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GRE Multiple Choice Tips and Practice Questions

by S. Merritt on October 1, 2009

Note: The GRE uses the multiple choice format liberally. If you want the links to the GRE sample questions, just scroll down. If you’d like an overview first, and some GRE-specific multiple choice strategies, keep reading! -SM

The Basic GRE Structure

Three of the four GRE test sections are in multiple choice format – that makes this exam, like others, a challenge for anyone who feels like MCQ’s give them a hard time.

The three multiple choice sections on the GRE are:

  • Verbal: This section tests language abilities using questions involving sentence completion, antonyms,  and analogies. Normally about 30 multiple choice questions and 30 minutes.
  • Quantitative: This section tests high school mathematics. Typically about 28 MCQ’s, 45 minutes.
  • Experimental: The GRE often includes new test questions so that they can be benchmarked for difficulty. The good news is that these questions won’t count towards your score. The bad news is that you won’t know which ones they are, if any – they’ll be blended right in with the rest of the questions.

For our multiple choice purposes here, that’s enough background. If you want to get into scoring algorithm and other nitty-gritty details, check out the GRE Wikipedia page.

GRE Multiple Choice Tips

  • Practice your CAT skills: The GRE is a computer adaptive test (CAT). That changes the game a little – make sure you download the software (below) and check out our list of computer adaptive test tips.
  • Nail the First Five Questions: they count for more. After that…
  • …Answer Everything: There are no penalties for wrong answer on the GRE. Make sure you answer every multiple choice questions. In fact, you can’t skip a question, so get comfortable using the process of elimination to improve your odds.
  • Choose current study guides: the GRE has changed dramatically over time (there was a particularly big update in 2007) so make sure the materials you’re using for reference are up to date, particularly the stuff that relates to test format and content.
  • Practice, practice, practice: I’ve heard the GRE referred to as “uncoachable.” Not true. You definitely can raise your marks by tapping into as many sample questions as possible. As with all multiple choice exams, GRE practice tests and questions are going to be your best use of study time. With that in mind let’s get to the…

…Free GRE Practice Tests

First, the obvious stuff:

Once you get past that, however, try some of these resources. Remember – the more practice GRE questions you can get your hands on, the better.

Paid GRE Practice Tests

For a great list of GRE prep books with the “must-have’s” noted, visit this post on the Happy Schools Blog. If you can’t afford the books, consider this idea from the Grad School Application Process blog for getting your hands on more GRE sample tests:

there are a number of books filled with old GRE paper exams. These are a great place to start as well. Honestly, I would just camp out in Barnes and Noble or Borders and use their books without having to purchase them. It’s not a bad way to go.

There are tons of GRE sample tests you can pay for – online, or in book form.

If you find a broken link, or another resource for GRE practice questions, contact me to let me know!

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