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What’s on the GRE Part 2: Verbal Section

June 23, 2015 by

The GRE contains 2 essays in an Analytical Writing section, at least 2 Quantitative and 2 Verbal sections, and 1 Unscored Experimental or Research section. Testing lasts a total of 4 hours from beginning to end.

Here we’ll explore the Verbal section in detail.

The Verbal Section

Each Verbal section, broken down into Text Completion (TC), Sentence Equivalence (SE), and Reading Comprehension (RC) question types, has approximately 20 questions to complete in 30 minutes, giving you between 1 and 4 minutes per question, depending on the type.

  • Text Completions
  • TC questions ask you to fill in the blank to complete sentences. Variations include 1-, 2-, and 3-blank questions. You’ll encounter approximately six of these question types in each verbal section, and you should aim to complete each of them at an average of 1–1.5 minutes per question.
  • To master TC questions, work on building your vocabulary, and using context clues.
  • Read full post

Comprehending GRE Reading Comprehension

May 12, 2015 by

One of the biggest bogeymen of the GRE is a shadowy entity we like to call “That Passage.” Students often tell us they feel fine with the GRE reading comprehension section generally, but they’re afraid that when they take the test, they’ll get That Passage—you know, one of those murky, dense, and all-around incomprehensible ones.

Parsing “That Passage”

The fear of GRE reading comprehension, however, often arises from a misunderstanding of what “comprehension” really means. Many seem to believe that comprehension is an understanding of things. Then, when GRE students read a passage full of things they don’t quite understand, they feel overwhelmed, confused, and defeated.

Let’s look at a quick example. What do you think of this sentence, which opens a famously difficult reading comprehension passage:

“Ronald Dworkin argues that judges are in danger of uncritically embracing an erroneous theory known as legal positivism because they think that … Read full post

Dance with GRE Reading Comprehension Practice – The Explanation

December 26, 2014 by

GRE Reading Comprehension Inference questions are often higher level difficulty questions because they ask you to analyze what you’ve read in a passage in order to find unstated conclusions. This requires strategic reading, paraphrasing, and critical thinking skills.

The question we gave you to try on the blog earlier this week is an inference question, so you are looking for a statement that is implied and supported by the passage, but not explicitly stated.

The GRE Reading Comprehension Practice Question

The earliest histories of the Russian ballet were written in the 18th century by European tourists to Moscow and St. Petersburg. Many of these travelers were drawn from their native Paris, Berlin, or London to see the highly touted Russian ballet companies with their own eyes. These ballet enthusiasts marveled at the strength and elegance of the performers of the great ballet companies of Russia. By the 1840s, Russian prima … Read full post

GRE Reading Comprehension Practice

December 24, 2014 by

Have any of you seen the Nutcracker ballet this year? I got to see it live, and I also watched the beautiful Baryshnikov version that I’ve loved since I was a girl. I’ve always been a ballet devotee – the skill and elegance, the physical strength and endurance, the beautiful music and costumes – they’re all captivating. My very favorite thing about ballet is…

Who am I kidding? I’m just trying to get you on board with this GRE Reading Comprehension practice question because you need the practice. Everyone does. What’s the connection between ballet and GRE Reading Comprehension? Read on and find out.

GRE Reading Comprehension Practice Question

The earliest histories of the Russian ballet were written in the 18th century by European tourists to Moscow and St. Petersburg. Many of these travelers were drawn from their native Paris, Berlin, or London to see the highly touted Russian ballet … Read full post

Looking for Patterns in GRE Arguments

April 15, 2014 by

While students often find it easy to spot patterns in the Quantitative section of the GRE, doing so in the Verbal section can seem like a more arduous task. This can be especially true in Critical Reasoning questions—those that ask you to evaluate an argument and then point out its flaw or assumption, or strengthen or weaken the author’s conclusion. To many students, each of the arguments they see on the test seems like a unique riddle to solve. But approaching every argument as its own, separate, special argument is a frustrating and inefficient way to move through this section of the test.

As you work through Critical Reasoning questions in your practice and homework, pay attention to the common argument patterns that the GRE tests over and over and over again. There are only a small number of types of arguments you’ll see on the test, and once you … Read full post

Answer GRE Reading Comprehension Questions Efficiently Using a Passage Map

March 17, 2014 by

In a previous blog entry, we analyzed a GRE reading comprehension passage and made the notes we need to work through the questions efficiently. Before we move on to the practice questions we posted last week, let’s talk about WHY you want to analyze your reading comp passages on the GRE and make notes before moving on to the questions.

Here’s a Scenario…

You read through the passage, but don’t stop to take notes. You get to the end and think, “Wow, that was kinda boring.” You move on to the questions. You read the first question associated with the passage, run through the answer choices, and find that all of them seem feasible. So you go back and scan through the passage again. Then you read the question and the answer choices again. Sound familiar? It’s a real time waster on the exam.

A Better Plan…

When you … Read full post

GRE Reading Comprehension Practice – The Solution

February 10, 2014 by

Friday’s GRE Reading Comprehension practice question allowed you to work on your RC skills. Working through practice questions is important, and reviewing the explanations carefully is just as important, so let’s talk about the answer.

Check out the question here if you haven’t tried it yet.

The question asks you to determine which answer choice supports a particular argument: that Kanzi uses human language to communicate in abstract ways. You can predict that the correct answer will be an example of Kanzi using language in an abstract way.

A. When asking to be fed, Kanzi uses lexigrams to ask for “the same dinner I ate yesterday.”

Choice (A) is such an example. The passage indicates that “concept words” and expression of the past tense qualify as abstract communication. Referring to yesterday’s dinner, then, is an example of abstract communication, so choice (A) is correct.

B. Kanzi often points to the … Read full post

Dance Through GRE Reading Comprehension Practice – The Explanation

January 9, 2014 by

GRE Reading Comprehension Inference questions are often higher level difficulty questions because they ask you to analyze what you’ve read in a passage in order to find unstated conclusions. This requires strategic reading, paraphrasing, and critical thinking skills.

The question we gave you to try in this week’s practice question entry is an inference question, so you are looking for a statement that is implied by the passage but not explicitly stated.

The Kirov and the Bolshoi ballet companies are credited with the “Russification” of French ballet, so it is safe to infer that their productions included distinctly Russian elements. Thus, choice (A) is the correct answer.

It’s also important to understand why the incorrect answers are wrong, so keep reading.

  • Answer choice (B) is not implied by the text. While the passage tells us that some European tourists went to Russia to see the ballet, it does not make
  • Read full post

Dance Through Some GRE Reading Comprehension Practice

January 7, 2014 by

Did any of you get to see the Nutcracker ballet this year? I missed seeing it live, but I got to watch the beautiful Baryshnikov version that I’ve watched since my childhood. I’ve always been a ballet devotee – the skill and elegance, the physical strength and endurance, the beautiful music and costumes – they’re all captivating. My very favorite thing about ballet is…

Okay, who am I kidding? I’m just trying to get you on board with this GRE Reading Comprehension question because I know you need the practice. Everyone does. What’s the connection between ballet and GRE Reading Comprehension? Read on and find out.

GRE Reading Comprehension Practice Question

The earliest histories of the Russian ballet were written in the 18th century by European tourists to Moscow and St. Petersburg. Many of these travelers were drawn from their native Paris, Berlin, or London to see the highly touted … Read full post

GRE Reading Comprehension: Passage Analysis Tips

December 12, 2013 by

What are your feelings on GRE Reading Comprehension? Good, bad, or indifferent, this is an important question type to master for success on the GRE verbal section. If you haven’t yet tried our GRE practice passage, take a look at it now and take a few minutes to answer the questions that we posted along with it. They are the questions you should work through each time you break down a reading comp passage.

Now, let’s talk analysis.

  • The TOPIC of this passage, or the broad main idea, is Shirley Jackson’s fiction. GRE passages don’t contain a lot of filler, so you usually see the gist of the topic emerge in the first paragraph, if not in the first sentence.
  • The SCOPE of the passage is a more detailed focus within the topic. In this passage, the scope is Jackson’s fictional techniques and how they illustrate her message. The
  • Read full post

 

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