GRE Test Prep Tips for Verbal Section

Raghuram Sukumar GRE, Uncategorized 1 Comment

GRE Preparation

Several people find the verbal section of the GRE extremely daunting. A common reason is the seemingly insurmountable, endless vocabulary. A slightly less common problem are the questions themselves – the strategies involved and the twisted nature of questions.

Here are some GRE prep tips on cracking the verbal sections on the GRE?

Let us start at the beginning. Before we head off to war, we need to know the strength of our enemy. Are we dealing with a hundred ogres with spiked chains or a thousand lilliputian that you can easily trample upon?

Who are we tackling? What weapons do they have, and what weapons should we load in our arsenal? There is one way to find that out.

1.Take a MOCK TEST

The importance of taking a mock test cannot be emphasized enough. Take a full length ETS mock test , not to see how good you are but to see how bad the test could get. Chances are, you may realize it is not a monster after all. This diagnostic test will give you a preview into what ETS tests are like and is also the most accurate mock test when it comes to resembling the actual GRE.

You will also be able to experience the exact pattern of the test, the question types and the kind of words you will encounter. You should learn the pattern of the test and know it well enough to ‘deep-sleep talk’ it if asked.

So now we have gauged our enemy and can prepare for battle accordingly. What next?

2.DO NOT prepare blindly without knowing your own skills.

ETS gives you either 2 or 3 verbal sections in the test. Each section contains 20 questions and you have 30 minutes to answer them in any order. (You are free to flip back and forth).

Every section has only three types of questions – Reading comprehension, which we have all done in school by answering questions based on a passage.

What are the other two? Simply put, they are fundamentally ‘ Fill in the blank’ questions called ‘ Sentence equivalence’ and ‘Text completion’.

So determining your weak and strong areas is easier after you have taken the test. How many RC questions did you get right? Did you find the TC’s super- easy? What problems did you face? Was it the horrendous vocabulary in the TC’s and SE’s? Did you have enough time? What do you really,really need to work on ?

There is no point in honing an already sharpened sword. Now that you know what was holding you back, you are ready to start without being in the dark and floundering about aimlessly to prepare yourself. Instead, with these practice tests and after accounting for your own skills, you will have effectively prepared yourself for what’s to come.

3. Give yourself TIME.

GRE preparation is not a skill to achieve overnight. It is a long arduous task, a bumpy ride with rewards and disappointments. You may find yourself getting frustrated when you get 10 /20 questions wrong after weeks of turmoil.

Just when you think you know how to answer text completions, the diabolical fiend deceives you. It is an uphill climb, and prepare to trudge it assiduously, but also prepare to enjoy the ride.

I promise you, you will learn so much by the end of your exam, not just about the GRE but also about yourself, that you will truly appreciate the journey to graduate studies.

[Photo: Wikimedia Commons]

To KNOW MORE about GRE Test Takers’ experiences, also read THIS article.


  1. It was very useful.I m very bad in verbal.i practice a lot but ends up getting maximum wrong.i hope it gets improved.

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