GRE Text Completion Question Format

دوره: GRE Test- Practice & Study Guide / فصل: GRE Verbal Reasoning- About the Verbal Reasoning Section / درس 4

GRE Test- Practice & Study Guide

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GRE Text Completion Question Format

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In this lesson, you'll learn about the structure and format of Text Completion questions on the GRE revised General Test. These questions can be confusing, but if you're prepared, they're a lot easier.

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Text Completions

On the GRE, and especially on the Verbal Reasoning section, the question formats can be more confusing than the questions themselves, at least before you really get to know them. Text Completion questions are some of the weirdest.

Text Completion questions test your ability to fill in multiple blanks in a passage of one or more sentences. The questions are mostly hard because they have several different variations in the number of blanks and answer choices you can get, and just figuring out what you’re supposed to do for all the different options can be confusing.

In this lesson, you’ll get an overview of how the format works, plus some tips for navigating it. It’s really a lot less complicated to do than to explain, so we’ll also walk through an example to show you how it works in practice: then, you’ll be ready to take on Text Completions yourself like a champ.

Question Format

First off, here’s a look at the question format. On each Text Completion question, you’ll get…

One to five sentences - You’ll get a short passage with either one long sentence or several shorter ones.

One to three blanks - Somewhere in that passage will be between one and three omitted words.

If you have only one blank, you’ll have five answer choices. Otherwise, you’ll get three answer choices per blank. Your job is to pick the correct word or words for the blank or blanks. If you get a question with more than one blank, the only way to get credit is to get all of the blanks correct. There’s no partial credit if you have a multi-blank and get one of them right. If you remember Vocabulary in Context questions from the SAT, these are basically the same idea, but with the difficulty bumped up a notch because you have to choose the blanks separately.

Example Question

To show you how this works, let’s work through an example question. We’ll use one with two blanks, but the basic concept is the same no matter how many blanks you have. Here’s the question:

‘Good interior design requires not only value but also functionality. Design elements that look good in preliminary drawings are not appropriate if they do not the needs of actual users.’

Blank one

A. Aesthetic

B. Pragmatic

C. Archival

Blank two

D. Propitiate

E. Exacerbate

F. Address

You might be tempted to immediately start plugging every combination of words into the blanks to see what fits, but this isn’t the most efficient way to get an answer. A better strategy for approaching these questions is to work blank-by-blank. For each blank…

  1. Identify context cues in the sentences that give you some idea of what the word should be.

  2. Cross out inappropriate choices.

  3. Choose from your remaining options.

  4. Check your answer by plugging it in.

For example, let’s look at the first blank. We can tell from the use of ‘not only…but also’ that the blank is something that isn’t the same thing as ‘functionality.’ That lets us cross off choice B because ‘pragmatic value’ and ‘functionality’ are basically the same thing, but we’re looking for a contrast. We can also cross off C because ‘archival value’ has nothing to do with interior design - again, the context clues are helping us eliminate.

That leaves us with only choice A for Blank one. ‘Aesthetic value’ and ‘functionality’ might contrast, because ‘aesthetics’ is about looking good. And aesthetics are also conceptually related to design. So we’ll keep that as our best possibility and look at Blank two.

Blank two is another contrast: looking good in preliminary drawings is being contrasted with ‘ the needs of actual users.’ So we know we want a word like ‘meet’ or ‘answer.’ D doesn’t work, because you can ‘propitiate’ a person by meeting their needs, but you can’t ‘propitiate’ a need. E doesn’t work because ‘exacerbate’ is too negative. So, we’re left with only choice F for Blank two.

At this point, if we had multiple potential options for each blank, we could plug them all in to compare them and see which choices work well together. Since we don’t have that, we’ll just plug both of our choices into the original sentence and see whether it makes sense: ‘Good interior design requires not only aesthetic value but also functionality. Design elements that look good in preliminary drawings are not appropriate if they do not address the needs of actual users.’ That makes sense, so A and F are the answers for the first and the second blank, respectively.

Lesson Summary

In this lesson, you got a look at Text Completion questions on the Verbal Reasoning section of the GRE revised General Test. Text Completion questions ask you to fill in between one and three blanks in a short passage composed of one to five sentences.

If you have one blank, you’ll have five answer choices to choose from.

If you have more than one blank, you’ll have three answer choices per blank, and you’ll have to get them all right to get credit for the question.

To approach these questions, don’t start with the answer choices. Instead, start with the sentence. Do your best to estimate the meaning of each blank, and then cross off the answers that don’t fit. Then plug your remaining possibilities into the sentence to check and make sure it works.

Don’t panic if the format seems really confusing while you’re hearing about it; you’ll get used to it fast once you start doing practice questions for yourself. But before that, test yourself on the quiz to make sure you know how all the details of the questions work!

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