaning of sentences and words. 
  2. Being able to grasp the meaning of bigger passages and paragraphs. 
  3. Being able to differentiate between key and minor points. 
  4. Being able to summarize passages and draw inferences/conclusions. 
  5. Being able to reason and identify missing information from incomplete material in passages. 
  6. Understanding of textual structures, relationships, assumptions, and authorial perspectives. 
  7. Being able to analyze tests and draw conclusions critically. 
  8. Finding the strengths and negatives in any argument. 
  9. Being able to create alternative opinions, explanations, or positions. 

Hence, the passage questions should be understood and evaluated with care. Every question in this section has a written passage, ranging between one and multiple paragraphs. There are roughly ten such passages in the examination, most of which only have a paragraph or two. Some passages have multiple paragraphs as well. Passages come from various topics, as mentioned earlier. They are usually taken from periodicals, books, and other sources. 

The question count may vary between one and six for any specific passage. Questions may involve asking candidates to find meanings of specific words, analyzing proof for backing/dismantling arguments in the passages, and more. Some questions follow the multiple-choice format as well. You have to choose one correct solution for the same. Some require the selection of multiple correct answers. Some questions may also require the selection of any sentence in the passage as the correct answer.

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GRE Reading Comprehension Tips

Here are some useful GRE reading comprehension tips and tricks that you can follow: 

  • You may come across passages with unfamiliar content. Do not panic in this case. You can answer all the questions with the material already given. Keep these passages for the end, and move on to those you can answer quickly. 
  • Read the passage thoroughly before attempting its questions. Always look out for useful clues which help you understand finer nuances. 
  • Try to separate core/main points from other supporting/accompanying points/concepts. 
  • Try to differentiate between ideas narrated/reported by the author and those advocated by him/her. 
  • Identify concepts shown as speculative or hypothetical by passage authors, and separate them from concepts that the author believes in. 

You should also follow the transitions across passages, identifying relationships between various points. Find supporting and contrasting elements in the passage while reading every question with care and patience.

Know More:

GRE Exam fee in IndiaGRE Exam Registration
Sections in GRE ExamHow to Send Official GRE Scores to Universities
How to Score 170 in GRE QuantHow to Prepare for Verbal in GRE


Frequently Asked Questions

Q. How many reading comprehension questions are on the GRE?

There are approximately five passages for each section. These will come with one to five questions each. Hence, there will be 10 reading comprehension questions in the GRE. You can expect 10 passages with varying lengths and paragraphs.

Q. How to improve reading comprehension for GRE?

You can follow several handy tips for improving your performance in the reading comprehension section. You should read passages with care, emphasizing the introduction and conclusion. Try to understand the context, core points, relationships between ideas, and positions adopted by the author. Understand what the question wants you to do.

Q. How to crack reading comprehension in GRE?

You can try reading passages in detail to get the summary/main concept. You should always focus on answering passages that are more familiar and easier to answer. Keep the unfamiliar or tougher ones for the end. Depend only on information available in the passage. Do not bring in your perceptions or outside data if you can help.

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