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Analytical Writing Section: Reference Pool of possible Argument Task topics
Analytical Writing Section: Reference Pool of Possible Issue task topics
What are the latest changes in the GRE General Test?
Analytical Writing Section: How should one attempt the Argument Task and Issue task questions?
How should one prepare for the Problem Solving and Quantitative Comparision section?
How should one attempt Reading Comprehension questions?
How should one attempt Sentence Completion questions?
How should I begin studying for GRE's Analogy questions?
What topics does Verbal Reasoning include? How should I begin studying for GRE Vocabulary?
GRE Tips and Strategies
What skills does GRE test?

Analytical Writing Section: Reference Pool of possible Argument Task topics

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Analytical Writing Section: Reference Pool of Possible Issue task topics

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What are the latest changes in the GRE General Test?

Reading Passages in Reading Comprehension questions have been reformatted. Reformatted reading passages are included in the Verbal Reasoning section of the computer-based GRE General Test. Traditionally, reading passages accompanying Reading Comprehension questions have contained line numbers that reference specific parts of the passages. Those line numbers are being replaced with highlighting when necessary in order to focus the test taker on specific information in the passage. The reformatted question types are being phased in gradually over time. During this time, test takers may encounter both formats in their tests.

The GRE Program believes that the new format will help students more easily find the pertinent information in reading passages. Two new question types have also been included in the Verbal Reasoning and Quantitative Reasoning sections of the computer-based GRE General Test. Test takers may see ONE new Verbal question or ONE new Quantitative question or no new questions at all. No test taker will receive more than ONE new question. The new question types are part of the first phase of the General Test improvements that are being introduced gradually over time. The new question types have been through extensive field trials, and the results indicate that they are functioning as intended. The GRE Program will begin counting these question types toward examinee scores as soon as an adequate sample of data from the operational testing environment is available.

Analytical Writing Section: How should one attempt the Argument Task and Issue task questions?

This section will comprise of 2 writing tasks which will also be delivered on the computer, and you must type your response. These are The Issue Task: The Issue task gives you considerable latitude in the way you respond to the claim made about a given issue. Practice writing responses on several of the topics, keeping to the 45-minute time limit. To prepare for this task, try asking the following questions when reviewing the published list of Issue topics.

What does the statement mean? What does it imply? What, precisely, is the central issue?

  • Do I agree with all or with any part of the statement? Why or why not?
  • Is the statement valid only in certain circumstances?
  • Do I need to explain how I interpret certain terms or concepts used in the statement?
  • If I take a certain position on the issue, what reasons support my position?
  • What examples - either hypothetical or drawn from my readings or direct experiences - could I use to illustrate those reasons and advance my point of view? Which examples are most compelling?
  • What reasons might someone use to refute or undermine my position? How should I acknowledge or defend against those views?

The Argument Task: Because the Argument task is constrained by the line of reasoning in the argument presented to you, read and analyze the argument carefully. Practice writing responses to several of the topics within the 30-minute time limit. Try asking the following questions when reviewing the list of published Argument topics.

  •  What claims, conclusions, and underlying assumptions does the argument make?
  •  What alternative explanations and counterexamples can I think of?
  • What additional evidence might weaken or strengthen the claims?
  • What changes in the argument would make the reasoning more sound?

How should one prepare for the Problem Solving and Quantitative Comparision section?

The problem solving questions are standard multiple-choice questions with five answer choices. To answer a question, select the best of the answer choices. Some problem solving questions are discrete while others occur in sets of two to five questions that share common information. For some of the questions, the solution requires only simple computations or manipulations; for others, the solution requires multi-step problem solving.

The following strategies may be helpful in answering problem solving questions.

  • Read each question carefully to determine what information is given and what is being asked.
  • Before attempting to answer a question, scan the answer choices; otherwise you may waste time putting answers in a form that is not given (for example, putting an answer in the form when the answer choice is given in the form , or finding the answer in decimal form, such as 3.25, when the answer choices are given in fractional form).
  • For questions that require approximations, scan the answer choices to get some idea of the required closeness of approximation; otherwise you may waste time on long computations when a short mental process would be sufficient (for example, finding 48 percent of a number when taking half of the number would give a close enough approximation).

For more on Quantitative Comparison, Please click here.

How should one attempt Reading Comprehension questions?

Reading Comprehension question explores your ability to analyze a written passage from several perspectives. These include your ability to recognize both explicitly stated elements in the passage and assumptions underlying statements or arguments in the passage as well as the implications of those statements or arguments.
Because the written passage upon which the questions are based presents a sustained discussion of a particular topic, there is ample context for analyzing a variety of relationships.

Pay attention to the following as you review the passage:

  •  The function of a word in relation to a larger segment of the passage
  • The relationships among the various ideas in the passage
  •  The relationship of the author to the topic or to the audience.

You will find five types of reading comprehension questions to answer:

1. The main point of the passage
2. Information explicitly stated in the passage
3. Information or ideas implied or suggested by the author
4. Possible applications of the author's ideas to other situations, including the identification of situations or processes analogous to those described in the passage
5. The author's logic, reasoning, or persuasive techniques

In each edition of the General Test, there are three or more reading comprehension passages, each providing the basis for answering two or more questions. The passages are drawn from different subject matter areas, including the humanities, the social sciences, the biological sciences, and the physical sciences.

Here are some approaches that may help you in answering reading comprehension questions.

  • Since reading passages are drawn from many different disciplines and sources, you may not be familiar with the material in every passage. Do not be discouraged if you encounter unfamiliar material. Questions are to be answered on the basis of the information provided in the passage, and you are not expected to rely on outside knowledge of a particular topic.
  •  You should analyze each passage carefully before answering the accompanying questions. As with any kind of close and thoughtful reading, look for clues that will help you understand less explicit aspects of the passage. Try to separate main ideas from supporting ideas or evidence. Try also to separate the author's own ideas or attitudes from information he or she is presenting.
  •  Note transitions from one idea to the next, and examine the relationships among the different ideas or parts of the passage. For example, are they contrasting? Are they complementary? Consider the points the author makes, the conclusions drawn, and how and why those points are made or conclusions are drawn.
  •  Read each question carefully and be certain that you understand exactly what is being asked.
  • Always read all the answer choices before selecting the best answer.
  • The best answer is the one that most accurately and most completely answers the questions being posed. Be careful not to pick an answer choice simply because it is a true statement. Be careful also not to be misled by answer choices that are only partially true or only partially satisfy the problem posed in the question.
  •  Answer the questions on the basis of the information provided in the passage. Do not rely on outside knowledge. Your own views or opinions may sometimes conflict with the views expressed or the information provided in the passage. Be sure that you work within the context of the passage. You should not expect to agree with everything you encounter in reading passages.
For practice questions on Reading Comprehensions, please click here

How should one attempt Sentence Completion questions?

Sentence completion questions measure your ability to use a variety of cues provided by syntax and grammar to recognize the overall meaning of a sentence. In deciding which of five words or sets of words can best be substituted for blank spaces in an incomplete sentence, you must analyze the relationships among the component parts of the sentence. Consider each answer choice carefully and decide which completes the sentence in a way that gives the sentence a logically satisfying meaning and allows it to be read as a stylistically integrated whole. Sentence completion questions provide a context within which to analyze how words relate to and combine with one another to form a meaningful unit of discourse.

Here are some approaches that may be helpful in answering sentence completion questions:

  • Read the entire incomplete sentence carefully before you consider the answer choices. Be sure that you understand the ideas expressed and examine the sentence for possible indications of tone (irony, humor, and the like).
  •  Before reading the answer choices, you may find it helpful to fill in the blanks with a word or words of your own that complete the meaning of the sentence. Then examine the answer choices to see if one of them parallels your own completion of the sentence.
  • Pay attention to structural clues in the sentence. For example, words like although and nevertheless indicate that some qualification or opposition is taking place in the sentence, whereas moreover implies an intensification or support of some idea.
  •  If a sentence has two blanks, be sure that both parts of your answer choice fit logically and stylistically into the sentence.
  • When you have chosen an answer, read the complete sentence through to check that it has acquired a logically and stylistically satisfying meaning.

For practice questions on Sentence Completions Please click here

How should I begin studying for GRE's Analogy questions?

The explanation for the Analogy question type appears below. Analogy questions test your ability to recognize the relationship between the words in a word pair and to recognize when two word pairs display parallel relationships. To answer an analogy question, you must formulate the relationship between the words in the given word pair and then select the answer containing words related to one another in most nearly the same way. Some examples are relationships of kind, size, spatial contiguity, or degree.

Here are some approaches that may be helpful in answering analogy questions:

  • Before looking at the answer choices, try to establish a precise relationship between the words in the given pair. It is usually helpful to express that relationship in a phrase or sentence. Then look for the answer choice containing the word pair whose relationship is closest to that of the given pair and can be expressed in a similar fashion.
  • Occasionally, more than one of the answer choices may seem to express a relationship similar to that of the given pair. Try to state the relationship more precisely, or identify some aspect of the relationship that is paralleled in only one choice pair.
  • Remember that a single word can have several different meanings. Check to be sure you have not overlooked a possible second meaning for one of the words.
  • Never decide on the best answer without reading all the answer choices.
  • Practice recognizing and formulating relationships between word pairs.

For an Online Question bank on Analogies please click here

What topics does Verbal Reasoning include? How should I begin studying for GRE Vocabulary?

Verbal Reasoning : This section is to test the the test taker's Abilities To analyze and evaluate written material and synthesize information obtained from it; To Analyze relationships among component parts of sentences and test their ability to recognize relationships between words and concepts.

This section will comprise of questions based on Sentence Completion, Analogies, Reading Comprehension and questions based on Synonyms, Antonyms as well.

GRE Candidates will have to know the definitions, synonyms and usage of 1000's of the words. Therefore, Verbal Skill learning aids must include: Word lists, Antonyms-Synonyms lists, Multiple choice question based mock vocabulary tests, Flash cards etc. A book which all GRE candidates can refer to initially is Word Power Made easy, Besides which they can solve various tests from the popular study material books for GRE.

GRE Tips and Strategies

Know the sections of the test, the type of questions asked in each section, how long a section is and the time limit for each section. Attempt as many GRE practice tests and GRE sample tests as possible, as they will familiarize with the general level of the questions that are asked in GRE exam and the directions for questions. The instructions for attempting a question in the actual test may slightly differ from those given in your study material, so do skim through them quickly.
In the Analytical Writing assessment section, the Issue task allows you to choose one of the two given topics, analyze the issue and write your views on it. But beware, dont start writing pros and cons of the issue. Since, it is your views that have been asked for, be specific and write only about your viewpoints.
The second essay in the Writing Assessment section is the Argument task. It does not offer any choice. You will be given a topic, which you have to critically analyze and evaluate and determine whether it is well-reasoned or not. Generally, each argument in the pool has three to five major logical fallacies or problems that you need to identify and point out. These may include drawing an analogy without taking difference in two cases into account, generalizing from a particular case or assuming one event caused another just because of the order in which they occurred.
GRE tries to adjust the test according to the level of the candidate. The first question is of medium level. If you answer it correctly, you will be asked harder questions. The incorrect answer will lead you to easier questions. Hard questions have more points than the easier ones. So, irrespective of the number of questions you attempt, you will fetch more scores if you attempting harder questions. Since the answer to the first question often determines the level of the test you will be attempting, it is very important to give right answer to the very first question of the test. In computer adaptive test, you cannot return to a question or review it later, so check it thoroughly before you submit it. Optimizing time is very important in GRE. You should be aware how much time you can devote on one question. You need to set your pace right. Rushing or sticking to a question for too long will cost you valuable scores.

Sometimes, you will find a question similar to what has already been asked in the test or in another section of the test. However, often these questions have substantial or subtle modifications and require different answer. So, pay close attention to the wording of each question before you decide on an answer. Lastly, you may consider canceling the test scores immediately after taking the GRE exam or quit the exam, so that the scores do not get noted in your permanent record. Unfortunately, you have to do it before you can see the test scores and the fees of the exam will not be refunded. This will also mean that you will have to gain register for the exam and pay the fee, to be able to re-take the exam and send the GRE scores to your chosen universities. If you do cancel your GRE scores, this will be noted in your official GRE score report. It is not allowed to cancel the scores of only one section of the test.

What skills does GRE test?

The GRE General Test measures verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, critical thinking, and analytical writing skills that are not related to any specific field of study.

Verbal Reasoning - The skills measured include the test taker's ability to 

  • Analyze and evaluate written material and synthesize information obtained from it.   
  • Analyze relationships among component parts of sentences. 
  • Recognize relationships between words and concepts.
Quantitative Reasoning -  The skills measured include the test taker's ability to   
  • Understand basic concepts of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, and data analysis.
  • Reason quantitatively.
  • Solve problems in a quantitative setting.
Analytical Writing - The skills measured include the test taker's ability to  
  • Articulate complex ideas clearly and effectively
  • Examine claims and accompanying evidence
  • Support ideas with relevant reasons and examples
  • Sustain a well-focused, coherent discussion 
  • Control the elements of standard written English