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Tackling Text Completion GRE Questions: Tips and Techniques

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Text Completion questions are a unique and challenging component of the GRE Verbal Reasoning section. These questions assess your ability to comprehend and analyze complex written passages while selecting the most suitable words to complete them. Mastering text completion questions requires a combination of critical reading skills, vocabulary knowledge, and strategic thinking.

Understanding Text Completion questions

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Text Completion questions are incredibly fascinating! As you encounter a passage with one to three blanks, your task is to select the most suitable word or phrase for each blank. The key is to ensure that the completed sentence makes perfect sense and flows seamlessly. These questions serve as a valuable tool to assess your vocabulary proficiency, ability to grasp contextual hints, and overall understanding of the passage.

Key tips and techniques

Here are some key strategies for tackling text completion questions on the GRE:

  • Read the whole thing: Before you start filling in the blanks, take a moment to read the whole passage. It will help to understand the big picture, main ideas, and how everything flows together. When you grasp the passage as a whole, it becomes easier to choose words that perfectly match what the author wants to convey. For example, when the passage talks about technological advancements, this gives you a clue to pick words that reflect innovation and progress.
  • Search for clues: The text frequently drops hints that suggest the intended word for the blank. Keep an eye out for how ideas flow, how sentences are structured, and the general tone of the passage. These subtle indicators can shed light on the author’s tone, emotions, and train of thought. When moving from a critical standpoint to a positive perspective, it’s important to choose words for the blanks that match this shift.
  • Guess before you peek: Before examining the answer choices, challenge yourself to guess a suitable word that could fit into the blank. This proactive approach sharpens your focus and guards against the influence of incorrect choices. For example, if the passage is discussing environmental conservation, envisioning a word like “sustainability” before assessing the options can guide your decision-making process.
  • Check every choice: When you come across a blank, make sure to thoroughly explore all the answer choices provided. Get rid of options that don’t match the tone, meaning, or overall vibe of the passage. The word you choose should fit right in with the sentence, making it flow better and keeping it logical. And remember, if the passage is all about teamwork and working together, look for words that show collaboration – they’ll be the perfect fit for the theme.
  • Use those context clues: Context is a powerful tool when it comes to finding the perfect word for the blank. Pay close attention to the words before and after the blank as they provide valuable clues. By analyzing the relationship between these words and the potential answers, you can ensure a seamless fit. And here’s a tip: when discussing artistic creativity, the surrounding context can guide you towards choosing words like “innovation” or “originality” that truly capture the essence of the passage.
  • Grammar matters: The selected word must not only align with the context but also flow naturally within the sentence’s grammatical structure. It should seamlessly integrate without creating any awkwardness.
  • Single vs. multiple blanks: Treat single-blank and multiple-blank questions differently. With single-blank ones, focus on the overall idea. With multiple-blank ones, figure out how the blanks relate to each other. The words chosen for each blank should align cohesively, forming a logical and coherent sentence.
  • When in doubt, eliminate: When confronted with uncertainty, utilize the process of elimination. Rule out answer choices that are blatantly incongruent with the passage’s tone, theme, or meaning. By systematically eliminating implausible options, you narrow down your choices, increasing the likelihood of selecting the correct answer.
  • Avoid drama: Be wary of answers that are super extreme or over the top. The suitable answer should align with the passage’s tone and meaning without exaggeration. A word that complements the passage’s tone and message, while remaining measured, is often the correct choice.
  • Watch the clock: Don’t spend too long on one question. If you’re stuck, move on and come back later if you can. Move on to the next question and return to it later if time permits. Effective time management ensures you maximize your potential while navigating the Text Completion section.

Boost your vocab game

Boosting your vocabulary game is essential for mastering Text Completion questions on the GRE. A strong vocabulary allows you to accurately comprehend and analyze complex texts, enhancing your overall reading and comprehension skills. Here are some effective techniques for doing just that!

  • Learn in context: Want to boost your vocabulary? Dive into reading materials and explore new horizons. Pay close attention to how words are used in different contexts to understand their subtle meanings. For example, seeing “meticulous” in historical and scientific articles can help you grasp its intricate variations.
  • Know your roots, prefixes, and suffixes: Get familiar with common word parts. These linguistic building blocks offer valuable clues to decipher unfamiliar words. By recognizing the prefix “un-” denoting negation and the root “bene-” signifying good, you can deduce that “benevolent” means inclined to do good, even if you’ve never encountered the term before.
  • Flashcards are your friends: Make flashcards for tough words you come across while studying. Make sure to keep coming back to these flashcards regularly to strengthen your memory and grasp of the words. Don’t just memorize them, challenge yourself to use these words in sentences! For example, when you come across the word “ephemeral,” try creating a sentence that captures its fleeting nature in a real-life situation.
  • Mix up your reading: Read lots of different things – novels, articles, academic papers. It’ll expose you to a wide range of vocab and improve your language skills. This unique approach helps you enhance your language skills by introducing you to a wide range of terminologies. For example, imagine reading a captivating historical novel along with an intriguing scientific paper in the same week. It not only exposes you to evocative expressions, but also familiarizes you with specialized terminology.

Text Completion questions might be tough, but they’re no match for you! With these tips and strategies, you’ll be ready to ace this part of the GRE. Keep practicing, boost your vocab, and get good at picking up on contextual clues. You’ll be reading between the lines, choosing the perfect words, and mastering those Text Completion questions in no time.


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