Complete Guide for GRE Verbal Reasoning Section.

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The Verbal Reasoning section is designed to assess your written comprehension material and your ability to evaluate it. The GRE Verbal Reasoning test also measures your skill in analyzing sentence structure and your understanding of relationships between words and concepts.

Duration 30 minutes in Computer-delivered test and 35 minutes in the paper-delivered test
Number of questions asked 20 questions in Computer-delivered test and 25 questions in the paper-delivered test


Skills required for the Verbal section

The important thing to remember is that the questions should be understood fully, and then attempted. The GRE verbal section requires you to have 

  • Logical skills and reasoning. 
  • Ability to figure out the conclusion from the passages and given information.
  • The skill of finding out a relationship between the given passages and concepts.

Get here the complete list of useful preparation materials for the GRE exam: GRE Preparation Books and other Materials

Types of Questions in GRE Verbal Reasoning Section 

The Verbal Reasoning section consists of three types of questions. They are as mentioned below:

Reading Comprehension

In Reading Comprehension question you will be given passages which may have one paragraph to several paragraphs each. Passages are drawn from the physical sciences, social sciences, biological sciences, business, arts and humanities and day-to-day topics and are based on material found in books and periodicals, both academic and nonacademic. Reading comprehension has three question formats: 

  1. Multiple Choice Question in which you have to select one answer 
  2. Multiple Choice in which you have to select one or more answers
  3. Select-in-passage asks students to select one sentence in the passage that meets the description posed in the question.

Sentence Equivalence

Sentence Equivalence Questions asks you to fill one blank with two correct answers of a single sentence. You will be given six answer choices to select any 2 of them which may fit in the blank. To gain the score for a correct answer your both choices must be correct, you will not gain partial credit for selecting only one of the two correct fill-in choices. To choose the correct answer, candidates must select the two words from given choices which complete the sentence, fit its meaning, and build completed sentences that are similar in meaning.

Text Completion

Questions in text completion consist of a passage of 1-5 sentences with 1-3 blanks in it. There are 3 answers per blank, or 5 answers if there is only one blank. There is one correct answer, among them consisting of one choice for each blank. Partially correct answers will not be given any credit. Do not think that you need to fill the blanks in order, it may be easier to fill the last blank first, or to work from the middle. Nevertheless of your answer order, make sure that each word selection contributes to reconstructing a sensible and meaningful passage.

If you have any doubt regarding the GRE exam, get all your answers here: Frequently Asked Questions of GRE

Tips for the Verbal Reasoning Section of GRE

Here we have mentioned few tips for your verbal reasoning section:

Tips for reading comprehension section

  • Be sure to read and analyze passages carefully before attempting to answer the questions
  • Try to differentiate main ideas from supporting ideas or evidence
  • Try to recognise the main transitions from one idea to another.
  • Identify the connections between different ideas: 
  1. Whether one supports the other
  2. Do they contrast or are they consistent?
  3. If one applies to the other in a particular circumstance; 
  • Make sure to understand exactly what is being asked of you by reading the questions carefully.
  • The question should be answered based on the information given in the passage. No outside knowledge should be used. It is possible that your opinions may conflict with the information in the passage if so, ensure you work within the context of the passage. 
  • Focus on linking words used, as they may help you establish a structure within the texts. Examples of linking words include Yet, But, However, On the other hand, In contrast, In addition, Firstly/secondly, In conclusion, etc

Tips for text completion section

  • To get an overall sense of the passage, be sure to read it through carefully.
  • Pay attention to words or phrases that seem particularly significant. They may highlight passage structure, words like moreover, however, although etc or they may be central to understanding the context of the passage.
  • You don’t have to fill the given blanks in order. Read the passage to see which is easiest to fill, and continue by answering them.
  • Once you have completed the section, check the passage is coherent and stylistically and grammatically correct.

Tips for the sentence equivalence section

  • Read the given sentence to get an overall idea of it.
  • First, try to fill the blank with your own word. When you read the sentence for the first time, think of the word to fill in the blank by your own. Do this before going through the answer choices. This method can help you eliminate wrong answer choices and home-in on the correct ones.
  • Don’t assume that the correct word pair will be perfect synonyms. The two correct choices will provide words that are similar in meaning but it is not necessary to be synonymous. 
  • Try to fill the given blank with a word that looks appropriate. Check whether the two similar words are there in the given answer choices. If one word is similar to what you have thought of, but you can’t find a second one, don’t keep fixed on your thoughts, instead, check whether the other answer choices can be used to fill the blank.

You need to know this for gaining high score: Do’s and don’ts for the GRE

General tips for the Verbal Reasoning Section of GRE

  • Know your vocabulary

To do well on the GRE you have to know your vocabulary. There are plenty of lists of the words which can help you out. Additionally, ensure to learn how to go about learning GRE vocabulary. Reading the list of words simply won’t help you out, you have to got have vocabulary study strategies. Here we have brought something which will help you a lot during your exam: How to improve GRE vocabulary?

  • Speak GRE-ese

The speak factor doesn’t mean speaking like a GRE passage. But, it is relatable to using GRE level vocabulary as much as possible. So don’t just learn the words from the word lists but use them in day to day life. To really cover your head around writing, you have to engage yourself in GRE-level writing. This can be done by practising plenty of sample questions or reading from online websites.

  • Learn to pace

To develop a sense of pacing you need to attempt plenty of practice sets. There are many GRE practise tests available online which will help you get a handle on any timing issues.

  • Become a word detective

Everywhere you look, GRE words are present. Listen to some of the words used by the characters on television, open up your local newspaper etc. Now when you are preparing for your GRE, you need to think of yourself as a word detective. Every time you see an unknown word try to look for it.

  • Focus on your Weaknesses

When you complete practice GRE Verbal questions, tests, and sections, pay close attention to what you get wrong. Find out where you are going wrong, what you answer incorrectly will reveal any content or strategy weaknesses that you need to target for improvement. For example: Are you always missing sentence equivalence? or you get confused in science-themed passages? You will come to know where you are lacking, then do practice well on them.

  • Answer every question

There is no penalty for wrong answers, so it’s to your advantage to answer every question or guess the answer. Watch on the time closely and when you are left with a few minutes, quickly skim remaining questions and pick answers.

So now you know how to prepare and crack the Verbal Reasoning Section of GRE. So do your best, keep all the tips in your mind and crack it well.

All the best.!!

Want to know about other GRE sections as well? we have prepared a guide for other sections too, go through them.

Quantitative Reasoning Section of GRE

 Analytical Writing section of GRE