GRE: Complete Structure and Sample Questions

GRE general test consists of easy to moderate quantitative questions and moderate to difficult verbal reasoning questions. The multiple choice questions dominate most of the paper where in the test takers have to select the correct answer (or more than one correct answer in some cases) from the given options. Overall the exam is not a difficult nut to crack provided that the candidate has practised the concepts and topics thoroughly and regularly along with a healthy mix of practice and full-length tests.

Structure of GRE examination:

The examination contains three sections. The sections of the GRE examination are as follows-

  1. Quantitative section
  2. Verbal reasoning section
  3. Analytical Writing section

Quantitative section

The Quantitative section contains four major types of questions that cover various topics ranging from Arithmetic, Algebra, Data Analysis, and Geometry. The types of questions are-

  1. Comparison type questions
  2. Multiple Choice Questions (select one answer type)
  3. Multiple Choice Questions (select one or more choices type)
  4. Numeric Entry Questions


Arithmetic questions include topics such as divisibility of numbers, prime numbers and composite numbers, their factorization, arithmetic operations, their exponents and roots, percentages, ratios,and decimals amongst other things.


Algebra includes topics such as algebraic expressions, functions, equations, inequalities, graphs and intercepts, simultaneous equations and equations to worded problems. Moreover, slopes of lines, graphs of functions, and quadratic equations make their way into questions from time to time.


Geometry tests on topics such as triangles, circles, perpendicular lines, quadrilaterals, polygons and measurement in degrees. Concepts like Pythagoras theorem, equilateral triangles, similarities are extremely important as well. It is worth while to note that a candidate should be prepared for both 2D as well as 3D geometry questions involving concepts of volume.

Data Analysis

The ability to handle data is an extremely important quality that many colleges and later in life, many recruiters look into a candidate. Hence, this section becomes an undeniable part of GRE quantitative section. Test takers can expect questions from topics such as mean, median, mode and standard variance. These concepts will be combined with other concepts such as percentages, ratios,and proportions and will be in the form of tables, graphs,and charts. Also included are the topics of conditional probability, probability distributions, Venn Diagrams, permutations and combinations, probability related to compound and independent events. As these topics are taughtvastly in high school level, candidates studying in the final year of high schooland candidates who have just completed their high schoolcan easily prepare for the GRE general test’s math section.

In addition to keeping the above information in mind, there are some additional directions that any test taker should keep in mind. They are enumerated as follows-

  • All the numbers used in the questions as well as the ones that are supposed to be used in the answers by the candidates are real numbers.
  • Geometric figures like circles, triangles,and polygons are not drawn to scale. They are just for reference. However, some obvious pointers are the fact that all straight lines shown are actually straight and all the shapes are their original representations.
  • Coordinate systems and figures such as x-y planes, number systems,and intercepts are all drawn to scale and the test taker can reference them for answering the questions.
  • Graphs, bar charts, pie charts and line graphs are also drawn to scale and therefore the test taker can make healthy assumptions to arrive at the answer.

Now coming to the question types-

Comparison type questions

Questions of quantitative comparison ask the candidates to compare between two values A and B. After the candidate has determined the values of A and B, he/she has to choose from the four options given, the relationship between A and B.Thus the test taker has to compare the quantity in column A with the quantity in column B.

The four options are self-explanatory and they are-

  • Quantity A is greater.
  • Quantity B is greater.
  • The two quantities are equal.
  • The relationship cannot be determined from the information given.

Comparison type questions sometimes are tricky and many a time the test taker falls into the trap and choose an incorrect answer. Some general advice for answering these types of questions are-

  1. The last option “The relationship cannot be determined from the information given” is seldom used and always double check before marking that option. Generally, there will always be some sort of relationship between the quantities A and B.
  2. It is always advisable to avoid unnecessary computations and calculations in order to save time. Simplify the answer choices so that it is easy to compare them and to find the correct answer choice.
  3. Input numbers if there are algebraic equations involved and then compare A and B. In put n egative, positive and 0 and onlyafter inputting compare between the two to be sure of the answer you get.
  4. Simplifying the comparison when there’s no other way out helpsin determining the answer. Try out a step by step simplification process for both quantities A and B and then decide.
Sample Question and Solutions
Question 1
Quantity A Quantity B
The least prime number greater than 24 The greatest prime number less than 28
  1. Quantity A is greater.
  2. Quantity B is greater.
  3. The two quantities are equal.
  4. The relationship cannot be determined from the information given.


For the integers greater than 24, note that 25, 26, 27, and 28 are not prime numbers, but 29 is a prime number, as are 31 and many other greater integers. Thus, 29 is the least prime number greater than 24, and Quantity A is 29. For the integers, less than 28, note that 27, 26, 25, and 24 are not prime numbers, but 23 is a prime number, as are 19 and several other lesser integers. Thus, 23 is the greatest prime number less than 28, and Quantity B is 23. The correct answer is Choice A; Quantity A is greater.

Question 2
Figure 1
Figure 1
Quantity A Quantity B
  1. Quantity A is greater.
  2. Quantity B is greater.
  3. The two quantities are equal.
  4. The relationship cannot be determined from the information given.


From Figure 1, you know that PQR is a triangle and that point S is between points Pand R, so PS‹PR and SR‹PR You are also given that PQ=PR. However, this information is not sufficient to compare PS and SR. Furthermore, because the figure is not necessarily drawn to scale, you cannot determine the relative sizes of PS and SR visually from the figure, though they may appear to be equal. The position of S can vary alongside PR anywhere between P and R. Following are two possible variations of Figure 1, each of which is drawn to be consistent with the information. PQ=PR.

Figure 2 Figure 3
Figure 2 Figure 3

Note that Quantity A is greater in Figure 2 and Quantity B is greater in Figure 3. Thus the correct answer is Choice D, the relationship cannot be determined from the information given.

More Comparison Sample Questions

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Multiple Choice Questions (select one answer type)

This type of question requires the test taker to select one answer choice out of the list of five choices given in the examination.

Though pretty straightforward in directions and the type of questions given, still, it is better to keep in mind the following tips-

  1. The candidate can arrive at the correct option by doing back calculations using all the answers to that particular question. Since it is known that only one option is correct amongst the five, putting the options into the questions and seeing whether they fit is a great way to reduce time.
  2. If a question requires approximation, check how much is needed first before going all out on the calculations. One idea is to scan the entire question before approximating any value to get a better grip on the solution that you are going to work out.
  3. The final tip is to check every question one last time before selecting the answer from the options.
Sample Question and Solutions
Question 1

If 5x+32 = 4-2x, what is the value of x ?

  1. -4
  2. -3
  3. 4
  4. 7
  5. 12


Solving the equation for x, you get 7x= -28, and so x= -4. The correct answer is Choice A, -4.

Question 2

A certain jar contains 60 jelly beans — 22 white, 18 green, 11 yellow, 5 red and 4 purple. If a jelly bean is to be chosen at random, what is the probability that the jelly bean will be neither red nor purple?

  1. 0.09
  2. 0.15
  3. 0.54
  4. 0.85
  5. 0.91


Since there are 5 red and 4 purple jelly beans in the jar, there are 51 that are neither red nor purple and the probability of selecting one of these is 51 ⁄ 60. Since all of the answer choices are decimals, you must convert the fraction to its decimal equivalent, 0.85. Thus the correct answer is Choice D, 0.85.

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Multiple Choice Questions (select one or more choices type)

This section is similar to the previous one except that it may have one or more than one correct answers to be marked.And the candidate is to mark all the possible correct answers. It is important to note that there is no credit for partially correct answers. There will not be any credit given unless all the correct choices are entered. The question may or may not tell the candidate the number of options to select. Some tips to improve a test taker’s score in such scenarios are as follows-

  1. It is to be noted whether the question implicitly specifies the number of answer choices that are to be selected. If it is not mentioned, then it is advisable that the test taker tries out all the options and then selects the choices that may apply to that particular question.
  2. Always determine the range of values that may fit into the answer to limit the number of available options. This elimination process helps the test taker arrive at the option(s) faster and hence save time.
  3. In this type of questions, it is very important to save time by avoiding lengthy calculations. The candidate must be able to recognize any patterns present to minimize the time required per question.
Sample Question and Solutions
Question 1

Which two of the following numbers have a product that is between –1 and 0?

Indicate both of the numbers.

  1. –20
  2. –10
  3. 2 –4
  4. 3 –2


For this question, you must select a pair of answer choices. The product of the pair must be negative, so the possible products are (–20)(2–4), (–20)(3–2), (–10)(2–4), and (–10)(3–2). The product must also be greater than –1. The first product is -20 ⁄ 24 = - (20 ⁄ 16) ‹ -1, the second product is -20 ⁄ 32 = - (20 ⁄ 9) ‹ -1, and the third product is -10 ⁄ 24 = - (10 ⁄ 16) › -1, so you can stop there. The correct answer consists of Choices B (–10) and C (2–4).

Question 2

Which of the following integers are multiples of both 2 and 3?

Indicate all such integers.

  1. 8
  2. 9
  3. 12
  4. 18
  5. 21
  6. 36


You can first identify the multiples of 2, which are 8, 12, 18 and 36, and then among the multiples of 2 identify the multiples of 3, which are 12, 18 and 36. Alternatively, if you realize that every number that is a multiple of 2 and 3 is also a multiple of 6, you can identify the choices that are multiples of 6. The correct answer consists of Choices C (12), D (18) and F (36).

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Numeric Entry Questions

Numeric entry questions are different from the above three because the candidate has to enter either an integral or a decimal value into the space (box) provided in the question or enter a fractional value into two distinct boxes- one box for the numerator and another box for the denominator. In this part of the test, aspirants can use the keyboard as well as the mouse to enter the desired values. Most of the answers can be easily determined from the information given in the questions, and in somecases, a little tedious calculation is involved to solve the problem.

Since this section is a deviation from the aforementioned sections, it would be wise to look into a few tips pertaining to handle these questions.

  1. It is always essential that the test taker answers the question that is asked. As there are no answer choices to guide the candidate, hence it is advisable to be extra careful while answering these questions. Paying extra heed to units and conversion factors usually pay off in this section.
  2. Roundingoff answers is another issue that needs to be addressed properly in this section. For example, 35.8 need to be rounded off to 36. Also, another important point is to round off only in the final step and not in the steps preceding that to maintain the necessary degree of accuracy.
  3. Finally, check if the answer fits logically in respect of the question asked as that helps detect many fine errors that may otherwise go unnoticed.

Some directions to follow in this section-

  • First, the candidate has to click on the box given and then only the cursor will appear.
  • If the test taker needs to erase something, the backspace key can be used.
  • For a negative sign, the candidate has to type a hyphen, for a decimal point, the period needs to be typed.
  • The negative sign can be removed by pressing the hyphen again. The hyphen disappears, but the number remains.
  • The transfer button will transfer the value calculated from the online calculator and will shift the answer directly to the answer box.
  • Equivalent answers such as 8.50 and 8.5 are both considered equal and correct. The exact answer needs to be typed unless mentioned in the question to round off.
Sample Question and Solutions
Question 1

Rectangle R has length 30 and width 10, and square S has length 5. The perimeter of S is what fraction of the perimeter of R?

Figure 4


The perimeter of R is 30+10+30+10 = 80, and the perimeter of S is (4)(5) = 20.Therefore, the perimeter of S is 20 ∕ 80 of the perimeter of R. To enter the answer 20 ∕ 80, you should enter the numerator 20 in the top box and the denominator 80 in the bottom box. Because the fraction does not need to be reduced to lowest terms, any fraction that is equivalent to 20 ∕ 80 is also considered correct, as long as it fits in the boxes. For example, both of the fractions 2 ∕ 8 and 1 ∕ 4 are considered correct. Thus the correct answer is 20 ∕ 80 (or any equivalent fraction).

Question 2
Figure 7
Results of a Used-Car Auction
Small Cars Large Cars
Number of cars offered 32 23
Number of cars sold 16 20
The projected sales total for cars offered (in thousands) $70 $150
Actual sales total (in thousands) $41 $120

For the large cars sold at an auction that is summarized in the table above, what was the average sale price per car?

$Figure 5


From Figure 7, you see that the number of large cars sold was 20 and the sales total for large cars was $120,000 (not $120). Thus the average sale price per car was ($120,000) ∕ 20 = $6,000. The correct answer is $6,000 (or equivalent).

(Note that the comma in 6,000 will appear automatically in the answer box in the computer-delivered test.)

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More Numeric Entry Sample Questions

Verbal reasoning section

The verbal reasoning section is perhaps the most important section in the whole of the GRE examination. This is because this section is generally a bit on the tougher side. Non-native English speaking candidates generally face difficulties in this section owing to the use of vocabulary. The verbal reasoning section consists of three kinds of questions-

  1. Reading Comprehension
  2. Text Completion
  3. Sentence Equivalence

Reading Comprehension

This section is designed to test various skills and a wide range of abilities present in the candidate. Some of them are

  • Understanding the entirety of the passage and its significance
  • Understanding the context of the words used in the passage and their individual meanings
  • Summarizing the passage so as to reduce its length but ultimately preserve its essence
  • Drawing conclusions from the author’s statements and inferences
  • Reasoning about a certain situation/thing/someone from missing and incomplete data
  • Any alternative explanations that need to be developed or considered
  • Making a clear distinction between the major part(s) and minor part(s) in the passages provided

The passages may be from a wide spectrum of topics including business, arts, physical sciences, biological sciences, social sciences, chemical sciences, humanities to name a few. They may be from academic and non-academic sources. Within the reading comprehension, there may be three types of questions that a candidate needs to answer. They are-

  1. Multiple Choice Questions (select one answer type)
  2. Multiple Choice Questions (select one or more choices type)
  3. Select in passage questions
Multiple Choice Questions (select one answer type)

These are generally multiple choice questions where the candidate has to answer/select one choice out of the given five choices.

Multiple Choice Questions (select one or more choices type)

As discussed in the quantitative section, this type of question may have more than one correctanswersand full credit is only given when a candidate marks all of the correct answers.

Select in passage questions

A little deviation from the other two question types, the select in passage questions as the name suggests involves questions where the candidate has to select an appropriate sentence from the passage which matches the question. The selected sentence(s) gets highlighted and that lets the candidate know the answer that he/she selected.

Some tips for the candidates-

  • The candidates must try to form an overall idea of the passage first. What the author/passage is trying to say? What is the purpose of the passage? Where is the conclusion driving towards? All these questions need to be answered mentally while reading the passage.
  • It is a good idea to deal any hard or complex passage(s)at the end; focusing on the easy ones should befirst.
  • All the answers to the questions asked can be found out from the passage itself. The passage may not reveal all the answers to the test taker at first, but many agree that a thorough second readingusuallyreveals the trick.

Sample Question and Solutions

Questions 1 to 3 are based on this passage.

Reviving the practice of using elements of popular music in classical composition, an approach that had been in hibernation in the United States during the 1960s, composer Philip Glass (born 1937) embraced the ethos of popular music in his compositions. Glass based two symphonies on music by rock musicians David Bowie and Brian Eno, but the symphonies' sound is distinctively his. Popular elements do not appear out of place in Glass's classical music, which from its early days has shared certain harmonies and rhythms with rock music. Yet this use of popular elements has not made Glass a composer of popular music. His music is not a version of popular music packaged to attract classical listeners; it is high art for listeners steeped in rock rather than the classics.

Select only one answer choice.

1. The passage addresses which of the following issues related to Glass's use of popular elements in his classical compositions?

  1. How it is regarded by listeners who prefer rock to the classics
  2. How it has affected the commercial success of Glass's music
  3. Whether it has contributed to a revival of interest among other composers in using popular elements in their compositions
  4. Whether it has had a detrimental effect on Glass's reputation as a composer of classical music
  5. Whether it has caused certain of Glass's works to be derivative in quality

Consider each of the three choices separately and select all that apply.

2. The passage suggests that Glass's work displays which of the following qualities?

  1. A return to the use of popular music in classical compositions
  2. An attempt to elevate rock music to an artistic status more closely approximating that of classical music
  3. A long-standing tendency to incorporate elements from two apparently disparate musical styles

3. Select the sentence that distinguishes two ways of integrating rock and classical music.


The passage describes in general terms how Philip Glass uses popular music in his classical compositions and explores how Glass can do this without being imitative. Note that there are no opposing views discussed; the author is simply presenting his or her views.

Question 1: One of the important points that the passage makes is that when Glass uses popular elements in his music, the result is very much his own creation (it is “distinctively his”). In other words, the music is far from being derivative. Thus one issue that the passage addresses is the one referred to in answer choice E — it answers it in the negative. The passage does not discuss the impact of Glass's use of popular elements on listeners, on the commercial success of his music, on other composers or on Glass's reputation, so none of Choices A through D is correct. The correct answer is Choice E.

Question 2: To answer this question, it is important to assess each answer choice independently. Since the passage says that Glass revived the use of popular music in classical compositions, answer choice A is clearly correct. On the other hand, the passage also denies that Glass composes popular music or packages it in a way to elevate its status, so answer choice B is incorrect. Finally, since Glass's style has always mixed elements of rock with classical elements, answer Choice C is correct. Thus the correct answer is Choice A and Choice C.

Question 3: Almost every sentence in the passage refers to incorporating rock music in classical compositions, but only the last sentence distinguishes two ways of doing so. It distinguishes between writing rock music in a way that will make it attractive to classical listeners and write classical music that will be attractive to listeners familiar with rock. Thus the correct answer is the last sentence of the passage.

Sample questions 1 to 3 below are based on this passage:

Policymakers must confront the dilemma that fossil fuels continue to be an indispensable source of energy even though burning them produces atmospheric accumulations of carbon dioxide that increase the likelihood of potentially disastrous global climate change. Currently, technology that would capture carbon dioxide emitted by power plants and sequester it harmlessly underground or undersea instead of releasing it into the atmosphere might double the cost of generating electricity. But because sequestration does not affect the cost of electricity transmission and distribution, delivered prices will rise less, by no more than 50 percent. Research into better technologies for capturing carbon dioxide will undoubtedly lead to lowered costs.

Sample Multiple-choice Question — Select One Answer Choice

1. The passage implies which of the following about the current cost of generating electricity?

  1. It is higher than it would be if better technologies for capturing carbon dioxide were available.
  2. It is somewhat less than the cost of electricity transmission and distribution.
  3. It constitutes at most half of the delivered price of electricity.
  4. It is dwelt on by policymakers to the exclusion of other costs associated with electricity delivery.
  5. It is not fully recovered by the prices charged directly to electricity consumers.

Correct Answer: C

Sample Multiple-choice Question — Select One or More Answer Choices

Consider each of the three choices separately and select all that apply.

2. The passage suggests that extensive use of sequestration would, over time, have which of the following consequences?

  1. The burning of fossil fuels would eventually cease to produce atmospheric accumulations of carbon dioxide.
  2. The proportion of the delivered price of electricity due to generation would rise and then decline.
  3. Power plants would consume progressively lower quantities of fossil fuels.

Correct Answer: B

Sample Select-in-Passage Question

3. Select the sentence that explains why an outcome of sequestration that might have been expected would not occur.

Correct Answer: "But because sequestration does not affect the cost of electricity transmission and distribution, delivered prices will rise less, by no more than 50 percent."

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Text Completion

Text completion as the name suggests is basically completing the given sentence. Test takers are required to complete the sentence given in the question by selecting the correct options from the ones given. The questions are often presented as short passages with blanks here and there. There is a maximum of five sentences in the text completion type questions. The blanks vary from one to three. In case of a one blank text completion question, there are five options to choose from. In case of multipleblanks, there are three options per blank for the candidate to choose from. Again, there is no credit for partially correct answers. The test taker has to enter all the right options to be eligible for the full credit.

Some tips that need to be followed in this case-

  • A good idea is to read the entire passage/sentence to make an overall sense of it. Then the candidate can see every word and determine whether that word would fit into the context of the question asked.
  • The first blank may be difficult as compared to the other blanks, in such a scenario; it is advisable to fill the other blanks to make a partial sense of the sentence at hand.
  • After filling the blank(s) it is imperative that the test taker reads the entire sentence(s) to see if the options entered by him/her logically and grammatically fit into the context.
Sample Question and Solutions

For each blank select one entry from the corresponding column of choices. Fill all blanks in the way that best completes the text.

1. It is refreshing to read a book about our planet by an author who does not allow facts to be (i)__________ by politics: well aware of the political disputes about the effects of human activities on climate and biodiversity, this author does not permit them to (ii)__________ his comprehensive description of what we know about our biosphere. He emphasizes the enormous gaps in our knowledge, the sparseness of our observations, and the (iii)__________, calling attention to the many aspects of planetary evolution that must be better understood before we can accurately diagnose the condition of our planet.

Sample Question 1 Answers.
Blank (i) Blank (ii) Blank (iii)
(A) overshadowed (D) enhance (G) plausibility of our hypotheses
(B) invalidated (E) obscure (H) certainty of our entitlement
(C) illuminated (F) underscore (I) superficiality of our theories


The overall tone of the passage is clearly complimentary. To understand what the author of the book is being complimented on, it is useful to focus on the second blank. Here, we must determine what word would indicate something that the author is praised for not permitting. The only answer choice that fits the case is "obscure," since enhancing and underscoring are generally good things to do, not things one should refrain from doing. Choosing "obscure" clarifies the choice for the first blank; the only choice that fits well with "obscure" is "overshadowed." Notice that trying to fill blank (i) without filling blank (ii) first is hard — each choice has at least some initial plausibility. Since the third blank requires a phrase that matches "enormous gaps" and "sparseness of our observations," the best choice is "superficiality of our theories."

Thus the correct answer is Choice A (overshadowed), Choice E (obscure) and Choice I (superficiality of our theories).

2. Vain and prone to violence, Caravaggio could not handle success: the more his (i)__________ as an artist increased, the more (ii)__________ his life became.

Sample Question 3 Answers.
Blank (i) Blank (ii)
(A) temperance (D) tumultuous
(B) notoriety (E) providential
(C) eminence (F) dispassionate


In this sentence, what follows the colon must explain or spell out what precedes it. So, roughly, what the second part must say is that as Caravaggio became more successful, his life got more out of control. When one looks for words to fill the blanks, it becomes clear that "tumultuous" is the best fit for blank (ii), since neither of the other choices suggests being out of control. And for blank (i), the best choice is "eminence," since to increase in eminence is a consequence of becoming more successful. It is true that Caravaggio might also increase in notoriety, but an increase in notoriety as an artist is not as clear a sign of success as an increase in eminence.

Thus the correct answer is Choice C (eminence) and Choice D (tumultuous).

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Sentence Equivalence

Sentence Equivalence is mostly similar to its Text Completion counterpart but in a more subtle and detailed manner. Sentence Equivalence focuses on the meanings of the word and how they fit into context to a greater extent than the Text Completion questions. Here candidates have to fill only one blank but with two options/words that are similar in meaning and essentially completes the sentence in both cases.

There are six answer choices out of which the test taker has to select the appropriate two. And again, to reiterate, there are no credits for partially correct answers.

Some tips that need to be followed in such kind of questions-

  • Read the entire sentence to get the overall essence of it.
  • It is advisable that the test taker fills the sentence with one option that they deem fit and then look for the other word that fits exactly into the sentence as the first one.
  • If the above condition fails, that is if the candidate cannot find the other word that fits into the context of the sentence then it is an indicator that the first word they selected is most probably wrong. Then the test taker can move to another set of words that fit into the question. By this process of elimination, the candidate is generally assured the highest accuracy.
  • At the end of the selection, it is very important that the candidate reads the whole sentence with the words that he/she selected and confirms that the words selected are logically and grammatically plausible.
Sample Question and Solutions

Select the two answer choices that, when used to complete the sentence, fit the meaning of the sentence as a whole and produce completed sentences that are alike in meaning.

1. Although it does contain some pioneering ideas, one would hardly characterize the work as __________.

  1. orthodox
  2. eccentric
  3. original
  4. trifling
  5. conventional
  6. innovative


The word "Although" is a crucial signpost here. The work contains some pioneering ideas, but apparently, it is not overall a pioneering work. Thus the two words that could fill the blank appropriately are "original" and "innovative." Note that "orthodox" and "conventional" are two words that are very similar in meaning, but neither one completes the sentence sensibly.

Thus the correct answer is Choice C (original) and Choice F (innovative).

2. It was her view that the country's problems had been _______ by foreign technocrats, so that to ask for such assistance again would be counterproductive.

  1. ameliorated
  2. ascertained
  3. diagnosed
  4. exacerbated
  5. overlooked
  6. worsened


The sentence relates a piece of reasoning, as indicated by the presence of "so that": asking for the assistance of foreign technocrats would be counterproductive because of the effects such technocrats have had already. This means that the technocrats must have bad effects; i.e., they must have "exacerbated" or "worsened" the country's problems.

Thus the correct answer is Choice D (exacerbated) and Choice F (worsened).

More Sentence Equivalence Sample Questions

Analytical Writing Section

The Analytical Writing Section is different from the other two sections of the GRE examination because this section involves the test taker writing down two tasks that comprise of an Analyze an Issue task and an Analyze an Argument task. The writing section tests the analytical writing, critical thinking and logical coherence of a candidate. It also checks the test taker’s ability to think about complex issues, ways of evaluating and solving them.

Some strategies to follow for this particular section-

  • The most important step would be to review sample writing tasks and learn what is to be written and how it is to be presented.
  • With the 30 minutetime allocatedto each of the two writing tasks, the candidates will get enough time to chalk out the format, sequence,and method of writing for each of the two tasks.
  • Revision is very important at the end to detect any grammatical errors that might creep into the piece while writing. Although a few errors do not reduce the overall marks, but that shouldn’t be the excuse for not revising at the end of each task.

Some detailed explanations about the two writing tasks are as follows-

Analyze an Issue task

As the name suggests this writing task focuses on the ability of the test taker to think logically and critically about the given issue and express their thoughts exclusively through writing. The candidate has to put forward various perspectives, situations and conditions and every statement they make must adhere to these conditions as well as the main topic at hand.

Some instructions and directions that need to be followed-

  • The test taker must always give proper reasoning to support or go against the statement(s) mentioned in the question.After all, it won’t beconsidered as analysis if the test taker does not express their proper reason for either supporting or going against the given statement.
  • Also, the test taker should mention the extent to which they agree or disagree so that their critical thinking and logical inference abilities reflect on their actual write up in the examination.
  • Adequate examples must be used to support the candidate’s facts so as to form a strong and foolproofwriting that ultimately scores high on the 0 to 6 scale.
  • It is imperative that the candidate analyzes their own reasoning and how it might strengthen their views on their overall judgment of the statement.
Sample Question and Solutions

1. As people rely more and more on technology to solve problems, the ability of humans to think for themselves will surely deteriorate.

Write a response in which you discuss the extent to which you agree or disagree with the statement and explain your reasoning for the position you take. In developing and supporting your position, you should consider ways in which the statement might or might not hold true and explain how these considerations shape your position.

2. A nation should require all of its students to study the same national curriculum until they enter college.

Write a response in which you discuss the extent to which you agree or disagree with the recommendation and explain your reasoning for the position you take. In developing and supporting your position, describe specific circumstances in which adopting the recommendation would or would not be advantageous and explain how these examples shape your position.

Following the above directions, tips and strategies ought to improve any candidate’s analyze an issue task and with frequent practice, great strides of improvement can be visibly noticed.

Analyze an Argument task

This section analyzes the ability of a candidate to evaluate, analyze, infer and understand arguments and then clearly write their answer to that argument. The question is typically in the form of a case where the author tries to convey a certain point or a course of action to the readers. The author also backs up his/her claims with reason and evidence. The candidate’s job then is to check for validity of the author’s claim and then critically evaluate the reasoning and evidence used by the author.

Sample Question and Solutions

1. In surveys, Mason City residents rank water sports (swimming, boating, and fishing) among their favorite recreational activities. The Mason River flowing through the city is rarely used for these pursuits, however, and the city park department devotes little of its budget to maintaining riverside recreational facilities. For years there have been complaints from residents about the quality of the river's water and the river's smell. In response, the state has recently announced plans to clean up Mason River. Use of the river for water sports is, therefore, sure to increase. The city government should for that reason devote more money in this year's budget to riverside recreational facilities.

Write a response in which you examine the stated and/or unstated assumptions of the argument. Be sure to explain how the argument depends on the assumptions and what the implications are if the assumptions prove unwarranted.

2. The following is a memorandum from the business manager of a television station.

"Over the past year, our late-night news program has devoted increased time to national news and less time to weather and local news. During this time period, most of the complaints received from viewers were concerned with our station's coverage of weather and local news. In addition, local businesses that used to advertise during our late-night news program have just canceled their advertising contracts with us. Therefore, in order to attract more viewers to the program and to avoid losing any further advertising revenues, we should restore the time devoted to weather and local news to its former level."

Write a response in which you discuss what specific evidence is needed to evaluate the argument and explain how the evidence would weaken or strengthen the argument.

Practice GRE tests and sample GRE questions

It is extremely important for a candidate or a test taker to understand the type of questions coming in any test and their respective formats. Therefore the GRE test prep for any test taker should contain an adequate number of sample GRE questions in the form of full length or practice tests. Practice questions help the candidate become familiar with the pattern and instructions thereby improving their accuracy in the exam, thereby improving their overall score.

GRE guide contains a host of practice questions for every kind of question type and full-length tests which will help the candidate immensely during their preparation. Click on this link to start practicing-

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