GRE Verbal Reasoning Section

GRE Verbal Reasoning Basics

The GRE Verbal Reasoning section is perhaps the section that has undergone the greatest stylistic shift over the past decade. Where it used to have vocabulary analogy questions, similar to the SAT, its vocabulary assessment is now much more contextual. Now, not only must test takers understand word meaning, they must be able to identify clues in a sentences, and be able to assess what a sentence or passage is aiming to say even with pivotal words in the passage missing. This is explained in more detail in the description of the individual question types.

There are three question types in this section: Reading Comprehension questions, Text Completion questions, and Sentence Equivalence questions. While Reading Comprehension is different than the other two question types because it involves much larger passages to read, there is an interrelatedness between all three types of questions in terms of the skills that are tested.

For example, Sentence Equivalence and Text Completion both involve choosing the correct word, so at face value they appear to test vocabulary skills. Yet both question types test reading comprehension on a micro level, and require reasoning skills to evaluate the underlying meaning of a sentence. Similarly, while Reading Comprehension primarily focuses on assessing the ability to interpret written materials analytically, it also tests vocabulary skills in the context of longer passages.

  • Text Completion

    Text Completion questions give test-takers a sentence missing one, two or three words. Click here for a more in-depth description as well as strategy for solving these questions.

  • Sentence Equivalence

    In Sentence Equivalence questions, test takers must choose two words that would best complete the sentence.

  • Reading Comprehension

    These questions involve passages 400-600 words long followed by three to five questions. The questions may ask about any aspect of the passage from small details to broad themes.