How to Solve 1-Blank GRE Sentence Equivalence Questions

In Sentence Equivalence questions on the New GRE, the blank(s) will always have a relationship to the rest of the sentence. We identify keywords because it helps us understand this relationship. Some blanks will have a “defining” relationship, meaning the blank will be defined by the rest of the sentence, so you’ll look for a word to embody the description. Other blanks will have a “contrasting” relationship, and you’ll need to choose the word that provides the best contrast to the describing keywords.

On harder Sentence Equivalence, you will often see a more complex relationship, such as “causation.” Let’s see an example of how we can identify keywords to show us the relationship, and allow us to predict for the blank.

Although appliance manufacturers would have you believe otherwise, items like blenders and toasters are not requirements for the creation of a delicious meal; for centuries, our ancestors cooked without these modern _______.

A) conveniences
B) hindrances
C) requisitions
D) creeds
E) incidents
F) utilities

Let’s pick out the keywords:

Although appliance manufacturers would have you believe otherwise, items like blenders and toasters are not requirements for the creation of a delicious meal; for centuries, our ancestors cooked without these modern _______.

“Although” is a common keyword that introduces a contrast. The manufacturers want you to believe the “blenders and toasters” ARE requirements. The word “these” in the second clause refers back to the “blenders and toasters” in the first clause. The clauses here contrast with each other, but the blank is going to be a word that describes “blenders and toasters.” A good prediction would be a word like “appliances.” Essentially, a word that could describe an tangible object.

Scanning the answer choices, B, C, D, and E do not refer to tangible objects. The correct answers must be A and F. After identifying the keywords and making a prediction, we barely had to consider each answer choices. Process of elimination allows us to identify the correct choices (always two for sentence equivalence questions) quickly and effectively! There’s never a need to re-read the sentence 6 times with each answer choice plugged in.


Learnist: How to Get Better Scores on LSAT Logical Reasoning

Logical reasoning, or LR, is one of three multiple choice questions on the LSAT. According to the official LSAT website, LSAC, questions test your ability to “analyze, critically evaluate, and complete arguments.”

An argument may be something you think of as occurring in politics (two sides arguing over an issue such as the payroll tax cut), or as part of a celebrity feud, but in LSAT terms, an argument is not a conflict at all.

An argument is simply a declarative statement backed up with examples. It can be as simple as, “One Direction is my favorite boy-band because I like pop music.” The conclusion is that this group is the author’s “favorite” and the evidence is that the author likes pop music. The assumption here is that One Direction is classified as pop music.

The LSAC states that there are ten concepts tested in Logical Reasoning:Recognizing the parts of an argument and their relationshipRecognizing similarities and differences between patterns of reasonin

  • Drawing well-supported conclusions
  • Reasoning by analogy
  • Recognizing misunderstandings or points of disagreement
  • Determining how additional evidence affects an argument
  • Detecting assumptions made by particular arguments
  • Identifying and applying principles or rules
  • Identifying flaws in arguments
  • Identifying explanations

According to this official LSAC site, the LSAT concepts will be based on a short passage accompanied by one (or occasionally two) multiple choice questions. The questions can ask about any part of the argument: the conclusion, the evidence, the assumptions, or it can ask how an outside piece of information relates to the argument (parallel reasoning, complete the passage, additional evidence, etc.)

While I don’t tutor the LSAT in its entirety, I have worked with LSAT students who need help with LSAT Logical Reasoning! Feel free to get some more free LSAT tips on this Learnboard.

Learnist: 7 Ways to Rock the GRE’s Quantiative section

Each GRE quantitative section consists of 20 questions to be completed in 35 minutes. Here’s how to get the most points possible!

When you practice for the GRE, avoid using a calculator unless you really need one. Most GRE Quant questions can be solved within 1-3 minutes without one. It’s provided on the GRE and allows for simple calculations, but don’t use it as a crutch. You should only need it for a couple of questions. You’ll save time if you can do simple conversions in your head.

Review the allowable functions here on the GRE’s official website‘s instructions for using the calculator!

Check out more ways to rock the GRE’s Quantitative section on Learnist!

Learnist: Best Websites to Self-Study for the GMAT

Who needs to enroll in an expensive GMAT classroom course when there’s tons of free (or almost-free) reliable GMAT practice tests, strategy guides, and test questions online?

The official website for GMAT is at Download the free GMATPrep software and take the two adaptable free GMAT practice tests. You’ll want to go over these GMAT questions with a fine tooth comb.

For $29, you can download three additional GMAT tests with “retired” test questions. There are also some other excellent free GMAT resources, such as two large pdf files containing all of the Topics for the AWA section, excellent GMAT practice for the Issue and Argument essays. This is your first-stop GMAT shop!

Learn about more great sites to study for the GMAT online on Learnist!