GRE Verbal and Analytical Writing Overview

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GRE is a great option for a diverse range of potential grad students globally and more specifically in the USA. Grads who wish to study STEM courses have been the traditional market for GRE, but now even business grads have a choice with many Grad Business schools accepting both GRE and GMAT scores. Thus, it is safe to conclude that GRE is a great option for students who wish to study any grad course.

The Verbal Sections
There are several types of questions in the Verbal sections of the GRE. Text Completion and Sentence Equivalence questions test your ability to correlate between componential parts of sentences and short texts. Text Completions have 1-3 blanks. While the prompt for the one-blank text completion is only one sentence, the prompts for text completions with 2-3 blanks can be up to 5 sentences long. You are required to correlate between the various parts of sentences and between sentences themselves in longer texts in order to fill the blanks with the best answer.

Argument Passage Based Readings test your ability to think clearly. The Reasoning used in most of the questions is argument-based reasoning. You are required to identify assumptions in arguments and also statements that could strengthen or weaken an argument. In addition, some questions may ask you to identify the components of arguments. There are also some questions that ask you to identify inferences from short passages. Lastly, some questions may present you with a paradox (contradiction) and require you to identify the resolution (explanation) to the contradiction/paradox. While these questions may seem intimidating at first, a thorough understanding of Argumentation accompanied by the best strategies to solve these questions helps infinitely.

Reading passages in the GRE test your ability to identify the content and organization of a passage. Passages may range in length and the questions from these passages may also require you to identify the main idea of the passage or the ‘tone’ of the author. Other questions require you to identify inferences made from the content of the passages or contextual use of words in the passage. Extrapolation questions, often regarded as the ‘trickiest’ questions in the GRE, ask test takers to match the content of the passage with context from outside the passage.

The Role of Vocabulary in the GRE Verbal Test In text completion and sentence equivalence questions, vocabulary plays a crucial role. While, the primary ability being tested is the ability to correlate between componential parts of sentences and texts, the answer choices often are made up of advanced words that most non-native speakers will not know.

Mnemonics are the best way to learn new words because the effectiveness of rote learning words is limited. Mnemonics work by associating words with other ideas and making it easier for the brain to remember the word by association.

The Analytical Writing Assessment in the GRE
The ‘Analysis of an Issue’ essay in the GRE presents the test taker with a topic of general interest with instructions on how to respond to the topic. The test taker is required to develop the most analytical perspective on the issue and then defend her perspective using the best reasons and examples.

The ‘Analysis of an Argument’ essay presents you with a piece of reasoning in the form of an argument. Your task is to write a critique on the argument. Most such critiques will identify the weaknesses of the argument and comment on how the argument could have been strengthened.

All in all, the GRE is a test taker friendly test that has a simple format (unlike the GMAT) and the verbal and analytical writing sections, while comprehensive from a testing perspective, do not overreach in terms of identifying critical and analytical skills in test takers.