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GRE Verbal Section: GRE Verbal Syllabus, Pattern, Question Types, Preparation Books & Scores

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As part of the GRE General Test, the GRE Verbal section determines your ability to analyze, evaluate, and integrate information acquired from written material. Additionally, the section analyzes how sentence components relate to one another and how words and concepts are related. 

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The GRE Verbal Reasoning contains several formats of questions, and each of them is described in detail under relevant sections. About half of the test requires the student to read passages and answer related questions. The other half involves reading, interpreting, and completing existing sentences, groups of sentences, or paragraphs.

Wish to know more? Keep reading as we will talk all about the GRE verbal in the blog, covering things like GRE verbal syllabus, preparation, pattern, and lots more! 

  Table of Contents 

  1. Importance of the GRE Verbal Section
  2. GRE Verbal Exam Pattern 
  3. GRE Verbal Syllabus and Question Types 
  4. GRE Verbal Preparation and Preparation Books 
  5. GRE Verbal Score 
  6. Frequently Asked Questions about GRE Verbal Section 

Importance of the GRE Verbal Section 

According to experts, the importance of the GRE Verbal section entirely depends on the program you choose. For instance, physics programs will place less weight on your verbal score, while mass communication or English literature programs will pay more attention to that score. To some extent, this is true, although the majority of competitive graduate programs will consider both verbal and quantitative test scores.

  • Typically, the courses that are offered in the STEM category place little emphasis on the verbal portion of the test. It is because students who are selected should have a solid quantitative score to pass subjects in the course.
  • On the other hand, some courses place a significant amount of emphasis on the GRE Verbal section. Such courses include Archaeology/Anthropology, Social Sciences, Art History, Theory and Criticism, English Language and Literature, Philosophy, etc. The GRE Verbal requirement for these courses is higher than for Quantitative courses.
  • Some non-STEM courses such as Business/Managerial Economics, International Business, Business Administration & Management, and Economics, also require a high score in the GRE verbal section. This is due to the coursework associated with these courses.
  • The goal of developing a rich vocabulary does not end here since, after leaving the university and entering the world of work, the knowledge of verbal comprehension is constantly assessed. This makes it even more crucial to have a well-developed vocabulary because it indicates a high level of sociability. 

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GRE Verbal Exam Pattern

There are different formats for GRE verbal reasoning questions. Most of the GRE Verbal Pattern involves reading passages and answering questions about them. The other half is reading, interpreting, and completing existing sentences, paragraphs, or groups of sentences. Each sub-section has the following types of questions:

  • Reading comprehension – 10
  • Text completion – 6
  • Sentence equivalence – 4

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The three types of GRE verbal questions are as follows:

  • Reading Comprehension: In these questions, you are given a passage and asked both detailed and general questions regarding the passage.
  • Text Completion: In text completion questions, there are some blanks within a short passage. For each blank, you will have a list of possible words to use, and you will have to select the most appropriate one.
  • Sentence Equivalence: In this section, you will receive a single sentence with one blank and six possible responses. Identify two options that fit within the sentence and create sentences with the same or similar meanings.

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GRE Verbal Syllabus And Question Types

As part of the GRE Verbal Syllabus, three types of questions are covered: Reading Comprehension, Text Completion, and Sentence Equivalence.

GRE Verbal Topics

Typically, for GRE Verbal Preparation, you need to cover the following topics: 

  • Modifiers and Parallelism
  • Verbs and Tenses
  • Subject-Verb Agreement
  • Idioms and Idiomatic Expressions
  • Nouns, Pronouns, and Adjectives
  • Pronoun Agreement

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GRE Verbal Questions

Here is the detailed information about the three sections of the GRE Verbal Test:

GRE Reading Comprehension

GRE reading comprehension is primarily composed of three types of questions:

  • MCQs with five options and a single right answer. To answer, you must analyze the passage.
  • There are three options in the MCQs, and you must choose all the correct answers. To answer, you must compare different perspectives and draw conclusions.
  • Identify the most appropriate sentence within the passage based on the description.
  • Examine how the highlighted sentence relates to the options provided.
  • Learn how the bolded and non-bolded portions of the passage are related.

GRE Text Completion

The GRE text completion for the verbal section consists of one to five sentences in the reading passage.

  • Each blanked question contains five possible answers.
  • Double blanked questions have three possible answers.
  • Triple blanked questions contain three answer options.
  • There is only one answer appropriate to each blank.
  • You can choose the same answer for multiple blanks.

GRE Sentence Equivalence

  • In GRE Verbal Reasoning, the sentence equivalence consists of one sentence and one blank.
  • There are six options available, and you need to choose two.
  • If you choose only one, you will not receive any marks.

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GRE Verbal Preparation And Preparation Books

Here are some reliable books for GRE Verbal Preparation: 

  • Barron's GRE Verbal Workbook: Barron's is a company that specializes in the preparation of GRE exams. This GRE verbal workbook is an excellent tool for preparing for the GRE, as it contains over 380 examples of questions and provides a GRE dictionary containing the most common words found on the test.
  • Kaplan's GRE Verbal Workbook: With Kaplan's GRE Verbal Workbook, you will find hundreds of real GRE verbal questions and drills, as well as six full-length verbal reasoning practice sets. This book can be a valuable resource for students who wish to learn how to effectively tackle the verbal section of the GRE and reduce time, and score higher.
  • Manhattan Prep GRE Verbal Strategies: Manhattan Prep's GRE Verbal Strategies provides detailed guidance for preparing for the GRE Verbal section. In this book, the emphasis is on understanding the different strategies to handle verbal questions, rather than just listing the different types of questions and explaining how to handle them.

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GRE Verbal Score

Normally, GRE verbal scores range from 130 to 170 with a one-point increment. The average GRE verbal score is 149.97. Most importantly, an 80-90% percentile or higher score on the GRE Verbal test is helpful for acceptance into prestigious colleges around the globe. In general, verbal GRE scores of 160 or higher are considered acceptable by the world's top business schools.

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To gain admission into the highest-ranked university or college in the world, you must score well on the GRE verbal. In order to achieve this, you should develop strong vocabulary strategies. Dont forget to strategise your prep with Yocket’s free GRE Prep which is an all-new adaptive diagnostic test that helps you tackle your challenges and augment your strengths like a pro!

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Frequently Asked Questions about GRE Verbal Section

Ques. Is GRE Verbal difficult?

Ans. According to many test-takers, the verbal section of the GRE is the most challenging. The verbal section is intended to measure your ability to analyze and evaluate the written material presented in the form of sentences, paragraphs, and passages. Hence, it can be slightly tricky and need in-depth preparation.

Ques. What is the right way to score 160 on the GRE Verbal Reasoning?

Ans. The Verbal Reasoning Section makes up half of the total score on the GRE General Test. An average GRE Verbal score of 160 equals 90-95 percentile. You must solve GRE verbal practice questions every day to achieve your goal.

Ques. Does the GRE verbal require me to study vocabulary?

Ans. Absolutely! The GRE requires a certain amount of vocabulary knowledge, even if you are a vocabulary genius. There are many obscure, esoteric words on the GRE verbal test. To master this aspect of the GRE, you should get good materials (flashcards) and begin to study well before your scheduled test date.

Ques. Is GRE verbal more difficult than GMAT verbal?

Ans. The GRE verbal section generally has greater difficulty than the GMAT verbal section. That difficulty is mainly attributable to the GRE's tough vocabulary requirements.

Ques. Is it possible to retake the GRE?

Ans. For computer-based tests, you can take them once every 21 days up to five times per year. If computer-based testing is not available, you can take the paper-based test 3 times per year.

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