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Use Process of Elimination


Unlike other GRE questions that ask you to select multiple answers, for these questions, you know how many answers you are looking for - two. So, we can use a very effective process-of-elimination strategy.


Example 1:


Despite receiving approbation for his work several times that year, Tim felt ________ about his job in the floundering economy.

  1. confident
  2. anxious
  3. apprehensive
  4. stoic
  5. amenable
  6. secure


If you feel confident that you have fully comprehended the sentence, come up with your own word to fit the blank, and eliminate answer choices that are not similar in meaning to your word. For this example, you might come up with a word like unsure or insecure to fill in the blank. Then, you could eliminate (A) and (F), which are the opposite of unsure, and (D) and (E), which also do not mean unsure. This would leave you with the correct answer choices (B) and (C).


Example 2:


Life, as the film demonstrates, is too complex for ________ endings.

  1. intricate
  2. facile
  3. ambiguous
  4. occult
  5. straightforward
  6. recognizable


The sentence for this example is pretty clear; we can confidently conclude that the blank must mean something close to easy or simple, if life is too complex for it. (A) intricate does not mean easy or simple, so eliminate it. (B) facile does mean easy, so keep it. (C) ambiguous and (D) occult do not mean easy, so eliminate them. (E) straightforward is close to easy or simple, so keep it. (F) recognizable does not mean either word, so eliminate it. This effectively leaves us with our two correct answer choices (B) and (E).


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