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Meet the New GRE Question Types – Verbal

New Verbal Question Types

Part of the difficulty of the new GRE may very well be navigating through all the different question types. The Verbal section, especially, has such a variety of questions types that you must be adept at recognizing them before walking into the test.

Below is a quick overview of the different types of questions you can expect to see test day.

Text Completions

The one blank Text Completions are identical to the old Sentence Completions on the GRE. You will have five answer choices of which one answer is correct.

The two and three blank text completions differ in that each blank has three possible answer choices. You must choose only one correct answer for both of them, and in order to get the question right, you must answer both blanks correctly.

Sentence Equivalence

On the surface, the Sentence Equivalence is very similar to a one-blank Text Completion. If you look closely, however, you’ll notice that Sentence Equivalence questions have six answer choices, of which two, and exactly two, are correct.

Each correct answer must form what ETS calls synonymous sentences. That is, when you plug in your two answers, each will create a sentence with a similar meaning. Most of the time, the two correct answers end up being synonyms.

You may also want to note that Sentence Equivalence questions have a square surrounding them, as opposed to a circle. Whenever a question has multiple possible answers, each answer choice will have a square around it.

Reading Comprehension

1. Multiple Choice Questions

There are two types of multiple-choice questions for the reading comprehension.

  • Select One Answer
  • Select One or More Answers

The Select One Answer questions will have exactly five answer choices. The Select One or More Answer questions, in reading comprehension, will always have three answer choices.

2. Select-in-Passage

Additionally, the Reading Comprehension has a “highlight the text” passage that ETS calls Select-in-Passage, a question type unprecedented in the history of the GRE. Essentially, you must highlight a relevant part of the passage. Here are the directions word-for-word from the ETS site:

The question asks the examinee to click on the sentence in the passage that meets a certain description. To answer the question, the examinee chooses one of the sentences and clicks on it; clicking anywhere on a sentence will highlight it.


To get a feel for how the Select-in-Passage question works, try out the practice software from ETS. The other option is to try out the Select-in-Passage question, or for that matter any new GRE question, on the New Magoosh GRE product, coming out very soon.

By the way, students who use Magoosh GRE improve their scores by an average of 8 points on the new scale (150 points on the old scale.) Click here to learn more.

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