GRE Verbal Reasoning: Syllabus, Question Types & Preparation Books
The verbal section of the GRE general test assesses your ability to analyze and evaluate written material and synthesize information obtained from it. Additionally, this section analyzes how sentence components relate to one another and how words and concepts are related.
The GRE Verbal Reasoning section contains several question formats, each of which is described in detail in relevant sections. About half of the test requires you to read passages and answer related questions. The other half involves reading, interpreting, and completing existing sentences, groups of sentences, or paragraphs.
The GRE verbal section is section-adaptive, meaning that the difficulty of the second set of 20 questions is determined by your performance on the first set. To score higher on the GRE verbal section, students must be able to answer the more difficult questions correctly.
Wish to know more? Keep reading as we will talk all about the GRE verbal in the blog, covering things like the GRE verbal syllabus, preparation, pattern, and lots more!
Importance of the GRE Verbal Section
The importance of the GRE Verbal section varies depending on the graduate program you choose. For example, physics programs typically place less emphasis on verbal scores, while mass communication and English literature programs typically place more emphasis on them. However, most competitive graduate programs consider both verbal and quantitative scores when making admissions decisions.
- Typically, STEM courses place little emphasis on the verbal portion of the GRE. This is because students in STEM fields must have a strong quantitative foundation to succeed.
- On the other hand, some courses, such as archaeology/anthropology, social sciences, art history, theory and criticism, English language and literature, and philosophy, place a significant amount of emphasis on the GRE Verbal section. These courses require a higher GRE Verbal score than the GRE Quantitative score.
- Some non-STEM courses, such as business/managerial economics, international business, business administration and management, and economics, also require a high GRE Verbal score. This is because these courses involve a significant amount of reading and writing.
The importance of developing a rich vocabulary extends beyond the GRE. In the workplace, verbal comprehension is constantly assessed. A well-developed vocabulary is a sign of high sociability and is essential for success in many careers.
GRE Verbal Exam Pattern
GRE verbal reasoning questions come in different formats. About half of the questions involve reading passages and answering questions about them. The other half involves reading, interpreting, and completing existing sentences, paragraphs, or groups of sentences.
The GRE Verbal Reasoning section consists of three question types:
- Reading Comprehension: In these questions, you will read a passage and answer questions about its main idea, supporting details, and the author’s purpose. The questions may also test your understanding of the passage’s structure, tone, and vocabulary.
- Text Completion: In these questions, you will complete a sentence or paragraph by selecting the best word or phrase from a list of choices. The questions test your knowledge of vocabulary, grammar, and sentence structure.
- Sentence Equivalence: In these questions, you will choose two answer choices that complete a sentence and create sentences with the same or similar meanings. The questions test your ability to understand and use words and phrases in context.
Each section will have the following number of questions:
- Reading comprehension: 10
- Text completion: 6
- Sentence equivalence: 4
Suggested: GRE Flashcards to Boost Your Verbal Skills!
GRE Verbal Syllabus
In addition to reading comprehension, sentence equivalence, and text completion, the GRE verbal reasoning syllabus also includes a number of grammar and vocabulary topics that are tested on the exam.
GRE Verbal Topics
Typically, for GRE Verbal Preparation, you need to cover the following topics:
- Modifiers and Parallelism
- Verbs and Tenses
- Subject-Verb Agreement
- Idioms and Idiomatic Expressions
- Nouns, Pronouns, and Adjectives
- Pronoun Agreement
Suggested: Know about the GRE Exam Dates 2023!
GRE Verbal Questions
Here is a detailed overview of the three sections of the GRE Verbal Test:
GRE Reading Comprehension
GRE reading comprehension questions can be divided into three main types:
- Multiple-choice questions with five options and a single correct answer: These questions require you to analyze the passage and identify the best answer.
- Multiple-choice questions with three options and multiple correct answers: These questions require you to compare different perspectives and draw conclusions. To answer correctly, you must choose all of the options that are supported by the passage.
- Sentence equivalence questions: These questions require you to identify the sentence within the passage that best matches a given description. To answer correctly, you must examine how the highlighted sentence relates to the options provided.
- Structure of ideas questions: These questions require you to understand how the different parts of the passage are related. To answer correctly, you must learn how the bolded and non-bolded portions of the passage are connected.
GRE Text Completion
GRE text completion questions in the verbal section consist of one to five sentences in the reading passage. Each question has one to three blanks, and each blank has five answer choices. Double-blanked questions have three answer choices per blank, and triple-blanked questions have three answer choices per blank. Only one answer choice is correct for each blank. You can choose the same answer choice for multiple blanks.
GRE Sentence Equivalence
GRE Verbal Reasoning sentence equivalence questions consist of a single sentence with one blank. You must choose two of the six answer choices to complete the sentence meaningfully. If you only choose one answer, you will not receive any marks.
Suggested: How to Improve Your GRE Verbal Score?
GRE Verbal Preparation And Preparation Books
Here are three books that are reliable and effective resources for your GRE verbal preparation. The best book for you will depend on your individual learning style and preferences.
Barron’s GRE Verbal Workbook
Barron’s is a company that specializes in GRE test preparation. Their GRE Verbal Workbook is an excellent resource for students who are preparing for the GRE, as it contains over 380 practice questions and a GRE dictionary of the most common words found on the test.
GRE Verbal Workbook (Kaplan Test Prep)
Kaplan’s GRE Verbal Workbook contains hundreds of real GRE verbal questions and drills, as well as six full-length verbal reasoning practice sets. This book can be a valuable resource for students who want to learn how to effectively tackle the verbal section of the GRE and reduce their time to completion while increasing their scores.
Manhattan Prep’s GRE Verbal Strategies Guide
Manhattan Prep’s GRE Verbal Strategies focuses on understanding the different strategies for handling verbal questions, rather than just listing the different types of questions and explaining how to handle them. This book can be a helpful resource for students who are looking for a more in-depth and strategic approach to GRE verbal preparation.
GRE Verbal Score
GRE verbal scores range from 130 to 170, increasing by one point at a time. The average score is 150. Most importantly, a score in the 80th to 90th percentile or higher is helpful for acceptance into prestigious colleges around the world. A good GRE verbal score will depend on the programs you are applying to. For most programs, a score of 157 or above is considered to be good. For top programs, a score of 162 or above is generally considered to be competitive.
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