Following GRE Verbal Strategies shared by Vinay.

It is quite distressing for most readers of this blog to open their mails from HSB and read about how horrific the Verbal Section and RC’s were.

I was very baffled by the scores that I was seeing here and quite frankly I was quite worried reading about various test takers grievances.

Couple of weeks back I started my preparation for my exam scheduled on 28th of this month.

First Week of GRE  Prep

I took quite a few practice tests( Section wise) for a week.

  • Had a 80-70% success rate in SE’s and TC’s but RC’s were horrible.
  • Hardly used to get 50% correct.

Second Week of GRE Prep

In my second week I started taking full length exams online. In my first practice test my Verbal score was around 450 and Quant was 660.

I analyzed the whole exam and realized that I was reading and understanding the passages very poorly. But I dint let this get me down.

Next day I decided to try my hand at another full length exam, only this time I decided to concentrate correctly. I, like most people sat reading the passages based on the question. And at the end of the exam again I got Verbal-470 and Quant 640. I was about to give up.

Being a stubborn child all my life I couldn’t accept the fact that I was being so very average.

Couple of days late I tried another full length exam but this time I decided to experiment a bit. This is the strategy I employed

My GRE Verbal Strategy

  • Strategy for Sentence Equivalence Questions and Text Completion
  • Strategy for Reading Comprehension

Sentence Equivalence and Text Completion

  • Finish all SE’s and TC’s first.
  • Set a time limit of maximum of 10 minutes to do the 10 questions (5 each of SE’s and TC’s).

Managed to finish those 10 questions in almost 10mins.

For Sentence Completion always look for synonyms while answering the blanks.( Even though some words feel perfect for the blank if they don’t have a supporting word then its useless).

For Text completion always try filling in your own words first and try making sense of the whole text.

Then fill in the words you feel are appropriate and read the whole sentence out loud and check whether the text still makes sense. If it does then more often than not you would have got your answers spot on.

Reading Comprehension

Coming to the RC’s. There will be 10 questions. Hopefully 20mins of time left to do these.

  • Go to the biggest passage in the section.
  • Do not bother reading the question first.

Because by doing so you would limit your reading to only certain parts of the passage and eventually screw up the following questions about that same passage.

Now with the longest passage you have in front of you start analysis para wise.

Start with the 1st para, note down certain KEYWORDS or important points in that para. Repeat the same for the subsequent para’s.

You may start to feel this is very time consuming and may lead you to run out of time. But put aside this fear and give it a good try.

It will take you about roughly 4-5mins to finish a brief summary of every para. Once you are done with this without your knowing it you would have understand what the passage is trying to say.

This knowledge will help you in answering the 4-5 questions that follow for the long passage within 2mins.

In all you would have totally spent 7mins on a long passage.

My time spent on long passage through earlier method was around 9mins for the long passage and yet I got most of them wrong.

Shorter Passages

Now for the other short or very short passages follow the same procedure.

You should be able to answer most correctly.

Because as I said earlier by following this procedure you will avoid the total brain freeze that happens when trying to comprehend the passage as a whole.

Following this method you should be able to complete the whole verbal section with a minute or so to spare.

The first time I tried this strategy I got a verbal score of 660!!!!

A huge leap, all the way from 440-660. But I wasn’t sure whether this was a fluke.

Was still quite apprehensive about it so I tried again the next day.

This time did only the verbal section and managed to get 650. Was absolutely thrilled. And mind you, all this without going through hundreds of word-lists like most do.

My vocabulary is not that great but instead of trying to develop that I attempted at developing my comprehension instead; and I am glad to say it worked pretty great. Been taking a full length exam every alternative day and since I started using this method my score has never dipped below 600 in verbal.

Cheers to all. Hope this helps. Give me a shout out if it does/doesn’t help. All the best :)

PS: I would suggest not to try doing RC’s first and then the rest. Because your chances of getting the right answer in a short span of time in SE’s and TC’s are better.

Also I believe in taking my sweet time to conquer the worst.

  • Cthomp


  • Ashu

    Thanks Vinay
    your post is really insparing . can you tell me about that Website which provids full lenth test for practice ..

  • zubair

    tell me online sites to take full length gre verbal!!

  • Jagadish

    Can anyone suggest r send the sites dat
    offer free practise sessions of verbal

    se’s and tc’s

  • Abraham

    @vinay that was very helpful if you can suggest me the website that you were practicing with

  • raj

    hey vinay can u tell me how many words have you gone through for SE and TC?

    • Vinay

      as of today I have done about 500 words :(. Not enough I no.

      • Riad

        only 500 words u learned !!!! really?? not the Barrons 50 word lists?????
        Then…which 500 words? pls pls pls let me know.

  • pallavi

    From where can we get full length tests online?

  • damini

    I would like to know from which websites did you get so many full length test to do every alternate day.
    Thanks in advance for your help.
    I am feeling so confident to give GRE with the strategy you described above.

    • Vinay

      I have bought the tests. From a particular website which I cannot mention here as HSB doesn’t allow. I have access to 15 full length tests.

  • aditi

    thanks good strategies you have shared here. I have seen a lot of people reading questions before reading passage n as you have pointed out then your mind looks for particular answers rather than understanding what the passage is all about n then we end up choosing wrong ans no matter how much time we spend on passage.

  • Bebek

    Hey…this is quite an inspiring article you have posted…thanks a lot for that…can u guide me, as to which sites allows full test practice, online in new format, as you have mentioned in your experience.
    Thank you

  • binda

    I think for slow readers doing RCs first will bolt all of the slotted times and then he probably wont be able to to give minimum required time to solve SE or TC even to those which he could do good by giving sufficient time. It totally depends on person2person to choose their own comfortable way. I think one who is regular English reader if tries RCs first then it may help him as he is accustomed in that way and if somebody is going through wordlist preparation will have good word power and may succeed better if tries SE and TC first. Still their remains a most inevitable factor – once own comfort. But one thing i think is a fluke is that the author of the post has mentioned that he started preparing couple of week earlier and after some day (or week) he starts practicing a technique which assures him to garner 660 from 420. this is seems fluke if it happens because such success rates are rarely seen or heard as it rarely happens. so i think it may be fluke.

  • suri

    hey vinay, thank you so much.. ur strategies work really well for me..i m giving my gre on oct 4th.. was lil worried as i don’t have much time to prepare.. by the way can you plz tell me frm where do you take your practice tests?


      did u get the info about where we can find practice tests?

  • Lopa

    Interesting write up…hope this helps.:) I really find hard to comprehend those bland RCs, which really frustrates me completely.

  • Vikas

    An impressive leap, I would say… :)
    If you have attempted PowerPrep II, could you let us know the difference in level of questions, particularly Verbal?

  • Moumita Bhattacharya

    Can someone suggest me websites where I can take free practice test for new GRE , that is sectional practice test specially for RC.

  • madhu

    thanks a ton for the verbal strategy vinay!..i tried it and it does help a lot!..i used to solve the questions as they came and now i realise its a huge mistake..

  • GRE_test_taker

    Hi Vinay,
    Could you please let me know the sources for full length tests.
    All the best.

  • Rohan

    Hey vinay thanks for sharing your valuable experience..

  • Siddartha

    Where did you take the practice tests from?
    Could you give the website you are referring to as online

  • shashank

    Honestly i think it is fluke, Remember it is never in your hand to finish a particular section in alloted amount of time, whatever you may have planned. TC and SE are questions where it is very common you are not satisfied with your answer and you keep on working on them trying other choices. It is rare you are 100% sure of your answer and believe in real test this would be even lesser times.So this pandemonium eats up valuable time of RC. RCs should always be done first also because they are more tiring and I suggest Mr. Author to do 3 verbals back to back and check whether this so called strategy works and readers please choose whatever suits you not what a guy suggests in a bit advertising tone

    • Vinay

      Buddy. I ain’t advertising anything here. Do you see me make references to any coaching center/website/book etc?? And FYI I took 3 verbal exams in a day. Just to check whether this was a fluke. And followed it up by taking one full length exam every day since that first day. If it was a fluke I wudn bother coming here to share it would i?

    • Shrey Mehta

      Dude he is not compelling anyone to follow his strat of attempting the section.If u find something +ve from it ,than take it & if not than u must be having your strat.Follow That.Keep It simple Silly.
      Everyone do have there way of attempting the exam & they go with their instinct only.
      I also have my date on 26th Sept & gave Timed FLT’S ,I realised i am not even able to read the long passages :-( & if 2 long passages appear in same section,den i can bet that no one can give it a sure shot.
      Its the accuracy which matters,go for the easy ones & make ample amount of time available for RC’s.

      • Shini

        Hey vinay , have you given GRE? If yes how much you actually scored

  • megha

    hey that ws a very hope giving post,thanq ,and can i please knw from where are u solving those practice tests?any websites?if yes plz do post those websites…thanq once again

    • Vinay

      practice tests can be taken in loads of websites. Try They give you about 12 free tests for each section.

  • jason

    Thank u so much,though i am thoroughly trying to do each section(sc,tc and rc)thoroughly,i never would have figured what to do 1st in da exam,since if u keep rc’s to da end ,chances of screwin up is more,n if u keep sc n tc at da end,u r bound to lose on da easy marks,but i would definitely go by this mtd.

  • Rajat

    Hi Vinay, which practice tests did u take? I have Kaplan’s and Barron’s discs but they don’t contain full length tests for the Revised GRE.

    • Vinay

      How come? I use manhattan review. I bought their online CAT’s. I have access to about 15 full length tests.

      • Riad

        Great work buddy. i want to bought thatt CAT,s can you help me how to do that. pls suggest me.

        • Abraham

          Buy the kaplan’s premier book you will get access to 5 major full length tests

  • sushant kainth

    can u provide info about the online test u gave????

  • Hari

    Hey..thanks for the advice..I have been worrying about being able to get good scores on verbal..will definitely try your strategy

    & Good luck on your GRE!!!


      hey thanks for this info! u seem to have relaxed me a bit.
      I would like to know from where i can take online tests! pls can some1 help me?