Strategies for GRE verbal

5 tricks to crack GRE Verbal section

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After training 2000 students on their endeavour to solve Reading Comprehension, Text Completion and Sentence Equivalence, we have compiled most important ways to crack GRE Verbal Section. If you have been lately going through a GRE wordlist to crack Verbal Section of GRE, and even after rummaging (search unsystematically through something) through thousands of words are you not confident in the mock tests or even in real GRE, read along.

1. Understand the purpose of GRE Verbal Section

Many students wonder why the hell am I reading about dolphins, African Americans or High Energy Rays, when I wish to study Engineering, Medicine or Management? Well you have not been introduced the purpose of GRE.

According to ETS website, GRE tests you on your Critical Abilities, in simple words, your ability to think so that you can analyse the given data to learn from it.

As a graduate student in leading universities, you are going to research about cutting edge technologies. However, to decide course of action you require some literature about the work by the pioneers. This ability to take decisions, based on given data is tested on GRE. The hi-fi language is not the focus of testing anyway.

If you understand this simple purpose of the test, you can explore further on how you develop these critical reasoning skills. Well it takes time but read along for primary ways towards the direction.

2. Structure of GRE Verbal Section

To understand the test better, it is important to comprehend the structure of the Verbal Section on the GRE test. We have already posted how understanding the structure of GRE Verbal section is going to help you in previous post. Click here to read it.

3. Improve your reading habits

An average non-native speaker who has completed Bachelor in English needs to face this truth. From our experience in our class-rooms, majority of students read with a speed of hardly 100 words per minutes with just more than 50% retention of the details.

Let’s say you need 5 minutes to read a long passage of 500 words and understand the meaning well. However, to complete a section in time you finish the same passage within 3 and half minutes and retain hardly 40% of data. Now, while solving the first question you need to re-read the part of the passage again even if you recall the placement of probable answer. What if you cannot recall the location as you were too busy reading the passage? In such cases you waste precious time in scanning through the paragraphs.

If you wish to score well on GRE Verbal section, you must have a reading speed of about 200 words per line with more than 90% retention of ideas.

To improve reading habits, we would suggest every GRE aspirant to buy “How to read better and faster” by Norman Lewis.

4. Get involved

How many of us remember Thanos and his infinity stones from Avengers Infinity War? Why? Because you were so engrossed in the movie that most of us can recall the movie bit by bit.

You need to be involved in the subject matter. You may not care about a monkey learning to boil potatoes on its own but show some sympathy. You may not care about position of African Americans in nineteenth century but try to feel their pain.

If you can empathise with the main character of the passage, chances are you have clarity about the topic and the author’s message effortlessly.

5. Time Management

One of the major concerns for GRE Verbal section is time management. Simple calculation tells you that if we are to solve 20 questions in 30 minutes, you need to allot 1 minute 30 seconds on an average. Following table breaks down a typical Verbal section in sequence of questions and allotted time.

Sequence of questionsType of questionAverage time allotted per questionTotal Time
1 to 6Text Completion1 minute 30 seconds9 minutes
7 to 11Reading Comprehension1 minute 30 seconds7 minutes 30 seconds
12 to 16Sentence Equivalence1 minute 30 seconds7 minutes 30 seconds
17 to 20Reading Comprehension1 minute 30 seconds6 minutes

If you find it hard to finish a tricky question in allotted time, you may take extra time and the delay may percolate in later questions leaving hardly any time for last few questions. It is wise to leave a tricky question for later part and stick to the time-line.

However, allotting the above time-line is unfair.

If number of words read to find an answer is a yard-stick to measure efforts, Reading Comprehension deserves maximum period.

Then, Text Completion and Sentence Equivalence are low hanging fruits for most of the students as one need not read much. Now in the above analysis add one more aspect, approximate number of words then relatively we can allot the time as follows.

Sequence of questionsType of questionAverage number of wordsTotal Time calculated from words weightage
1 to 6Text Completion375 words8 minutes
7 to 11Reading Comprehension550 words11 minutes
12 to 16Sentence Equivalence150 words4 minutes
17 to 20Reading Comprehension350 words7 minutes

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