Every section of the ETS (Educational Testing Service) GRE i.e., Analytical Writing, Quantitative Reasoning and Verbal Reasoning has a very specific objective. The objective of the GRE verbal section is to measure a student’s-
- Ability to read and understand written English passages
- Evaluate reasoning arguments
- Analyse relationships among words and concepts, and relationships among component parts of sentences.
How does GRE test my ability in Verbal English?
There are two sections of 30 minutes each for Verbal Reasoning in the GRE test. The GRE Verbal Ability test measures a student’s ability to effectively use words to convey their thoughts as well as their ability to understand the semantics of the written word. In other words, the GRE wants to make sure that you don’t mess up while writing a journal in grad school, or while reading a difficult book on Quantum Physics to pass a test. The GRE expects students to understand the written word properly to make sense of complex sentences and then to put down your analysis in words.
The verbal reasoning section of the GRE general test measures the student’s comfort and fluency in interacting with written language. The test taker has to read the written material and interact with it. There would be text completion questions where the student needs to fill in the missing words, the GRE verbal test uses this to measure the ability of a student to not only comprehend the information but also to have the reasoning skills to support complex ideas.
In other cases, the students will be drawing conclusions about what is being presented to them. The GRE verbal section evaluates the strengths or weaknesses of the arguments. But all of the tasks are related to measure the fluency of interacting with written language. That's the main purpose of this section. There are no specific vocabulary questions, but in order to answer any of the different question types, especially text completion and sentence equivalence, students need a strong sense of vocabulary.
Even if students are not able to specifically build vocabulary, there are strategies for the test itself. Through the verbal reasoning section, the GRE test is also trying to assess the student’s ability to pick out specific information from a passage. In this section the student might be presented with a complex idea and ask about what evidence backs up the idea. Other question types will also include queries on which idea comes first in a series of three or which is the most important of three reasons, etc. Etc.
The students will be asked to data analysis of the content and pull out specific information or relationships among concepts. The ETS (Educational Testing Service) maintains that the GRE isn't just a test about quantitative reasoning, verbal reasoning or analytical writing skills, it's also a test of critical thinking skills and time management. The overall purpose of this section of the GRE general test it to get a nice General overview of the comfort and fluency with written language. It is important for students to take practice tests to get familiar with the question types in the verbal section.
How many Verbal Reasoning Sections are there in the GRE?
The format's a little different depending on if someone has opted for the computer test or the handwritten test. The computer delivered GRE general test has two sections of 20 questions with a time limit of 30 minutes per section.
A paper-based GRE test on the other hand is two verbal sections of 25 questions each. So that’s few more questions per verbal section, but in exchange there is a little extra time, so instead of 20 Questions in 30 minutes, it's 25 questions 35 minutes.
Please note that the total duration of the GRE exam is slightly around 3 hours 45 minutes.
In the verbal reasoning section, there are three main types of questions. The first kind is reading comprehension. Reading comprehension is a classic standardized test example, that a test taker would’ve undertaken in school at different levels or in college. Reading comprehension questions test your ability to read something and answer questions based on the content. The idea is to demonstrate the ability to understand what the student has read and based on that conclusions are drawn or the relationship between different pieces of content.
Second one is text completion, and which requires test takers to fill in the blanks. For the text completion questions, a sentence will be given with missing word and the idea is to evoke critical thinking and pick the correct answer among the multiple choices provided. And then the final third kind of question is sentence equivalence and that's choosing two different ways of saying something. A sentence would be given, and the objective is to choose the words to make the second sentence.