Tips for Mastering the Verbal Section of the GRE

Part of the The GRE Test For Dummies Cheat Sheet

Unless you’re an English geek, the GRE (Graduate Record Examination) Verbal section probably intimidates you more than any other. But you can master the GRE Verbal questions using the following tips and approaches for each section of the test. However, first, pay attention to these general tips:

  • Use roots, prefixes, and suffixes to determine the gist of an unfamiliar word.

  • Guess quickly if you’re stumped. The computer won’t let you go on until you’ve marked and confirmed an answer, and believe it or not, answering a few questions incorrectly hurts your score less than not finishing a section.

Approach Antonym questions by

  • Creating an approximate definition of the word in your mind

  • Predicting the obvious opposite

  • Remembering that words can have more than one meaning

Avoid getting stuck on a Reading Comprehension question by following these tips:

  • Choose positive or neutral answers, not negative ones.

  • Guess quickly and move on when you encounter Roman numeral and negative/exception questions, because they’re often tricky and time consuming.

  • Avoid picking an answer simply because it’s true. Always make certain that it answers the question correctly.

When faced with Analogies,

  • Create a sentence that shows the relationship between the two words and then use that sentence on each answer choice.

  • Beware of answers with inverse relationships (for example, part to whole when the question was whole to part).

For Sentence Completion questions, be sure to

  • Read the entire sentence to get its gist before looking at the individual blanks.

  • Search for key connector words (such as because, although, and however) that may change the meaning of the sentence from what you’d expect.

  • Predict whether the blanks need positive or negative words.

And last, but most certainly not least, remember: This test is rated PG — Proctor Guarded. Proctors have been genetically altered to have eyes in the backs of their heads; they’ll catch you if you bring crib notes, so do all your prep before taking the test.

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