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Verbal Section Breakdown

Chris Lele
Lesson by Chris Lele
Magoosh Expert
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In this video, we will have a verbal breakdown of the question types. So what you can expect are text completions. These are basically the sentences or paragraphs that have blanks. And you have to fill in the correct word into those blanks. Now you will have seven of these in a row, there will be seven per section. So it's important to know that they come one after another.

The next question will be sentence equivalence, there'll be four of these per section. These are actually very similar to text completions, in that there is a sentence with a blank. But here, there's always one blank and one sentence, but two possible answer choices or words that fit into that blank.

Again, you'll have four of these in a row, they don't actually come right after the text completions, though. Next, it's the good old reading comprehension. That's what everyone thinks of when they think of verbal standardized tests. Or at least the verbal section on standardized tests. So there it is, nine per section, so quite a lot of the verbal section will be reading comprehension.

These are not necessarily nine in a row, they will be broken up. Maybe you'll get a passage, there'll be four of those, then there will be four sentence equivalence questions, etc. Of course, the best idea to really get a feel what a verbal section looks like is to take a mock test. And there's actually, again, one offered in the GRE official guide, actually, there's a couple offered.

And they're also offered in the software called the Power Prep 2 software. Finally, there's the paragraph argument, and there are about two of these per section. Now, the thing is, you'll notice that, wait a second, first, when you do the math, 11, 9 and 2, that's 22, what's going on? Well, thing is, paragraph arguments are contained in the reading comprehension section.

So the GRE actually hasn't given a specific name for these question types. But what they are, they are paragraphs, and they are presenting a logical argument. And you basically have to evaluate that argument. So again, these two questions are actually subsumed or part of these nine questions. And indeed, the official guide or the ETS, the people who write the GRE, don't even give a specific name to these question types.

But we do, cuz they are different from your average reading comprehension questions. And oftentimes, they are very difficult, so it's good to have a separate section. And indeed, on our lesson page, we have lessons that are specific to paragraph arguments. Now, one little thing I wanna talk about here is this built-in difficulty in text completions.

Now in general, the verbal section does not become more difficult the higher up you go. Meaning that question two is not more difficult than question one. Or the second question you get in a reading comp passage isn't more difficult than the first one. Except for maybe text completions, and let me tell you what I mean by this.

Well, first off, you got these one-blank questions, there'll be two question types. Typically, the second question is more difficult in the one-blank text completion. Next you're gonna get two or maybe three two-blank text completions. The first one won't be as difficult as the second one, and if there's a third one, it will tend to be more difficult than the others.

And the reason why I'm mentioning all of this is, from a strategic standpoint, if you get to this third one, and you're struggling, it's very difficult. That's because it is very difficult, and you do not get extra points, again, for that question, so it's important. Again, the reason I'm talking about this difficulty is, it's a good idea to skip these questions and come back to them if you have enough time.

It's definitely a good idea not to spend an inordinate or an excessive amount of time trying to grapple with these difficult questions. Finally, there is the three-blank text completions, same thing, you can get either two or three of these. And the last one, whether it's number two or number three, tends to be the most difficult.

So again, don't struggle with that really difficult one, but go on to the reading comprehension. And try to find some easy or medium level questions there.

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