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Deepak Karamkar

3 months ago

GRE Verbal Tricks

It is well known amongst classical music aficionados that the principal violinist will often dazzle audiences by playing with seeming _______, though every note will have been rehearsed countless times and with unwavering focus.

1. unease
2. abandon
3. vibrancy
4. amateurishness
5 .exactitude.

As with all text completions, it’s crucial to isolate the context clues surrounding the blank, as well as any transition word. In this case, “though” immediately follows the blank and signals that we are looking for the opposite of the expectation set up ahead of the blank. To dazzle an audience simply means to wow or really impress, so if the violinist is dazzling an audience (really showing off his or her skills) we can eliminate answer A) unease because one arguably can’t be demonstrating serious skill while uneasy. C) vibrancy isn’t correct either because the meaning of vibrancy runs parallel to “dazzle,” and the word “though” has set up the question to demand the opposite of these connotations. The same goes for E) exactitude, which also signals a command of skill or precision.

*Most Commonly Missed Answer Alert*

Now, D) amateurishness is tricky because it most certainly is the opposite of dazzle, but let’s look to the end of the sentence, “every note will have been rehearsed countless times and with unwavering focus.” Any amateur is not reflected by the kind of time or targeted effort stated here. For these reasons, B) abandon is the only correct answer as it suggests playing wildly or in a carefree manner that might look rather madcap and free, but is carefully orchestrated, requiring exceptional ability.

Takeaways

1. Look at the blank and isolate the context clues that come before and after. This requires paying extra close attention to any transition words that switch up the initial presentation of what’s being asked.

2. Read to the end of the sentence. This might sound silly but an alarming number of students will look read just until the blank and assume they understand what is being asked. Don’t assume -- read every word to ensure you understand what is actually being asked.

3. When in doubt about a word’s definition, leverage the process of elimination until you can confidently narrow down the choices and arrive at the best fit.

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