There are many different GRE practice exams available, and it can be challenging to sort through the options and choose which ones are helpful for you to use and which ones could make your studies worse.
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We’ll go over which GRE practice exams are the greatest, which are the worst, and how to make the most of the GRE sample exams you choose to utilize in this post.
What Constitutes a Quality Practice GRE?
Three key elements influence whether or not a GRE practice exam is useful for studying: the test’s officiality, computerized nature, and cost.
Factor 1: GRE Practice Exams: Official vs. Unofficial
Using authentic ETS resources is usually the greatest option when it comes to GRE preparation, especially for sample exams and questions. The only resources that will pose questions to you exactly like the official GRE are official examinations. This is significant because, more often than not, answering questions formulated in a specific way on the GRE requires the application of broad concept knowledge rather than its comprehension.
Factor 2: GRE Practice Exams: Computerized and Non-Computerized
Not only do I mean the distinction between GRE practice exams that are taken online and offline, but I also mean whether adaptive testing software is used in the administration of the tests or whether they are merely standard PDF exams. A crucial component of your GRE study plan should involve computerized, adaptive practice exams if you plan to take the computer-based GRE, as the majority of test takers do. Manhattan Prep’s online tests, CATPrep’s demo test, and ETS’s PowerPrep and PowerPrep Plus are a few computerized GRE practice exams available online.
Adaptive practice with computers Of course, if you plan to take the test on a computer, GREs are the best option. However, after completing the official PowerPrep exams, you ought to depend more on official, non-section-adaptive resources (such as the official GRE study guide and ETS free GRE PDFs) than on unauthorized GRE online practice exams. If you do choose to use unapproved computerized GRE preparation, be sure the format, style, substance, and duration of the tests accurately reflect the genuine exams.
Factor 3: GRE Practice Exams: Free vs. Paid
The greatest official GRE practice material is available for free from ETS; you can be sure that the questions are ETS-approved and that there is no cost to you. Free GRE practice exams from organizations other than ETS may also be available to you; however, the quality of these exams is unknown, and the content is frequently not identical to what will be covered on the exam, making them less dependable. Since the premium content must be excellent enough to justify charging for, the majority of unauthorized GRE prep materials available are often of a better caliber than the free ones.
To sum up, here’s the hierarchy you should follow while searching for appropriate GRE sample tests:
#1: Official, free, computerized GREs with PowerPrep
#2: Free official paper GREs (some review, mostly paper-based practice exams)
#3: Public exams that require payment (PowerPrep Plus and ETS books)
#4: Unofficial, free computer tests (only to acclimate you to the interface and computer-based testing)
#5: Unofficial, paid examinations (to augment education)
#6: Unofficial, free exam PDFs to enhance learning
Four Pointers to Maximize Your Benefits from GRE Practice Exams
#1: establish a baseline.
Without initially determining your present level, it is impossible to gauge how effective your learning is. If you’re taking the computer-based GRE, take one of the PowerPrep or PowerPrep Plus practice exams; if you’re taking the paper-based GRE, take one of the free official PDF tests to get a baseline assessment of your performance.
#2: Establish an Objective
Finding the score you need to aim for comes after you have a baseline score. The average GRE scores of the colleges and programs you plan to apply to should be used to set this goal score. When the typical student at your target schools received a score of 155 on the Verbal and Quantitative Reasoning portions, there’s little use in aiming for a flawless 170.
To get your objective GRE score, add up the average scores from all the programs and universities you are thinking about. We go into further detail about this in our post on the ideal GRE score.
#3: Determine What Needs to Be Improved
By completing this step, you may focus on your weak areas and simplify your preparation so that you’re not just taking full-length practice GREs without any thought. Examine your practice test scores to see where you should concentrate your efforts. If your score on Quantitative Reasoning has to be improved, concentrate your study there. If your Verbal Reasoning score is good except for reading comprehension questions, practice reading comprehension questions alone.
#4: Make a study schedule
Lastly, calculate how much progress you need to make and how long you have left until the test. Make a study schedule that makes advantage of both extended practice exams and practice questions. The official full-length practice exams should be saved for assessing your development; utilize the remaining questions for regular drills and practice.