GRE Verbal Reasoning is one of the main sections in the General test and it consists of multiple choice questions. This section of the test is scored within a range of 130-170 and contributes to your total GRE score.  Through the course of this article, we will provide more information on GRE Verbal Reasoning, so let’s first begin with the three types of questions. 

The GRE Verbal Reasoning section tests your ability to extract relevant information from the data provided, understand the connection between words and concepts, and different parts of the sentence, and your general familiarity with English grammar rules.

GRE Verbal Reasoning Section Structure

The GRE Verbal section consists of 2 subsections which have 20 questions each. Each section is timed at 30 minutes, which means you have a total of 1 hour for this section. The score of the Verbal Reasoning section contributes toward your final composite GRE score out of 340. You can get a score of between 130 and 170 on this section (this is a scaled score). The scaled score is different from the “raw” score of the section. The scaled score takes into account the difficulty of the questions you solved. This section is computer-adaptive.

GRE Verbal Reasoning Section

Question Types

Number of Questions

Duration

Score

Reading Comprehension

Text Completion

Sentence Equivalence

20 x 2 sections = 40

30 mins x 2 = 1 hr

130 – 170 with intervals of 1 (scaled)

GRE Verbal Reasoning Question Types 

  1. Reading Comprehension 
  2. Text Completion 
  3. Sentence Equivalence 

We will explore each of these question types individually. 

  • Reading Comprehension 

The GRE Reading Comprehension question type consists of a paragraph or two, or even more. It tests your reading skills and your ability to grasp the ideas given to you in the text. These paragraphs are based on general topics of interest and are diverse. Moreover, Reading Comprehension also tests if you are able to deduce and process large amounts of information within a given time period.

The Reading Comprehension questions are constructed in various formats. Before you begin your preparation, it is imperative to understand the different question types so that you come with a good study plan. They are as follows: 

  1. Multiple-choice questions (Select one answer) — This set of questions requires you to choose one correct answer amongst the five choices provided to you. 
  2. Multiple-choice questions (Select multiple answers) — The questions in this section require you to choose multiple correct answers amongst three choices provided to you. There can be more than one right answer and all of the choices can be the right answer too.
  3. Select-in-passage — These questions are usually directed towards a specific sentence in the passage. By identifying a sentence that either meets the question’s description or is a reference, you can narrow down your options and select the word or sentence. 
  • Text Completion 

This section consists of a passage which is about five sentences long. The passage has approximately three to five blanks, which has to be filled with the right choice from a couple of word choices given to you.

  • Sentence Equivalence 

The GRE Sentence Equivalence question type consists of a set of sentences, each with a blank that has to be filled out. There are five options provided to you and you are to choose two right answers from the same to complete the sentence. The motive here is to identify two words which have similar meanings. 

GRE Verbal Reasoning Sample Questions

Reading Comprehension 

  1. Q) The lotus flower (Nelumbo nucifera) is a species of an aquatic plant that grows in shallow waters and swamps in Eastern North America and Eastern Asia. It is considered a symbol of purity due to the fact that it emerges completely clean from muddy waters. Self-cleaning in plants was first documented in 1990 by Professor Wilhelm Barthlott. He would observe the lotus leaves unfold and unfurl every morning, effectively getting rid of dirt and residue in the process. He, along with Christoph Neinhuis, went on to study the hydrophobicity in plants, documenting over two hundred species of flora and their static contact angles in the process. Species displaying contact angles greater than a hundred and fifty degrees were classified as superhydrophobic. The lotus leaf, however, is the most superhydrophobic, with a water contact angle higher than 160 degrees and sliding angle lower than 5 degrees.

In support of the same, studies suggest that the lotus leaf owes its remarkable superhydrophobic tendencies to multiple factors, including the stratified rough structure due to the uneven height of papillae and the layer of wax on its surface. The layer of wax creates an interface between the surrounding environment and the plant surface, reducing the contact area between the water and the surface of the leaf. Also, the existence of papillae at uneven heights creates air gaps on the surface and prevents the entry of water droplets through the gaps. When water falls on the surface of a leaf, it beads up and rolls off, carrying dirt particles along with it. This extreme water repellency and self-cleaning performance of a lotus leaf is famously known as the “Lotus Effect.”

Hydrophobicity is not only limited to plants, but is also manifested by large winged insects such as dragonflies and butterflies which are unable to effectively clean their wings with their legs. In such cases, the lotus effect not only works towards effective cleaning of the wings, but also helps in the maintenance of flight capabilities of insects, which would otherwise be lost due to unequal load distribution on the wings.

The development of superhydrophobic self-cleaning surfaces could potentially help conserve large quantities of water, energy, and cleaning agents. This could contribute towards environmental protection and sustainability by making self-cleaning completely redundant. It has served as an inspiration for developing superhydrophobic sprays, textiles, paints, and even cement. By conducting research on the hydrophobic tendencies of a lotus leaf, we can develop waterproof coatings for electronic gadgets and smartphones, and extrapolate a similar technology to other applications. There is an immense potential for this technology in diverse fields ranging from the food and medicine industry to aircraft designing. In the words of Berthlott, “It is high time that industry and technology paid more attention to the lessons that nature has to teach us, so that humans might live in closer harmony with the natural environment”.

  1. The primary purpose of the passage is to:
  2. describe the processes responsible for the superhydrophobic tendencies of lotus leaves.
  3. illustrate the anatomical structure of a lotus leaf.
  4. explain the reason behind the high contact and sliding angles of lotus leaves.
  5. D. provide context for the different wetting behavioural patterns exhibited by a lotus leaf.
  6. emphasise on how we can draw inspiration from nature to design some of our industrial and technological applications. 

Correct Answer: E

  1. Select the sentence in the passage that provides the best evidence for the fact that superhydrophobicity in lotus leaves is applicable for other species in their own ways. 

Correct Answer: Line Number 40 that begins with “Hydrophobicity is not only limited to…”

Text Completion 

  1. Q) The critics present the life of Ted Bundy with (i) __________ unusual in observers: they are not even convinced that Bundy was a necrophile.
  2. a zeal
  3. a deftness
  4. a detachment
  5. D. an eloquence
  6. an imaginativeness

Correct Answer: C. a detachment

Sentence Equivalence 

  1. Q) Brandon’s criticism of the main character in Gone With the Wind is too ________ to be acknowledged without  more research.
  2. superficial
  3. detailed
  4. depthless
  5. partisan
  6. E. self-evident
  7. thorough

Correct Answers:  A, C  

We have given you a clear picture of how the GRE Verbal Reasoning section looks, and have briefed you on the kind of questions you have to prepare for and answer. There are numerous GRE Verbal practice tests available on the ETS official site which will help with your preparation and improve your skills. Besides, the GRE Verbal Reasoning section requires you to possess a very strong vocabulary and reading skills. However, that is something that comes with consistent practice. So, start planning and practising; after all, practice makes perfect! 

FAQs

  1. Is the GRE Verbal section computer-adaptive?

Yes, the GRE Verbal section is computer-adaptive and the difficulty level of questions will increase or decrease based on your performance in the previous section.

  1. How can I prepare for the Verbal section of GRE?

You can use one of the many GRE prep books available that are dedicated solely to the Verbal Reasoning section. Reading regularly will help improve your vocabulary as well as your familiarity with basic grammar concepts. Practicing the sample questions available can help you assess your level of preparation for the section, and it should be regarded as an important aspect of your GRE Verbal study plan.

  1. Where can I find flashcards for the important vocabulary words in the GRE Verbal section?

You can find flashcards for GRE vocabulary on the official ETS website. You can also download one of the numerous GRE vocabulary flashcard apps available in the app store. You may even consider creating your own flashcards to help you in your endeavour.

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GRE Verbal Practice Test

Here is a quick GRE Verbal Quiz for you to attempt!

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 Two centuries ago, the Banana peninsula became separated from the mainland of Congo, isolating on the newly formed Ricketts village a population of banana trees. This population’s descendants, grow to be, on average, 50cm shorter than the original banana trees that are found on the mainland. Ricketts island is significantly drier than the Banana Peninsula was. So, the current average height of Ricketts’ banana trees is at least partially attributable to changes in Ricketts’ environmental conditions.

Which of the following is an assumption on which the argument depends?

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In summer, most automobiles are still at little risk of collision with land debris but given the numbers of new cars and motorbikes bought each year, the road’s environment in the future is likely to be less __________.

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  1. A company’s two divisions have performed with remarkable consistency over the past 5 years: in each of these years, Division A has accounted for roughly 25% of sales and 45% of profits and Division B has accounted for the balance. 

Which of the following can properly be inferred regarding the past 5 years from the statement above?

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