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Beware of practice tests from test prep companies


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Hey guys, I just did my GRE, I scored 800Q, 760V. I promised myself that I would post on here if I did well, because I did a lot of practice tests that gave me HORRIBLE scores. I am focussing on Quant because that's more important for me and for many of you too. Sorry in advance if you are all about the verbal.

1. DO NOT purchase anything from graduatetestprep.com or grebible.com. Not only do their practice tests woefully underscore you (I got a 760Q, a 655Q and a 650Q on tests from these companies last week) but their practice material sucks. It's not like what's on the real GRE and I believe some of their questions have mistakes.

2. DO NOT pay any attention to any free online CAT tests. They're all going to massively underscore you.

3. DO purchase Barrons and/or Kaplan's guides, but again, don't trust their CAT test scores. The books themselves are good indicators of most of the questions you will see, though they do not cover the very hardest questions it is possible to get on the GRE. For this, I recommend "EZ" guide's "Advanced Math" workbook which is full of the hardest problems you can get on the GRE. This book was my bible. I did every question in here twice. But like I said, the test scores on the CAT from Barron is not indicative: I got 700Q on the practice CAT from Barron, a mere 5 days before my real test.

4. USE POWERPREP, both the practice exercises and the practice tests. These tests are the best indicator you have of how you are going for the real one. But know that you can improve your score in the real GRE by remaining calm and focussed. If you time your preparation right, you should peak in the GRE and not before it. I got 790 and 770 on my powerprep tests, and got an 800 in the real one. This is because I was more mentally focussed, well rested and calm in the test.

5. The GRE rewards the ability to focus, and to focus, you have to manage your anxiety. If you have problems with nervousness or anxiety, or you feel very stressed about the test, you must get on top of this before the day of the test. Try meditation, breathing techniques, anything that helps. If you prepare well (I prepped for a solid 3 weeks from 3 books) you should believe that you are going to do well, even if you get horrible practice scores - just tell yourself you're going to peak in the test. Your own strong belief that you will do well is very important. Never panic in the actual test. Assume you are going well and focus on doing each question as you go. I got questions that I thought were way too easy in the quant and I thought maybe I had made a stupid mistake before, but I immediately dismissed this thought and continued to solve the problems. I took as much time as I needed for the first 15 questions to ensure I got them all right. Then I spent about 1 minute on each of the following questions, and guessed 2 of the last 4.

I hope this helps some of you not to panic if you get bad practice marks, and saves you some anxiety! Good luck!

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Hi there,

Congratulations on a fabulous score. I am going to take in a few days and kind of getting worried about it.

I am a poli sci major aiming at a top tier school-- which means I have to score close to perfectly on maths and verbal. I have taken the exam in 2010 and scored average-- 650V 660 Q. I went in feeling quite confident, but my score came out lower than I hoped for, which is why I am taking it again. I believe I am familiar with most math concepts and can apply them to average math problems, but my concern are those problems that differntiate your score between 700 and 800.

So, my question to you is-- what was the "hardest" or most advanced math questions you saw on the test. Any probablility, Venn diagram problems? they seem to be an indicator of how well yo uare doing.

Any tip would be greatly appreciated.

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