So far, I've found the verbal section in most GRE prep. materials to be ridiculously easy, but that worries me since this test is supposed to weed out grad. school applicants. Thus, I'm worried that the prep. books/guides are significantly easier than the actual test and that I won't score as well as I hoped. (I want to score in the top 10th percentile on the verbal section.) Conversely, some of the math problems are more challenging, which probably means I'll do awful on that section. (For reference, I'm in a humanities field which does not involve any math.)

So I wanted to ask if the study guide's material is comparable (in difficulty) to the test material?

1 Answer 1


Assuming you are referring to the GRE General test: It would depend on what materials you are referring to, but the popular ones, particularly those from ETS, closely match the difficulty level of the actual test. However, note that:

  1. To get a more accurate impression of difficulty, try to mimic test conditions as closely as possible (e.g., practice online tests if you are giving the computer-delivered test). Even if the questions seem easy, time could be an important factor, and familiarity with the interface helps. ETS offers two free online practice tests that use the actual test user interface.
  2. The difficulty level is adaptive based on the section. So, if you perform well in one section, you can expect more difficult questions in the next, and vice-versa. However, the scoring is weighted based on section level difficulty, so ideally this should not adversely affect the final score.
  • I don't think the practice tests are adaptive in nature, are they?
    – Jihadi
    Jun 8, 2020 at 5:00
  • @Jihadi Good point, I don't think so, but I am not sure.
    – GoodDeeds
    Jun 8, 2020 at 5:08