Graduate students are assigned a great deal of challenging reading. Reading comprehension questions on the GRE examine the range of skills that students need in order to read and comprehend graduate-level prose. Specifically, reading comprehension questions measure applicants' abilities to actively engage with the test and:
- understand and use words (i.e., vocabulary)
- understand the meaning of paragraphs and essays
- identify both major and minor points in a passage
- summarize a passage
- draw conclusions from information provided in a passage
- infer missing information by reasoning from incomplete data
- understand the structure of a passage
- identify the author's assumptions and perspective
- identify strengths and weaknesses of the author's position
- posit alternative arguments and explanations
Skilled readers interpret a passage as they read it. Text Completion tests readers' abilities to interpret and evaluate as they read, reasoning from what they have read so far to create a picture of the whole and revising that picture as they go. Text Completion questions omit crucial words from short passages and ask the test taker to select words or phrases to fill the blanks and create a coherent, meaningful whole.
Test takers are presented with a passage composed of one to five sentences. There are one to three blanks with three answer choices per blank (and five answer choices in the case of a single blank). Each blank has a single correct answer.
Sentence Equivalence questions test the ability to use partial information to reach a conclusion about how a passage should be completed. Sentence Equivalence questions consist of a single sentence with just one blank. You are given six answer choices and must select two choices that lead to a complete, coherent sentence and produce sentences that mean the same thing.