GRE Verbal Tips

GRE Verbal Tips

When considering colleges and universities to apply for, you also need to consider various entrance exams to gain entry into these colleges and universities. It is never too early to start preparing for them and using GRE verbal tips, as they can be one of the most important tests of your life. The Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) is one such test.

There are two types of GRE tests:

  1. The GRE General Test. This test examines: verbal reasoning, numerical reasoning, writing skills, and critical thinking skills.
  2. The GRE Subject Test. The subject test measures achievement in eight subject areas (e.g. biology, chemistry, literature in English, and psychology) (ETS, 2009).

Vocabulary knowledge is particularly important in each of the GRE tests. A large part of the tests depend directly upon your word knowledge. Indirectly, however, much like any test, your knowledge of word meanings can make or break a test. To be able to answer questions, you must understand what is being asked. This comes down to understanding word meanings.

Tips for the Verbal Component of the GRE

Robbins (2009) suggests the following GRE verbal tips to assist participants with the verbal component of the GRE:

In the sentence completion part of the verbal section you should:

  • Fill in the sentence prior to looking at your choice of answers;
  • Take your time and look at all the answers before choosing;
  • Be aware of the negative words in a sentence (such as not). They can easily confuse; and,
  • Consider words with roots and affixes if you encounter an unknown word.

In the analogy part of the verbal section of the GRE:

  • Try using the two capitalized words in a sentence to see if they are similar;
  • Look for the words that are definitely incorrect. Rule them out straightaway;
  • Think about different word meanings for the words;
  • If you encounter an unknown word, think back to whether you have heard it spoken in an expression. This might help with the meaning; and,
  • Apparent, eye-catching answers may be in there to lead you up the garden path. Be aware.

The antonym section of the verbal section of the GRE:

  • Word parts may signpost word meanings (such as roots and affixes);
  • Many words have different meanings in different contexts. If no antonym seems right, consider different meanings of the word;
  • Straight after you read the word, consider a word that has an opposite meaning. Only then look at all the words thoroughly.

The reading comprehension part of the verbal section of the GRE:

  • Only provide answers that have been formed from the information provided;
  • Focus, in particular, upon the beginning and end sentences in the paragraphs;
  • Complete parts of the test that you know before you answer unknown questions.

References ETS (Educational Testing Service) 2009, GRE – Graduate Records Examination, viewed 17 February, 2009.
Robbins, J. 2009, GRE Test Tips and Techniques – Test Tactics and Sectional Strategies for the GRE, viewed 17 February, 2009.