Are you taking the GRE exam? Are you worried about the Verbal Reasoning section? More so, are you nervous about answering the GRE sentence equivalence questions from this section? Through this article, we will show you how GRE sentence equivalence questions appear in the exam and also provide you some tips to solve them. 

GRE Sentence Equivalence

The GRE Sentence equivalence section tests your scope of vocabulary and your ability to finish a paragraph with the most suitable answer in order to make it a comprehensive whole. 

The Sentence equivalence section consists of a sentence and one blank which you are required to fill. You are provided with six options to pick from, and you have to choose two of the most appropriate answers from the choices given to you. Picking two appropriate answers from the options given to you is mandatory. You won’t be awarded any marks for a single answer as it would count as a partial answer to the question.

We have taken a couple of sample questions from the ETS official site to give you a glimpse of how the section looks like.

The GRE Sentence equivalence practice questions are as follows:

Question 1:  Although it does contain some pioneering ideas, one would hardly characterize the work as __________.

  1. Orthodox  
  2. Eccentric
  3. Original
  4. Trifling
  5. Conventional
  6. Innovative

Correct answer: C & F 
The operative keyword in the sentence is “although”, the work has some pioneering ideas but not entirely. Now looking at the options we have, “orthodox” and “conventional” have more or less the similar meaning, so they wouldn’t be the right choice. The words “ eccentric” and “trifling” sound odd and incomplete when placed within the sentence. Hence, we arrive at “original” and “innovative” as  the most appropriate word choices.

Question 2:  It was her view that the country’s problems had been _______ by foreign technocrats, so that to ask for such assistance again would be counterproductive.

  1. Ameliorated
  2. Ascertained
  3. Diagnosed
  4. Exacerbated
  5. Overlooked
  6. Worsened

Correct answer: D & F 
In this sentence, there is reasoning being given as to why the speaker does not want to approach the  technocrats for assistance yet again. This is due to the experience she has already had with the technocrats. If you notice, the sentence also has a negative connotation to it. Hence, we arrive at “exacerbated” and “worsened” as the most appropriate word choices for the question.

The two above-mentioned  GRE sentence equivalence examples are just to help you understand the kind of questions and help you get started with your prep. Moreover, below are some tips that will help you further. 

Tips for Solving the GRE Sentence Equivalence Questions 

A couple of pointers to keep in mind while attempting this section are as follows: 

  1. Read the sentence a couple of times to understand what it is trying to convey. 
  2. Identify and eliminate word choices that have similar meanings, and eventually you’ll be left with the appropriate word choice. 
  3. Once you’ve chosen your answers, make sure that the sentence is coherent with both the answers. 
  4. There are occasional cases where you might have picked an appropriate word, but are unable to choose the second answer. Feel free to change your perception and approach it with different combinations and permutations.
  5. When reading the sentence, try looking for operative keywords such as “moreover”, “because” , and “although” as they define the intent of the sentence. This makes it easier for you to further decipher and complete the sentence.
  6. Make it a point to expand your vocabulary by reading on a regular basis. 

We have given you a brief explanation of the GRE Sentence Equivalence section. Once you get the hang of it, you’ll realise it is not as complicated as it seems.

Good luck!


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