If there is one area a GRE aspirant is afraid of the most – it is the verbal section. With GRE written mostly by engineering students, and this, not being an exam just for the engineers – the quantitative reasoning section is relatively an easy one to crack for those with a Mathematics background. No wonder then, many aspirants convince themselves that GRE is all about acing the verbal battle.
What does the GRE verbal section test?
A typical verbal section comprises 8 to 10 single, double or triple blank questions with one or two correct options (wherein the right option forms a meaningful sentence), and, 10 to 11 reading comprehension and critical reasoning questions.
The foremost skill that is tested in all these questions is vocabulary – your ability to understand not just the meaning but also the usage of a word. But the questions given in the test go beyond vocabulary. They evaluate your logical and reasoning abilities as well. Your understanding of the links within parts of sentences and sentences within a paragraph as well as your ability to infer what the author is saying not just directly, but indirectly too, and your added ability to summarise are evaluated.
So, what should, you, a serious aspirant do?
The first one is quite obvious. You need to develop a passion towards learning words. However, this is easier said than done. With over 3,000 words to be added to your arsenal, you cannot just rely on the traditional method of rote learning to do the trick. Understanding the story behind the words, developing good reading habits, and being in regular touch with words would help you develop a good mind bank of words. You can also use various interesting tools available to make learning fun.
“Word Power Made Easy” by Normal Lewis as a starting point. There are also quite a few mobile apps to help you achieve this goal.
The second one is also equally obvious. You need to develop an eclectic (a GRE word that means wide yet selective) reading habit that would help you not just get exposed to the world of words, but also to the way they are applied.
Reading also helps you understand the reasoning and logical rules used to put the words together to form sentences and sentences put together to make passages. This understanding would help you crack the complex questions, which are long, and seemingly unwieldy. It helps you to identify logical hints hidden in the questions, and point you to the right option among the many given as choices.
In the next article, we would look deeper into the exam strategy to be used to ace the Verbal Reasoning section of the GRE.