Tips for Mastering the Verbal Section of the GRE

By Ron Woldoff, Joseph Kraynak

No one answers all the GRE Verbal questions correctly, so don’t put yourself under that kind of pressure. Just use the following tips to answer most of the questions right, and you’ll do fine. If you’re stumped, narrow your choices, take a guess, and come back to the question later. You’re not penalized for guessing, so you may as well take a shot.

Here’s how to avoid getting stuck on a Reading Comprehension question:

  • Determine the passage type (biological and physical science, social science, or humanities). This brings you a sense of control.

  • Focus on the first paragraph, because it lends a sense of what the entire passage is about.

  • If you have to guess, take a second to eliminate answer choices that you know are wrong.

When faced with Argument Analysis, follow these tips:

  • Restate the argument using something as simple as an if-then statement.

  • Look for the hidden assumption that connects the premise to the conclusion.

  • Find the weak supporting details and logical fallacies.

For Text Completion and Sentence Equivalence questions, be sure to

  • Read the entire sentence to get its basic meaning 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 and the blanks.

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