Exams Know-how

GRE Sentence Equivalence Tips: Practice Questions, Structure, Syllabus, Preparation Books

Rohan Deshmukh

Normally, GRE sentence equivalence questions include a single sentence with a blank and six choices. Students are evaluated according to their ability to select two appropriate words and write two complete sentences of equivalent meaning. Due to its limited credit, there is no partial credit, so to answer the question correctly, students must select both correct words.

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Similar to text completion problems, sentence equivalent problems are used primarily to gauge the understanding of vocabulary in context. While GRE sentence equivalence questions focus on the meaning of the whole sentence, text completion questions assess the ability to read by interpreting incomplete information and making inferences concerning how a sentence must be completed. So, keep reading as we make you explore the GRE sentence equivalence practice questions, tips & tricks, and a lot more!

  Table of Contents 

  1. Importance of GRE Sentence Equivalence 
  2. GRE Sentence Equivalence Exam Pattern 
  3. GRE Sentence Equivalence Syllabus 
  4. GRE Sentence Equivalence Tips and Tricks 
  5. GRE Sentence Equivalence Preparation Books 

Importance of GRE Sentence Equivalence 

The GRE Sentence Equivalence is a component of the Verbal Section of the test. The questions of the Sentence Equivalence are presented in a fill-in-the-blanks format and consist of six possible answers. To complete the GRE Sentence completion section, students should choose one of two words appropriate for the blanks. The words must convey the same meaning as the sentence. 

By perfecting this approach and practicing GRE sentence equivalence practice, students can increase their performances in the GRE Sentence Equivalence section the fastest.

Suggested: What is the Importance of GRE Verbal?

GRE Sentence Equivalence Exam Pattern 

The structure of the sentence equivalence question is similar to that of the GRE text completion question. With sentence equivalence questions, candidates are assessed for their ability to solve a question with partial information. There are three main components to the structure of sentence equivalence questions: 

  • A single sentence 
  • A blank space 
  • Six answer choices 

To select the correct answer, candidates must choose two options. Most importantly, candidates need to know that partially correct answers cannot be scored.

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GRE Sentence Equivalence Syllabus 

The GRE sentence equivalence questions require applicants to choose one or two correct answers to complete the sentence. Moreover, there are a total of eight questions related to Sentence Equivalence on the GRE. 

Here are some examples and explanations of GRE sentence equivalence practice questions that may be useful for preparing GRE exam:

  1. Leo's landlord told him and his housemates that because they failed to pay rent for the previous four months, they would need to ——— possession of the residence by the end of the week.
  • Allocate
  • Circumvent
  • Surrender
  • Relinquish 
  • Mandate
  • Designate

In the above sentence and word choice, the words allocate and designate might be considered suitable despite their relevance to the sentence. Due to Leo's failure to pay the rent of the house for two months, the landlord required him to vacate the premises. A more appropriate pair of words would be surrender and relinquish, which both mean to give up. As a result, for the purpose of GRE sentence equivalence, words appropriate to the context should be chosen.

  1. After being bedridden for a few months, David found that his muscles had atrophied, initially ——– his ability to walk or lift heavy objects.
  • Castigated 
  • Improved
  • Hampered 
  • Belittled 
  • Curtailed 
  • Bolstered 

Transition words such as after and initially indicate cause and effect in a sentence. Therefore, David has been bedridden for months, resulting in his muscles being atrophied. In particular, it has affected his ability to walk or lift heavy objects. Due to its similar meaning in the context of the question, the correct answer is hampered or curtailed.

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With these examples for GRE sentence equivalence practice, students will be able to improve their understanding of the tips and be prepared for the GRE sentence equivalence practice test. To practice GRE sentence completion, candidates can refer to GRE verbal practice papers.

Suggested: How to Check the GRE Score Report? 

GRE Sentence Equivalence Tips and Tricks 

Combining these GRE sentence equivalence tips and tricks will enable students to master GRE Sentence Equivalence.

  • Identify Pairs, But Beware: The two words students choose must result in two sentences with roughly the same meaning. It should be noted that students should select two words that are synonyms -- not necessarily close synonyms, but synonyms nonetheless. If students can identify pairs in the answer choices, then those are likely to be proper answers. Although, ETS frequently provides "dummy pairs" in the answers, or synonyms that do not make sense in the context of the question. As such, while finding pairs is a useful method for identifying answer possibilities, do not assume it's done after finding a pair. Check that both words make sense in the sentence.
  • Fill in the Blank Yourself: One of the best tips for sentence equivalence GRE is when students read the sentence, they must determine what word(s) they will use to fill in the blank. They should check whether some of their choices are similar.
  • Look At The Grammatical Structure: Students can benefit from knowing some basic grammatical structures when they attempt to construct sentences. For example, students can search for parallel sentence construction, simply the repetition of a grammatical form within a sentence. As the pattern repeats, they will be able to figure out the meaning of the word the blank wants them to determine.
  • Assess Word Positivity/Negativity: Many students can determine whether a positive or negative word should be present in the blank based on the context of the sentence. Students may find this method helpful for eliminating words they know do not have the correct valence, even if they are unsure of the exact definition.

Suggested: GRE Flashcards to Boost Your Verbal Skills!

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GRE Sentence Equivalence Preparation Books

Apart from GRE sentence equivalence tips, here are some of the best GRE preparation books to help students prepare for the test: 

  • BARRON'S Verbal Workbook, Second Edition: One of the best books for GRE verbal preparation is Barron's GRE Verbal Workbook. When it comes to preparing for GRE verbal questions, it is an ideal resource, as it strengthens vocabulary and increases confidence.
  • Manhattan Prep Complete Verbal Set, 4th Edition: Manhattan Prep Complete Verbal Set offers an in-depth overview of the types of questions on the GRE Verbal Assessment. It is beneficial for preparing for the GRE Verbal section.
  • Verbal Workout for new GRE by Princeton Review, 6th Edition: Princeton Review's workbook is considered among the best GRE verbal books, with strategies to achieve high GRE scores.

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We would suggest you to follow the tips and perform a GRE sentence equivalence practice test to enhance your abilities in GRE sentence completion. You can even speak with our Yocket Counsellors through a 15-minutes FREE consultation call! Now watch this video to gain clarity of how to prepare for GRE verbal: 



Frequently Asked Questions about GRE Sentence Equivalence

Who is eligible to take the GRE?

How many sentences are in an equivalence question on the GRE?

Is there a way to prepare for the GRE?

What is the lowest GRE score acceptable?

What is the minimum GRE score required for scholarships?

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