Sample GRE Questions

tutoringStudents planning to take the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) need to make sure they are ready when test day arrives. At Veritas Prep, we know that practice exams are valuable resources for students. Completing a set of GRE example questions serves many purposes. For one, answering GRE prep questions allows a student to see the topics that will appear on the GRE – test sample questions serve as a preview of the exam.

Today, students have the convenience of finding GRE practice questions online. Take a look at some examples:

The Verbal Reasoning Section
These GRE practice test questions include reading comprehension, sentence equivalence, and text completion question types. The reading comprehension portion of the test includes several written passages. Students answer various questions based on the information in a passage by choosing from a set of multiple choice answer options. After reading a lengthy passage, students may be asked about the theme of a passage or the intent of its author. Or, they may be asked about the implied meaning of a passage or the reasons behind a statement.

Alternatively, the sentence equivalence portion of the test asks students to choose two words that would correctly complete each sentence. For example:

Example 1: The artist known for her picturesque landscapes once commented that she ____ nature. 
A) idolizes
B) abhors
C) reveres
D) despises
E) detests
F) scorns
Answers: A, C

Example 2: A student who tries to cram for a biology final exam in one night will become _____ because it’s impossible to learn an entire course in so little time. 
A) exacerbated
B) inspired
C) exasperated
D) lethargic
E) complaisant
F) dispassionate
Answers: C, D

The text completion questions feature a passage consisting of four or five sentences. There may be one or several blank spaces in the passage. Students have a choice of three or more options for each blank. If a student is not sure about the definition of a word, sometimes looking at a word’s prefix can offer clues. Our professional instructors provide tips to students who need help on this or any other section of the GRE.

Example: The horse and rider emerged from the woods and cantered up a hillside ______ by the moon. The horse made a sharp turn sending the rider tumbling to the ground. The rider slowly stood up, cursing under his breath. He was ______ at his lack of talent as an equestrian.
A) ill-lighted:abhorred
B) illuminated:vexed
C) darkened:appalled
D) enlightened:humiliated
E) obscured:angered
Answer: B

Looking for GRE practice questions online can be helpful when reviewing for the analogy section. In this section, students choose the pair of words that is most similar to the pair of words in the example. One of the strategies we teach our students is to determine the relationship between the words in the example to arrive at the correct answer option. For instance:

Example: ASSAUGE : SORROW 
A) counsel : exacerbate
B) withhold : appreciation
C) companionship : loneliness
D) endear : criticize
E) console : aggravate
Answer: C

The Quantitative Section
There are a variety of math questions in this section of the GRE. Practice test questions may challenge a student’s algebra, geometry, arithmetic, or data analysis skills.

Example 1: Which of these numbers is the average of the first ten even numbers?
A) 9
B) 13
C) 11
D) 16
E) 15
2+4+6+8+10+12+14+16+18+20=110/10
Answer: C

Example 2: (12/3) x (8/4) =
A) 18
B) 10
C) 8
D) 12
E) 14
Answer: C

Example 3: If 8t + 5t +2t + 4t=114, then 5t + 3= 
A) 20
B) 33
C) 25
D) 32
E) 40
Answer: B

The Analytical Writing Section
This section requires students to write both an issue and an argument essay. Students receive a prompt for both essays. A sample prompt for the issue essay may ask students whether they agree or disagree with the idea of paying high school students for perfect attendance. Alternatively, a sample prompt for the argument essay may center on the argument of legalizing medical marijuana. Regardless of what side a student takes, he or she should create a well-organized essay and a convincing argument.

We are experts at helping students prepare for the GRE. Test sample questions are easier to manage when students partner with one of our online instructors. Email or call us to find out more about our prep classes for the GRE. Our helpful team at Veritas Prep gives students the tools to succeed on the GRE!

Want to jump-start your GRE preparation? Register to attend one of our upcoming free online GRE Strategy Sessions or check out our variety of GRE Course and Private Tutoring options. And as always, be sure to follow us on Facebook, YouTube, Google+ and Twitter!

The Biggest Mistakes You Can Make in the GRE Verbal Section: Text Completion Questions

GRE VERBALIf you’re studying for the GRE Verbal section, you’re probably thinking a lot in terms of vocabulary. Both the Text Completion and Sentence Equivalence question types involve selecting a word that fills in a blank – a classic vocabulary-type setup.

While you do need a healthy vocabulary to be able to succeed on the Verbal section, people that overemphasize vocabulary (who are memorizing as many obscure words and definitions as possible) tend to feel a bit underprepared when they get to the test for the amount of critical thinking and work you need to put into some of these questions.

Before you continue, check out Part 1 of this lesson here, then keep reading or check out our video explanation of this concept below:

One thing to think about with GRE Verbal questions is how much work and critical thought you’ll need. It’s not just a quick response of, “Oh! I know that meaning; I know that word!” As you’ll see with the example below, a lot of times you need to be flexible in your thinking, willing to split hairs on the meanings of words that you already know, and have that willingness to start over and take a fresh look at the problem.

Now let’s take a look at what we mean by this concept with an example question:

Because of the author’s (i)______, many readers consider his latest work (ii)______ but, in reality, as many knowledgeable critics point out, the piece (iii)______.

Blank (i)
A) eloquence
B) prejudice
C) verbosity

Blank (ii)
D) inaccessible
E) poignant
F) polarizing

Blank (iii)
G) lack coherence and lucidity
H) has no discernible conclusion
I) is the most succinct on the subject

This is a classic Text Completion problem where you have three blanks and three answer choices for each. Now let’s talk about how people tend to approach this question:

Test-takers tend to find that the first two blanks agree with each other. “Because of one thing, someone will think another thing that is related.” As such, they start to see relationships between some of the answer choices. They might say, “Because someone is so ‘eloquent’ we think that their point is ‘poignant.'” Or, they might say, “Because someone is so ‘prejudiced’ people find their work is ‘polarizing.'” Or you may even say, “Due to the ‘verbosity’ – because someone uses so many words – their work is ‘inaccessible’ and difficult to get into.”

Now, the trick (or trap) with this kind of a setup is that test-takers tend to fall in love with their favorite pairings of the first two answer choices (A/E and  B/F). Maybe this is because people tend to start with answer choice A (eloquence) and then find a nice match for it (poignant). Then they just want to wedge in one of the last answer choices. A lot of times, test-takers will answer this question with “eloquence,” “poignant,” and “no discernible conclusion” or “lacks coherence.”

Here’s where you need to think critically about this question, and where the work really comes into play. Is it the really the case that the opposite of “poignant” is “doesn’t have a discernible conclusion” – that this is the counterpoint that comes with the transition word “but” in the middle of the sentence?  What if there isn’t really a conclusion because the author’s work is open-ended? It’s up for interpretation, but it could still be poignant. This is at least a possibility you might want to think about.

This also gets into one other thing that people tend to be underprepared for: making sure that every word in the prompt matters. In writing this test, the question writers aren’t getting paid by the word. If they put in something about “knowledgeable critics,” you should be asking yourself, “Why would these critics be the ones to point this out?” If you’re at this point still thinking about the first two answer choices maybe you’re right, but you should also see this as an invitation – you have to know, particularly if there’s a third blank space, with 5-7 words in some of the answer choices, that the Testmakers put that there, not because of a vocabulary word, but because of the meaning of the sentence. You’re really looking for one combination that has a very clear, very logical meaning.

So if we focus on these knowledgeable critics, again, you should ask yourself, “Why would they need to be the ones to point something out?” What you’ll find is that the correct logic for this question is that because of the author’s “verbosity” people find the work “inaccessible” and hard to get into, but, as the “knowledgeable critics” will point out, “We know this topic inside and out. This is actually the most succinct work you’re going to find on this dense topic. It’s not the author’s fault for being verbose.” So the correct answers are options C, D, and I.

The overall lesson of this question is important: when you have multiple blanks, a lot of times this means you need to go to work. You can’t fall in love with a strategy like, “Oh, great! I went from left to right, I found an answer for Blank 1 that I like that fits with an answer from Blank 2 that I like. Now I’ll just try to take a square peg and put it in a round hole with Blank 3 so I can be done…” One of the great virtues with multiple blank text completion is that you need to have the patience to say, “This is an okay triplet or pair, but I may be able to do better,” and then to start over and really go to work.

So as you approach GRE Verbal, make sure you have a robust vocabulary to go into it, but don’t let that come at the expense of your willingness to roll up your sleeves, really think of the meaning of the entire sentence, and maybe start over and look for different combinations. Because in a lot of ways, GRE Verbal is about your willingness to work.

Want to jump-start your GRE preparation? Register to attend one of our upcoming free online GRE Strategy Sessions or check out our variety of GRE Course and Private Tutoring options. And as always, be sure to follow us on Facebook, YouTube, Google+ and Twitter!

By Brian Galvin.

The Biggest Mistakes You Can Make in the GRE Verbal Section: Sentence Equivalence Questions

08fba0fLet’s talk some GRE Verbal. Now, if you’re studying for the GRE Verbal section, you’re thinking about Text Completion and Sentence Equivalence as two major question types that you need to be ready for. And as you’ll see, you can talk about them in terms of the word “vocabulary,” because the right answers tend to be an individual word or a short phrase that is some kind of “vocabulary” –  a word you need to know the meaning of and fit into the meaning of the sentence.

Here’s where students tend to study wrong, ineffectively, and inefficiently: they over-study their 500-word flash card decks (the most ridiculous and obscure words they can find). Yes, you do need to have a decent vocabulary to do well on these questions, but what these students don’t study enough as they’re chasing really strange words over and over again – which they may only see three or four of on test day – is knowing that, very often, these questions require you to work.

Continue reading or check out our video explanation of this concept below:

It’s not about knowing some memorized definition of a weird word – often, the test will use words you know, but you will need to work a little bit to figure out exactly what type of meaning you need in that sentence, and whether that word you’re looking at (a word you probably use in sentences every day, week, month, etc.) has the precise meaning you need in that particular space.

Now let’s take a look at this Sentence Equivalence example that will shed some light on what we’re talking about:

While the cost of migrating to more automated piloting and air traffic control systems is substantial, the eventual cost savings are large enough that the up-front expenditures are not as ______ as opponents claim.

Select the two choices that fit the meaning of the sentence and give the sentence the same meaning.

(A) fiscal
(B) imprudent
(C) reasonable
(D) excessive
(E) massive
(F) paltry

Now, if you look at what’s going on in this sentence, we have a contrast (and the word “while” sets this up). The sentence is saying that even though the cost is substantial – we’re agreeing this will cost a lot of money – what you’re going to save in the long run means that it’s not as *blank* (as big of a deal) as opponents claim.

What tends to happen with this problem is people look for synonyms. They say, “We think the cost is big, but maybe not as big as we once thought,” so they’ll look and see “excessive” and “massive” –two words that in some way mean “big”. Then they’ll pick those answer choices and get this question wrong. Why are these choices wrong? It’s about a little, subtle difference in meaning, and the Testmaker wants to reward those who pick up on it.

The word “massive” means “big,” while the word “excessive” means “too big.” If you look at what’s going on in the sentence, anytime there’s a comma (or two sentences in one prompt), the part that is not near the blank space really does matter. This is a classic “Think Like the Testmaker” moment – you should be thinking, “Why did they put that part there? To reward those who are thinking of the meaning of the whole sentence.”

Nobody is arguing that changing to automated piloting is not a big cost. Nobody is saying, “Hey, while it’s big, actually it’s not big.” What they really want to say is, “Hey, this is going to cost you a lot of money – it’s a big expenditure up front – but in the end, you’re going to save enough money that it’s not too big of an investment or an unwise decision.” So what you really want here is “too big”. We’re not debating whether the expense is big or not; we’re only debating whether it’s a wise investment, or too much to spend up front.

With this in mind, answer choice E, “massive” or “big,” is wrong, even though it’s really tempting. “Imprudent,” on the other hand, means “impractical” or “too big,” which is what we’re looking for. So the answers are B and D. Again, what this question really comes down to is that tiny, subtle difference between the meanings of words that you know. In this case, we want “too big,” so the test tries to hit you with a word that means “big.” That’s what we mean when we say you need to prepare to work on these questions. It’s about understanding the meaning of the sentence as a whole, finding those subtle differences, and holding up the words you’re putting in the blank and saying, “Is that really the exact word I need, or are they just overall related?”

As you study for the GRE Verbal section, you do want to have a good vocabulary, but don’t let that come at the expense of your willingness to really go to work on subtle differences in meaning with words that you know.

Want to jump-start your GRE preparation? Register to attend one of our upcoming free online GRE Strategy Sessions or check out our variety of GRE Course and Private Tutoring options. And as always, be sure to follow us on Facebook, YouTube, Google+ and Twitter!

By Brian Galvin.