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GRE Verbal Practice Questions

Verbal Reasoning section of the GRE determines your ability to:

  • Interpret and Assess the written material.
  • Codify the obtained information.
  • Scrutinize the association between different parts of a sentence.
  • Identify the relation between different words and concepts.

Out of the five sections in GRE, the Verbal Reasoning sections comprise two sections. GRE Verbal Reasoning Questions can be categorized into three types:

  • Reading Comprehension
  • Text Completion
  • Sentence Equivalence

Your GRE Verbal Preparation should cover through understanding all these types.

Reading Comprehension

Reading comprehension tests various abilities which would be required to understand the multiple types of written prose used in graduate schools. Some of these abilities are:

  • Grasp and interpret meaning of words, sentences, paragraphs and longer write ups.
  • Differentiate and identify major and minor points.
  • Figure out the strengths and weaknesses of a particular position.
  • Summarize a write up .
  • Infer conclusions from the given information.
  • Understand author’s perspective.
  • Build up an alternative point of view.

As evident from above, reading comprehension requires you to have in-depth understanding of prose. You would have to engage deeply with the given text, unravel and evaluate different standpoints and introspect on the connection between the given information along with the texts.

The Reading Comprehension questions account for anywhere between 50% and 55% of the Verbal Section. Each passage that is featured in this section would be around 150-200 words.

The passages which feature in reading comprehension can be related to topics such as humanities, biology, social sciences, arts etc. They may seem tedious to read as compared to what you might be reading daily.

Every reading comprehension question would be based on a particular passage whose size can vary from one paragraph to several paragraphs.Reading comprehension would have three question formats. These are:

  • Multiple Choice (Select one answer)
  • Multiple Choice (Select either one or multiple answers)
  • Select in-passage (Student has to select a sentence in a passage that would fulfill the description mentioned in the question)

While attempting reading comprehension questions, it is critical to differentiate between the different types of multiple-choice questions. The ones in which only one answer need to be selected using a “bubble” formatting. The ones where multiple answers may have to be selected offer a “box-selection” formatting. For the latter, it is important that all correct answers are selected.

We have shared some sample GRE Verbal Practice questions for Reading Comprehension according to their difficulty levels (Low, Medium and High):

Question 1: (Low)

Sanctified by remarkable natural merits, landscapes nourish the human spirit and create special memories in us. Natural parks such as Yellowstone and Kruger in the United States are large, magnificent, and wild, and some such as the Buttes-Chaumont in the neighborhood of Paris are warmly local. However, natural parks, especially those in urban environments, are fast depleting to accommodate the needs of the burgeoning population. There is no denying the fact that human needs will prevail, yet, shouldn't a line be drawn between human need and hunger for more?

What is the main purpose of the passage?

Options:

  1. to convey how parks play a role in human emotions
  2. to drive home the fact that human needs are inevitable
  3. to emphasize the limitless nature of human greed
  4. to highlight how only countries like the U.S. and France have natural parks while none others have
  5. to convey the importance of preserving natural parks in urban as well as non-urban settings

Answer:

Option e. To convey the importance of preserving natural parks in urban as well as non-urban settings

Explanation:

Clues & Answer:

Sanctified by remarkable natural merits, landscapes nourish the human spirit and create special memories in us. The opening sentence of the passage shows how natural parks are essential for human survival. The reasons cited are:

  1. They have natural assets and benefits.
  2. They sustain human lives.
  3. They give us extraordinary experiences.

In light of these advantages, it is important that natural parks are saved from depletion. Thus, the passage aims at helping us understand the significance and importance of natural parks. Therefore, the purpose of the passage is described in option E, To convey the importance of preserving natural parks in urban as well as non-urban settings.

Why Not?

Option A: Natural parks do affect human sentiments, but the purpose of mentioning this is to highlight their importance in human lives. The author has not described each and every emotional effect in detail. Hence, this option is not suitable.

Option B: The author wishes to draw a line between human needs and hunger for more. This means that although he admits that human needs are inevitable, he wants to draw our attention towards the nature of man to crave for more and the hazardous consequences of this illicit craving. Thus, we cannot say that the author's purpose is to focus on human needs.

Option C: The passage describes just one victim of human greed―natural parks. If the author's onus was human greed he would have supported his idea by citing examples of those who had suffered due to man's limitless desire for more. But that is not so. Hence, human avarice is not the aim of the passage.

Option D: The natural parks in France and U.S. are only given as examples. This is the reason why the statement citing them begins with "such as." This does not imply that they are the only countries having natural parks. Such a deduction is very irrational.

Question 2: (Medium)

The ability to pay attention is considered such an essential life skill that the lack of it has become a widespread medical problem. Nearly 4 to 5 percent of the American children are now diagnosed with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). In recent years, however, the surprising benefits of not paying attention have been found. For instance, researchers have found a surprising link between daydreaming and creativity - people who daydream more are also better at generating new ideas. Other studies have found that employees are more productive when they're allowed to engage in "Internet leisure browsing" and that people unable to concentrate due to severe brain damage actually score above average on various problem-solving tasks. According to the scientists, the inability to focus helps ensure a richer mixture of thoughts in consciousness. Because these people struggled to filter the world, they ended up letting everything in, they couldn't help but be open-minded. Such lapses in attention turn out to be a crucial creative skill. When we're faced with a difficult problem, the most obvious solution is probably wrong. At such moments, it often helps to consider far-fetched possibilities, to approach the task from an unconventional perspective. And this is why distraction is helpful: People unable to focus are more likely to consider information that might seem irrelevant but will later inspire the breakthrough.

This does not mean that attention is not an important mental skill, or that attention-deficit disorders are not a serious problem. There's clearly nothing advantageous about struggling in the classroom, or not being able to follow instructions. Nevertheless, this new research demonstrates that, for a certain segment of the population, distractibility can actually be a net positive. Although we think that more attention can solve everything, that's not the case.

It can be inferred from the passage that the author would agree with which of the following statements?

Options:

  1. Neither complete attention nor attention deficit solves everything.
  2. Attention deficit disorder is not a serious problem.
  3. With complete attention, you can solve any problem in this world.
  4. A substantial amount of office hours of all employees should be earmarked for Internet leisure browsing.
  5. It is ok to have attention deficit disorder as it has brought a lot of surprising benefits.

Answer:

Option a. Neither complete attention nor attention deficit solves everything.

Explanation:

This does not mean that attention is not an important mental skill or that attention-deficit disorders are not a serious problem. There's clearly nothing advantageous about struggling in the classroom, or not being able to follow instructions. Although we think that more attention can solve everything, that's not the case. From these sentences, we can understand that Neither complete attention nor being attention deficit solves everything. So option A is the right answer.

Question 3: (High)

There are two kinds of yawns. The first, a spontaneous yawn, occurs when someone is bored or exhausted. The second, a "contagious" yawn, does not begin until early childhood, and occurs only among humans and chimpanzees. This sort occurs in response to thinking about yawning, or, as the word contagious suggests, seeing or hearing someone else yawn.

So far, scientists have been unable to understand why contagious yawning occurs, or why some individuals are more susceptible to such yawns than others. Previous studies have suggested a link between contagious yawning and empathy, or the ability to understand another's feelings. Those who suffer from autism or schizophrenia, it has been found, both of which involve impaired social skills, have fewer contagious yawns than others. It has also been thought that tiredness can contribute to contagious yawning.

A new study suggests that contagious yawns have no link with empathy or tiredness; the only factor is age. People are less likely to yawn when others do as they get older. This study, conducted by a team of researchers from the Duke Center for Human Genome Variation and published in the journal Plos One, is the most comprehensive look so far at factors that influence contagious yawns. As many as 328 healthy volunteers, put to a cognitive test with a comprehensive questionnaire that included measures of empathy, energy levels, and sleepiness, were made to watch a three-minute video of people yawning. They had to record the number of times they yawned while watching the video.

Researchers found that some individuals were less susceptible to contagious yawns, and, with age neutralized as a factor, there was no strong connection between contagious yawning and levels of empathy or tiredness. Age, it was found, was able to explain 8 percent of the variation in contagious yawning.

The researchers are examining whether the ability to catch yawns from other people is inherited, with the hope of addressing mental health disorders. Understanding the genes that might encode susceptibility to contagious yawning, they hope, could lead them to genes (or their variants) that are associated with schizophrenia and autism.

What is the implication of the last line?

Options:

  1. Understanding the mechanism of contagious yawns could lead to scientists to design cures for schizophrenia and autism
  2. Identification of the genes responsible for contagious yawning leading to a better understanding of the genetics behind schizophrenia and autism
  3. Understanding the susceptibility of genes to contagious diseases holds the key to cure them
  4. Genes related to contagious yawning and schizophrenia have similar coding
  5. People suffering from schizophrenia and autism are not susceptible to contagious yawning

Answer:

Option b. Identification of the genes responsible for contagious yawning leading to a better understanding of the genetics behind schizophrenia and autism.

Explanation:

Clues & Answer:

Those who suffer from autism or schizophrenia, it has been found, both of which involve impaired social skills, have fewer contagious yawns than others . . . The researchers are examining whether the ability to catch yawns from other people is inherited, with the hope of addressing mental health disorders. Understanding the genes that might encode susceptibility to contagious yawning, they hope, could lead them to genes (or their variants) that are associated with schizophrenia and autism:

From these lines you understand that to better understand and address the concerns of mental health disorder, the research tried to establish whether acquiring contagious yawns is an inherited quality. Establishing the patterns on how the genes provoke these yawns, can give signs of genes that are related to autism and schizophrenia. This leads to option B, Identification of the genes responsible for contagious yawning could lead to a better understanding of the genetics behind schizophrenia and autism.

Why Not?

Option A: It is clearly mentioned that understanding the genes that provoke contagious yawn can in turn give a clear understanding about the genes associated with autism and schizophrenia which enables mental health disorders to be better addressed. Since no mention of "cure" is made, this cannot be the right option.

Option C: The choice is misleading in the information presented. The idea of genes being susceptible to contagious diseases is not discussed in the passage.

Option D: The passage does not state whether both diseases have similar gene coding and so this choice is out of context.

Option E: The option contradicts with what the passage says might be true. So it cannot be the right option.

Text Completion

Mastering text completion forms another critical part of your GRE Verbal Preparation

In the text completion section, the questions would include a passage of one to five sentences. Each sentence would have about one to three blanks in it. If there is only one blank, then there would be five answer choices. Otherwise there would be three answer choices. Each blank will have only one single correct choice. There are no credits offered for partially correct answers.

The structure of these questions are easy to grasp. However, the inclusion of multiple blanks make these questions a challenging affair. These questions require you to completely grasp the essence of the passage and then evaluate which would be the most suitable options. You cannot assume that it may be easier to fill the blanks in a particular order. Each word that is selected would have to lend meaning to the entire passage.

You could fill up the blanks with words or phrases that seem most appropriate. After doing that, you should check whether similar words or phrases are available among the other answer choices. After selecting all the choices, read the entire passage again to check whether it makes sense and is grammatically correct.

We have shared some sample GRE Verbal Practice questions for Text Completion according to their difficulty levels (Low, Medium and High):

Question 1: (Low)

Jessy had her education from an international university, and she wanted to flaunt her intellect with___speeches.

  1. Eloquent
  2. Revolutionary
  3. Rousing
  4. Slurred
  5. Grandiloquent

Answer:

Option e. Grandiloquent

Explanation:

Eloquent (adj.): Fluent or persuasive in speaking or writing.

Revolutionary (adj.): Involving or causing a complete or dramatic change.

Rousing (adj.): Exciting, stirring.

Slurred (v): Speak indistinctly so that sounds run into one another.

Grandiloquent (adj.): A lofty, pompous, bombastic style, or quality especially in language.

Jessy wants to flaunt her intellect by making a speech. By what kind of speech she can achieve her objective? Eloquent would not mean someone is trying to flaunt his or her skills. Fluency in speaking or writing comes naturally to such a person and does not necessarily mean that an eloquent person is trying to flaunt his or her eloquence. Revolutionary would not fit in this context because Jessy is not trying cause any dramatic change her only purpose is to flaunt her intellect. An indistinct speech would not have the desired effect on the audience hence slurred can also be ignored as an answer. The only two choices left are rousing and grandiloquent. If we go back to the sentence the important clue is flaunt. So, we are talking about the kind of speech which would not have much substance in it and would serve no other purpose other than help Jessy flaunt her intellect. Thus, a rousing speech which would have some substance in it to stir or get the audience excited is out of the question here. However, a grandiloquent speech which by its very nature meant to be bombastic and pompous is what would make perfect sense here.

Question 2: (Medium)

While the chief of the police does not agree, the press has __ the failure of the police in curbing the mugging menace in the downtown area, claiming that the problem has actually ___.

  1. Appreciated
  2. Noted
  3. Deprecated
  4. Aggravated
  5. Aggrandized
  6. Mollified

Answer:

Option c,d. Deprecated, Aggravated.

Explanation:

Deprecated (v): To deplore.

Appreciated (v): Be grateful for something.

Noted (v): Notice or pay particular attention to (something).

Aggravated (v): Make (a problem, injury, or offense) worse or more serious.

Aggrandize (v): Increase the power, status, or wealth of.

Mollified (v): Appease the anger or anxiety of (someone).

The press claims that the police had failed to curb the menace of mugging, a claim which the chief of police disagrees to. So, the press must not just have noted the problem but made a huge outcry for the police chief to get involved. Nor would the press appreciate the failure of the police to curb the menace. Therefore, both note and appreciated cannot be the correct answer for the first blank. Thus, we are left with only deprecated which means to deplore or condemn, and it would fit the context perfectly. Since there was a failure on the part of the police to curb the menace of mugging, it must have gone out of hand. There is no way anyone could have been relieved of their anxiety with the increase in mugging. Therefore, mollified cannot be the correct answer. Aggrandized does not fit the correct context of increase in mugging. Only aggravated, which means to make the problem worse or more serious can be the correct answer here.

Question 2: (High)

The authorities at correctional institutions are (i)________ placed. They typically have their antennae up in ensuring that the amenable and responsive fellows, sincerely working toward (ii)________, do not get influenced by the (iii)________ who are always on a lookout for ways to evade the therapeutic sessions.

a.) Dangerouslyb.) Precariouslyc.) Strategically
d.) Revivale.) Reformf.) Introspection
g.) IncorrigibleHarbingersAbsconders

Answer:

Option b,e,g. Precariously, Reform, Incorrigible.

Explanation:

People working in responsible positions at correctional institutions are always working under ____________. They always stay guarded to ensure that the people who are amenable to ____________ do not get influenced by _____________ since the latter are always looking for ways to dodge the correction sessions.

They typically have their antennae up...: The first blank reveals the plight of the responsible people working at correctional institutions. This clue reveals that the authorities always stay alert. From this, you understand that they are always expecting something untoward to happen. Choice B, precariously, is the right option for (i), which means they are in a tense situation and are expected to stay alert to fix uncertainties.

amenable and responsive fellows, sincerely working...: This clue talks about the nature of the first type of prisoners who are sincere, easily controlled, and positively reacting. All these indicate that these men are capable of working toward change. Hence, the right option for (ii) is E, reform.

who are always looking at opportunities to escape from custodial care...: This clue describes the second type of prisoners whom the authorities do not want the good ones to mix with. They are described as people who look for chances to dodge the correctional sessions since they are not sincere about changing their bad methods. This leads to choice G, incorrigible, for (ii), which means people who are not willing to change for the better.

Why Not?

dangerously: The authorities of the correctional institutions are said to stay alert to dodgers. They are not in any danger. strategically: When someone is "strategically placed," it means they are placed in such a position that they are at an advantage. This meaning does not apply to the correction officers. So this option rules out. revival: an improvement in the condition, strength, or fortunes of someoneThe sincere and controllable prisoners are working toward changing for the better. They are not working toward any kind of revival. introspection: examine one's own thoughts or feelingsThe blank should have a word that describes the prisoners working toward correcting their ways. It is not mentioned whether they do some introspection or not. harbingers: a person or thing that announces or signals the approach of anotherThe prisoners who look for opportunities to escape are not people who signal the approach of another. So this is not the right word for the blank. absconders: people who secretly escape from custodyThere is one type of prisoners who work toward change and another type that does not wish to be changed. No one is said to escape from custody and so this choice will not fit the blank.

Sentence Equivalence

Sentence equivalence questions aim to test your ability to draw meaningful conclusions from partial sentences. The questions in this section:
  • Present a single sentence containing a single blank and six answer choices.
  • You have to select two ways to complete the sentence in a manner that does not alter the meaning.
  • The completed sentence should also be grammatically correct.
  • No credit is given if only one of the correct options is selected.

When answering these questions, first get a sense of the tone of the sentence – is it negative, laudatory, sarcastic, etc. This is important as two words which mean the same thing may not be right in the tonal context of the sentence. Also, look for words and phrases that indicate that contrast or comparison is being made.

Before looking at the options, fill up the blank with your own word. This will make it easier to weigh the options. After you have selected your answer, read the completed sentence to ensure that it remains coherent both in meaning and grammar.

We have shared some sample GRE Verbal Practice questions for Sentence Equivalence according to their difficulty levels (Low, Medium and High):

Question 1: (Low)

The last year's Olympic games would have gone down in history, as one of the most well organized Olympic Games ever; if it had not been _____ by the stampede during the closing ceremony.

Options:

  1. marred
  2. slighted
  3. blighted
  4. demeaned
  5. depraved
  6. elevated

Answer:

Option a,c. Marred, blighted

Explanation:

This sentence gives you a sense that something unpleasant happened which spoiled the good program. So you have to find out a word which means to spoil something good. Blighted is the correct answer as it means to spoil or damage something, especially by causing lots problems. Another answer is marred as it means to spoil something good. Slighted cannot be the answer as it means to treat somebody rudely or without respect. Demeaned means to do something that makes people have less respect for you. This does not fit in this context. Depraved also cannot be the answer as it means to make somebody morally bad. Elevated means to give somebody or something a higher position or rank, often more important than they deserve. Thus we can rule out these options.

Question 2: (Medium)

To the delight of the reformists, the winds of social change have started blowing within the country with the _________ of the hitherto marginalized groups, who have begun to resist the chains of subordination.

Options:

  1. empowerment
  2. metamorphosis
  3. subjugation
  4. awakening
  5. unification
  6. suppression

Answer:

Option a,c. Marred, blighted

Explanation:

Hitherto means until now or until the point in time under discussion.

Marginalized people refers to persons or groups treated as insignificant or peripheral in a society.

People who have been treated as insignificant until now have started to resist their inferior status. Their ________ is bringing in the much desired social change. This makes reformists happy.

Clues and Answers:

To the delight of the reformists, the winds of social change have started blowing ... of the hitherto marginalized groups, who have begun to resist the chains of subordination.

Marginalized groups, resist the chains of subordination when they become aware of their rights and powers. They want to take control of their lives.

"To the delight of the reformists, the winds of social change have started blowing within the country..."

This clue indicates a change in the society. This change is that the marginalized groups have started to resist their life of subjugation. They are now more aware of their rights and have started taking charge of their lives.

Option A, empowerment, means the process of becoming stronger and more confident, especially in controlling one's life and claiming one's rights. Option D, awakening, means an act or moment of becoming suddenly aware of something. As both these words fit the description of the social change, they can be used to fill the blank.

Why Not?

metamorphosis: a change of the form or nature of a thing or person into a completely different one. Metamorphosis is a change of physical form. This does not fit the context of the given question statement and does not describe this scenario. So, this word can be ruled out.

subjugation: the action of bringing someone or something under domination or control. This is contrary to the required meaning, and hence can be eliminated.

unification: the process of being united or made into a whole. There is no mention of people becoming united. The context only describes a sense of awareness dawning on the marginalized sections of people, who are seeking to get their due rights. So this option can be ruled out.

suppression: the action of suppressing something such as an activity or publication. The blank will have a word that describes the freedom that the marginalized people are seeking. This word has a contradicting meaning, and so does not fit the blank.

Question 3: (High)

Though a(n) _______________ would reveal quite a lot of changes as a result of several rounds of discussions with the civil engineers, the general plan of the community center varies little from that of the original plan.

Options:

  1. acute reasoning
  2. close examination
  3. deep forethought
  4. peripheral survey
  5. out-and-out check
  6. systematic approach

Answer:

Option b,e.

Explanation:

Many changes have been made to the original plan after discussion with civil engineers. But the general plan of the community center is not changed much and it is almost the same as the original plan.

Clues and Answers:

The blank describes how one perceives the changes made to the original plan.

Though . . .the general plan of the community center varies little from that of the original plan: The word, though, indicates the contrast that is shown in the sentence. The changes made to the original plan do not affect the general plan of the community center. A broad/quick look would not reveal any changes and they would look almost similar.

would reveal quite a lot of changes as a result of several rounds of discussions with the civil engineers: But, many changes have actually been made after discussions with the civil engineers. These changes will be revealed, perhaps if you look at it closely.

These clues lead to choices B and E, close examination and out-and-out check, for the blank.

Why Not?

acute reasoning: grave thinking or severe rationalizing

An examination or check is enough to reveal the changes made, there is no need to reason or rationalize those changes.

deep forethought: profound planning

To know what exactly the changes are does not require a deep forethought. Forethought is required to make the changes, and not to understand them.

peripheral survey: surface investigation

A simple peripheral survey is not sufficient to establish the changes made by civil engineers. The word, though, indicates the contrast from the superficial look of the plan, which will not reveal any changes.

systematic approach: orderly method

A systematic approach is needed to plan out something, and not to understand the changes that have already been made.

Examples:

  1. A close examination of the dental cavities revealed that both the teeth were beyond repair, and the dentist decided to pull them out.
  2. The customs agents at the airport made an out-and-out check of each passenger.

By ensuring you practice regularly, you would improve your chances of acquiring a reasonably high score in the Verbal Section. Apart from practicing these GRE Verbal Practice questions, you must read editorials, articles and books pertaining to the subjects from which Verbal Reasoning questions are taken. This will augment your GRE Verbal preparation.



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