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Strategies For Cracking Sentence Equivalence Questions In GRE

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Sentence Equivalence questions in GRE tests the ability of a candidate to arrive at a conclusion about how a passage should be completed on the basis of partial information, but to a greater extent, they focus on the meaning of the completed whole. Sentence Equivalence questions consist of a single sentence with just one blank, and they ask you to find two choices that lead to a complete, coherent sentence while producing sentences that mean the same thing. 

Question Structure:

Consists of:

  • a single sentence
  • one blank
  • six answer choices

* Requires you to select two of the answer choices; no credit for partially correct answers.

Tips to crack Sentence Equivalence questions with greater efficiency

  1. Your command over the vocabulary plays an important role in performing well in the Sentence Equivalence Questions on the GRE exam. However, these questions test you not on your knowledge of anonyms or synonyms, but on your ability to identify the meaning of a word according to context. So, when you learn words, learn their usage in different contexts as well.

  2. When you approach any Sentence Equivalence question of the GRE, please make sure that you DO NOT look at the answer choices before you read the question completely. This is because each answer choice seems to be the best fit for the blank. So, it is wise to read the question carefully and look for a clue.

  3. Take help of the clue words such as the structural wordscontent words and tone indicators in the question. For instance, words such as andsince and thus signal a logical continuity of ideas, whereas words such as butyet and although signal contrasting ideas.

  4. Anticipate the word or phrase that best fits the blank. This can be done with the help of the clue words that are mentioned above.

  5. Now scan the answer choices and look for two answer choices which are equivalent in meaning to your predicted word. If you find some word that is similar to what you are expecting but cannot find a second one, see whether there are other words among the answer choices that can be used to fill the blank coherently.

  6. Remember! When you see a pair of synonyms, you may be tempted to choose them as the answer choices. However, it might not be the case because you are required to select two answer choices – if used in the blank – which would produce two sentences that are similar in meaning.

  7. When you eliminate or retain answer choices, make sure you consider the secondary meanings as well as their primary meanings. Frequently, test makers mislead you by using familiar words in an unfamiliar way.

  8. Consider each and every option before retaining or eliminating it. Even though you are very sure of the correct answer choices, never eliminate any of the other options without ever looking at each of them.

  9. Eliminate as many wrong answers as you can before you finalize the answer. It is always beneficial to choose two best options from three unsure choices rather than choosing two best options from four or five unsure choices. Behold! A wise guess is always better than a wild guess.

  10. Once the answer choices are fixed, make sure you read the selected options back into the sentence to check for logical and stylistic suitability. 

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