GRE Verbal Reasoning Text Completion Example Problem

Electoral College 2016

This is a graphic of what the Electoral College will look like in 2016.

Here is an example of a simple Verbal Reasoning question you might see on the GRE.

Many concerned citizens believe the Electoral College and the Presidential electoral process is _____; they are concerned the system does not meet or respect the representative needs of America’s contemporary electorate.

(a). redundant

(b). antiquated

(c). draconian

(d). plebeian

(e). contemptible

Explanation: The key word and phrase in this passage is “contemporary electorate.” Its usage suggests the answer choice should have something to do with the age of the system. Of the available answer choices, only “antiquated” references the age of the system. Thus the answer is (b) antiquated.

You can never have enough vocabulary words; here are the definitions of all the answer choices:

Something is redundant if it is needlessly superfluous or repetitive. It is redundant to repeat the definition of redundant, because that would be redundant; not only would that be redundant, it would be very redundant.

Antiquated can refer to something’s age through its characterization of that thing as an antique; however, antiquated should be better understood as the characterization of something as obsolete or outdated (not simply old).   

Draconian means exceedingly, or unduly, harsh or severe.

Someone or something is plebeian if they are common or characterized by being common, vulgar, or coarse. It may also more specifically refer to the common people of ancient Rome.

Contemptible means deserving of contempt; to be contemptible is to be deserving of disdain, to be despised, or even scorned. Contempt also has a special meaning in a legal context, which refers to being openly disrespectful or disobedient to a court or legislative body.

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