Introduction to Reading Comprehension for the GRE Video

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  • 0:02 Reading Comprehension
  • 0:43 Passage & Questions
  • 2:13 Strategy
  • 3:53 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Elizabeth Foster

Elizabeth has been involved with tutoring since high school and has a B.A. in Classics.

Learn about the Reading Comprehension questions on the GRE revised General Test. This lesson covers the passages, the questions, and some general strategy tips.

Reading Comprehension

On the GRE, reading comprehension questions ask you to find and analyze information and arguments presented in a passage. These questions will make up roughly half of the total questions on the verbal reasoning sections of the test.

Reading comprehension questions always start with a passage: anywhere from one to several paragraphs followed by one to six multiple-choice questions that test your understanding of the material in the passage.

These questions don't ask you to remember anything from outside classes; everything you need to know is right there in the passage. But that doesn't make them easy! In this lesson, we'll go over the passages, the questions and some strategies for managing them.

Passage & Questions

Before you look at any actual reading comprehension questions, you'll have to read a passage. So, before getting into the questions themselves, here's what you'll see on the readings.

You'll get somewhere around ten passages, which are typically pretty short. Most of them will be a single paragraph, but some of them will be longer, multi-paragraph passages. The topics of the passages can be almost anything, but you'll be able to understand them without any specialist knowledge. For example, you might get a passage about the moon landings, but you won't have to know any astronomy or astrophysics to answer the questions - all the facts and subject-matter information you need will be right there in the passage.

After reading the passage, you'll move on to the questions. Each passage can have anywhere from one to six questions. Most of the questions are the typical multiple-choice format with several choices and one correct answer. Some of them ask you to pick more than one answer, and some of them ask you to pick a sentence from the passage instead of picking from a list of answers.

The questions ask you only about the information in the passage, but you aren't just regurgitating it. You'll have to do all kinds of things with it. For example, sometimes you'll have to make inferences or consider alternatives to the author's arguments. You might have to follow statements to their logical conclusion or summarize the main point of part of the argument. The questions aren't easy just because you don't need specialized knowledge to answer them!


Now you're familiar with the format of the test; it's time to talk strategy. Test-taking strategy on the GRE can get you everywhere - here's how to do it on the reading comprehension questions.

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