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GRE Short Reading Passages

Unlike the old GRE, the Revised GRE has short reading passages that are relatively straightforward and less dense. This doesn’t  mean that the GRE has been dumbed down, rather the test is drawing from a wider range of reading.

Below is an example of an informational passage. It is definitely not academic and even an intelligent middle school student could understand it. Of course you shouldn’t see too many passages like this one, but you may see one or two, depending on whether you receive an easy or difficult section.

Just because the passage is relatively straightforward doesn’t mean that the questions following it will be easy. My advice: read the passage carefully, but do not try to digest every detail. Once you get to the answer choices be sure to base your answer on a specific part of the passage.

This passage, on Jupiter, is accompanied by two questions. Neither is easy (both would have even a very intelligent middle school-er scratching his/her head).


Jupiter has 2.5 times more mass than all the other planets of the solar system combined and is 11 times as large as Earth in diameter. Jupiter is so large that scientists believe it almost became a star: as the gases and dust contracted to the form the planet, gravitational forces created tremendous pressure and temperature inside the core—as high as tens of thousands of degrees. But there was not enough mass available to create the temperature needed to start a fusion reaction such as that of the Sun (above 27,000,000 Fahrenheit, or 15,000,000 Celsius, at the Sun’s core); thus Jupiter has been cooling down ever since. Even so, Jupiter radiates about as much heat as it receives from the Sun.


1. Which of the following can be inferred from the passage? SELECT ALL THAT APPLY.

(A) Exo-planets the size of Jupiter can be expected to have a core that is the same temperature as that of Jupiter.

(B) All observable stars in the galaxy formed from planets that heated over 27,000,000 degrees Fahrenheit.

(C) The mass of a planet can have an effect on the temperature of its core.


2. The passage is mainly concerned with

(A)  the size of Jupiter relative to other planets in the solar system

(B)  differences between the sun and Jupiter

(C)  how Jupiter’s mass has affected its development

(D) the temperature at which a planet’s core can start a fusion reaction

(E)  amount of power radiated by Jupiter



1. C only

2. C



1.  (A) Based on the passage, we do not know what the exact relation between mass and heat is. Thus we can’t extrapolate to other planets.

(B) We only know that the sun formed at this temperature. Even if this fact is true (I’d have to ask an astronomer) [Editor’s note: Actually, a lot of planets are made of the same stuff as stars – they’re planets because they’re not massive enough to start fusion], the passage does not provide enough information.

(C) The passage mentions, “But there was not enough mass available to create the temperature needed…” Therefore (C).


2. The passage is mainly concerned with how Jupiter’s mass affected its development. Jupiter could have become a sun…but not quite. That is the main thrust. Hence (C).


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29 Responses to GRE Short Reading Passages

  1. Ankit August 14, 2014 at 11:38 pm #

    Hi Chris

    Your strategies are very helpful and I am working on it. I am a student of Magoosh. Regarding the passage in this blog, the answer to the question in “Select all that apply” is only C. Could you explain some more on that. Though RC is my weak part, but as far what I have imbibed is to be General and not specific in select all that apply. Then, why does not Choice B fits in ? Since, sun is a star and it’s answer asserts “all Stars”


  2. Ann July 12, 2012 at 4:05 pm #

    Hi Chris,

    I took GRE twice. I have improved a lot in quantitative section(got +5 points) in second attempt,but dropped 2 points in verbal.
    First attempt: Q-153 V-144 AWA-3
    Second attempt : Q-158 V-142 AWA-3

    I got reject from the university which i have applied. Even though it is an average university, they gave the reason that i have not improve in verbal and AWA. I really need to get in to this university as i will be here in US for another 5-6 years.(I am on dependent visa here in US and also its my passion too 🙂 )..

    I did very well in ETS practice tests and scored around 500. But i was stressed out and was unable to perform well in second attempt. I was baffled in reading comprehension and the choices of sentence completion during that time. My query is, do we have to finish the barron’s old worldlist for new gre?.I have already covered around 2000 words and unluckily i was stumped to see the unknown words in the answer choices.

    Please help me in this.

    • Chris Lele
      Chris July 12, 2012 at 5:58 pm #

      Hi Ann,

      The Barron’s old wordlist doesn’t translate well for the new GRE. Even if you had gone through all 3,000 words there may still have been a few words you did not know. More importantly, the GRE tests you knowledge of how vocab works in context.

      Here is the link to our vocab ebook. I think you will find it very helpful. And I’m hoping it will help you break out of the 140s so that you will be able to attend a good school :).

      As for AWA, it takes work. Have a look at the posts on the site here. Manhattan GRE also has an excellent guide on AWA. With the right material, you should do well!

  3. Ads July 8, 2012 at 9:58 am #

    Hi Chris,
    I am a student of princeton review, they have given me an online account which consists of 5 tests and practice problems. I have also subscribed to magoosh. I have given two tests in the online portal of princeton review both in which I had a score of 154 in verbal. Now, my doubt is, how close are these to the actual exam?….where will I land in the actual gre with these scores?…In Magoosh my score predictor says 153-158 in verbal, average time taken by me is 1:38min and others is 58sec…..with these stats will I be able to get around 150 atleast in the actual GRE?….my exams is only 17 days ahead….I need help Chris…..thanx in advance..

    • Aman July 9, 2012 at 9:13 pm #

      Hi ads,
      As a priceton review student what all material do u get and how do you find the material?

      • Chris Lele
        Chris July 11, 2012 at 10:02 pm #

        Hi Aman,

        I’m not sure exactly what material PR provides you with. You could contact them and ask them directly. Sorry I couldn’t help :).

        • Chris Lele
          Chris July 11, 2012 at 10:05 pm #

          Actually, Ads (comment above) says that you do get access to 5 free online tests. So maybe that helps a little!

          • Aman July 13, 2012 at 3:44 am #

            I have being searching for the past 15 days to find some good GRE material but I am unable to get any of high standard.
            Nothing like Magooshs’ and MGRE.

            • Chris Lele
              Chris July 13, 2012 at 4:22 pm #

              Hi Aman,

              Yes, it is true…there just isn’t much high quality stuff out there. The good news is we are poised to release over 100 Text Completions in the coming week :).

              • Aman July 13, 2012 at 7:02 pm #

                Hey Chris,
                That is sme gr8 news for a Saturday morning….a set of 100 high standard questions would be just enough for practice
                Just one more thing TC questions which are both prolonged and labyrinth would be a good depiction of actual GRE type. I hope your material contain these ….Eagerly waiting for the ebook
                Thanks Chris..

                • Chris Lele
                  Chris July 17, 2012 at 7:29 pm #

                  Hi Aman,

                  Yes, there are some labyrinthine TC awaiting in the product right now! Have a go at them and let me know what you think 🙂

    • Chris Lele
      Chris July 11, 2012 at 10:01 pm #

      Hi Ads,

      No score indicator is perfect, but with both PR and Magoosh putting you in the same range, I would say there is a strong change that your score test day will be very close to said range.

      If you are in doubt, take the following test. It is from ETS, the writers of the test. You can score yourself at the end. Good luck!

  4. vignesh July 7, 2012 at 11:36 pm #

    Thanks Chris for posting Reading Passage. As guys said it was easy to crack and why don’t you give more RP exercises(we know its even more difficult than others in Verbal) as a booklet that your team had done earlier like Math and Verbal Booklets.


    • Chris Lele
      Chris July 13, 2012 at 4:24 pm #

      That sounds like a great idea :).

      I think it will take a little bit of time – but as a long term goal, I will come up with more passages and AWA, and we’ll bundle it in an Ebook.

  5. abhay July 7, 2012 at 11:58 am #

    Your premonition about the difficulty of passage made me circumspect about answer choices I was choosing. Nice passage on the lines of GRE OG.

    • Chris Lele
      Chris July 11, 2012 at 10:10 pm #

      You are welcome :).

  6. Mohammed Irfan July 6, 2012 at 1:05 pm #

    Thanks Chris!!! Gosh thank god it’s easier than the lengthier ones!!!

    • Chris Lele
      Chris July 6, 2012 at 5:35 pm #

      Hi Mohammed,

      Well, that was an easy short passage. In the future, I’ll post a difficult short passage. Nonetheless, not having to read as much makes shorter passages a little easier.

  7. Diana Vu July 6, 2012 at 10:24 am #

    Hi Chris,

    Thank you for putting up daily posts. I take the GRE in August and it is extremely helpful. Keep up the good work.

    • Chris Lele
      Chris July 6, 2012 at 5:33 pm #

      You are welcome :), and good luck in August!

  8. Sammy July 6, 2012 at 10:21 am #

    For question 1, couldn’t you automatically rule out B since it is an extreme answer? “ALL observable stars…”

    • Chris Lele
      Chris July 6, 2012 at 5:33 pm #

      Yes, typically ALL indicates a question is wrong. In this case, the passage would have to explicitly state all/every.

  9. Hash July 6, 2012 at 9:34 am #

    Actually, I found this one pretty easy! and I will accredit that wholly to your reading comprehension video lessons 😀

    Again, the key in this one is, even if you are a Physics major, is to focus and concentrate on what’s given IN the passage!


    • Chris Lele
      Chris July 6, 2012 at 5:29 pm #

      Great! I’m happy the videos lessons have been helpful. And you’re right: always base your answer on information in the passage :).

  10. Asish July 6, 2012 at 9:25 am #


    From your experience , how many passages were there in each verbal section and how long was each.


    • Chris Lele
      Chris July 6, 2012 at 5:28 pm #

      You will get a couple of short passages and a long passage per verbal section. The longest was probably about 55-60 lines long.

      Hope that helps!

      • Aman July 7, 2012 at 12:25 pm #

        Pardon me to correct you on that but the longest passage on GRE could be much longer that 60 lines in fact it could go till 2 full pages where you need to scroll twice …I encountered a passage like this
        Moreover the passage like the above are expected to appear in the easier section of verbal 4-5 like these…

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