Text Completion Challenge

Text Completion Challenge - image by Magoosh
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(A)  outdated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

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(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 gre.magoosh.com and check out our product.


P.S. Ready to improve your GRE score? Get started today.

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23 Responses to Text Completion Challenge

  1. Jamiul Islam December 3, 2019 at 10:46 am #

    Dear Chris,

    I found the following TC in a forum;

    The fact that “nano” is effectively only a unit of measure (“nano” refers to one billionth) means that “nanoscience” occurs across a wide range of disciplines. Despite this (i)_____, the reason for (ii)_____ nanoscale sciences and technologies (iii)_____ is that at the nanoscale, objects can express different properties from those observed for the same material at larger scales.



    as they currently exist
    as something distinct
    into multiple sub-specialties

    Ans: diversity , delineating , as something distinct

    My question is; Is this TC form Official power prep Plus-3 test? the forum writer claims so.

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert December 7, 2019 at 2:48 pm #

      Hi Jamiul! As far as I can tell, this is not one of the questions from Power Prep Plus. Hope that helps 🙂

      • jamiul islam December 7, 2019 at 10:12 pm #

        Dear chris,
        Thanks for reply,
        I found the above TC from Reddit GRE, and this website has shown me some authentic TCs of ppp-3 in terms of “Question of the day”, so i wonder if the TC about nano- technology is not original ETS question…

        I just want to know; have u gone through ALL the 4- sections of Power prep plus-3 verbal?
        The 1st section of verbal is identical for all, then, there are 3- different sets (easy, medium, and hard).

        • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
          Magoosh Test Prep Expert December 20, 2019 at 11:36 am #

          Hi Jamiul,

          We’ve gone through the powerprep tests multiple times in order to try to see every question included in all iterations of the test. However, it’s possible we might have missed some because of the different possible versions of the test. If you (or the reddit poster) have some proof that it came from ETS, then it may have been a question that slipped through our review of the powerprep materials. In general, though, we’ve found that if a question comes from an official source, you will find multiple forum posts about it. I recommend doing a google search with the first few words of this question. If you find other sources also claiming it’s from powerprep, then it likely is!

  2. Shalini Vyas August 24, 2019 at 6:48 am #

    can you send the explanation of this text completion challenge

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert December 6, 2019 at 6:28 pm #

      Hi Shalini! There isn’t a separate explanation page for these questions. Fortunately, there have been many other questions and comments on the original post, so I would check there for some of your questions: https://magoosh.com/gre/text-completion-challenge/ I hope this helps a little 🙂

  3. Tara shri July 4, 2018 at 1:36 am #

    Thanks for the post!
    I have a doubt
    WHy not option D for 1st questions in easy section! Please explain!

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert July 11, 2018 at 10:00 am #

      Hi Tara,

      There is a shift in this sentence that shows us that the word in the blank must be the opposite of “deleterious consequences.” The word “seemingly” indicates that the appearance of the product is deceiving. It looks one way, but that is probably not the whole story! We also have the word “actually” which indicates that the “deleterious effects” are not what we would expect. As a whole, the sentence means that the consumer safety movement is based on the fact that products that seem harmless can actually cause harm. The word in the blank should mean something close to “harmless,” which is why (E) is the best answer.

  4. Tanim April 23, 2017 at 8:01 am #

    Very helpful for such novice GRE taker …cheers for Chris lee

  5. 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 🙂

  6. 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!)

  7. 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 :)!

  8. 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!

  9. 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 :)!

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

    I scored 149..so, i am a verbal guru…nonetheless i did question no 1 easy part incorrect.. i thought it was banal…can u explain it..how 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.

  11. 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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