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Strategies for Success

Decoding the GRE Verbal Reasoning Section: Strategies for Success

Preparing for the GRE® Verbal Reasoning section can pose unique challenges. Unlike the quantitative section, the syllabus for GRE® Verbal is not finite. You could encounter questions on any of the myriad words in the English language or various topics from around the world. It’s essential to remember that GRE® Vocabulary is just one aspect of GRE® Verbal practice. This section also evaluates your proficiency in:

1. English grammar
2. Reading comprehension
3. Critical reading

The verbal reasoning section aims to assess your ability to:

Extract pertinent information from presented written data Identify relationships among different sentence components Recognize connections between words and concepts

Structure of the GRE® Verbal Reasoning Section

1. The GRE® Verbal section is divided into two subsections, comprising 12 and 15 questions respectively.
2. It operates on a computer-adaptive format, meaning the difficulty level and potential score of the second subsection are influenced by your performance in the first.
3. You are allotted 18 minutes for the first subsection and 23 minutes for the second subsection.
4. Each subsection includes the following question types:
Subsection 1

– Text completion: 3 questions
– Sentence equivalence: 4 questions
– Reading comprehension: 5 questions

Subsection 2

– Text completion: 3 to 5 questions
– Sentence equivalence: 3 to 4 questions
– Reading comprehension: 7 to 8 questions
Now, let’s delve into the specifics of each Verbal question type.

Text Completion

The Text Completion section of GRE® Verbal Reasoning evaluates your ability to comprehend the overall meaning of a passage, even when not every word is read. This portion assesses your capacity to fill in essential words that are missing from the provided text. Here’s what to expect:

1. Question statements comprising one to five sentences.
2. Each question statement may contain one, two, or three blanks.
3. Single-blank questions offer five options, while two- and three-blank questions provide three options each.

Your goal is not only to select words that maintain grammatical correctness but also to ensure the passage remains logical and cohesive.

Answering Strategies for Text Completion:
1. Begin by reading the entire question statement to grasp its overall meaning.
2. Identify keywords that highlight the sentence structure or are pivotal for understanding the context.
3. Fill in the blank(s) with your own words before examining the provided options for suitable choices.
4. You can fill in the blanks in any order that makes sense, not necessarily in the order they appear. For instance, starting with the third blank may be easier for a question with three blanks.
5. Verify your chosen options by reviewing the completed question statement to confirm coherence in grammar, logic, and style.

Sentence Equivalence

The Sentence Equivalence segment of GRE® Verbal Reasoning evaluates your skill in concluding incomplete sentences. Here’s what you’ll encounter:

1. A single sentence with one blank.
2. Six options, from which you must select two.
3. Both chosen options must be synonymous, maintaining the sentence’s meaning regardless of which one fills the blank. Both correct answers must be selected to earn credit, as no partial credit is awarded for selecting only one correct answer.

Answering Strategies for Sentence Equivalence
1. Keep in mind that the correct answer choices don’t necessarily need to contain words with the same meaning. What matters is that the completed sentences convey the same meaning, even if the words differ.
2. Take the time to review all options provided before making your decision.
3. Utilize root words, prefixes, and suffixes to understand the meanings of unfamiliar words.
4. Attempt to fill in the blank with your own words before examining the provided options.
5. Always double-check by reading the entire sentence with your selected option to ensure coherence and grammatical correctness.
6. Also, consider slight variations in the meanings of each word.

Answering Strategies for Reading Comprehension
1. Begin by reading the questions to prepare your mind to identify answers while reading the passage.
2. Determine the topic, scope, and purpose of the passage as you read it. Highlight topic words when possible.
3. Differentiate between factual details and opinions presented in the text.
4. Paraphrase when necessary to better understand the text, including the questions and answer choices.
5. Evaluate all presented options before making your selection.
6. Avoid letting personal opinions or external knowledge influence your interpretation of the text. Stay within the context provided.

Scoring Tips for GRE® Verbal Reasoning

1. Scores range from 130 to 170 points, with 1-point increments.
2. No partial credit is awarded for any question.
3. Remember, the percentile score holds more significance than the raw score, as it reflects your performance relative to other test-takers.
4. For instance, a 90-percentile score indicates that you’ve outperformed more than 90% of test-takers, placing you in the top 10%.
5. Average verbal scores corresponding to various percentiles can vary based on recent trends.
Percentile GRE® Verbal scaled score
The upper decile of all test takers (top 10%) 162
The upper quartile of all test takers (top 25%) 157
The upper half of all test takers (top 50%) 151
Below the median percentile of all test takers (below the 50% mark) 150
6. The average score for the GRE® Verbal Reasoning section stands at 151.

Verbal Score of GRE® Verbal Reasoning

Target GRE® scores vary depending on the program you’re applying to. To gauge competitiveness, review the average scores of admitted applicants in your desired program.

Typically, a score exceeding 160 is deemed ideal for many GRE® candidates. However, even scores above 150 can secure admission to reputable universities. Scores below 150 are considered below average and might diminish your chances of acceptance.

For insight, here are the average GRE® Verbal scores of accepted candidates at select universities:
University Approximate GRE® Verbal score
San Diego State University 150
University of Arizona 152
NYU 153
Arizona State University 155
University of Buffalo 157
University of North Carolina 159
University of Florida 163
Georgia Institute of Technology 165
University of Utah 165
Keep in mind that the specific score accepted by a university hinges on the scoring trends for that particular year. Consequently, the exact score holds less significance than the percentile score. A reliable method to determine your target score is to examine the average score over the past five years for your desired program. This approach accommodates fluctuations in accepted scores each admissions cycle. It’s widely acknowledged that consistent practice for the GRE® Verbal Section correlates with improved performance on the final exam.

Keep Practising

Here’s a valuable suggestion we offer to our students: Engage in numerous Verbal practice tests throughout your preparation period. This approach aids in pinpointing your strengths and weaknesses across different topics.
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Strategies for Writing with Clarity and Brevity

Mastering Concise Expression In GRE: Strategies for Writing with Clarity and Brevity

How often do you find yourself writing excessively, only to realize later it’s too verbose? To write with brevity and clarity, mastering concise expression is essential.

Concise writing in GRE involves conveying your message using fewer words. In today’s fast-paced world, where time is limited, this skill is invaluable. Consider that the average reading speed is approximately 238 words per minute, excluding emails, texts, and other daily communications.

Achieving conciseness demands meticulous attention to detail and organization. Employing techniques like bullet points or numbered lists facilitates easy comprehension and retention for readers.

Various strategies exist to convey your message succinctly while maintaining clarity.

1. Concise Writing: Definition and Significance

Writing concisely entails using the minimum number of words required to convey a clear concept. It goes beyond merely excising unnecessary sentences; it involves eliminating superfluous content that lacks utility.

In GRE, numerous motives drive us towards concise writing, such as conserving space, eliminating redundancy, and enhancing readability. However, the most significant advantage lies in easing our readers’ burden. By presenting information succinctly, we reduce the time they spend navigating dense prose. Moreover, if they do engage with our writing, they are less prone to losing focus since there are fewer distractions.

2. Remove redundant language.

Removing redundant words, such as tautologies, enhances the strength and clarity of sentences. Tautological statements, like “I am tired,” “It is raining,” or “The sky is blue,” are often employed to bolster authority but contribute no additional value to your writing. When aiming to substantiate a point, opting for alternative vocabulary may prove more effective.

Tautology refers to expressions or phrases that duplicate information, constituting a redundancy. Redundant language occupies unnecessary space, impedes reader comprehension, and diminishes clarity. By eliminating redundancies, sentences are streamlined, facilitating quicker communication of ideas.

3. Enhance feeble adjectives for greater impact.

Ever wondered what distinguishes a powerful adjective from a weak one? It all boils down to context.

When you employ a robust adjective to characterize a person, location, or object, it typically warrants reinforcement. Conversely, if you utilize potent adjectives like “good,” “great,” or “terrible” to depict yourself, they likely require no augmentation.

Incorporating vivid and expressive adjectives such as “good,” “great,” and “amazing” can streamline sentence construction. Identify instances where you’ve employed two words to portray something when one suffices. For instance, instead of saying, “The food was great and tasty,” opt for “The food was delicious.” This approach enhances readability and comprehension, particularly for individuals with limited attention spans. Moreover, robust adjectives inject vitality and dynamism into your prose, enabling you to convey meaning succinctly without compromising clarity.

4. Avoid excessive adjective usage.

Adjectives often serve as modifiers for nouns, enhancing descriptions with vivid details. They can convey emotions, characteristics, and appearances, making it easier to articulate descriptions of oneself, favorite items, and surroundings.

However, excessive adjectival usage can hinder concise writing. For instance, stating “The man wore a blue shirt” implies he wore a blue shirt.

Contrastingly, a sentence like “The brave man rescued the clumsy child who fell into a stormy river” aptly captures the scenario with just enough descriptive adjectives to provide context.

It’s crucial to ensure adjectives aren’t overused. For instance, consider the phrase “The real scary poor man ran towards the strange garbage can,” where three adjectives attempt to characterize the man. Unless the man is specifically “real scary poor,” using all three adjectives may dilute the clarity. Instead, opt for a more concise description like “The scary man ran towards the strange garbage can,” allowing room for interpretation regarding the man’s economic status.

5. Remove unnecessary filler words.

Cut out filler words, such as “um,” “uh,” “err,” and “like,” which are often used unconsciously in daily speech. These words serve little purpose beyond occupying space.

Grammatical errors manifest in various forms, and many writers inadvertently make them. While some may downplay the importance of grammar, it plays a crucial role. Effective and clear communication hinges on proper grammar; failing to adhere to it can lead to reader confusion.

6. Prefer active voice over a passive voice in your writing.

Certain sentence structures outshine others. For instance, while passive voice isn’t inherently incorrect, it typically yields weaker writing. Making a point is more straightforward with active voice, where you take action, compared to passive voice, where action is taken by someone else. While passive voice has its place, like discussing events “on our end,” it’s advisable to stick to active voice for straightforward descriptions.

Passive voice isn’t always suitable, particularly in technical contexts. It’s often employed to mitigate harsh language, such as describing termination rather than a natural occurrence.
Nonetheless, there are instances where passive voice is appropriate. Here are some guidelines for its usage:

1. When describing natural events
2. When the subject is actively influenced by another entity
3. When external control is exerted over the subject
4. When softening a harsh truth
5. When opting for passive voice for stylistic reasons or convenience
6. When the passive voice enhances the sentence’s sound or flow
7. When writing, aim for brevity and clarity by keeping sentences short. This not only enhances your writing style but also conserves time and effort. Sentences that start with conjunctions tend to be longer & fuller with words.

Utilize more exact terminology to articulate concepts.
We often employ an abundance of words when discussing relatively uncomplicated concepts. When addressing basic subjects like cooking pasta, we typically utilize straightforward language. However, when attempting to elucidate more intricate matters, we often opt for lengthier sentences and more precise terminology.

For instance, consider the following statement: “The politician discussed several of his achievements during his campaign.” Initially, it appears quite straightforward – he highlighted some of his successes, correct? While indeed he did mention his accomplishments, there’s no particularly ingenious aspect to it. Simply stating, “He listed some of his achievements,” would have rendered it much clearer and easier to comprehend.

7. Consolidate sentences.

Sentence combining is a concept often introduced in school, but its significance may not become apparent until later in life. Although teachers emphasize its importance, grasping why it matters can be challenging.

The difficulty lies in the type of sentences—they tend to be lengthier than necessary, and reducing wordiness isn’t always straightforward. However, combining sentences can be beneficial. Here are three reasons why:

a. Space-saving: Combining sentences enables the consolidation of information into fewer words. For instance, consider the sentence “The politician talked about several aspects of his career.” Breaking it into smaller segments yields “The politician talked about several parts of his career,” which is not only shorter but also clearer and easier to comprehend.

b. Improved clarity: Combining sentences eliminates unnecessary words, enhancing clarity. For example, replacing “She was upset that she couldn’t go out” with “She was upset because she couldn’t go out” eradicates redundancy, streamlining the message for readers.

c. Reduction of redundancy: Repeating information excessively leads to redundancy and can diminish the appeal of your writing. Instead of listing traits like “He’s smart, funny, athletic, artistic, and kind,” opt for a concise description like “He’s smart, funny, athletic, artistic, and kind,” to avoid monotony and maintain reader interest.

Ensure that your utilization of adverbs is restricted. Adverbs, those modifiers of verbs or adjectives, are likely familiar to you—examples include “quickly,” “frequently,” “truly,” “really,” “very,” and “happily.”

However, did you realize that adverbs often clutter sentences unnecessarily? Not only do they serve as filler, but they can also impart a stilted and unnatural tone to your writing.

That’s not to say you should banish them entirely. Yet, if concise writing is your aim, it’s prudent to minimize their use. Here’s why:

Adverbs Are Often Redundant

Consider this: most adverbs are superfluous. For instance, in the sentence “He quickly ran toward her,” “quickly” doesn’t add much. Removing it results in a more streamlined “He ran toward her.” Using both “quickly” and “run” in the same sentence is redundant.

Adverbs Can Impede Flow

Overuse of adverbs can make your writing feel cumbersome and awkward. They often serve as fillers, as seen in this example: “It was often a very wonderful evening, and they often got together quite often with a large group of people.” The excessive repetition of “often” detracts from clarity and readability.

To enhance this sentence, one might revise it to: “It was a wonderful evening, and they frequently gathered with a large group of friends.”

Adverbs Can Cause Ambiguity

Excessive adverbs can muddy the intended meaning of a sentence. Take, for instance, “She was very happy to see him smile.” Adding “very” alters the interpretation. Is she happy because she saw him smile, or because she had seen him smile previously?

In striving for concise writing, it’s prudent to restrict your use of adverbs.

Ensure that you restrict the use of idiomatic expressions. English is rich with idiomatic phrases, colloquialisms, and vernacular that convey meanings beyond their literal words, like “under the weather” for feeling sick. These expressions often replace specific terms, such as saying you’re feeling fine when you’re not really.

A turn of phrase is any expression not immediately understood from context alone, like “the dog ate my homework.” It communicates the intended meaning clearly without further explanation, allowing for concise expression.

Many figures of speech tend to be wordy, clichéd, or rely on others’ generalizations rather than specific details. For instance, phrases like “I’m trying to make a change in myself” or “I want to improve my life” could be simplified to “I’m working hard to become a better person” or “I’m making changes in my life.”

Make sure to employ specifics rather than generalizations. To write concisely, it’s vital to steer clear of vague generalizations. Generalizations are statements that apply universally, such as “All dogs love to eat grass.” While true to a degree, such statements lack specificity about individual cases.

Opt for specifics instead. For instance, instead of asserting “all dogs love to eat grass,” specify “my dog loves to eat grass.” Similarly, replace “everybody loves to eat grass” with “my friend loves to eat grass.” This approach renders your sentences more precise and focused.

Avoid excessive wordiness. In writing, aim for brevity by keeping sentences concise. Avoiding wordiness is key to achieving this. Excessive words lead to repetition, creating a stilted and unnatural tone in your writing.

Restrict the utilization of sophisticated vocabulary and specialized terminology. Limit the use of complex vocabulary and specialized jargon, particularly in academic writing such as essays. While fancy words may enhance the perceived intelligence of ideas, they don’t always contribute to clarity. Often, readers may not grasp the meaning of these words, leading to confusion.

For instance, the word “cynosure” lacks clarity without context. Instead of using it, one could simply state, “Jordan was the subject of many stares.” Similarly, “Jordan was the cynosure of all eyes” may imply a special power, necessitating further explanation.

The same principle applies to words like “clandestinely” and “regretting.” When uncertain, opt for straightforward language.

Simple writing not only aids faster comprehension for readers but also allows writers to convey ideas with fewer words. For instance, “secretly” is equivalent to “clandestinely,” while “cynosure” and “center of attention” convey similar meanings. However, “cynosure,” though shorter, may be harder to grasp.

While fancy writing may impress, especially non-native English speakers, its overuse can hinder understanding. Thus, it’s advisable to favor shorter, clearer sentences to minimize confusion and errors in the GRE.

Steer clear of exaggeration. Exaggeration is a prevalent writing error that undermines credibility. Overstatements, akin to someone pounding the table after each sentence, diminish the ability to be taken seriously.

The issue with overstatements lies not in their accuracy but in their extremity. Exaggeration compromises credibility, so it’s wise to avoid it when making your point. Instead, employ understatement—a less extreme approach that enhances credibility.

Crafting succinct and concise writing is both an art and a science. Mastering the art of concise writing is attainable through practice. With each writing session, your skills will be enhanced.

Consistent practice in succinct writing will elevate the quality of your overall writing. Your readers will appreciate your clarity and brevity
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GRE Vocabulary Questions

Understanding the Role of Context: GRE Vocabulary Questions

How can GRE test-takers combat intimidating answer choices effectively? By bolstering their vocabulary arsenal. Enhancing your vocabulary stands as a pivotal strategy to elevate your GRE verbal score significantly.

The GRE assesses vocabulary that ETS (the GRE’s developer) deems essential for the average college-educated individual. Any unfamiliar word encountered during GRE preparation or elsewhere likely falls into this category. Establishing a routine for acquiring new vocabulary will lead to substantial vocabulary growth over time.

– Immerse yourself in reading materials—books, magazines, newspapers and actively engage with unfamiliar words by noting them down and seeking their meanings.
– Embrace the dictionary as a valuable resource, exploring beyond the primary definitions to uncover secondary ones, especially relevant for standardized tests like the GRE.
– Personalize your understanding of new words by rephrasing their definitions in your own words, facilitating better retention and comprehension.
– Incorporate pronunciation practice into your learning routine; while it may initially feel unusual, verbalizing new words aids in retention.
– Maintain a compilation of new GRE vocabulary terms either on your mobile device or in a notebook.
– Transcribing the words aids in retention.Record the words as you encounter them and include the sentences in which they are found to reinforce their contextual usage.
– Utilize GRE flashcards while you’re on the move. Keep a few flashcards handy in your pocket each day and review them whenever possible. Whether you’re stuck on a delayed subway train or waiting in line at a coffee shop, take advantage of spare moments to go through your flashcards. Simplify your flashcard study with our Essential GRE Vocabulary set, featuring 500 physical cards along with online access to the complete deck.
– Focus on mastering words that are commonly tested on the GRE. Whenever you encounter unfamiliar terms during GRE practice sessions, incorporate them into your vocabulary list. These words have been previously featured on the GRE and are likely to appear again. For a selection of frequently tested GRE words, refer to our GRE Premium Prep guide.
– Leverage visualizations to enhance learning. Engage your imagination to create vivid mental images that help cement new words in your memory. The more imaginative the visualization, the more effective it tends to be. For instance, to remember the word “voracious” (meaning having an insatiable appetite), envision a ravenous bear devouring massive amounts of food. This visual representation of a voracious bear will aid you in recalling the word’s meaning.
– Explore the origins of words by delving into their roots. Many words stem from common origins, such as “ben,” “bene,” and “bon,” which signify goodness or wellness (as seen in words like “benefit,” “benefactor,” and “benediction”). By familiarizing yourself with these shared roots, you enhance your ability to decipher unfamiliar words. This skill proves invaluable when you need to pinpoint correct answers!
– Practice using your newly acquired vocabulary at every opportunity. Mastering an extensive vocabulary demands consistent practice. Challenge yourself by incorporating a GRE vocabulary word into your next conversation in a natural way. Regularly integrating new words into your writing or discussions helps reinforce your memory of them.
– Remember the importance of understanding GRE math terminology. Can you define an integer off the top of your head? Is zero considered an even or odd number? How many prime numbers are both even and prime? The GRE frequently assesses your comprehension of integers, fractions, decimals, and other mathematical principles you may have learned long ago. Proficiency in this math “vocabulary” is essential for interpreting questions accurately. Familiarize yourself with these concepts through GRE math practice questions to prepare effectively.

Get ready to ace the GRE with our immersive practice experience! Dive into a GRE practice test alongside us, simulating the authentic exam environment. Following the test, you’ll receive a personalized score report tailored to showcase your achievements and pinpoint areas for enhancement. Let’s embark on this learning journey together and unlock your full potential!
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