GRE Text Completion Questions

Student studying for text completion questions on the GRE

Like Reading Comprehension and Sentence Equivalence questions, Text Completion questions are part of the GRE Verbal Reasoning section, which tests your ability to decipher, interpret and summarize information as you read. It also measures your understanding of complex vocabulary words and gauges your ability to make inferences based on incomplete information.

Passages & Questions

What to Expect on the Text Completion Section

GRE Text Completion questions include a short, one-to-five-sentence passage about a particular subject. Each passage has anywhere from one to three blank spaces and a list of answer choices. Students must select the response (or responses) that complete each sentence and make the passage make sense.

Possible responses for the GRE Verbal Text Completion questions include a mixture of simple and complex vocabulary words, so it's important to consider the tone of each passage before selecting your answers. Since some of the words in the response options list may have more than one meaning, you'll need to consider each word's definition before using it to fill in a blank.

Question Format

Directions for GRE Text Completion questions look similar to this:

Select one entry from the following column of answers. Fill in all blank spaces in a way that best completes the passage.

Check out some of the following sample questions to get an idea of what the 12 Text Completion GRE test questions look like:

On November 26, 2018, a NASA spacecraft to the surface of Mars ________successfully.

  • a. rescinded
  • b. descended
  • c. affronted
  • d. belittled
  • e. annihilated

Musicians or singers create a harmony when they sound two or more notes (i)__________ to produce a denser, more complex sound known as a chord. Although harmonies are often used to pleasing effect, they can also form (ii)__________ combinations of notes known as dissonance.

  • Blank i
  • Blank ii
  • a. rescinded
  • b. descended
  • c. affronted
  • d. belittled
  • e. annihilated

Although each vote cast counts, the number of votes a presidential candidate receives does not necessarily (i)________whether or not that candidate is elected to the United States. Rather, candidates are elected according to how many electoral votes they (ii)_____. All 50 states have a certain number of electors, and it is these electors who cast the votes that actually decide who wins an election. However, many Americans believe that candidates should be elected by the popular vote. (iii)_______, there has been some call for a reexamination of the U.S. voting process.

  • Blank i
  • Blank ii
  • Blank iii
  • a. contradict
  • b. determine
  • c. forgo
  • d. disseminate
  • e. mislay
  • f. acquire
  • g. consequently
  • h. conversely
  • i. uncertainly


Practice Before the Exam

Taking a GRE practice test is an excellent way to prepare for this portion of the exam. Practice the GRE online and work through some sample Text Completion exercises. Based on your results, you can incorporate vocabulary word research, reading comprehension practice, and other strategies into your study sessions to boost your score.

Test Day Tips

Nailing Text Completion Questions During the Exam

On test day, follow the same process you used for the GRE Text Completion practice questions on the actual exam. Try reading the entire passage before looking at the answer choices and searching for context clues that help you understand the tone, intent, and overall theme of the sentence or paragraph.

Eliminate Obvious Words that Don't Fit

When considering the possible answers, start by defining each word. Eliminate the words that don't fit the tone or context of the passage, then choose the best option from the remaining responses. Ignore unfamiliar words until you've eliminated the terms you recognize. If no familiar words work within the paragraph, the unknown words might be the correct answers.

Keep Verb Tense in Mind

Along with defining the words on the answer list, you should also pay attention to the tense of each term. If the passage includes past-tense sentences, you'll need a past-tense verb to fill in the blanks. Using these simple strategies can help you avoid mistakes and choose the correct responses on your GRE Text Completion exam.

Study Resources

Online GRE Test Prep

Other Verbal Reasoning Tips

Overview of GRE Sections