The verbal section of GRE measures the understanding of reading comprehension and reasoning in a multiple-choice format. This section tests the ability to form relations and contemplate on real-time situations between the given information. This is very much required in today’s graduate and business school programs. The given information may be sentences, words or concepts. The student not only requires enough knowledge of the subject, he should also be alert and vigilant in order to find out the difference or similarity in the given information and concepts. Further, the student is required to review and analyze written material to combine information and to check the relationships between the various sentence elements. The student is required to read the given passages and answer the questions that are given for those passages. The student is given 10 passages of varying lengths and the subject material in the passages are taken from physical sciences, biological sciences, social sciences, business, arts, humanities and other everyday material found in academic and non-academic books and periodicals. You are required to have good knowledge and understanding in different subjects and current affairs.

Each passage can have up to a maximum of six questions. The questions are structured to measure the student’s understanding skills of words, sentences, the relationships they contain. The pattern followed for questions are multiple-choice questions, the student has to select a single answer, or select multiple correct answers or select a full sentence from a passage. The Verbal Reasoning test consists of 2 sections. The student has to answer approximately 20 questions in each section and the time duration for each section is 30 minutes.

As the name suggests, verbal section measures the verbal skills and reasoning of the student. It also measures the ability to analyze and evaluate the given written material to combine information obtained from it, to examine relationships among the different elements in sentences and discover relationships between words and sentences. To test the verbal reasoning, there are three types of questions in this section. These questions are on Reading Comprehension, Text Completion and Sentence Equivalence.

The Reading Comprehension questions of the verbal section, a passage is given and is followed by questions and answer options. The student must read the passage carefully and answer the questions according to his understanding of the passage. The Reading Comprehension questions are structured to measure abilities in:

  • understanding meanings of words and sentences
  • differentiating between minor and major points given in the passage
  • concluding and summarizing the information provided
  • reasoning and developing considering alternative explanations
  • identifying the relation between the pair of words given as options
  • drawing a similarity in the relation of the question pair of words.

The Text Completion questions are ones where a sentence is given in an incomplete form. The options that follow contain the probable answers that make the sentence complete and grammatically correct, out of which the most suitable answer should be chosen. The questions contain one to three blanks and you are provided three answer choices per blank. You are provided 5 answer choices if the question has a single blank. The answer options given for each blank work separately, your answer option selected for one blank will not affect the answer choice you selected for another blank.

The Sentence Equivalence questions will test your abilities in arriving at conclusions and completing a passage from the given passage which has partial information, hence the meaning is available for the completed whole. The questions in this section can contain a single sentence, a blank or can have six answer options.

The verbal section is made difficult and confusing by the options because most of the times you will find the answer options to be similar. Therefore there may be more than one probable answer for the same question. That is why one must think logically before answering this section and should not just jump to conclusions without even reading the options. You are not credited a score for answers that are only partially correct.


The verbal section of GRE is a tricky section. It needs the skills of logic and reasoning in order to attempt it successfully. One should be able to deduce the conclusion from the given information. The skill of finding out relationships that exist between the given words or concepts is a must for this section. Do not assume anything, you are required to read the passage, the questions and understand fully before answering them.

Not only does it require the skills of rationality in order to find out the correct answer, it also requires a good vocabulary and proper understanding of the language. The questions cannot be solved by mere guess-work, but a good vocabulary always helps in solving sentence equivalence questions. Also note no two words can best-fit in a sentence properly among the given answer options, more than one answer option may appear to be correct. Also two consecutive words may not have the same meaning.

Along with vocabulary, the verbal section is also about grammar and language. Students should polish their language by good amount of reading. They must make it a point to give quality time to reading on a daily basis. By quality reading it is meant that the student should make an effort to learn difficult words, their meanings and their opposites. This is how they will increase their vocabulary. Moreover, regular reading habit also helps in developing the grammar. These skills are very essential for the questions without which it is impossible to attempt the verbal section correctly.