GRE Verbal & Writing Preparation

Prepare for the GRE Verbal/Analytic Writing Sections

Dr. Jennifer Mitchell, SUNY Potsdam


Learn the question types and strategies. Practice. Expand your vocabulary.

  • Visit www.gre.org  and choose "test taker" -- "general test" -- "prepare for the test"
  • Download free GRE PowerPrep software, which includes two computer-based tests 
  • Buy a prep book by Princeton Review, Barron's or Kaplan. Buy one published in 2012 or later. 
  • Improve your vocabulary: google "gre vocabulary list" or buy Kaplan's flash cards


Writing Section

This part of the test will not change in August 2011. You’ll have over an hour to write two arguments. In one, you respond to one of two prompts to present a perspective on an issue. In the other, you analyze a passage and identify flaws in its logic. Review GRE’s guidelines carefully to be sure you understand the specific instructions for each task before you take the test. Practice from real topics on the GRE preparation website.

Your Writing score is separate from your Verbal score. Take advantage of that: you might do better in Writing than in the multiple choice section. In the Writing section, show off your competence in communicating complex ideas quickly and clearly. On test day, you’ll use scratch paper to plan and then you’ll type without spell check. There are no error correction or sentence improvement questions, as found on SAT.


Verbal Section

Multiple choice reading comprehension and sentence completion questions challenge your “verbal reasoning” skills and knowledge of vocabulary. The test is heavily vocabulary-based, including antonyms and analogies, until August 2011. Learn to use the process of elimination and time-saving strategies.