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GRE prep accuracy?


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I have been studying hard for about four weeks for my GREs and have been frustrated because I am not scoring above a 1200 combined using Princeton Review CAT sample tests. I have been averaging low 600 verbal and mid-500 quant. Today I took my very first PowerPrep sample test and got high 600s for both. I've been told that the actual test is more difficult than PowerPrep, but can anyone account for an almost 200 point difference in scores between the two programs? I'm worried now that my Princeton Review book isn't teaching to the test and that I might be very disappointed come test time. I really only want to have to take this test once because of a) cost and B) I don't know how the schools I want to apply to process scores on multiple tries (I'm applying for Fall 2012).

Any input would be greatly appreciated!

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I have been studying hard for about four weeks for my GREs and have been frustrated because I am not scoring above a 1200 combined using Princeton Review CAT sample tests. I have been averaging low 600 verbal and mid-500 quant. Today I took my very first PowerPrep sample test and got high 600s for both. I've been told that the actual test is more difficult than PowerPrep, but can anyone account for an almost 200 point difference in scores between the two programs? I'm worried now that my Princeton Review book isn't teaching to the test and that I might be very disappointed come test time. I really only want to have to take this test once because of a) cost and B) I don't know how the schools I want to apply to process scores on multiple tries (I'm applying for Fall 2012).

Any input would be greatly appreciated!

I took many different practice tests from many different study materials. I found that PowerPrep definitely gave me the most accurate score of what I ended up getting on the actual test. I did think that the actual test was harder, but I scored 1300 on PowerPrep and a 1280 on the real thing - so the scores were barely off. However, I typically scored WAY higher on my PR test, but that could have just been me. All in all, I say trust your PowerPrep score the most, but try to take as many different practice test as you can as getting familiar with doing a million GRE questions really does help. Best of luck!

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NEVER trust scores from GRE practice test books. These companies have a STRONG incentive to make you think you're a complete GRE idiot. If they design tests that people do poorly on (but not too poorly, because they do have a counter incentive to be accurate to inspire trust and brand power), then you'll be encouraged to buy more of their products to get more help. OR! If they're lucky, you'll shell out the three grand for a prep course!

The PowerPrep software was EXTREMELY accurate in predicting my own scores. Trust that.

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Powerprep was very accurate for me. PR was another issue...

Here's how it went down for me.

PR1 (two weeks ago) : ~1100

a week later (after some more prep),

Powerprep 1: ~1350

PR2: ~1400

Powerprep 2: ~1400

today,

Actual score: ~1400

Even though the second PR test was closer to what I got in total, the individual values were way off. Verbal was much higher and quant was much lower on that practice test.

The first PR test was probably a fluke (it was my first one, I was rushing/anxious to be done, etc).

Oh, and I did think the actual GRE was a little bit harder than the Powerprep ones... but I still got a higher overall score on the real thing. Other than that, they felt pretty much the same.

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  • 10 months later...

Just took the two PowerPrep, taking them was the last thing I did before my test which is tomorrow.

PowerPrep 1: 620V 800Q

PowerPrep 2: 700V 790Q

It was actually surprising because in the first test, I got three wrong and got an 800 in Quant, whereas on the second test, I got only two wrong and ended up with a 790.

On the first test, the first mistake was after the 10th question, and the two others were near the end, probably why I ended up with 800 there.

On the second test, the first mistake was the 9th question, and the other was in the middle.

I think the reason I made the early error in the 2nd was to rush through (I had like 10 minutes left at the end). I will definitely be spending more time on the first third of the

questions because that is where the score is mostly determined..

Will edit after taking it tomorrow..

Edited by YaHa
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It was actually surprising because in the first test, I got three wrong and got an 800 in Quant, whereas on the second test, I got only two wrong and ended up with a 790.

On the first test, the first mistake was after the 10th question, and the two others were near the end, probably why I ended up with 800 there.

On the second test, the first mistake was the 9th question, and the other was in the middle.

Remember that on GRE the first 5-10 questions are the most important (whatever they say on their official website). That is why it is recommended to spend more time on these questions. That does not mean that you can skip others. Actually, you must answer every question, even if choosing an answer randomly. But spend more time on the first 5-10 questions because they determine your score far more than the following ones.

Good luck tomorrow!

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Thanks! Ended up with 650V 800Q. I did not prepare for verbal at all besides PowerPrep and skimming Barrons 800 high-frequency list, so I am satisfied.

Hey good job!

I have prepped with Kaplan's books and Princeton Review. On Kaplan tests I usually score about a low 1400, with Princeton ranging from about 1400s to 1540 on my highest one. The most accurate IMHO is the GRE Powerprep by ETS.

On my two tries I got a 800 V 750 Q, and then a 740 V 800 Q. I took the GRE CAT last month and scored a 720 V, 800 Q, 5.5 AWA. I would definitely, for those taking the old GRE in this month, to take the GRE Powerprep AFTER you have done all the work you can on the other programs and stuff, just to get you up to speed and with sufficient practice. The math was actually easier on the GRE than I though, because with Kaplan's prep material, the math became almost abnormally difficult (calculate standard deviations by hand, time-consuming amounts of arithmetic and geometry that will take at least 2-3 minutes even if you're fast). I also took some practice tests out of the GRE for Dummies book, but that wasn't helpful, and neither was the Manhattan company one, although it may vary on personal preference.

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I agree with the point about Kaplan--The math in there is harder than what is in the actual test. I took all 6 or Kaplan's practice Quantitative sections as well as their three CATs, and I consistently got one of 770, 790, 800. In PowerPrep I almost never went below 800, save a single 790. But that's actually a good thing, because by doing practice tests which are harder than the actual exam, you are able to simulate some of the stress which accompanies an actual test, thus giving you a more realistic preparation for pacing on test day.

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I recently (within a few days of each other) took both of the powerprep practice tests. I am now really confused about verbal, because I got a 690 on the first test, and then a 510 on the second one. Has anyone else experienced such an extreme difference in scores?? Now I have nooo idea what to expect for the real thing...

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I think a big part of verbal is luck. Since your score range is determined before the first third of the section is over, if you don't make mistakes in the first 5-10 questions you will have a much higher score even if you do make mistakes in the later parts. For verbal, this means knowing the vocabulary words that come up in those first 5-10 questions.

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