GRE Strategies- Sentence Equivalence & Text Completion

دوره: GRE Test- Practice & Study Guide / فصل: GRE Verbal Reasoning- About the Verbal Reasoning Section / درس 6

GRE Test- Practice & Study Guide

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GRE Strategies- Sentence Equivalence & Text Completion

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GRE vocab is no frivolous jape! Learn about vocab-boosting strategies and other tips and tricks for success on the Sentence Equivalence and Text Completion questions on the GRE.

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Introducing the Questions

On the Verbal Reasoning section of the GRE revised General Test, roughly half of the questions will be reading comprehension. The other half will be split between Sentence Equivalence and Text Completion questions.

Both of these questions are basically about vocab, but they test you in different ways:

Sentence Equivalence questions give you one sentence with a blank and have you pick two words that make equivalent and coherent sentences.

Text Completion questions give you one to five sentences with one to three blanks and have you pick words for the blank or blanks separately.

You already learned more about the formatting on these questions in two other lessons in this course. In this lesson, you’ll learn some general vocabulary strategies and other tips that you can apply to both question types.

Vocab Strategies

Once you get past the new formats, Sentence Equivalence and Text Completion questions are mainly hard because of the vocab. The GRE test writers really do love their $10 words, and trying to memorize all the vocabulary words you’re likely to see on the test would take you several years of study.

The solution: don’t try to memorize every word on the test! You don’t have time to do it anyway, even if you wanted to try. Instead, use these tips to maximize your vocabulary with minimal memorization:

Use roots, prefixes, and suffixes to clue you in to the meanings of different words. The fancier and more obscure a word is, the more likely it is to have Greek or Latin roots.

Learning Greek and Latin roots can help you a lot with these huge fancy words; use them to break a word down into its component parts and at least guess at the meaning from there. For example, take the word ‘somnambulating’. You might not know what that means, but you can figure out from roots that ‘somn-‘ has to do with sleep (as in ‘insomnia’) and ‘ambul’ has something to do with walking (as in ‘ambulatory’). So, you can probably figure out that ‘somnambulating’ has something to do with walking and sleeping, which is exactly correct!

Use elimination. You don’t have to know exactly what a word means to eliminate it. For example, if you know the word is negative, but you want a positive word, you can cross it out regardless of what it means.

Build your vocab list strategically. Instead of starting with a massive list of words that sound like they ought to be on the GRE, build your vocab list from words you actually encounter in prep materials. This will be less overwhelming, and you’ll be more likely to actually remember the words if you focus on a manageable number.

Other Strategies

Getting a handle on roots and elimination strategies and taking a strategic approach to your vocab list are all helpful for the vocab GRE questions. But here are some other miscellaneous tips and strategies that will help you on both the Sentence Equivalence and Text Completion strategies:

Use your scrap paper. On the GRE, the questions are all computer-based, but you get as much scrap paper as you want. Use it. Don’t waste your brain space trying to remember which answers you’ve eliminated or not; just write down the letter of each answer choice on your paper and cross choices off as you eliminate them.

Start with the sentences, not the words. Yes, these are ultimately questions about vocabulary words. But on both question types, you can do yourself a big favor by starting with the sentences. Use context clues from the sentences to get an idea of what should go in the blank or blanks, and write in your own answer. Then look down the answer choices to see what matches.

This strategy will help you avoid getting confused by words that are relevant to the topic of the sentences but don’t actually logically fit into the sentences, or by words in the Sentence Equivalence answer choices that are synonyms but don’t actually fit the sentence as a whole.

Lesson Summary

In this lesson, you got some strategies and helpful hints for approaching Sentence Equivalence and Text Completion questions on the GRE revised General Test. Both of these question types show up on the Verbal Reasoning section, and both of them are basically about vocabulary and understanding sentences; although, they test you on it in slightly different ways.

When you’re working on these questions, smart vocab strategies can really help. Don’t try to memorize every vocab word; it’s not an efficient use of your prep time, and it won’t help you that much anyway. Instead…

Use root words, prefixes, and suffixes.

Eliminate words wherever you can. Remember that you don’t have to completely know the meaning of a word to eliminate it.

Build your vocab list strategically from test-prep materials, not a random list of words.

As a general rule, also use your scrap paper to help you list out the answers so you don’t have to remember which ones you’ve eliminated. And it helps to start with the sentences instead of trying to dive directly into the list of words in the answer choices. Use context clues in the sentences to figure out what the words mean, and then match meanings with the answers.

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