Table of Contents
- Overview of GRE verbal section
- Tips to master the GRE verbal section
- Frequently asked questions
The verbal section of the GRE tests a wide range of skills, including vocabulary, critical reasoning, and reading comprehension.
For many test-takers, the GRE verbal section can be particularly challenging, as it requires not only a strong grasp of the English language but also the ability to interpret and analyse complex written material quickly and accurately.
Therefore, it is essential to have a solid understanding of the types of questions that are likely to be asked, as well as effective strategies for answering them to succeed in the GRE verbal section.
In this guide, we will provide a range of tips and techniques to help you master the verbal section of the GRE, from building your vocabulary to improving your reading comprehension skills.
Overview of GRE verbal section
The GRE verbal section is a crucial part of the GRE, accounting for 50% of the overall test score. It assesses the test-taker's ability to comprehend, analyse, and synthesise the information presented in written form. The verbal section evaluates a wide range of language-related skills, including vocabulary, critical reasoning, and reading comprehension.
The GRE verbal section consists of two types of questions: reading comprehension and text completion/sentence equivalence. The reading comprehension questions are designed to test a test-taker's ability to read and comprehend written material, while the text completion/sentence equivalence questions assess a test-taker's understanding of vocabulary and ability to use context clues.
Tips to master the GRE verbal section
There are a few strategies and practice tips that you can use to master the GRE verbal section. Some of the popular tips are:
1. Start with a diagnostic test
Before you start preparing for the GRE verbal section, it's important to know where you stand. Taking a diagnostic test is essential for developing a targeted study plan. You can find free diagnostic tests online or in GRE preparation books. The test will give you an idea of your current strengths and weaknesses in the verbal section. It will also help you identify the question types that you need to focus on.
2. Expand your vocabulary
Vocabulary is an important component of the GRE verbal section. To improve your vocabulary, start by reading widely. This can include anything from novels to news articles. Look up any unfamiliar words and try to use them in your everyday speech and writing. Flashcards can also be a helpful tool for memorising new words. Consider using an app like Quizlet or Memrise to create your flashcards and practice on the go.
3. Familiarise yourself with the question types
The GRE verbal section includes various types of questions, including sentence equivalence, text completion, and reading comprehension. Familiarise yourself with each type of question and learn the strategies for tackling them. For example, for sentence equivalence questions, try using the process of elimination by looking for pairs of answer choices that have similar or opposite meanings.
4. Learn to identify keywords and phrases
Keywords and phrases can signal important information in a passage. For example, words like "however," "therefore," and "in contrast" can signal a shift in the argument. Learn to identify these words and phrases and pay attention to their context. This will help you to better understand the passage and answer questions more accurately.
5. Practise active reading
Active reading means engaging with the material actively. When you're reading a passage for the GRE, make sure to highlight important information, take notes, and summarise the main ideas. This will help you to retain information and make it easier to answer questions later on.
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6. Practice time management
The GRE verbal section is timed, so it's important to practise time management. Make sure to pace yourself and don't spend too much time on any one question. If you're struggling with a question, move on and come back to it later. Aim to complete each question in less than two minutes.
7. Use official GRE materials
The official GRE guide and practice tests are the best resources for preparing for the GRE verbal section. They are designed to give you an accurate idea of what to expect on test day. Make sure to use official materials as much as possible, as they will be the most representative of the actual test.
8. Take timed practice tests
Practice tests are an important part of GRE preparation. They allow you to simulate test day conditions and build stamina. Take timed practice tests regularly and try to complete them in one sitting. Analyse your results and adjust your study plan accordingly.
9. Analyse your mistakes
After taking a practice test, analyse your mistakes to identify patterns in the types of questions you're getting wrong. This will help you to adjust your study plan and focus on the areas where you need improvement. Consider keeping a log of your mistakes and reviewing it regularly.
10. Get feedback
Consider working with a tutor or taking a GRE prep course to get feedback on your performance. A tutor can help you to identify areas where you need to improve and provide personalised strategies for tackling the GRE verbal section. A prep course can also be a helpful way to get feedback and access additional resources.
Mastering the GRE verbal section requires a combination of strategies and practice. Building a strong vocabulary, practising active reading, understanding question types, using context clues, analysing arguments, managing time effectively, and taking practice tests are some of the key tips to succeed in the verbal section. By following these tips and committing to consistent practice, you can improve your verbal skills and perform your best on test day.
Frequently asked questions
What is the format of the GRE verbal section?
The GRE verbal section consists of two main question types: reading comprehension and text completion/sentence equivalence. The section is timed, with 20 questions for each question type and a total of 40 questions to be answered in 60 minutes.
What is a good score on the GRE verbal section?
A good score on the GRE verbal section depends on the graduate program you are applying to. Generally, a score of 160 or higher is considered competitive, but it is best to research the average scores of the programs you are interested in to determine what score you should aim for.
Can I use a calculator in the GRE verbal section?
No, you cannot use a calculator in the GRE verbal section. The questions are designed to test your verbal and language-related skills and do not require complex calculations.
Are there any online resources available to help me prepare for the GRE verbal section?
Yes, there are many online resources available to help you prepare for the GRE verbal section. Some popular options include practice tests and study guides, flashcards, and online courses.