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Tips and Tricks to Prepare Well for the GRE Verbal Section

Tips and Tricks to Prepare Well for the GRE Verbal Section


The Verbal Section of the GRE is usually the scary part for many Indian students since many of them are not accustomed to the advanced level English skills asked in the GRE. However, the GRE Verbal section is not a tough one to crack – it does not require you to be a novel writer or have a polished grasp over English, it rather tests how well you can understand vocabulary in context and how well you can analyze and interpret passages. Here are a few tips and tricks on how to crack GRE verbal? 

(Also Read : Introduction to the GRE Verbal Section )

1. Master your vocabulary!

Vocabulary is a crucial part you must ace to score well in the GRE section. You might get overwhelmed seeing that big lump of words and might wonder where to start from! Search for word lists from standard books or the Internet and start with fewer words for the first few days and then progressively increase the number of words you learn per day as your learning ability speeds catches up. A smart and planned approach in learning vocabulary is to use mnemonics, flashcards, focus on learning roots and understand vocabulary in context.


2. Read, Read, Read!

Rote learning the words is not going to help you crack the GRE Verbal section at all! Instead it tests you on how well you can understand vocabulary in context i.e. how a word has been used in a sentence. There’s no alternate option to reading to grasp and understand the vocabulary you’ve learned. Start reading articles from newspapers such as The Hindu, Indian Express , subscribe to American magazines and newspapers such as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, New Yorker and The Atlantic. You could also start reading novels and use resources on the Internet such as articles on and Understand how a word has been used in a sentence help you hack the Text Completion (TC) and Sentence Equivalence (SE) sections easily – once you know how a word can be used in a sentence, you can analyze the TC or SE paragraph and find the best fit in!

3. Watch English, Talk English and Think in English!

Along with reading, watching English movies can boost your vocabulary to a great extent since they introduce you to a ton of new words. Immerse yourself into the world of GRE-style words. Start using these words in your daily communication and flaunt your vocabulary in front of your friends. Non-English speakers usually think in their native language, you need to start thinking in English. Start with initially translating thoughts from your native language to English, it might take a lot of efforts but as you improve over time, you’ll see the magic!

4. Don’t fear the Reading Comprehension section!

The Reading Comprehension (RC) part is usually the toughest section to answer in the GRE. If you really want to know how to crack GRE verbal, you must make a stronghold in the reading comprehension session. However, learning a few right strategies can help you ace the RC section easily. Practice is a key factor to crack the RC section. The GRE asks passages of different types – long, short, argumentative and descriptive and you need to adapt a different strategy for each of these types. Engage into active reading – extract essential information from the passage, capture new words and focus on the main points of the passage such as the opening or the conclusion. This well help you get the gist of the passage and answer questions such as what the author wants to say, the tone of the passage, why certain things have been mentioned in the passage, what can be inferred from the argument etc.

5. Mock tests are paramount!

Mock Tests give you a clear understanding of where you stand and help you identify your weaknesses. Giving a mock test in a test simulated environment gives you the actual exam experience. Start your mock tests at least a month before your actual GRE verbal – identify the sections where you’re scoring poor and try to overcome those shortcomings in subsequent tests.

6. Keep working hard and don’t lose hope!

Studying regularly and sincerely is definitely going to help you ace the GRE Verbal section. Look at preparing for the GRE Verbal section as a long term advantage – it is going to improve your English language skills to a great extent. Don’t sweat too much, prepare well and you’ll get your dream score!

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ashwed patil

About Ashwed Patil

Ashwed is a prospective MS student with interests in Computer Science, Content Writing and Geography. He has secured 8 admissions out of 10 U.S. universities he has applied to. His experience with the arduous MS application process motivated him to guide fellow applicants through online articles and blogs. He has also been deeply involved in teaching underprivileged kids in his hometown, Nasik. An interesting fact about Ashwed – he likes to make imaginary countries out of someone’s personality traits!
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