GRE Verbal Reasoning Question: Types of Questions, Format, Best Tips and Strategies

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While the GRE verbal reasoning questions present a significant hurdle for many test-takers, acing them is far from an impossible feat. Through comprehensive preparation and a strategic understanding of question types, their format, and difficulty levels, candidates can successfully navigate GRE verbal reasoning questions and achieve their desired scores. To delve deeper into the nuances of GRE verbal reasoning questions and equip yourself for effective preparation, continue reading through this informative article.


Gre Verbal Reasoning Question Types 

The GRE Verbal Reasoning section assesses your critical analytical skills through three question types: reading comprehension, text completion, and sentence equivalence. These questions demand independent evaluation of the provided passages and texts, requiring you to demonstrate your ability to:

  • Analyse and interpret written material: Test-takers must read the given passages, analyse their gist, and extract the primary information.
  • Synthesise information: Students are required to articulate their answers based upon their arbitration. They should be able to draw conclusions, connect the dots, and come up with substantial insights.
  • Analyse sentence structure: You should be able to discern the relationship between different sentences and their structures. Furthermore, you should be able to identify logical transitions.
  • Recognise conceptual connections: discern the relationships between words and concepts within the text.

Now that you know what the GRE verbal reasoning section entails, let us delve deeper into its question types.

Reading Comprehension 

Test-takers attempting the reading comprehension questions in the verbal reasoning section of the GRE are required to analyze the given passages and come up with responses based on their assessment. The passages in the reading comprehension questions vary in length and are asked from a broad array of topics such as the arts, humanities, physics, biology, and social sciences. The passages are based on material found in academic and non-academic books and periodicals and are likely to be very uninteresting compared to what you usually read for entertainment.

Question Format Requirement 
Multiple Choice Questions (One answer)  Such questions require students to select one option after analysing the passage. 
Multiple Choice  Questions (Multiple answers) Such questions require students to select more than one answer after reading and analysing the passage. 
Select-in-passageSuch questions require students to select one sentence in the passage that meets the description posed in the question. 

Sentence Equivalence 

Sentence Equivalence questions present a unique challenge. Your task is to identify two answer choices that, when inserted into the provided sentence, yield equivalent meanings. Both chosen options must not only fill the blank grammatically but also convey the same conceptual weight and nuance as the intended interpretation. 

Question Format Requirement Number of Questions Duration 
Fill in the blanksStudents are required to select two answers from the six options. 
When combined in a sentence, your answers should create the same meaning. 
81 Minute for Each Question (Estimated)

Text Completion

Text Completion questions, while seemingly straightforward in structure, present a unique challenge due to the presence of multiple blanks. This necessitates a holistic understanding of the passage’s cohesive meaning and the intricate interplay between your chosen words and the overall context. To excel in these questions, one must consider the cohesive meaning of the entire passage, and how their answers fit into the equation. 

Question Format Requirement Number of Questions 
Fill in the Blanks Select text from the passage that fits into the blanks, thus giving the entire sentence a coherent meaning. 1-3 Blanks (per passage)

GRE Sentence Equivalence vs. GRE Text Completion Questions

While GRE Sentence Equivalence and Text Completion questions share the goal of assessing vocabulary, their functionalities on the exam diverge significantly. While seemingly similar in format, they are inherently different. Refer to the following data to understand their fundamental differences. 

Sentence Equivalence:

  • Focuses on semantic nuance: Requires identifying two options that, when inserted, convey the exact same meaning and subtle shades of meaning as the intended phrase.
  • Tests vocabulary depth: Demands mastery of synonyms and related words to pinpoint options that capture the intended meaning precisely.
  • Independent sentence analysis: Each blank is evaluated within the context of the individual sentence, demanding a keen awareness of semantic relationships.

Text Completion:

  • Focuses on passage cohesion: Requires considering the broader context of the passage and how chosen words impact the overall flow of ideas.
  • Tests vocabulary application: Demands accurate word selection that seamlessly integrates with the surrounding text, both grammatically and conceptually.
  • Holistic understanding: Necessitates a deep understanding of the passage’s theme, tone, and logic to make informed word choices that contribute to the overall coherence.

In essence, Sentence Equivalence delves into the intricate world of semantic equivalence, while Text Completion emphasises the ability to integrate vocabulary seamlessly within a broader textual context. While both test vocabulary, their distinct functionalities offer a nuanced assessment of your verbal reasoning skills on the GRE. 

How Many Questions Are There in the GRE Verbal Section?

The GRE Verbal Reasoning section is divided into two distinct segments with varying time allocations:

SectionNumber of Questions Average Required Time Time Required Per Question
Section 11218 Minutes1.5 Minutes
Section 2 1523 Minutes 1.53 Minutes 

It’s crucial to note that these are average times, and the actual difficulty and time required for each question may vary. Therefore, effective time management skills are essential for success in this section.

GRE Verbal Reasoning Questions: Difficulty Level

The GRE Verbal Reasoning section exhibits a unique feature known as section-adaptive difficulty. This means your performance on the first section directly influences the complexity of the second section. The questions presented in the GRE’s first verbal section are of medium difficulty. Therefore, if you secure decent scores in the first section, the second verbal section will present questions that are harder overall. 

Conversely, if you perform poorly on the first verbal section, the second verbal section will present questions that are easier overall. If your performance is average in the first verbal section, the questions presented in the second section will be at a medium level on the difficulty spectrum. To sum it up, GRE verbal questions do get harder with each passing level. 

Now that you know what’s the overall difficulty level of the GRE verbal reasoning, let’s delve deeper into the difficulty level of each section. 

How Difficult Are Text Completion and Sentence Equivalence? 

Both GRE text completion and sentence equivalence questions pose the following challenges to test takers: 

  • Students are required to use a wide array of sophisticated vocabulary: Individuals might face mugging up new GRE vocabulary difficult. This is why one must inculcate a daily habit of reading or consuming English to enhance their vocabulary. 
  • Students must carefully evaluate the crux of the passages: Students must be able analyse the core crux of the given passages. They must have a keen eye for detail and should be able to identify the keywords required to answer the questions. In other words, you must know what the crucial words and context clues in these sentences tend to be. Additionally, you must understand what they signify and be skilled in interpreting how they influence the sentence’s logic and meaning.
  • Students should actively watch out for deceptive trap answers in Text Completion and Sentence Equivalence questions, especially those that exploit our natural cognitive biases and make it seem like the wrong answer is actually right. Falling prey to these can seriously derail progress, so vigilant attention is crucial for success.

How Difficult Is Reading Comprehension?

Some of the major challenges whilst attempting the GRE reading comprehension questions are: 

  • Test takers must be able use an extensive range of vocabulary words. 
  • Students must be able to interpret complex passages. 
  • One must be able to think about the passage holistically along with the nitty gritties of the passages. Test takers should be able to grasp the correlation between the two. 

GRE Verbal Reasoning Questions: Best Tips and Strategies

Here are some of the best section-wise tips and strategies to help you ace your GRE Verbal Reasoning questions. 

GRE Sentence Equivalence Question Strategies

  • Double-check your answers before submitting. GRE verbal presents answer choices designed to appear similar to the right one, intentionally clouding your judgement. Beware! An answer might fit grammatically and seemingly align with your guess, but remember: only if another option achieves the same meaning is it truly correct.
  • Paraphrasing can be your ally in such questions. Doing so will not only make a seemingly difficult sentence simpler, but it will also help you easily predict the correct answer. 
  • Don’t get sidetracked by synonyms.  The GRE throws synonym traps your way, so focus on context. Watch out for look-alikes that don’t fit the sentence seamlessly. Remember, both answer choices must convey the exact same meaning. Test each word out and ensure it creates a logical and consistent interpretation before making your final choice.

GRE Reading Comprehension Question Strategies

  • Mastering a strong vocabulary and identifying key words are crucial for navigating complex passages and grasping their core themes.
  •  Thoroughly understanding the passages is essential for distinguishing correct answers from cleverly disguised traps. 
  • Developing a clear strategy for each question type, especially avoiding the tempting shortcuts offered by trap answers, is key to GRE Reading Comprehension success. 
  • Referencing the passage strategically can optimise your reading speed, as you don’t need to memorise every detail upfront, knowing you can revisit it during question answering. 
  • Finally, precise answering, achieved by reading entire answer choices carefully, is vital for maximising your score in this section.

GRE Text Completion Comprehension Question Strategies 

  • Students must consider the cohesive meaning of the entire passage and how their answers work together to create it. 
  • Students should not assume a linear approach; filling the last blank first or working from the middle might be easier
  • . Regardless of your strategy, ensure each word contributes to the overall passage meaning.

So that was all about GRE verbal reasoning questions. Hope the blog has answered your queries regarding the topic. 

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Q1. How many types of questions are there in the GRE verbal reasoning section? 

 Ans: There are three primary question types asked in the GRE verbal reasoning section:  reading comprehension, text completion, and sequence equivalence. 

Q2. How to get a 300 on the GRE?

Ans: While achieving a score of 300 on the GRE may seem within reach, aspiring for a significantly higher target necessitates a more nuanced approach. While minimal preparation and enrollment in a course might contribute, consistent and dedicated effort remains the cornerstone of exceeding the 300 mark. To consistently score above 300, consider dedicating roughly 3-4 hours per day to focused study for a period of 3-4 weeks. 

Q3. How many questions are there in the second section of GRE’s Verbal Reasoning section? 

Ans: There are 15 questions in section 2 of the GRE’s Verbal Reasoning. 

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