The New GRE – Sentence Equivalence

Sentence equivalence problems are a new type of question in the Verbal Reasoning section of the new GRE (coming August 2011). This type of question will give you a sentence with one word left out. You choose two answers from a list of six possible answers that give the sentence the same (or as close as possible) meaning. Partially correct answers will not be counted.

Sentence equivalence may be new to the block, but they’re actually similar to another type of question you’re probably already familiar with – sentence completion. You can (and will) use pretty much the same strategies to solve these problems. The most important of these strategies are context clues, which use other words in the sentence to figure out which word goes in the gap.

Let’s look at an example.

Given the existence of so many factions in this area, it was unrealistic for Anna Freud to expect any ——- opinions.

(A) Freedom

(B) Homogeneity

(C) Reassessment

(D) Consistency

(E) expression

(F) Education

In this problem, the most important context is at the beginning of the sentence: “the existence of so many factions in the field.” The existence of many factions implies the existence of many opinions – so wouldn’t it make sense to say that it would be unrealistic to expect Anna Freud to have all those opinions exactly the same? Using this logic, we can identify (B) and (D) as the correct answer choices, since “homogeneity” and “uniformity” both mean “the same thing.”

It’s also important to remember with this type of question that while another answer choice may fit well, there must be another answer choice that gives the same meaning to the sentence. Even if you find an answer choice extremely attractive, if no other answer choice means the same thing, it can’t be right.

Thanks to Andrew Thatcher | #GRE #Sentence #Equivalence

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