In the previous article, we discussed two ways for non-native English speakers to excel at the vocabulary-based question types on the GRE. If English isn’t your first language, check out that article first, and try our two recommendations: keep a list of inconsistent or illogical English idioms, and focus on context as you learn vocabulary. Then, read onward for two more ideas! Read more
If English is your second (or third, or fourth!) language, you might find GRE Text Completion and Sentence Equivalence frustrating. However, you can still improve your performance, and you don’t need to study thousands of flashcards to do it. Here are a few ways to address your weaknesses and play to your strengths.
Fool me once…
English is counterintuitive, but native speakers never notice most of the inconsistencies. As a non-native speaker, you’re in a unique position to notice the quirks of English and turn them into useful lessons. Read more
While studying for the GRE Text Completion (TC) and Sentence Equivalence (SE) questions, you naturally want to study vocabulary. After all, that’s what the test is testing, right?
Yes and no. The GRE does test vocabulary, but it also tests your ability to analyze a sentence and divine the author’s intended meaning. (And for those of you keeping score at home, did I use the word ‘divine’ correctly? Are you familiar with this less common usage?)
And so, we preach (sorry, with the word ‘divine’ earlier, I had to!) a method for TC and SE that involves identifying the Target, Clues, and Pivots in the sentence. All well and good, but how do you to this? Here’s where the following limited grammar discussion should help, because although the GRE does not directly test grammar, a little grammar knowledge can be immensely helpful!
We begin with the core elements that every sentence contains: the subject and the verb. Separating the subjecting and the verb from other elements (which I will generically call descriptors) is part 1 of my TC and SE analysis. Part 2 is matching each descriptor to what it describes.
So let’s see two examples. One is a TC example from Lesson 1, the other is a SE example from the 5 lb. Book.
We’re using the launch of our latest book, the 5 lb. Book of GRE Practice Problems, as motivation to take a look at each of the major question types. The book contains more than 1,100 pages of practice problems “ crazy! “ so you can spend all of your spare time doing nothing but studying. (Kidding. : ) )
Let’s try out one of the problems! Give yourself approximately 1 minute to get to your answer. Afterwards, we’ll solve the problem and also discuss how to approach SE questions in general.
Note: If you haven’t done SE before, you need to pick two answers, either of which could fill in the blank!
A field trip was arranged so that this troupe of ___________ dancers could observe the real masters of their art.
© ManhattanPrep, 2013
Do you have your two answers? Let’s go! There are several important steps that help us to answer SE questions both effectively and efficiently. (Note: if you’ve already read the TC article, the steps are the same!)
(1) Read only the sentence
Read all the way to the period, but do NOT then jump to the answer choices. Instead