GRE > The GRE Test (an overview)

Verbal Section: approximately 40 questions in 60 minutes

The verbal section measures your ability to understand and draw conclusions from material that you read. It also measures your ability to not only understand the literal meanings but to think critically and logically. In the verbal section, you will be asked to answer 3 types of questions: text completion, sentence equivalence, and reading comprehension.

Text Completion
consists of a paragraph with words missing. Your task is to be able to select from a list of words which should fill in the missing spaces for the paragraph to make sense. Here is an example of this type of question.

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.
Blank (i) Blank (ii) Blank (iii)
(A) overshadowed (D) enhance (G) plausability of our hypothesis
(B) invalidated (E) obscure (H) certainty of our entitlement
(C) illuminated (F) underscore (I) superficiality of our theories
Therefore, on this question, you would choose more than 1 letter to fill all three spaces in the the paragraph.

Sentence Equivalence
Sentence Equivalence
consists of a sentence with one word missing. Your task is to choose 2 words out of a list of 6 words that would make the sentence mean the same thing in either case. Here is an example of this type of question

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

Reading Comprehension
This is pretty self-explanatory. You will have to read a few paragraphs (in some cases several paragraphs) and then answer 1-6 questions about what you just read. These questions are multiple-choice and there may be more than 1 correct answer. In other questions, you may need to highlight certain passages. The subjects of the reading comprehension are varied and may be academic or non-academic.