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GRE: Analogy Segment (Strategies and Techniques)

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Hi All! Last week we learned different Analogy types. This week we will see how to apply certain strategies to crack the Analogy segment of the GRE. But before getting into the actual questions we will have a quick glance at the directions and number of questions asked in the exam.

The Analogy section in the GRE appears like this:

Directions: In each of the sample questions, a related pair of words or phrases is followed by five lettered pairs of words or phrases. Click on the lettered pair that best expresses a relationship similar to that expressed in the original pair. (There are 11 questions in this section.)

(Let us remember a few very important points from the preceding blog!)

The Analogies Segment of GRE is one very challenging. Unlike the antonyms segment this segment doesn’t allow the student do some intelligent guessing. The student has to perfectly establish the relationship between the word pair given as the question, and select an answer that confirms a similar relationship.

What’s an Analogy?

Analogy is the study of similarity existing between a word pair. For example there exists a similarity between a human hand and a whale’s flipper, a pump and a heart. A study of such similarity is Analogy.

A word of caution from the GRE Examiners:

{ETS’ guidelines to the students: Analogy questions test your ability to recognize the relationship between the words in a word pair and to recognize when two word pairs display parallel relationships. To answer an analogy question, you must formulate the relationship between the words in the given word pair and then select the answer containing words related to one another in most nearly the same way. Some examples are relationships of kind, size, spatial contiguity, or degree.

Here are some approaches that may be helpful in answering analogy questions:

  • Before looking at the answer choices, try to establish a precise relationship between the words in the given pair. It is usually helpful to express that relationship in a phrase or sentence. Then look for the answer choice containing the word pair whose relationship is closest to that of the given pair and can be expressed in a similar fashion.
  • Occasionally, more than one of the answer choices may seem to express a relationship similar to that of the given pair. Try to state the relationship more precisely, or identify some aspect of the relationship that is paralleled in only one choice pair.
  • Remember that a single word can have several different meanings. Check to be sure you have not overlooked a possible second meaning for one of the words.
  • Never decide on the best answer without reading all the answer choices.
  • Practice recognizing and formulating relationships between word pairs.}

Let us now look at a model GRE Question and understand the ways to answer it correctly:


A. epidemic: contagiousness

B. vaccine: virus

C. laxative: drug

D. anesthetic: numbness

E. therapy: psychosis

Like any other GRE question the Analogy Questions have five answer choices each.

Dear student, when you first glance at and read an analogy question try to establish a relationship between the two words. In a simpler language, try to draw a connecting link between the two words.

Well you might be wondering what a ‘connecting link’ is. A Connecting link is usually a ‘verb’ that bridges the two given words.

Look at the question, there is some relationship between the two words given as the question. Sedative and Drowsiness are related. Now try to think of a connecting link, a verb precisely. A sedative ‘induces’ drowsiness, doesn’t it? Therefore the connecting link between the two words is ‘induces’ a verb. Now apply the connecting link to all the answer choices and see whether the link fits into the context or not. I bet it’s an interesting exercise!

Option A: An epidemic ‘induces’ contagiousness. Absurd isn’t it? An epidemic ‘is’ contagious but it does not ‘induce’ contagiousness. Obviously this is a wrong answer choice.

Option B: A vaccine ’induces’ virus. Sounds inane once again! A vaccine ‘destroys’ virus. Therefore ‘destroys’ becomes the connecting link here in this case, not ‘induces’.

Option C: A laxative ‘induces’ drug. Ruled out! A laxative ‘is’ a drug.

Option D: An anesthetic ‘induces’ numbness. Well, that is true. Anesthetic is a drug that induces numbness. But according to ETS’ guidelines we have to consider all the answer choices before zeroing on a particular one. Let us hold this ‘apparently right’ answer choice for a while.

Option E: Therapy ‘induces’ psychosis. ‘Induces’ doesn’t fit as the connecting link in this context. A therapy (treatment) ‘cures’ psychosis (a mental disorder), it doesn’t ‘induce’ psychosis. Obviously this is not the right answer choice. Hence, the only right answer choice is option D.

This is how we come to the right answer choice eliminating the wrong or the irrelevant ones. But you need to be really fast eliminating the wrong choices. The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) will not give you an opulent time frame. You need to think ‘all these’ in a period of say 45 seconds or lesser than that.

Practice and practice alone will help you crack this section smoothly and confidently. We are shortly displaying some really useful Analogy tests on the website and I am sure reading these two blogs on Analogies and taking those tests will enable you to crack the GRE section adeptly.

Read this blog more than once to understand the strategies. Keep in mind the following aspects:

1. Read the question and ‘all’ the answer choices at least once thoroughly

2. Do not jump to conclusion

3. Try to draw a connecting link between the two words given as question

4. Apply the same connecting link to all the answer choices

5. The word pair that takes the connecting link perfectly is your answer choice

Please do get back to us with doubts and queries.


Anu Veluri

Manager- Learnwordlist.com

Note: Information within brackets ‘{}’ is provided by ets.org.

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62 Responses to “GRE: Analogy Segment (Strategies and Techniques)”

  1. olotu e on October 8th, 2009 10:05 am

    you are right about the connecting link making things easy,it really does.

  2. AnuVeluri on October 8th, 2009 1:29 pm

    Yes Olutu connecting links help you reach the answer choice in a snap..try them and you will fall in love with the analogies section of GRE.

  3. Moses on October 18th, 2009 1:56 pm

    This really works. I love it

  4. shradha on November 3rd, 2009 10:26 am

    I came across certain questions where in, if I use the synonym of the verb (connecting link), the answer may apparently vary.

    I have no idea how I could solve that.

  5. sapna on November 3rd, 2009 10:33 am

    yes ,,connecting link between the words is the only best possilbe way to solve analogies adeptly,, and that also needs practice….this bolg is really helpful…i advice to all those who are preparing for GRE to get through this blog daily,,,really helpful

  6. Masoomeh Rezaee Ahan on November 3rd, 2009 10:41 am

    Yeah , that’s true .It make me eager to follow the questions . It really help to answer questions at the moment.

  7. AnuVeluri on November 3rd, 2009 12:31 pm

    Shradha, a connecting link usually doesn’t fail..you can put the question here and let’s see how it works out..

  8. AnuVeluri on November 3rd, 2009 12:35 pm

    Hey Sapna thanks so much..when are you taking GRE? You can also put some queries on analogies here and invite student participation..let’s see how it works..

  9. AnuVeluri on November 3rd, 2009 12:35 pm

    Hey Sapna thanks so much..when are you taking GRE? You can also put some queries on analogies here and invite student participation..let’s ee how it works..

  10. KONGO on November 3rd, 2009 12:59 pm

    It’s very good.

  11. AnuVeluri on November 3rd, 2009 1:10 pm

    Thanks Kongo..but tell us are you appearing for GRE??

  12. Awet Alem on November 3rd, 2009 2:10 pm

    I am very much interested with your teaching style.
    Keep it up!

  13. AnuVeluri on November 3rd, 2009 2:58 pm

    Hi Awet, thanks so much! Are you a Teacher? We would love to know about you!!

  14. sami on November 3rd, 2009 4:57 pm

    thanks. i will try connecting link words today

  15. Achie on November 3rd, 2009 5:24 pm

    Wow! I think I’ve now gotten the trick. Thanks so much. I can now actually rock the Analytical section

  16. AnuVeluri on November 4th, 2009 1:45 am

    Yeah Sami, do that and I am sure you will score a cent percent in Analogy section..:-)

  17. AnuVeluri on November 4th, 2009 1:47 am

    :-)..Hey Achie that’s wonderful to know…we actually want you to rock..that’s the reason we put the blog here!!

  18. kira on November 4th, 2009 2:35 am

    oh thats wonderful , i had enter in forum and see how important to me and now let me know more :)

  19. Francis on November 4th, 2009 10:25 am


  20. AnuVeluri on November 4th, 2009 11:39 am

    Hi Kira thanks so much..Forums are really interesting and will offer a platform for genuine discussion..

  21. AnuVeluri on November 4th, 2009 12:00 pm

    Thanks Francis, so when are you taking GRE? We wish you all the very best!!

  22. kedema Abdissa on November 4th, 2009 1:23 pm

    I am from Ethiopia and attending your GRE free learn word list.Really it is very intersting lessonful. I am enjoying and thank you very much.

  23. AnuVeluri on November 4th, 2009 3:25 pm

    Thanks Kedema, I wish you survey our site thoroughly..there are many more interesting blogs and tests..

  24. Melaku on November 6th, 2009 3:59 am

    I would like to thank you for your timely and important messages. I will look forward to receiving more materials in future.

  25. AnuVeluri on November 6th, 2009 11:19 am

    Ohh sure Melaku, in fact you should go through all the items in our blog segment..pls do that and get back to us with queries..

  26. karuna Upreti on November 7th, 2009 6:33 am

    this is realy nice thing you told us to find connection frst.this connection made ANALOGY vry easy.

  27. anil on November 7th, 2009 10:59 am

    Thanks for your effort. It really works
    Anil Dhakal

  28. AnuVeluri on November 7th, 2009 12:18 pm

    Yes Anil, these are tested techniques, they ought to work..:-)

  29. AnuVeluri on November 7th, 2009 12:19 pm

    Yes karuna, once you determine the connecting link, cracking Analogy becomes cakewalk..

  30. vishal on November 7th, 2009 2:26 pm


    i m having probs with the verbal section
    i m working on words and trying to memorise thm but alas i remember thm only 4 a few days thn i hav to look at thm…. again and again..
    i m trying to learn the barrons word list…..

    any suggestion/ advice r welcum

  31. AnuVeluri on November 7th, 2009 5:14 pm
  32. NGOGA on November 8th, 2009 11:34 am

    i am very happy and been pleased by your strategies of making the connectivity about the analogies. draw the connecting link !!! very important. i am just amused by all the techniques.

    thank you so much for this help.

    be blessed

  33. AnuVeluri on November 9th, 2009 7:35 am

    Thanks…it will be pleasure to see how you drew a connecting between some analogies..would you please display them here..just one or two??

    Wishing you success!!

  34. Baltej Singh on November 17th, 2009 2:42 pm

    that was superb…..please post more analogies based on nouns by driving out the answer as above…..thanks again

  35. AnuVeluri on November 18th, 2009 2:36 am

    We will shortly post many tests pertaining to the nalogy Section, do take them..stay tuned..

  36. IHUOMA SUNNY BRUNO on November 30th, 2009 9:43 am

    Good day Anu Venuri,
    Thanks for your mails, honestly they’ve really been helpful to me. But i will like you people to be sending mails on word roots. This is because these words are not really easy to be memorized, one needs to go through and through but with the help of the word roots, it could more easier.Please i urge you to do something on this.
    Thanks for your cooperation.
    Wish to here from you soonest.

  37. AnuVeluri on November 30th, 2009 4:15 pm

    Hey sunny..there are GRE flash cards on the site…the flash cards deal with all the roots..lemme give u the link..

    follow this link..


  38. Bilikis Olunrebi on January 8th, 2010 10:20 am

    It’s a familair trend for answering Analogy tanks for the detailed explanation.

  39. allan on January 15th, 2010 1:31 am

    woo,this is really helpful , thank you!

  40. AnuVeluri on January 15th, 2010 8:37 am

    Allan, hi and welcome too..when are u planning to take GRE?

  41. siewli on January 20th, 2010 5:56 am

    Thanks, i am really grateful for ur hardwork in helping us who plan to take GRE. Are there more sample questions on analogy for us to practice?

  42. AnuVeluri on January 20th, 2010 6:53 am

    Hi, we are coming up with tests shortly..do take the other tests meanwhile.. hey did u read all the blogs..pls do read..

  43. sudeepta on January 24th, 2010 10:56 am

    i found this strategy for analogy quite useful, however, i found that this cannot be used for every analogy. there are certain analogy problems where the words stated are parallel in their meanings. how does one deal with such cases?

  44. AnuVeluri on January 24th, 2010 1:49 pm

    Hi Sudeepta, for every Analogy there exists a connecting link..u can certainly establish a relation between th two given words..can u pls give me an example to clarify what you said? I shall be waiting for your reply….

  45. abhilash on February 17th, 2010 4:24 pm

    about reading compriension&esay

  46. AnuVeluri on February 18th, 2010 6:59 am
  47. Khurram Shahzad on March 26th, 2010 5:52 am

    Your website always help me to know about the up to date words about GRE

  48. AnuVeluri on March 29th, 2010 5:53 am

    Thanks Khurram, read all the other blogs as well..

  49. Reshma on March 30th, 2010 8:17 am

    a very nice strategy of connecting word and almost new for me in trying out analogies…….thanks

  50. nurudeen muhd haruna on May 21st, 2010 9:37 am

    Good day with complement of the season. anu veluri iam very injoying this program which also improve and advance my vocabliry. may( God) bless u with ancountable blessing

  51. shipra on May 24th, 2010 4:56 am

    Hii nurudeen


  52. osman adamu on August 10th, 2010 2:53 pm

    wonderful to ahve a site that help in preparing for gre i am grateful let make sure we make good use of this opportunity.

  53. shipra on August 11th, 2010 5:36 am

    Thanks for your comment Osman, keep writing us and keep visiting us.

  54. Mostafiz on August 16th, 2010 8:41 am

    Well, are there any quick clues to solve analogy in shorttime?
    If u provide we would be glad enough.

  55. Mostafiz on August 16th, 2010 8:44 am

    If more clues for solving analogy we would b glad enough

  56. maher on September 4th, 2010 11:18 am

    most of my problem is speaking,how I can improve it without any partner to speak .

  57. shipra on September 6th, 2010 4:19 am

    Maher,do Practice in front of mirror,watch English program on t.v this will help you immensely.

  58. Abbey on October 29th, 2010 3:08 pm

    Hi,I will be taking the exam on Nov. 8 2010.Pls,can i get sample analogies to practice with

  59. shipra on October 30th, 2010 10:00 am

    Thanks for your comment abbey,kindly hit following link for analogy questions: http://learnwordlist.com/tests/gre-verbal-analogy-tests

  60. sabahat salim on December 9th, 2010 6:49 am

    dear thanks for your mails.Honestly,its really helpful for me thank you so much.

  61. shipra on December 10th, 2010 6:56 am

    Thanks for your comment sabahat, kindly keep visiting us..

  62. Shina Fagbenro on November 1st, 2011 12:27 pm

    This is a very good eye-opener to those who want to score very high in GRE Verbal Analogy Section.

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