Sentence Completion strategies

GRE sentence completion questions involve a sentence with one or two blanks, and it’s up to you to fill in the blank(s) so that the sentence makes sense. You’re given five answer choices, but the key GRE strategy for sentence completions is to not look at those answer choices until you’ve come up with one of your own.

Step 1: Read the Sentence Carefully

When you are given a GRE sentence completion question, make sure you read the sentence carefully. Pay special attention to important words like but, however, or therefore. Words such as these will help you get a feel for what the sentence is trying to say. If you miss one of these important words, it’s likely you’re going to answer incorrectly.

Step 2: Fill in the Blank Yourself

After reading the question carefully, try to fill in the blank without looking at the answer choices. Think of your own word to complete the sentence. When you have a word in mind, find the answer choice that matches your guess the best. Mark the best-matching word and move on to the next question. No need to second guess yourself.

Why You Should Use this GRE Test-taking Strategy

If you predict a word before looking at the answer choices, it is more likely that you will get the right answer. Why? Instead of examining each choice to see if it makes more sense, you’ll just be looking for a word that matches your prediction. Your prediction doesn’t even have to be a “GRE word”. In fact, it’s better if you keep your predictions simple. This GRE strategy will also cut back on the time you would spend second guessing yourself if you were to examine each answer choice.


Strategy for Analogies

There are two steps in solving GRE analogies: (1) Find the relationship between the two words in the question; (2) find an answer choice that shows the relationship most similar to that of the question.

Finding the Relationship in the Question

The best way to find the relationship between the two words in the question is to use both of them in a sentence. Consider the following GRE analogy example:


(A) election: voter
(B) anthology: poet
(C) cast: actor
(D) orchestra: composer
(E) convention: speaker

Now try to use CHOIR and SINGER in a sentence…How about

A CHOIR is made up of many SINGERS.

So now we have a relationship between the two words in the question. The next step is to find the answer choice that shows the same relationship.

Finding the Correct Answer

To find the correct answer choice, first remove the original words from the sentence you made in part one. In our example we remove CHOIR and SINGERS. We are left with a sentence with two blanks:

A <blank> is made up of many <blank>.

Plug the answer choices into the sentence and find the answer choice that makes the most sense. You will find that answer choice (C) fits our sentence the best.

A CAST is made up of many ACTORS.

Answer (C) is the correct choice!

As you practice this GRE test-taking strategy on practice questions you will find that this analogy strategy saves you time and effort as well as earns you more points on the GRE test.

GRE Score Percentile and why it’s Important

GRE score percentile is important to graduate admission committees so it’s in your best interest to find out what percentile is and what you should be striving for.

What is GRE score percentile?

GRE score percentile is used to compare you to the rest of GRE test-taking population. For example, if you scored in the 90th percentile, then you scored better than 90 percent of test-takers. The highest percentile you can possible have is 99th percentile since you are part of the testing population and so it’s impossible to score better than everyone in the test-taking population.

What are good GRE score percentile marks?

Average percentile is 50th percentile. The best of the best score above 90th percentile while the worst score below 50th. A 500 on a GRE section is about 50th percentile. A score above 700 on the GRE Verbal section could put you above 90th percentile while a 790 on the GRE Quantitative section might put you around 90th or below.

Students generally don’t score equally high on all sections of the GRE, so your primary goal should be to score high on the section that most relates to your field, and then work on the rest.

Why does GRE score percentile matter?

Percentile adds meaning to GRE scores. It provides a way for admission committees to evaluate your potential as well as how you measure up against other applicants.

GRE Scores explained

The most important part of the GRE? Your score. You’ll receive a score from 200 to 800 on Verbal, a score from 200 to 800 on Quantitative, and a score from 1 to 6 on Analytical Writing.

GRE Verbal And Quantitative Scores

For the GRE Verbal and Quantitative sections, you will receive a score from 200 to 800. Your score depends on how many questions you answer correctly and the level of difficulty the questions are.

GRE Analytical Writing Score

The GRE Writing section is scored holistically, which means you will receive a score from 1-6 for each essay, Perspective and Analysis.

Each essay is scored by two trained readers. If there is more than a one-point difference between the two readers’ scores, then a third reader will grade your essay, and your score for that essay will be the average of the two highest scores. The same grading process is followed for your second essay.

GRE Percentile Scores

In addition to scaled scores, you will also receive GRE percentile scores (0-99th) for each. Percentiles show how you compare to other GRE test-takers over the past three years. Percentiles are equally important to admission committees, because they provide another way to gauge your academic performance.

Summing Up

In short, you will receive one score (200-800) for Verbal, one score (200-800) for Quantitative, and one score for Analytical Writing.