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New GRE Question Types

As many of you know, the GRE significantly changed on August 1, 2011. The changes include a new scoring scale, the ability to skip back and forth between questions, and much more. One of the biggest changes on the new GRE is the addition of new question types. In the old GRE, all questions were multiple choice – choose the single best answer from the 4 or 5 answer choices. However, the new GRE includes several new question types which test-takers have never seen before. At Magoosh, we’ve done our best to replicate the new question types into our GRE prep product. In this post, I’ll walk you through each new question type and give you sample questions to try from Magoosh GRE.

New Math Question Types on the New GRE

In addition to the standard multiple choice math questions, including Quantitative Comparison and Data Interpretation, the new GRE includes two new math question types: Numeric Entry and Multiple Answer.

Numeric Entry
Numeric Entry questions require you to calculate an answer to a math problem without the benefit of answer choices. After you calculate the answer, you enter it into the blank (a rectangular box.) Let’s take a look at an example:

What is the y-intercept of the graph of the equation y = 2|4x-4| - 10?

Screenshot from Magoosh GRE

Note that you are not given any answer choices, you need to compute the answer and enter it in the box. At this point, you may ask, “What do I do if the answer is not an integer? Can I enter a fraction or a decimal?” Fortunately, ETS provides clear guidance for the test-taker. When the answer is not an integer, the question will specify how many decimal places you are required to enter. And you will never have enter a fraction in a single box – questions that have fractional answers look slightly different, as I will show below.

Numeric Entry – Fractions
Questions that require you to enter answers in fraction form will have a box for the numerator and a box for the denominator. Let’s take a look at an example:

If 6/11 of k is 8/41, what is 3/11 of k?

Screenshot from Magoosh GRE

By looking at the answer area, you can immediately identify whether or not the question requires a fractional answer. Also, the fraction does not need to be in simplest form. For instance, if the answer is 1/3, you can also enter 2/6, 3/9 or any other equivalent fraction and still get the question correct.

Multiple Answer Questions
ETS refers to these questions as “Multiple Choice Questions – Select one or more answer choices.” At Magoosh, we like to use the term Multiple Answer Questions or MAQs. MAQs may have one correct answer or more than one correct answer. You are required to choose all correct answers to get the question correct. Further complicating matters, we’ve seen questions with as few as four answer choices and as many as ten answers choices. Let’s look at an example question:

If x is an integer, which of the following could be the median of the set {6, 5, x, 6, 3, x}?
Indicate all possible medians.

A) 3
B) 3.5
C) 4
D) 4.5
E) 5
F) 5.5
G) 6

Screenshot from Magoosh GRE

In the new GRE, be careful not to mistake an MAQ for a multiple choice question, or you may not choose all the correct answers. Here’s a tip for those of you who prefer to not read directions: MAQs will have square boxes next to each answer choice and multiple choice questions will have ovals. If you see square boxes, be aware that there may be more than one correct answer.

New Verbal Question Types on the New GRE

The verbal section has seen more change than the math section. The old question types of Antonyms and Analogies are gone. Text Completion, formerly known as Sentence Completion, and Reading Comprehension have new twists. And ETS has introduced a brand new question type, Sentence Equivalence.

Sentence Equivalence
Sentence Equivalence questions ask you to choose exactly two answers that coherently fit into the sentence and create sentences that are alike in meaning. Let’s look at an example:

Even before the full day of interviews, the recruiting team had realized that Lola was young and impressionable, but by the end of their meetings with her, they were nevertheless surprised at the extreme degree of her _____________.

A) naiveté
B) stubbornness
C) resoluteness
D) credulity
E) frugality
F) ingenuity

Screenshot from Magoosh GRE

Remember what those square boxes next to the answer choices mean? You can choose more than one answer. However, unlike the math MAQs, Sentence Equivalence questions require you to choose exactly two answers. One note of caution: on test day, the GRE will not automatically stop you from choosing more than two answers, so be careful.

Text Completion – Multiple Blanks
Single-blank Text Completion is essentially the same as Sentence Completion on the old GRE – one blank and five answer choices. Text Completion questions with multiple blanks are a different animal altogether: two or three blanks and three possible answer choices for each blank! That’s 27 possible answer combinations for a three-blank sentence, and only one combination is right. Let’s look at an example:

Dickens’s Uriah Heep, literature’s exemplar of (i) ______________, is doubtlessly not a unique figure either in fiction or in life. Who in real life has not seen (ii) _________, cringing, sycophantic headwaiters, public servants, and car salespeople? Surely, Dickens was our premiere caricaturist, able to capture specific and recognizable human (iii) _________ with broad strokes of his pen.

Blank (i)
A) civility
B) subterfuge
C) obsequiousness
Blank (ii)
D) fawning
E) supportive
F) independent
Blank (iii)
G) errors
H) foibles
I) tendencies

Screenshot from Magoosh GRE

Reading Comprehension – Multiple Answer
Similar to the math section, Reading Comprehension also has Multiple Answer Questions. However, unlike math MAQs, Reading Comp MAQs will always have 3 answer choices of which one, two, or all three are correct. As with all MAQs on the new GRE, you must select all correct answers to get the question correct. Here’s an example:

The Department of Motor Vehicles recently released an official statement regarding safety issues for transport trucks.
Vehicles weighing more than 10,000 kg are not allowed at any time on Baker Bridge. Vehicles carrying hazardous materials are prohibited from using Baker Bridge only on weekends (all day Saturday and Sunday). Thus, a 15,000 kg truck carrying “nitro”—classified as a hazardous material—will not be allowed to cross Baker Bridge anytime.

A truck carrying a heavy load of materials approaches Baker Bridge on a weekday. Which of the following is or are pertinent questions the answer to which, independently, would either permit or deny access of the truck onto Baker Bridge?

A) Does the weight of the materials aboard the transport truck exceed 10,000 kg?
B) Is the day in question a Monday?
C) Are the materials aboard the transport truck hazardous?

Screenshot from Magoosh GRE

Helpful hint: Standard Reading Comprehension multiple choice questions (with only one correct answer) will always have five answer choices, and Reading Comp MAQs will always have three.

Reading Comprehension – Select a Sentence
This question type, while not the most challenging on the new GRE, was the most interesting and fun for us to build into our product. “Select a Sentence” questions require you to click on a sentence from the passage that best answers the question. Let’s look at an example:

In the United States those in national elective political office are, almost invariably, associated with a political party. It is both customary and expected. Indeed, an office holder is often beholden to and benefits from these affiliations from cradle to grave. However, in the Czech Republic, the nation’s president is not affiliated with any particular political party while in office. This is the exception worldwide. In fact, one democratic political theorist suggests that Czech presidents should also be barred from joining political parties once out of office for at least five years, concluding that their positions, power bases, and reputations would unfairly increase the likelihood of future presidents being elected from the same parties. To those of us residing in the United States, the political theorist provides a solution to an issue that seems of little concern to the American electorate.

Select a sentence in the paragraph above that seemingly reflects American indifference to a potential political problem.

Screenshot from Magoosh GRE

Practice the new GRE question types
You now know about the question types on the new GRE. It’s time to practice! I’ve included links below to the Magoosh GRE product for all the practice questions used in this post. I’d love to hear your thoughts and/or questions about the new GRE question types. Feel free to share in the comment section below. And if you are looking for additional practice, try the Magoosh GRE practice questions.

GRE Practice Question – Math – Numeric Entry
GRE Practice Question – Math – Numeric Entry, Fractions
GRE Practice Question – Math – Multiple Answer Questions
GRE Practice Question – Verbal – Sentence Equivalence
GRE Practice Question – Verbal – Text Completion, Three Blanks
GRE Practice Question – Verbal – Reading Comprehension, Multiple Answer Questions
GRE Practice Question – Verbal – Reading Comprehension, Select a Sentence

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.

2 Responses to New GRE Question Types

  1. Siddarth August 18, 2011 at 1:54 am #


    Can you recommend me some good Revised GRE mock tests available online.?

    • Bhavin Parikh
      Bhavin August 18, 2011 at 9:08 am #

      Powerprep 2 by ETS, the makers of the new GRE, is the best mock test available. Also, if you have full access to the Magoosh product you can simulate a mock test. I describe that process in this article:


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