Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
2013grad

Reliability of practice tests

Recommended Posts

I just took a free Kaplan practice test, and I'm a little surprised at my score. I've taken two Princeton Review tests so far, and each time scored 158V and 150Q. My Kaplan scores: 153V and 144Q. A huge difference! Anyone else had this happen? How reliable are these tests compared to the actual GRE?

Thanks!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I haven't taken the real GRE, but asked this same question a few weeks ago. Basically, the ETS practice test is very close to the real thing, and many people have told me that some Kaplan tests are harder than the real GRE and some easier. I took 3 different "brands" of practice test, and I did much worse on Kaplan than on the other two. I think that the Kaplan "diagnostic" test is purposefully hard to make it seem like you have improved by the end of the the "course."

To give some perspective, Princeton Review had me around 95th percentile in both sections, McGraw-Hill had me above that even, and then Kaplan I was 86% quant, 89% verbal. Obviously, HUGE differences! I'm going to take some of the Kaplan "regular" practice tests and the ETS to see how they correlate.

But, from everything I've heard... ETS is closest to your real score. Not surprising, really. So, I wouldn't worry about the Kaplan fluke.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That's good to hear. Needless to say, I was a little thrown off by the Kaplan score. I haven't taken the PowerPrep test yet. It's only compatible with PC, so I won't be able to to try it out for another couple weeks when I can get to a different computer. Do you mind checking back in after you take your ETS practice test? I'm curious to see how the scores correlate to your other tests.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I just took my gre and got 147 and 146, pretty close to the ETS one. :|

When I took a full Kaplan test I got a 1130 total though on the old test...so idk what happened :(

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That's good to hear. Needless to say, I was a little thrown off by the Kaplan score. I haven't taken the PowerPrep test yet. It's only compatible with PC, so I won't be able to to try it out for another couple weeks when I can get to a different computer. Do you mind checking back in after you take your ETS practice test? I'm curious to see how the scores correlate to your other tests.

Sure thing. I plan to hopefully take at least another Kaplan and the ETS this week. I am signed up to take the GRE on July 25... yikes. But, really, I am so looking forward to just getting it over with!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am signed up to take the GRE on July 25... yikes. But, really, I am so looking forward to just getting it over with!

I'm feeling the same way. I don't take it until mid August. I know I need the time between now and then to study and prepare more, but I'm ready to take the actual test instead of practice tests that give me a hypothetical of my real GRE score.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

ah i was looking for this thread...

seems like at least so far all the practice tests have been pretty consistent for me... been in the 159-163 range for verbal and 167-170 range for quant over 5-10 tests or so. have taken tests from kaplan, 800score, CATPrep, and the ETS one (but that was a long time ago and i forget what i got). the consensus seems to be that kaplan does the best job when it comes to getting closest to actual exam material, although there's some controversy as to whether they give the most accurate scores. haven't done the princeton review one yet but i'll let you guys know if there's a big discrepency somewhere.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I just took the GRE on Monday, and I used primarily Princeton Review practice tests, with supplemental drills from Kaplan and McGraw Hill (the "official" guide). I actually did a wee bit better on the actual verbal than on my practice test the week before, but worse on the math--I felt like there were things on the actual GRE math that weren't covered at all by PR (graphing quadratics? WTF?), while PR focused on things like probability and combinations/sequences that I was really good at... but that didn't show up at all on my test. I could have just gotten a weird test though... or maybe they're changing some of the material that's covered?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, looks like I'll be making sure I know how to graph a quadratic! I'm awful at permutations/combinations, so I hope they stay off... thanks for the input.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

To give some perspective, Princeton Review had me around 95th percentile in both sections, McGraw-Hill had me above that even, and then Kaplan I was 86% quant, 89% verbal. Obviously, HUGE differences! I'm going to take some of the Kaplan "regular" practice tests and the ETS to see how they correlate.

But, from everything I've heard... ETS is closest to your real score. Not surprising, really. So, I wouldn't worry about the Kaplan fluke.

Do you mind checking back in after you take your ETS practice test? I'm curious to see how the scores correlate to your other tests.

Ok, I just took the ETS timed practice test today. It predicts your score based on the old scale, and it put me at 750-800 on both sections. This is about right for my math on the other tests, but far above the verbal the other tests had me at. I might take the untimed test, too, if it's different, and see if it yields similar results. And, we'll see what the real test gives me in 1 1/2 weeks!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just to clarify - Kaplan had me at 89th percentile on Verbal... ETS had me at 99th. That's a ridiculous difference. I hope ETS is right... lol.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I took the GRE last fall. I tried almost all of the practice tests. In my experience, the various tests in order of difficulty are:

Manhattan GRE (most difficult)

Kaplan

Princeton Review

ETS

McGraw-Hill (easiest).

My actual score was closest to somewhere between Kaplan / Princeton Review. Bear in mind that I was part of the first cohort of people taking the new test, so that may have skewed things, since there was still a lot of uncertainty about the test.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Also, I saw that they just released Powerprep II software, which has the new scoring guidelines. And, they changed the retake policy to every 30 days instead of every 60. Good news all around.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just to clarify - Kaplan had me at 89th percentile on Verbal... ETS had me at 99th. That's a ridiculous difference. I hope ETS is right... lol.

I haven't taken the ETS practice test yet. How do you think the tests compared? You did awesome on the ETS practice test. DId you feel like it was easier?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If I had to compare, I would say that Kaplan was harder "throughout", but that ETS had some really tough questions on the "second" verbal and math sections. I got a perfect on the first math, so the second was ridiculous. That second math section had some stuff I hadn't seen in any of the three prep books (size of the angles in a 9-sized polygon? well, now I know! lol). The verbal didn't really "feel" any easier, but I obviously did much better. I think the reading comprehension was easier on ETS, maybe... but vocab seemed comparable to Kaplan.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So it seems safe to say that aiming for a much higher score on the practice tests than you need would be a good idea, as there will be a drop when you take the actual test?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So it seems safe to say that aiming for a much higher score on the practice tests than you need would be a good idea, as there will be a drop when you take the actual test?

I think its the opposite. Obviously, you want to aim for a high score on any test, but based on previous posts, it sounds like most practice tests (depending on the company) are harder than ETS.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I would say that most companies do make their practice tests harder than the real thing because some guarantee a score increase... like Kaplan. So, they want you to score lower on their diagnostic test, then better on the real thing. But, I think you should always just be aware that the practice tests aren't 100% reliable as indicators of what you will score under real test conditions... but they are a good way to estimate a score range.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think its the opposite. Obviously, you want to aim for a high score on any test, but based on previous posts, it sounds like most practice tests (depending on the company) are harder than ETS.

There go my reading comprehension skills... whoops :P

I would say that most companies do make their practice tests harder than the real thing because some guarantee a score increase... like Kaplan. So, they want you to score lower on their diagnostic test, then better on the real thing. But, I think you should always just be aware that the practice tests aren't 100% reliable as indicators of what you will score under real test conditions... but they are a good way to estimate a score range.

This makes sense. Well I sure hope the stuff on the Princeton Review is a lot harder because some of them are pretty intense.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well I sure hope the stuff on the Princeton Review is a lot harder because some of them are pretty intense.

I'd say Princeton Review was harder than the ETS, but Kaplan was even harder still. So, if you want a challenge, check out the Kaplan tests :) I got the Kaplan 2013 Premier GRE that had access to 5 adaptive tests. Princeton Review has an awesome review of the substantive math, though - better than any of the other prep books I've read. Everyone says Manhattan GRE is the best... but I didn't use it because it's not at my bookstores.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ok, took the actual GRE today. My "unofficial" scores were 165V/165Q. Lol. I had been scoring 162V/167Q on most of my tests, so that's pretty dang close. I'd say Princeton Review or ETS were closest to my actual scores. Needless to say, I am NOT taking again. I wanted above 90th percentile on both, and I got it... so I'm done! Good luck to everyone!

One thing I noticed was that some of the questions (in both sections) were types that I had never seen on any of my practice tests. So, I would stress just doing a lot of practice questions. I did get a few vocab words that I learned from my Barron's flashcards... so I feel that was money well spent!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

i also just took the actual GRE... I'd have to say that PowerPrep and Kaplan provide questions the closest to the authentic ones. Questions you see on those two sources will be the closest to actual GRE questions. If you get the Kaplan prep book which is like $15 on amazon you get access to a book test plus 5 more online exams. As to the reliability of their scores the first 3 exams were very close to my actual score (162V 170Q) while the 4th and 5th were substantially lower (maybe they're trying to sucker people into buying more services?) but anyway based on that I would guess your actual score would be something similar to the average of those PowerPrep and Kaplan tests. Sites like CATprep and 800score are decent extra practice sources if you need them, but not as authentic as the PowerPrep and Kaplan questions.

Personally I'd advise against Princeton Review, they seemed to have some errors on their online practice exam, and the scoring seemed to be erratic as well. But that's just me, I've also heard from some people who thought PR was good.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Going off Shostakovich, I agree that Kaplan and Powerprep questions were very close to actual exam questions. It just so happened that my score fell kind of right between the scores for those two companies and very close to my Princeton Review score. I used Kaplan Premiere 2013, and I loved the online content - tons of practice exams and practice sets. You could also download the book onto your iPad, which was nice for portability's sake. I noticed that the first 3 Kaplan tests I took were close to my real score, and the 4th was so ridiculously low, I didn't even take the next one because I was depressed by it, lol. So, even within the same test company, the scores can differ a lot!

Princeton Review had the best "test strategies" and math review, in my opinion (though I did not take their online test - and the one in the book had errors that I could luckily recognize - so I would recommend the review, just not the tests). Kaplan wasn't thorough enough on the math for my liking. But, their practice sets were incredibly useful in getting in a ton of practice on my computer. And, their exams were very good, for the most part.

All in all, I was glad I bought a ton of materials because each had its strengths. I did not find the McGraw-Hill book helpful at all, so I might advise against that one.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Did anyone try the free workbook that was available on the ETS website? I downloaded it a few weeks ago. I think the version posted now is new.

The workbook has a free practice test included, and my verbal and quant scores were definitely higher with the ETS workbook (710-800 verbal; 740-800 quant). Granted, I've studied a lot since I first took my diagnostic test, but I would be thrilled if my scores were that high (98-99 percentile verbal; 80-94 percentile quant, according to the workbook). Anyone else have experience with this?

Also, the new version of the free workbook has predicted scores on the new scale. However, it converts your raw score directly to your scaled score. In the old workbook, it made sense that it would give you a range for your score because different questions are weighted based on difficulty. How does ETS predict your scale score in this new workbook without giving you a range?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I took the GRE Sunday, and my results were one point better than what I got on each of the two PowerPrep tests. To add to what everyone else has said, although one section seemed a bit off (I'm guessing it was the experimental), the questions on the exam were very similar to those on the PP and Kaplan practice exams. The Barron's questions were a bit off, I think, but certainly still useful.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.