GRE Verbal

GRE Verbal Section - What it Tests and How?

The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is a competitive exam. The scores of the GRE are accepted by many universities situated in different countries across the world. The exam assesses a wide range of skills of the test taker. An exam of such global importance requires being prepared with utmost dedication and will. The GRE comprises the following three sections:

  • Verbal Reasoning
  • Quantitative Reasoning
  • Analytical Reasoning




The three sections of the test are designed to assess the skills of a prospective graduate student. Let us now know more details about the Verbal Reasoning section of the test.

GRE Verbal Section

GRE is administered in two different formats, Computer-based Test and the Paper-based Test. For both the mentioned formats, the structure of the Verbal Reasoning section differs a bit. However, the skill-assessing motive of the Verbal section remains the same. The name of the section, Verbal Reasoning pretty much explains about the nature of the content it would contain. In this section, you will have to answer the questions based upon the verbal aspect of the English language through reasoning. Your skills like analyzing the given situation, drawing conclusions, exploring the author's meaning, text summarizations, comprehending the meanings of words, sentences, understanding the relation between the characters of situation or an event etc. will be assessed by the questions asked in this section.

Verbal Section Format and Question Types

The Verbal Reasoning sections for both the test formats: the Computer-based and the Paper-based Test consist of two sub-sections. Each sub-section of the Computer-based Verbal Reasoning section is allotted a total time of 30 minutes and consists of approximately 20 questions. Each sub-section of the Paper-based Verbal section consists of approximately 25 questions and is allotted a time of 35 minutes. In the allotted time, you should answer as many questions as possible. In GRE, there is no negative marking. Hence, if you are running out of time, you can just mark the answers based upon your guess work. However, thorough preparation would only help you score well in this section.

The Verbal section consists of three types of questions. They are the Reading Comprehension, Text Completion and the Sentence Equivalence questions. Both the test formats consist of the same types of questions.

How Different Question Types Test Your Skills?

  • The Reading Comprehension questions are asked based upon a given passage and are of three types. One, you should select one answer choice from among the given five choices; two, you should select one or more choices from the given five choices and three, you should select a sentence from the passage that answers the given question. You can clearly observe that you require concentration and reasoning in order to attempt all the questions.

  • The Text Completion questions presents to you with a passage that will have missing words or sentences. Pertaining to each blank, you will be given three to five choices, from which you should select the correct one. Here, you can observe that you will be required to understand the context and select the correct answer.

  • The Sentence Equivalence questions present you with a sentence that contains one blank followed by six answer choices. From among the given six answer choices, you should select two choices that can correctly fit into the sentence rendering the same meaning to the whole sentence. These question types test your vocabulary. Moreover, you will be allotted marks if you only choose both the correct choices. You will not be awarded marks if you choose only one correct answer.

This way, a variety of your skills are put to test in the Verbal Reasoning section of the GRE. This section does not just test your English language skills, it in fact tests your ability to reason, analyze, comprehend and choose precisely. You can find an in depth explanation of all the question types of the Verbal section of the GRE on the official website. Refer to the following link: http://www.ets.org/gre/revised_general/prepare/verbal_reasoning for the same.