gre verbal reasoning

How to Ace GRE Verbal Reasoning?

Updated on 14 July, 2022
Mrinal Mandal

Mrinal Mandal

Study Abroad Expert

Before understanding the GRE verbal reasoning section, here are some important pieces of information about the examination. The GRE examination is globally accepted at most universities for admission into graduate-school programs, encompassing both business/management and law. The verbal reasoning GRE section is only a single part of the test. GRE measures candidates' abilities in quantitative reasoning, verbal reasoning, analytical writing, and critical thinking.

GRE Verbal Reasoning Overview

The Verbal Reasoning section analyzes the capabilities of candidates regarding the evaluation and analysis of written content and their powers of information synthesis. It also examines their abilities to understand relationships between component aspects of sentences and identify the inherent connections between concepts and words. The GRE verbal reasoning questions come in several types and formats. 

About 50% of the examination will have candidates reading passages and then answering questions related to the same. The other part requires reading, interpreting, and completing existing sentences, groups, or even paragraphs.

GRE Verbal Reasoning Syllabus

The syllabus comprises the following types of questions:

1. Reading Comprehension

2. Sentence Equivalence

3. Text Completion

The syllabus should ideally include verbs, tenses, adjectives, nouns, pronouns, sentence structures, pronoun agreements, idioms, and modifiers, along with idiomatic expressions, verb-subject agreements, and parallelism. You will see these play a vital role when you start solving GRE verbal reasoning practice questions.

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Types of Questions

Reading Comprehension

These questions are tailored to examine the abilities of candidates concerning reading and understanding the passage along with ensuring the following:

1. Understanding individual sentences and words and their meanings.

2. Understanding paragraph meanings and also more significant text portions.

3. Providing summaries of passages.

4. Demarcating between major and minor aspects.

5. Reasoning and finding missing data.

6. Understanding textual structure and relationships.

7. Drawing conclusions from given information.

8. Textual analysis and conclusions.

9. Recognizing any position and its inherent advantages/disadvantages.

10. Creating alternative positions/explanations.

Every question may be based on a passage which could be a single paragraph or even multiple paragraphs. There are 10 passages usually for the examination, most of which have one paragraph each in terms of their length. Passages come from subjects that are both non-academic and academic. They cover disciplines like humanities, daily aspects, periodicals, books, social sciences, biological sciences, physical sciences, arts, and business.

Approximately 50% of the questions in the test will be based on given passages, and the question count could be 1-6 for any given passage. Questions may include providing word meanings to analyzing evidence for strengthening or weakening any position/point in the passages and so on. Many are multiple-choice queries. You may have to choose either a single or multiple answers.

Text Completion

The question structure is the following:

1. 1-5 sentences in passages.

2. 1-3 blanks.

3. Three answer options for every blank.

4. Answer options for various blanks independently function.

5. Single correct answer, comprising one choice for every blank and zero credit for partially correct answers.

The questions test the ability of aspirants by removing vital words from shorter passages and asking aspirants to use the information that remains in the passage as a foundation for choosing phrases/words for filling up the blanks and creating a meaningful passage in all.

Sentence Equivalence

These questions cover the capabilities of aspirants to achieve conclusions on how the passage should be finished based on partly-available information and also emphasize the meaning of the completed whole portion. There will be a single sentence with only a blank, and you will have to discover two choices that ensure a full and coherent sentence while generating sentences with the same meaning. The structure of the question is the following:

1. Single sentence.

2. One Blank.

3. Six answer options.

You will have to choose two out of the available choices for answers without any credits for answers which are partly correct.

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Tips for GRE Verbal Reasoning

● Always skim through the entire passage to absorb its essence and avoid trying to factor various answer combinations. It will only take up your time.

● Recognize and mark words/phrases which seem more important.

● Attempt to fill up the blanks with words/phrases that may complete the same and then check whether any similar words are in the choices.

● Do not blindly seek two words with the same meaning in the Sentence Equivalence questions. They may not always be the right fit for the given passage. The pair of words that make up the answer may not always have the same meaning.

● Every choice of yours should lead to a grammatically correct and logically understandable sentence.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Q. What is the verbal section in GRE?

The verbal reasoning section tracks the ability of candidates to understand and analyze written text and then identify relationships among concepts and words. It also tests their abilities to analyze the intricate relationships among the components and portions of sentences while also evaluating their powers of information synthesis.

Q. Is the verbal section of the GRE hard?

Many aspirants consider this portion the hardest in the GRE examination. This could also be comparatively easier for candidates with a good vocabulary and grasp of grammar, words, sentences, and passages.

Q. How long is the verbal section GRE?

You will have to complete the section within a maximum duration of 30 minutes.

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