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GRE Test Prep Book: Practice Tests + Quizzes + Strategies
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Argo Prep connects you with the knowledge, the strategies, and the practice you need to conquer the GRE. At Argo Prep, we understand how crucial getting into the right graduate program is to your long-term success, earnings, and satisfaction. We also recognize that the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) has become an obstacle for many brilliant and otherwise-qualified candidates for top graduate programs. That's why we're here to provide you - the driven, career-minded applicant - with the knowledge and skills necessary to dominate the GRE and put your best foot forward with top-tier admissions officers. This book is your comprehensive study guide for the GRE 2020-2021 Exam. Comprehensive Manual (Analytical Writing, Verbal Reasoning and Quantitative Reasoning) 3 Full-Length Practice Exams (2 included in the book + 1 online) Video explanations for each online test question Free Online Support: By visiting argoprep.com you can chat with a tutor and have your questions answered. Higher Score Guaranteed This GRE Prep workbook covers:  Chapter 1: Introduction Chapter 2: GRE Exam Structure Chapter 3: Introduction to Analytical Writing Chapter 4: How to Prepare: Analytical Writing Chapter 5: The Analyze an Issue Prompt Chapter 6: The Analyze an Argument Prompt Chapter 7: Introduction to Verbal Reasoning Chapter 8: Reading Comprehension Questions Chapter 9: Text Completion and Sentence Equivalence Questions Chapter 10: Introduction to Quantitative Reasoning Chapter 11: Math Primer Chapter 12: Practice Problem Set Chapter 13: Quantitative Comparison Chapter 14: Problem Solving and Data Interpretation Chapter 15: Writing Primer Chapter 16: Analyze an Issue: Model Essay Chapter 17: Analyze an Argument: Model Essay. GRE Practice Test 1 GRE Practice Test 2 Vocabulary Prefixes and Suffixes
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Before we tackle more hard-level questions, make sure you’ve already gone through the three key strategies for sentence equivalence (SE) questions that we covered in an earlier post. (Also, if you have unknowingly stumbled upon this post independently, we advise backtracking and going through part 1 and part 2 of this entire series on hard SE questions.)

In this post, we will tackle a past ETS GRE question that contains multiple negatives and challenge you with something similar that we’ve concocted.

Such sentences can be challenging because they require you to very carefully sieve out the definition criteria of the word, sometimes by inverting a phrase containing a negative into its positive: eg. not rotten = fresh or not an inhibition to a lack of transparency = allows opaqueness (i.e. hidden agendas).

Let’s take a ETS GRE practice question (2017) as an example:


The spy’s repeated bungling was, above all else, ________________those who wished to thwart her efforts since it was so unpredictable as to obscure any pattern that might otherwise lead to her capture.

A) an obstacle to

B) a signal to

C) a hindrance to

D) an indication for

E) a snare for

F) a boon to

Perhaps your immediate response is: What is this convoluted sentence talking about?

Besides being long, this sentence is slightly confusing because it contains a couple of negatives. Only one is clearly a negative—unpredictable—but others such as thwart, obscure and otherwise are quasi negatives that express something on the contrary (thwart means to prevent someone from achieving something, obscure means to hide something, and otherwise expresses a turn of meaning akin to “if not for this, then…”).

The easiest way to go about solving these questions is to first break down the sentence into smaller chunks of meaning. Identify the main crux of the sentence:


The spy’s repeated bungling was, above all else, ________________those who wished to thwart her efforts since it was so unpredictable as to obscure any pattern that might otherwise lead to her capture.

So,

  1. The spy’s repeated bungling was so unpredictable.
  2. This unpredictability hides any pattern that might have led to her capture.
  3. Hence the bungling has a certain effect on those who wish to make her efforts fail.
  4. Therefore, the bungling must have made things harder for the people who are against her.
  5. The missing word must be a negative word similar to problem or nuisance.

Let’s take a look at our options:

A) an obstacle to (clearly a negative word)

B) a signal to (not a negative word—eliminate)

C) a hindrance to (clearly a negative word)

D) an indication for (not a negative word—eliminate)

E) a snare for (clearly a negative word)

F) a boon to (not a negative word—eliminate)

This means we just need to choose the best pair from obstacle, hindrance and snare. Here the choice is easy: snare, which means trap, clearly differs from the other two, which have similar meanings, so the correct answers are A (an obstacle to) and C (a hindrance to).

Why not try solving the following question by using the same simple steps above?


Given that the director’s usual attitude towards such matters cannot be characterized as ____________________, this measure of disapprobation was, to say the least, hardly expected.

A) complaisant

B) tendentious

C) critical

D) yielding

E) censorious

F) fickle

To check the solution to the above question and challenge yourself with more difficult SE questions, read on to part 4 of this series!

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