It's a very common refrain among students studying for the GRE, "Why is the Verbal GRE so hard?" For many candidates, preparing for the verbal portion of the GRE is one of the most challenging aspects of their test preparation. Even many students who consider verbal skills their strong suit find that the verbal questions on the GRE are more difficult to master than expected. And often they're not sure why.
In this article, we discuss the top 5 challenges to mastering the GRE Verbal, both during GRE preparation and on test day. We'll also answer some common questions about GRE Verbal, even if it's "too hard" for non-native speakers.
These are the topics we will cover:
- Challenge #1: Learn a lot of vocabulary
- Learning vocabulary is different from other GRE tasks
- Challenge #2: Developing a Strong Thesaurus Set
- Challenge #3: Understanding the logic of "vocabulary-based" questions
- Challenge #4: Efficiently unzip reading passages
- Challenge #5: For questions with multiple answers, get all the answers
- Is the GRE language too difficult for non-native speakers?
- How hard is it to get a 160 on the GRE verbal section?
- The central theses
- What's next?
In the first (and possibly the biggest) GRE verbal challenge: learning a large number of GRE vocabulary words.
Challenge #1: Learn a lot of vocabulary
Memorizing the GRE vocabulary words is an essential aspect of adequate preparation to deal with GRE verbal questions of all kinds. Your vocabulary will mainly come into play when it comes to word completion and sentence equivalence problems. However, the fact is that you can also find difficult vocabulary in reading comprehension.
So,A key part of achieving a high GRE score in Verbal is increasing your knowledge of GRE words.
And there are a lot of them! Now,a serious GRE vocabulary listshows the words that are most likely to appear on the test. But the list of "common" GRE words is also long. Essentially, there are many different words for it.I couldthey appear on the GRE, but there is no way to predict exactly which ones.willingappear on your GRE.
As a result, students often learn hundreds of vocabulary words in the course of preparing for the GRE. Even students who start out with a relatively high vocabulary level often have to spend a lot of study time going over familiar words and learning unfamiliar ones.
GRE students often need to learn hundreds of vocabulary words during their preparation.
Therefore, the sheer number of GRE words that most students need to learn presents an obvious challenge. Also, learning vocabulary can be challenging as it is mostly a memorization task. let's discuss
Learning vocabulary is different from other GRE tasks
For much of your GRE vocabulary study, you won't engage or apply logical thinking concepts or skills like you would when learning reading comprehension, for example. You will memorize definitions.
However, there is only so much new information we can store at one time before our brains become overloaded. The problem is that students often look at the long list of GRE words they need to learn and get nervous or overenthusiastic. Every bone in their body tells them to pack as many words as possible as quickly as possible. You want to spend hours every day learning vocabulary or learning 200 new GRE words a week.
It takes these students a few weeks to realize that the words they are learning do not stick. They often forget or confuse the definitions of words. Or they never stop to review the words they learned earlier. Or they neglect other areas of their verbal preparation because they are too focused on vocabulary. Your investment in vocabulary time will not produce an equivalent return.
It's hard to look at a huge list of words you need to learn and methodically work through them, piece by piece, every day. However, this process is exactly what is needed for students to effectively retain new words and ultimately apply their vocabulary knowledge in the different contexts that the GRE presents.
gladly,If we learn the vocabulary correctly, we can significantly expand our vocabulary.If you are looking for tips on how to manage your GRE vocabulary learning, check hereItems to memorize vocabularyHe has great strategies.
Learning vocabulary is a task that requires a lot of memorization, and there are only a finite number of new words we can learn at a time before our brains get overloaded.
Challenge #2: Developing a Strong Thesaurus Set
Your general vocabulary knowledge will come into play with all sorts of verbal questions on the GRE. However, you also need a strong set of synonyms, especially for sentence equivalency questions.
Strong thesaurus play requires making connections between different GRE words so that you can efficiently recognize when words produce the same sentence meaning in a given context.
Being familiar with not only word definitions but also word synonyms adds another layer to your GRE vocabulary study.And since about 20% of the questions you'll see in each verbal section of the GRE will be sentence equivalence, you'll want your thesaurus game on point.
A good way to ensure that you learn GRE-relevant synonym pairs is to use a vocabulary resource that includes word definitions and synonyms. For example, the TTP GRE vocabulary list provides definitions and relevant synonyms for GRE words. Including this information saves our students a lot of time. After all, you don't have to search for suitable synonyms for every word.
To do well on sentence equivalency questions, you must have a good set of synonyms.
Challenge #3: Understanding the logic of "vocabulary-based" questions
Text completion and sentence equivalency questions are generally considered "vocabulary-based" verbal GRE questions. And it is true that these types of questions are largely focused on testing vocabulary.
However, a very common and pernicious misconception about text completion and sentence equivalency is that candidates can master them with vocabulary alone. Actually, TC and SE also test your logical thinking skills and your ability to understand how sentence structure affects the meaning of a sentence.
In fact,There are certain logical patterns in the ending of texts and the equivalence of sentences. that you can recognize with time and proper study.And if you're familiar with the types of "tricks" that often appear in these questions—hints on punctuation used, transition words, and more—you can quickly understand the logic of TC and SE sentences.
If you understand the logic of the sentence, you can interpret the logical meaning of the sentence faster. So you can choose the right words to complete the sentence faster and more accurately.
Also, if youNoIf you understand the logic of the sentence, it is very likely that even knowing all the definitions of the words in the answer choices will not be enough to arrive at the correct answers.
Part of the challenge of mastering TC and SE, which together make up about half of the verbal GRE questions you'll see on test day, is that you have to do more than master vocabulary. You needlearn the logic of TC and SE sentencesand apply their knowledge of vocabulary within that logical framework.
The text completion and sentence blending questions test more than just vocabulary knowledge.
Challenge #4: Efficiently unzip reading passages
A big challenge to doing well on GRE test day is reading a passage and efficiently answering the associated reading comprehension questions.
Even short, a paragraphGRE passes can be thorny. Passages may be long, dry, rich in detail, and/or written in a style that is difficult to interpret. Additionally, you'll see a variety of passage types and reading comprehension question types for each specific GRE. Therefore, you should be able to tackle any challenges that GRE reading comprehension may throw at you without seriously changing your pacing strategy.
Therefore, you must have strong reading strategies to deal with them.anyRC pass type and specific pass analysis strategies for each RC question type.Your ability to efficiently read, interpret, and analyze RC passages is key to maintaining proper tempo.through the verbal sections of the GRE on test day, and thus answer as many (hopefully all) of the verbal questions as possible.
Don't make the mistake of thinking that you can approach GRE reading comprehension passages in the same way that you would read other types of material. After all, we are not used to setting a timer while reading the main news of the day or flipping through a magazine.
Test takers must develop specific GRE muscles to handle the heavy lifting that may require efficient decompression of RC passes. And many GRE students are surprised to learn that these muscles have much more to do withAbsentthey read passages at the speed with which they read.
The fact is that if we havesmart reading strategieson the spot, of course we are faster.
Efficiently unpacking GRE reading comprehension passages is more about strategy than speed.
Challenge #5: For questions with multiple answers, get all the answers
Some oral questions on the GRE are multiple choice questions. Multiple-choice questions always or sometimes may have more than one correct answer.
For example,Sentence Equivalence Questionsalways has 2 correct answers (because you have to choose 2 words that have the same meaning of the sentence).
equally inQuestions to complete textcontains 2 or 3 gaps, you must find a word to fill each gap. So a question with 2 spaces always has 2 correct answers and a question with 3 spaces always has 3 correct answers.
In Reading Comprehension, some questions ask you to "select all that apply." These questions can have one correct answer or multiple correct answers. It may even be that all the answers given are correct.
We already see an obvious challenge. Having to find more than one answer to a question can be more time consuming than a "one and done" situation. However, there is an additional detail: questions with multiple answers.NoAllow partial credit.
For example, if you fill in 1 of 3 blanks incorrectly on a CT question, but fill in the other 2 correctly, youNoTake all the credit for this question. Or if you choose 1 answer for a multiple choice RC question where 2 are correct, you will not receive any points even if your first choice is correct. And so on for each question with multiple answers.
Many students find this aspect of the GRE Verbal one of the biggest challenges of the test format. Of course, if you are preparing for the GREa resource that provides a lot of practice, multiple-choice questions shouldn't be much more difficult than single-choice questions on test day.
There are no partial points for verbal questions with multiple answers.
Now let's answer some commonly asked GRE verbal questions.
Is the GRE language too difficult for non-native speakers?
Many non-native English speakers consider the verbal part to be the hardest part of the GRE. However, I have worked with MANY non-native English speakers who have achieved impressive scores on the GRE Verbal.
So I think it's a mistake to assume that the verbal part will be more difficult for you as a non-native speaker than for any native English speaker. (Trust me, many native English speakers struggle with GRE verbal questions.)
I also wouldn't say that the verbal part of the GRE is "too hard" for non-native speakers. As I mentioned earlier, I know of many non-native English speakers who scored at the highest level on the GRE Verbal. If they can do it, you can too!
Probably the biggest challenge for some non-native English speakers will be building their vocabulary enough for the test. As we have already discussed, most students, including native English speakers, learn hundreds of GRE words in the course of their preparation. Some non-native English speakers may need to spend a little more time on vocabulary each day.
Of course, each person's basic vocabulary fluency varies. Therefore, there are no hard and fast rules about who needs more time to learn the GRE vocabulary. But if English isn't your first language and you're particularly concerned about the challenges that the GRE Verbal can pose, one area where you'll want to make sure you're giving yourself adequate time to prepare is in vocabulary learning.
Remember,Whether you're a native English speaker or not, as long as you take the time to learn the material, you can crush the GRE Verbal!
If you're not a native English speaker, you might want to spend a little more time learning vocabulary every day.
How hard is it to get a 160 on the GRE verbal section?
The answer to the question "How hard is it to get a 160 on the GRE Verbal?" - or achieve a higher GRE score - is different for each candidate and mainly depends on 3 things:
- your starting level
- the time you can spend preparing for the GRE
- the resources used for its preparation.
But if we want to have an overview of how difficult it can be for candidates to get 160 in Verbal, we can see thiscurrent GRE score percentiles. According to the ETS (the creator of the GRE test), a verbal score of 160 is associated with the 85th percentile of GRE test scores.
However, many candidates retake the GRE and score higher on their retakes. Therefore, by combining this recurrence information with the percentile information, we can estimate thatabout 20% of GRE test takers score 160 or higher on Verbal.
As a result, the vast majority of applicants do not achieve this GRE Verbal score. A score of 160 is therefore not to be scoffed at. However, about 20% of those examinedAgainScore of 160 or higher. So the result is not exactly weird.
It's the only way to get a better idea of how difficult it can be for you.Ofreaching the 160 mark means takinga complete ETS practice test. Your verbal score on this test indicates how much work you need to do to earn 160 points. And hey, you should be there by now!
If you are interested in knowing some tips on how to reach 160, here are the strategiesGuide to obtain a verbal score of 170it will be useful for you too.
Take an extensive official practice test to determine how much work you may need to hit the 160 mark in Verbal.
The central theses
Knowing the challenges you face in the GRE Verbal section will help you better prepare to overcome them! As you prepare for test day, remember to address these top 5 challenges:
- learn a lot of vocabulary
- Developing a strong set of synonyms
- Understand the logic of "vocabulary-based" questions
- Efficiently decompress reading passages
- get all answers in multiple choice questions
Now that you know what makes the GRE Verbal so hard, you might be interested in learning more about them.Common GRE Verbal MistakesIt is thisMyths about verbal dissection.
Ready to practice some sample GRE verbal questions? try thisPractical questions of TC, SE and RC.
And for strategies to get it right in the verbal section, check this out.Guide to Acing GRE Verbal.
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The first and foremost reason why GRE verbal tends to give students a hard time is due to the extensive vocabulary. Around half of all verbal questions directly test your grasp of English vocabulary. You will encounter questions about fill-in blanks with difficult words as options.How many verbal questions can you get wrong on the GRE? ›
To get such a score on the verbal section you can get 13-15 questions wrong in total but no more than 7-8 wrong in the first section. So if you get 13/20 on the first section and 12/20 on the second section you will get a 160 on the verbal section.How do I get my 160 in verbal GRE? ›
To achieve a 160 on GRE Verbal, you will need to master each of these competencies. This includes building vocabulary, mastering critical reading strategies and building proficiency in identifying and strategising for the different question types you are likely to face.How to score 170 in verbal GRE? ›
To get a perfect 170 score on GRE Verbal, you'll have to get close to 100 percent of the Verbal questions you see on test day correct. So, it won't be enough just to know how to answer questions. You'll also need to be skilled in getting questions correct reliably.How hard is a 160 verbal GRE? ›
A 160+ score on the GRE Verbal will put you in the 90th percentile. That's much easier said than done.What percentile is 160 GRE verbal? ›
This also means that if you have a GRE score ranging from 150 to 160, your percentile can be 50-75, meaning you can be anywhere from average to the top 25%.How many questions can you miss and get a 170 GRE? ›
170 (perfect quant) + 170 (perfect verbal) = 340
For the verbal section one can get a near perfect score by getting a 5-6 questions wrong. So to get a perfect quant score, the maximum you can get wrong is two questions - for verbal you can get 3 questions incorrect and still get a perfect score.
GRE Score Range
The GRE score for the Verbal Reasoning and Quantitative Reasoning sections ranges from 130 to 170.
To eliminate bias when comparing scores - the old scale increased by 10, which may have resulted in overestimating the difference between two scores.Is 157 good on the verbal for GRE? ›
A 75th percentile score (about a 157 on Verbal and a 160 on Quant) is pretty good: you've scored better than most of the other test-takers. A 90th percentile score (about a 162 on Verbal and a 166 on Quant) is excellent and will be competitive for most programs (but not necessarily all!
- Text Completion. Fill in the blanks of a sentence with the right word so that the sentence makes sense.
- Sentence Equivalence. Figure out which two words from a list of six fit a provided sentence.
- Reading Comprehension. Answer comprehensive questions about short passages.
Generally, a 75th percentile is a pretty good GRE score, and a 90th percentile is an excellent one. Thus, we can say that a score of 318 and above is good, whereas a score of 329 is an excellent one. A score of 300+ is considered average, and a 292 score is considered below average.Is 155 a good verbal GRE score? ›
What percentile is 155 on GRE? As you might expect after reading the previous sections, a 155 means a higher percentile for Verbal and a lower one for Quant. A Verbal score of 155 puts you in the 67th percentile, but the same score in Quant is in the 54th percentile.Is a 147 verbal GRE score good? ›
Good Scores: Verbal: 150–158. Quantitative: 153–158.Is 150 a verbal GRE score? ›
GRE Score Percentiles
For example, a scaled Verbal score of 150 on the GRE translates to roughly the 47 th percentile, meaning that you scored better than 47 percent of other test takers—and worse than the other 53 percent of test takers.
We'll dive into that a bit deeper in the GRE Percentiles section, but what if you'd like to know what a widely agreed upon number for a “good” or “competitive” GRE score is? A Verbal Reasoning score of 159 or a Quantitative Reasoning score of 163 would place you around the 80th percentiles respectively.Is the unofficial GRE score accurate? ›
That said, students' unofficial scores will be the same as their official scores the vast majority of the time, and any changes will be (at most) one point in either direction. Your official scores will include all sections of the exam and will be made available within 15 days of your test date.How to increase GRE score from 290 to 310? ›
- Take a different approach. Always remember, writing an exam again is not just about your verbal reasoning or your quantitative reasoning. ...
- Always take a prep time before the re-take. ...
- Address your areas of weakness, learn new tools.
A GRE score average of 290 to 300 can take you to a quality university in the USA, which would surely help you take off your career ladder. Not just that, there are a variety of courses and MS programs that you can choose from.
Nothing is subtracted from your score for incorrect answers. To maximize your scores on the Verbal Reasoning and Quantitative Reasoning measures, it's best to answer every question.Is GRE score 320+ easy? ›
The average GRE score worldwide ranges from 300 to 311. Any score above this can be considered an above-average score. But there is more to what makes a 'good GRE score,' depending on your target course and university, preparation time, and individual profile.Is 161 a good verbal GRE score? ›
In very general terms, above the 75th percentile in either section is good. That's about a 161 or higher in Quant and a 157 or higher in Verbal. To get about 160+ on each section, you can miss a little over a dozen questions in Verbal and about 8-9 in Quant (which is curved a little harder).Is 279 a good GRE score? ›
279 in GRE is equivalent to a 0. You need to score atleast 300+ to be even considered. Every university has a minimum TOEFL score but all good universities require a score of atleast 100.Is 300 a low GRE score? ›
Having a GRE score of 300 can get you into a decent school. A GRE score of 310 or above is generally is highly regarded by universities.Is 280 a good GRE score? ›
As per various surveys, it is seen that a GRE score of 300 and above accounts for the best universities. Whereas an average GRE score between 280 to 300 does not put you in top programs but will help you get into some of the best universities in the USA provided that you have a good academic score and a strong profile.What is an 80% on the GRE? ›
What Is a Good GRE Score Overall?
|Percentile||Analytical Writing Score|
You will get the unofficial GRE scores as soon as you finish writing the exam.What is the most common score in GRE? ›
Remember that the Verbal and Quantitative portions of the GRE are scored between 130–170, and the average score falls somewhere around 150-152.Is 149 a good GRE score? ›
Onto our analysis now. According to this table, the average GRE Quant score by intended graduate field ranges from 149 to 159, or the 35th to 73rd percentiles.
A total score of 325 and above should help you to get admission into the topmost colleges. However, even a score above 300 is good enough for MS. Nursing: A score ranging between 305 and 316 can be considered a good GRE score for anyone who wants to take admission in nursing.Is 291 in GRE a good score? ›
Ans. The score range of the GRE is between 260- 340. Anything above 300 will get you into a good college. A score of 310+ is considered to be exceptional and opens a lot of doors for good prospects.Is Magoosh 1000 words enough for GRE? ›
In terms of quality and information, Magoosh vocab flashcards are best. You can learn 1000 high frequency words by searching for them. That will undoubtedly suffice because, in the GRE, you do not need to know the meaning of every word mentioned.Can I study for GRE in 10 days? ›
You can't cram for the GRE test. By and large, the exam is a test of patterns, not facts, so if you want to raise your GRE score, you will need sufficient time to practice. We suggest you devote between 4 and 12 weeks to GRE preparation.How many hours a day should I study for GRE in 2 months? ›
To stay committed to your GRE preparation, we recommend the following strategies: Studying every day for at least 1.5 hours is better than studying once a week or twice a week. You will be able to stay in touch with the topics you study, and hence, make constant progress, even if it is slow.Is 140 on verbal GRE? ›
A verbal score of 140 is low. If you could look at the percentile, 80% of the test takers might've scored more than you. 140 is a bare minimum. Having quant score of 164 is nullified with the low verbal score.How do I get better on the GRE verbal section? ›
- Get a list of common GRE vocab words from Kaplan. This is a great guide to direct your studies.
- Make a comprehensive list of words you don't recognize. ...
- Use flashcards. ...
- Set steady, consistent memorization goals. ...
- Incorporate the words into your thoughts, or even into conversations.
- GRE Verbal: Not Just a Vocab Test.
- Start Your Practice Untimed. Identify Key Aspects of Passages. Identify Patterns in Wrong Answer Choices. ...
- Read High-Quality Publications.
- Strategies for Learning GRE Vocab. Look Up Words You Don't Recognize. Create Flashcards to Study Words. ...
- Analyze Your Errors.
The CAT quantitative section is more difficult as compared to the GRE test. The format of the questions is also different. While the CAT puts up multiple-choice questions with one correct answer, GRE often requires multiple solutions or even needs students to type in the right answer.How do I crack the verbal section of the GRE? ›
- Read the given options twice. ...
- Some of the questions require you to mark multiple answers. ...
- Read as much as possible (newspapers, books, essays, blogs, etc.) to get a hang of the language. ...
- Make a list of new words you've learned along with their definitions so as to improve your vocabulary.
A "good" GRE score depends on the the programs you are considering. For comparison, the average score for all GRE test takers is currently a 150 for Verbal and a 152 for Math (Source: ETS).Is 161 on GRE verbal good? ›
In very general terms, above the 75th percentile in either section is good. That's about a 161 or higher in Quant and a 157 or higher in Verbal. To get about 160+ on each section, you can miss a little over a dozen questions in Verbal and about 8-9 in Quant (which is curved a little harder).Why is GRE minimum score 260? ›
The GRE is scored between 260-340. This means, even if you get all the questions wrong (which would be pretty tragic), you would still get 130 in two sections, making it 260. An extraordinary few from around the world have been able to score 340 since the new scoring system was implemented in 2011.How do you memorize GRE verbal words? ›
Keep a list of new GRE vocabulary words on your phone or in a notebook. Writing something down also makes it easier to memorize. Jot down the words when you find it. Copy the sentence in which you originally found the word to remind yourself how the word looks in context.Why is GRE so tricky? ›
GRE is typically considered more complex than other tests like SAT or ACT. The reason being its more challenging vocabulary and reading sections. Most of the questions asked in the test require you to have a higher level of reasoning skills.Is GRE getting tougher? ›
But exactly how hard is the GRE test in 2022? Based on feedback received from thousands of students who appeared for the exam after having used various famous resources recommended by top test scorers, we have found that the test is becoming increasingly difficult. Below are some important reasons explaining why.Do verbal questions repeat in GRE? ›
Yes! They do repeat questions from their massive question bank. What this means is that if some of your friends took their GRE a few days before you did, then it is likely that you may see a few of their questions repeat on your exam.Why did my GRE have 3 verbal sections? ›
What Is the GRE Experimental Section? Overview. The GRE experimental section is an extra unscored Verbal Reasoning or Quantitative Reasoning section. So instead of having two Verbal sections, you might get three, meaning one of them is an experimental section that won't actually count toward your score.Does verbal score matter in GRE? ›
All in all the GRE Verbal section scores are important in all courses, it's just that in which courses these courses hold much more value. So, don't nag yourself on what has been already done.