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How to Prepare for GRE Verbal Reasoning? Get an Expert

An exclusive interview with Komal Pathak (a GRE Verbal Expert) on how to prepare for the GRE Verbal Reasoning section. A detailed insight into the approaches that can help a student score well in the Verbal Section. Flexiguru.com: Flexiguru.com is an e-learning company offering flexible learning solutions that enhance teaching and learning. Launched with a mission to optimize educational information available on the Internet for everyone, Flexiguru is making huge strides within a short period of its existence. An initiative of Piron Corporation, Flexiguru aims at making learning more easy and organized. Hundreds of excellent teachers has joined the platform and thousands of students have already started getting benefits using the platform. Komal Pathak, Verbal Faculty at ScoreBoost Komal Pathak, Verbal Faculty at ScoreBoost Komal Pathak: Komal Pathak brings an extensive teaching experience of over 10 years majorly as a Verbal Expert across different (national and international) entrance exams. Currently, she is working with ScoreBoost as a Verbal Faculty where she trains for exams such as GMAT, GRE, SAT, IELTS, TOEFL and CAT. Prior to joining ScoreBoost, she was working with Career Launcher (CL) as an Assistant Manager (wherein she took care of marketing projects), and as a Verbal Faculty helping students prepare for entrance exams like CAT, SAT, GRE, GMAT etc. She has also worked as a Soft Skill Trainer with TeamLease and been giving Guest Lectures at Bangalore School of Banking. Komal has also worked with Global Center of Languages as an English Grammar Trainer and as an Assistant Teacher at Dr.Bhimrao Shikshan Sansthan. She scored 97.33 percentile in CAT English section (2008). What is the best way to prepare for the GRE Verbal Section? Ans. I would say that you have to take your admission into consideration. It s not that, you just woke up one day and decide - I want to prepare for GRE. It s not about an overnight preparation, ideally you should start about a year back. GRE is not like exams that we take till our graduation, it s quite different - it s an entrance exam. It is slight different than GMAT (which is more into applications and reasoning) where 50% questions are based on vocabulary (you have to learn a lot about vocabulary, it s definitely not about mugging vocabulary, its more about knowing the nature of words). For e.g. we are in a habit of using primary words mostly. But a word would have multiple meanings and most of the GRE vocabulary questions are based on secondary usage of the word rather than the primary. You can take the example of the word Pan , it has five meanings and the primary meaning we all know means a Vessel . Then secondary meaning if I say Pan India it means all across India. The third meaning would be - He was panned for coming late in class. (which means he was criticized for coming late in the class). Pan is also the name of a Greek God and the name of a Satellite, so you have multiple meanings of a word. Basically, you need to know the word in a particular context because you cannot directly jump and mark a primary usage. You need to choose an option (appropriate word) based on the context of the sentence. Another interesting example is the difference between flammable and inflammable (people think it is opposite of the word flammable) but flammable and inflammable more or less means the same. I remember an actual question in Sentence Equivalence where you need to tick two words. There were 6 options out of which you have to pick two words, two options were there habitable and inhabitable. People thought that habitable is the opposite of inhabitable, they got confused and marked the wrong option. It s not about learning more of the word but more about the nature of the word. It takes lots of time because you need to go through a lot of words, but if you are really serious about preparing and want to score better, you need to devote time and study to prepare for GRE. You need to work on the meaning, nature, root, prefixes and fixes. GRE Verbal Exam GRE Verbal Exam What tips you would suggest for GRE Verbal sections -- Reading Comprehension, Text Completion and Sentence Equivalence? Ans. As far as GRE is concerned, there are no short cuts you really have to work on that. Of course it is not a rocket science. There are specific skill sets which are tested in the test, if you practice and apply them well, you can crack any type of questions. If you want me to give tips for specific sections, I would suggest as far as Text Completion or Sentence Equivalence is concerned. There are specific type of errors or clues, sometimes what happens is clues could be scattered. For example, you don t get questions like Sneha is a ___ girl (because variety of things could be true about her), there would be some clues that would define the blank. For example, Sneha is a __ girl, because she avoids social gatherings (because she avoids social gatherings, helps you fill the blank). One should understand that there are many plausible options which may not be the correct answer, one should be able to pick the correct answer. The same strategy you need to apply in Sentence Equivalence questions as well. If you have narrowed down three options, and all the three options fit in the context then choose two options that are synonyms. As far Reading Comprehension is concerned, you need to focus more on eliminating the option rather than wasting a lot of time reading the passages. You just have to read the main idea (each para will have certain main theme and purpose) and draw the structure of each paragraph. For example, in a passage on Science which discusses advantages and disadvantages of Science. In the first para, the writer discusses advantages and disadvantages of Science (where the main idea is advantages and disadvantages of Science) and the purpose is to include the opinion of the author. Similarly, there would be supporting details that would support the idea of the author, where he will give reason why Science has advantages and disadvantages. He gives evidence to support his thesis, so each paragraph will be with supporting or contradicting an opinion. But if you cannot draw the structure of the paragraph, you won t be able to crack that. There will be two types of questions -- Specific and General. Specific questions will have a line reference and that answer has to be true in that particular context. Before you start reading, you need to note down the line pertaining that question, when you come to that specific line you need to read actively and answer the question. General questions you cannot answer until and unless you read the entire passage. By the time you are done with your passages you are done with your questions also -- you don t have to regress and come back to the questions again. You don t need to read specific line that don t have specific question, you just need to know the main idea that saves your time. What are the major challenges Indian students face in the GRE Verbal section? Ans. I have taught students from India & other countries and frankly speaking you cannot differentiate between Indian students and students from U.S. Students generally whether he/she is from India or other country face similar kind of problems when it comes to GRE. They need to prepare for GRE diligently a year back from the exam. Often students come to appear GRE without any preparation, visions and plans. Most of the students face problem in vocabulary, because 50% of the questions are based on vocabulary. Since they start very late, they are in hurry to know about the words overnight which is not possible -- it impacts the scores. To prepare really well, one needs to be very alert and conscious if he/she is serious about writing the GRE. It always depends on the level of the student. If the level of a student is very good, he/she can crack the exam with a month s preparation. If a student knows nothing about GRE he/she will take more time. How Indian students can develop sound reading habits? Ans. There is drawback in our traditional education system, even thoughts of our parents and the way we are brought up -- we are not encouraged to read a lot. That is the difference you can say between an enlightened citizen in the U.S. and in India (we really lack in this). As far as GRE is concerned, again it depends if you have a habit of reading fiction it s not going to help much, as most of the topics in GRE are academics - research-oriented, analytical and critical. It basically could be on any topic - Biology, Physics, Chemistry etc. Though they test you on these bench areas but they won t check you on the knowledge of the topic rather they will check you on the analytical skills, how do you differentiate the main idea and how do you logically structure those passages -- these are the areas you need to focus. Students need to read more of academic topics by referring journals, magazines and newspapers (The New York Times, The Guardian etc.). I would suggest a website which is specific to GRE where you can find GRE related journals and research papers. and students can read The Guardian, as passages are selected from there. I would suggest to read U.S. based newspapers.


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