Last Updated: March 18, 2021
How to Ace the GRE Verbal Reasoning Section?
The new GRE Verbal is a test of the candidate’s skill in vocabulary, their ability to understand and complete a sentence, and their ability to analyze sentences and paragraphs provided. In order to score high in this section, one must start preparing few months in advance.
The Verbal Reasoning section is the only section for which preparation depends on the level of knowledge the student has in the language. This knowledge should only be brushed up by memorizing more vocabulary, relearning basic grammatical rules, and other sentence-related information.
Different Sections in GRE Verbal
The GRE Verbal consists of three separate areas of testing which are Reading Comprehension, Sentence Equivalence, and Text Completion. Each section will either contain passages of their own or sentences according to which candidates must prepare to ace the test.
- Text Completion - In this section, a passage will be provided with blanks in it for which the candidate will have to find the right word that provides the passage with a coherent meaning. It is essential that the word or phrase used must be grammatically, structurally, and coherently right for the passage.
- Sentence Equivalence - In this section, a sentence will be provided with two blanks. The candidate will be provided with six options in all to fill the blanks. One must choose the exact fit which will be grammatically and structurally perfect for the sentence.
- Reading Comprehension - In this section, there will be passages provided each with a few paragraphs out of which questions will be asked. The student must rely on the passage alone for the answer and not focus on external information.
The test strategies for each of the three sections are different and even without focusing on the test strategies, one can drastically improve their grade by increasing their vocabulary.
How to Ace the GRE Verbal - Vocabulary?
A high vocabulary directly correlates to a higher understanding of the English language. Additionally, a high vocabulary will allow the candidate to express their ideas and views in a more cogent and articulate manner. Increasing one’s vocabulary by memorizing words and definitions might not be the best approach to it since placing the words in a context is more important than learning them. There are books and flashcards that have been published by certain companies which can help the student in this endeavor. Students can also make use of the tips mentioned here-
- Barron's Word List: The entire list consists roughly of 4000 words, if one wants a score higher than 160, then it will be necessary to wade through the entire list. But since the New GRE places a lower emphasis on Vocabulary, even if one just completes the high frequency "Ubiquitous 800" word list, they will be able to score 150+.
- Use newly learned words regularly: Continuous revision is a necessity if one hopes to learn the entire word list, so make use of the words which one hears every day whenever the opportunity presents itself. Additionally, once a week, revise all the words which were learned in the previous week.
- Use Flash Cards: An easy and fun way to revise on the go, is to use flash cards. While one can purchase them as books or e-copies, making one will prove to be more effective. Engage other family members in helping memorize the words and their meanings. Or quiz oneself at regular intervals until one can use them casually in speech.
- Read anything and everything available: The passages provided in this section are generally academic and dry in nature. Familiarising oneself with the same kind of texts increases the chance of understanding the texts faster. Identify the topic, the scope, and the purpose of every text that is read while preparing.
- Mean GRE verbal score is 150.
- Recommended book: Official GRE Verbal Reasoning Practice Questions volume 1 - second edition. The book is from ETS and has detailed explanations with hints and tips.
How to Ace the GRE Verbal - Text Completion?
The only thing which is checked in the text completion section is the ability to understand the complete picture of the passage provided. The ability to select words that will fill the blanks accurately and make sense is what will be estimated from this section. Clues to the answer will be found within the words present in the passage itself, so read carefully before answering.
Initially identify the words and phrases that seem significant because they focus on the structure of the passage or contain important information contributing to the overall meaning of the text. One can try to fill in words that seem to fit and then find synonyms to those words in the options provided or try to place each of the options in the blanks to find the right answer. Once the choice has been made cross-check whether the passage is now logical, grammatically accurate, and coherent.
How to Ace the GRE Verbal - Sentence Equivalence?
This is by far the easiest of the three sections mostly because with a strong vocabulary, candidates will be able to answer most of them correctly. An important tip for this section is that one must select two words that mean the same and complete the sentence perfectly from the options provided.
Identify words and phrases that seem significant and then fill in the blanks with the word that seems appropriate. In case there are no words matching the ones that were expected, fix words from the option into the sentence and choose the one that makes the sentence most coherent.
How to Ace the GRE Verbal - Reading Comprehension?
This is by far the toughest of the three sections in the GRE Verbal since it requires a high vocabulary level, a nearly perfect understanding of the English language, and a decent reading/understanding speed. There are nearly 10 paragraphs provided in the section where the passages can have one or more paragraphs each.
The topics that are dealt with are from the fields of physical sciences, biological sciences, social sciences, arts and humanities, business, and other everyday topics. Each passage will have a maximum of six questions each. The only way to score high in this section is to:
- Read editorial columns of newspaper articles.
- Understand the flow and reasoning behind the text.
- Read about the different types of questions that are commonly asked.
The methods mentioned above include understanding the format of the exam and preparing strategically along with the general tips that can help a student get a 160+ score on the test. Sticking to the study schedule and focusing on improving language will ultimately be beneficial not just for the Verbal Reasoning Section but also for the Analytical Writing Section.