If you’re here, you’re probably thinking about knocking out your GRE. A lot of clarity comes by taking the GRE early in the admissions process. You don’t need to do anything elaborate or over commit yourself. You can start your GRE prep without disrupting the rest of your life. The key is time and consistency.
Many students come into GRE preparation under a deadline. Their graduate or business school program is requiring a score by a date that’s just a few weeks away. These students are under the gun trying to crank out a solid GRE performance under pressure. Needless to say, this high stakes situation makes it even more difficult to prepare and execute effectively. The GRE is already a challenging test. Don’t add an extra layer of difficulty!
To help you prepare effectively for the GRE, we have three self-study options for you. Depending on your preparation schedule, you may choose from:
Only Use Real GRE Practice Tests
When you look for GRE preparation tools, the choices may overwhelm you. There are so many options of GRE pep books too choose from. Some promise four (or more) free practice tests! However, the catch is that some of these practice tests are not actual GRE practice tests. Any test you encounter that isn’t released by ETS is an approximation of a GRE. It’s an attempt to mimic both the questions and the scoring algorithm of the real thing. Why does that matter? There are proven disadvantages to using non-official GREs in lieu of official practice tests.
- Non-official tests are developed with a limited data set. Every time a student takes a real GRE, he or she attempts an unscored, unidentified research section along with the rest of the test. ETS has data from hundreds of thousands of research sections to develop new GRE tests that produce the desired statistical results. Non-official tests have only the limited subset of released GRE material to copy in order to try to replicate the real thing.
- Non-official tests use an inferior algorithm. It’s possible to examine the GRE scoring algorithm and approximate your score. In other words, you could submit the number of questions correct on each section and predict ±2 points what your scaled score will be for Quant or Verbal. This is actually a big margin of error! ±2 points could make a 17%difference in your percentile score. In other words, a 148 puts you in 38th percentile Verbal, while a 152 puts you in 55th percentile. This is an enormous difference. Fake GRE practice tests cannot give you an accurate picture of what you can expect to score on a real test.
While we develop our own practice problems for students to use to prepare and study, PowerScore instructs our students to use only real ETS GRE practice tests for self-assessment.
How Self-Study Works
Our three self-study plans break down a week-by-week program to take you start-to-finish with your GRE preparation. Establish goals early on using the test date your preparing for and the score you want to achieve. Along the way, you need to have a regular preparation schedule that allows you to learn new materials and reinforce skills. Our plans employ four core resources.
- Real ETS GRE preparation material
- PowerScore Publications
Depending on the time you have to prepare, we assign two to four of the official practice tests. We also provide instructions for how to set up for a test and how to properly review each test. There are weekly assignments from both the Quantitative and Verbal Reasoning Bibles as well as assignments from the ETS Official Guide. You will also use our Repeat Offenders list of vocabulary throughout your study plan. In addition, we recommend our free Help Area for even more help and practice.
Get to Work
In addition to our three self-study plans, we offer both online and in-person courses in addition to private tutoring. Once you get to work on your GRE preparation, you can proceed confidently with other aspects of the application process. Application schedules get tight. Your recs, diplomas, interviews, and school visits can become overwhelming on their own. Scores are valid for five years, so get them over with! Get the score you want and have it ready for your applications. Now that the GRE is universally accepted at grad and business schools and increasingly accepted at law schools, a GRE score is a versatile tool, no matter which advanced degree you decide to pursue.