GRE Sample Reading-Test Questions: Text Completion

By Ron Woldoff, Joseph Kraynak

The questions in the Text Completion section on the GRE require you to complete a sentence by choosing the most suitable word or words for each blank.

The Text Completion questions consist of a sentence or paragraph with one, two, or three blank spaces for a missing word(s) or phrase(s). Following the sentence or paragraph are choices for filling in the blank(s): five choices if the sentence has only one blank or three choices for each blank if the sentence has two or three blanks.

In the following sample questions, choose the entry or entries best suited for each blank from the corresponding column of choices.

Sample questions

  1. Corporate leaders often try to _____ their intentions. After all, disclosing the motives that drive certain business decisions is likely to put their company’s strategic advantage at risk.


  2. Individuals in positions of power often suffer at the hands of their own _____. Refusing to consider criticism, however valid, often leads them to make decisions that ultimately produce catastrophic results.


  3. Many observers of the trial believed that the judge’s (i) _____of Reed for prosecutorial misconduct ultimately led to the defendant’s (ii) _____. Reed appeared despondent for the remainder of the trial.


Answers and explanations

  1. C.

    Corporate leaders would try to obfuscate (conceal) their intentions in order to maintain a competitive advantage. Occlude makes a good runner-up, but it carries a meaning more along the lines of blocking off access to something. None of the other three choices is close: Stipulate means to demand something specific, preclude means to prevent or prohibit, and abjure means to avoid or reject.

  2. E.

    Hubris is excessive pride or self-confidence, which is often characterized by a refusal to consider any criticism, as expressed in the second sentence. If it weren’t for that second sentence, any of the other answer choices would work: miscalculations can undermine a leader’s plans, ambivalence is uncertainty or indecisiveness, perfidy is treachery, and ineptitude is incompetence.

  3. B, F.

    The judge must have excoriated (severely criticized) Reed in order for him to be despondent, and that despondency likely led to the defendant’s exoneration (acquittal), because the despondent Reed would be less effective in her role as prosecutor. If Reed were not described as despondent, you could make a case for choosing exoneration for the first blank and conviction for the second. Although adjudication (a court order) is a legal term, a judge doesn’t adjudicate a person.