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Text Completion Challenge

Text Completions are notoriously difficult—that’s even if you know all the words in the answer choices. Beyond vocabulary, you will need a lot of practice with this question type. Below are eight questions to help you gauge where you stand, as far as Text Completions.

To really get the most out of this challenge, you should use the following grading system. Give yourself (+1 for easy, +2 for medium, +4 for hard, and +6 for very hard). Next, on a scale from 1-5, ‘1’ being the least confident and ‘5’ being supremely confident, rate how confident you are with your answer choice. If you answer the question correctly, multiply your confidence level by the difficulty level of the question.

For instance, if you answer the medium question correctly and have a confidence level of a ‘5’ (before looking at the answers of course), you will get +10 points. Conversely, had you answered the medium question incorrectly, you would have gotten -10 points.

To provide another example, let’s say you answer the difficult question and have a confidence rating of ‘4’, yet miss the very difficult question and have a confidence level of a ‘3’, then you will end up losing 2 points: (4×4) – (3×6) = -2. If you decide to skip the question, you simply get zero points.

Finally, if you can finish all the questions below in less than 10 minutes, reward yourself +20.



1. Much of the consumer protection movement is predicated on the notion that routine exposure to seemingly _______________ products can actually have long-term deleterious consequences.

(A)  outdated

(B)  banal

(C)  litigious

(D) virulent

(E)  benign


2. The flood of innovation that has engendered many of last decade’s technological breakthroughs has also claimed some victims in its wake: companies once at the (i) ___________________ of such innovation have now become (ii) ___________________.

Blank (i)

(A)  brink

(B)  forefront

(C)  periphery

Blank (ii)

(D) remarkably pioneering

(E)  mostly obsolete

(F)  increasingly relevant



1. For a writer with a reputation for both prolixity and inscrutability, Thompson, in this slim collection of short stories, may finally be intent on making his ideas more ________________ to a readership looking for quick edification.

(A)  trying

(B)  prescient

(C)  palatable

(D) inaccessible

(E)  transcendent


2. That traditional forms of media—despite considerable variance in the quality of writing—tend to report on a range of issues (i) _________________ by the demands of the readership should (ii) ________________ those who believe that the demise of each media outlet signals a lamentable reduction in the scope of news reported.

Blank (i)

(A)  unbounded

(B)  circumscribed

(C)  sensationalized

Blank (ii)

(D) discourage

(E)  reassure

(F)  rile up



1. Rubens, for all his high-flown rhetoric, churns out book reviews that have come to seem _______________: from decades of critiquing other’s prose, he now relies on a familiar and tired formula.

(A)  scathing

(B)  perfunctory

(C)  erudite

(D) mawkish

(E)  draconian


2. Keane argues that the political conditions during the early years of the United States were, if anything, (i) _________________ to the formation of a nation united by one document: the Constitution. Rather, had it not been for a few men—Keane invokes the triumvirate of Jefferson, Hamilton, and Madison—to (ii) _________________ the Constitution, despite the seemingly implacable opposition of anti-Federalists, the central government would have had to (iii) _________________ matters of rule to the individual states.

Blank (i)

(A)  permissive

(B)  conducive

(C)  inimical

Blank (ii)

(D) challenge

(E)  champion

(F)  undermine

Blank (iii)

(G)  cede

(H) reintroduce

(I)    deny


Very difficult

1. With numerous exciting public works projects in the offing, residents are understandably (i) _______________ ; yet because such prodigious undertakings are inevitably plagued with numerous setbacks, much of the fervor is likely to be (ii) _________________ a heavy dose of reality.

Blank (i)

(A)  vexed

(B)  concerned

(C)  agog

Blank (ii)

(D) tempered with

(E)  intensified by

(F)  precluded by


2. For an actor who prepares so (i) _______________ for each role, the characters he chooses to portray are  (ii) _______________; nonetheless even the most nebbish persona he depicts on screen always appears on the verge of a(n) (iii) _______________, as though the actor’s suppressed agitation is ready to burst forth.

Blank (i)

(A) passively

(B) carefully

(C) feverishly

Blank (ii)

(D) curiously anemic

(E) totally irresponsible

(F) somewhat puissant

Blank (iii)

(G) breakthrough

(H) meltdown

(I) epiphany




  1. E
  2. B, E


  1. C
  2. B, E


  1. B
  2. C, E, G


Very difficult

  1. C, D
  2. C, D, H


Grading system:

150 points: Verbal Beast

You are a verbal beast who will most likely destroy the GRE verbal section.

130-149: Verbal Guru

You have a very solid grasp of the verbal section and will likely get most, if not all, of the Text Completion and Sentence Equivalence questions right on the actual test.

100-129: Verbal Master

You are almost ready for success on the toughest section on the GRE. A little more practice and a few more vocabulary words should do the trick.

50-99: Verbal Apprentice

You have a strong verbal base. Learning TC strategies, practicing more questions, or simply building your vocabulary should help you become a Verbal Master, or better!

0-49: Verbal Tyro

Given that it is very easy to get a negative score on this quiz, you actually did well. Identify your areas of weakness and work at making those areas stronger.


Below zero:

Don’t worry—the GRE verbal section is not easy. A combination of concentration, vocabulary, reading speed, and sheer nerves are necessary to do well—not to mention knowledge with the question type. To learn about the best tips and strategies for breaking these questions down, go to and check out our product.


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.

14 Responses to Text Completion Challenge

  1. Sonal Pinto June 20, 2014 at 1:37 am #

    Verbal Beast, eh? Well, that’s one thing I get out of being avid reader since I could first read (currently reading The Crimson Campaign, Brian McClellan). Well, the test’s on Tuesday, four days hence. Lets see if my score shatters my hubris or my adds to my narcissism.

    • Chris Lele
      Chris Lele June 20, 2014 at 11:18 am #

      Wow! At least as far as TC/SE go, you should do really well test day. I’m sure all that reading will help on the RC section, too! Good luck 🙂

  2. matteG June 8, 2013 at 10:23 pm #

    Hi Chris,

    This was an exciting exercise! Although i was a little confounded after completing it. I seem to have gotten all the questions from medium to very hard right. But my Easy’s got messed up. Was i just overconfident having seen the questions were easy? I am clueless! How should i work on this?

    Thank you for this amazing product! 😀

    • Chris Lele
      Chris Lele June 10, 2013 at 12:34 pm #

      Hi MatteG,

      I’m glad you found the exercise helpful!

      So…for the easy ones, I think what both have in common–besides the relatively straightforward vocab and sentence structure, is both have good distractors. For the first question “banal” screams out as the right answer — esp. if you read to quickly. For the second question, “brink” just sounds right, so if you are plugging the answers into the blank without reading the entire sentence and thinking of your own word(s), then it is easy to get this question wrong.

      Hope that helps! (and kudos on getting the tough questions right!)

  3. Sady June 6, 2013 at 3:29 pm #

    Hi Chris

    This was a fun exercise. Bravo!

    My vocabulary is pathetic, but I correctly guessed the stuff I don’t know and kept them on confidence level-1. I got a 78 in this quiz. How’s that for the real thing?


    • Chris Lele
      Chris Lele June 7, 2013 at 1:20 pm #

      Hi Sady,

      That’s really good! I’m sure your vocab is not nearly as bad as you think :). It also shows that you are good at picking up on context clues. Just a little more vocab prep and I think you’ll do fine test day :)!

  4. Bhavika Jain June 4, 2013 at 9:27 pm #

    Hi Chris,

    Could you please provide an explaination for the 2nd question in the Very Difficult section?

    • Chris Lele
      Chris Lele June 5, 2013 at 10:35 am #

      Hi Bhavika,

      I will post explanations for each question later today!

  5. Puskar June 4, 2013 at 8:38 pm #

    Hi chris…we are waiting for article of the month. I think u didnt posted it in this month end.

    • Chris Lele
      Chris Lele June 5, 2013 at 10:36 am #

      Hi Pusker,

      Yes, that got backed up a little in the blog pipeline, but should be coming out by the end of the week. I actually recommend two different articles so you’ll get two for the price of one :)!

  6. Puskar June 4, 2013 at 8:33 pm #

    I scored, i am a verbal guru…nonetheless i did question no 1 easy part incorrect.. i thought it was banal…can u explain can a seemingly benign product have deleterious effect.

    • Chris Lele
      Chris Lele June 5, 2013 at 10:37 am #

      Hi Puskar,

      Due to popular demand I’ll be posting the explanations later today. I’ll be sure to include a reference to your specific question.

  7. estelle June 4, 2013 at 12:51 pm #

    Would it be possible to see the explanations for these answers? Thanks!

    • Chris Lele
      Chris Lele June 5, 2013 at 10:37 am #

      I’ll be posting them later today :).

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