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New GRE: Highlight the Sentence

Back in August, amidst all the fanfare of the inauguration of the Revised GRE, I totally overlooked one of the new question types in my blog posts: Highlight the Sentence.

Perhaps such an omission shouldn’t be surprising. For one there was the triple-blank sentence completion, which in all its glorious novelty (at least from a test prep standpoint) stole much of the limelight. The kerfuffle over the new scoring scale and multiple answer questions all but sealed the fate of the highlight the sentence question.

That highlighting a sentence that answers a question is a fairly intuitive process (especially when you try to wrap your head around Sentence Equivalence) also explains why I unwittingly consigned this question to the back of my mind.

Finally, the question show up so infrequently that I didn’t even see one when I took the test.

Well, enough rationalizations – our product has plenty of highlight the sentence questions. Before leaping in to try the practice question at the end of this post, here are a few general strategies:

Know the Structure of the Passage

This advice pertains to how you read the passage. In general you should be noting the structure and flow, being mindful of the author’s conclusion. If you are dealing with a longer passage, pay special note to the shift in paragraphs. Highlighting the sentence questions generally aren’t too difficult, but if you do not know where to look in the passage, this question type can become a big time waster.


Do not Be an Eager Beaver

A few sentences in the passage may be relevant to the question at hand. That doesn’t mean they specifically answer the question. So don’t be so quick to highlight a sentence just because it contains some of the words in the question itself. Look at the sentences above and below the sentence you chose. Do either more directly answer the question? If not, then you probably have the correct answer.


Confirm Answer

If you are unsure whether you have selected the correct sentence, read the question again. Does the sentence you highlighted answer or provide the information the passage is looking for. If your answer is ‘it kind of does,’ then you may want to look at the sentence above or below. The answer should usually be direct.
Practice question:

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