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Fluctuating Practice Test Scores


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I'm using Manhattan's online computer-adaptive practice tests. I'm doing on the quantitative only; my verbal score is satisfactory already.

I've taken five of the six practice tests so far, and my scores have been all over the map. In order, they are:

155 - 64th percentile - 11/23/12

161 - 83th percentile - 11/24/12

158 - 74th percentile - 11/25/12

156 - 68th percentile - 11/27/12

164 - 90th percentile - 12/2/12

Have others using Manhattan's tests experienced that degree of fluctuation? There doesn't even seem to be a strong trend (a very general upward trend, but not a reliable one).

And, those who have taken the GRE multiple times, have your actual scores fluctuated this much?

Back in high school, my ACT scores varied from 28 to 31, and SAT from 1300 to 1390 (on the old scale). Maybe there's something intrinsic to my approach to tests that produces a lot of variation?

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This looks very familiar to me. I also got consistently higher scores on any practice test but I think this is just a consequence of the less favorable testing conditions on the actual test.

Interestingly, your actual score reflects the mean of you practice scores (at least those of the manhattan prep).

Edited by swisschocolate
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You're right. I anticipated that I would not get 164 on the real test. I was hoping for 160 to 162, but realistically expecting 158-160. However, those mid-150's scores were scaring me.

The odd thing is that the Manhattan test questions definitely seemed harder. I'd say they were about 20% harder than those I encountered on the real GRE. Of course, I've got no idea what percent of the questions I got right today, but it felt as if I was getting about 70 to 75% right, while I only got 65% to 70% right on the two highest Manhattan practice tests.

(For what it's worth, the Powerprep questions felt about 10 to 20% easier than the real GRE questions.)

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Incidentally, my real GRE Verbal score was significantly better than my practice test questions. I took one Powerprep and one Manhattan practice test, getting 168 and 164, respectively. Got a 170 today.

The Powerprep questions were similar in difficulty, and in their reliance on context over knowledge of arcane vocabulary, to the first verbal section and to the experimental verbal section.

The more difficult verbal section that that I was given after my first section was more similar to the Manhattan test. It was more difficult, and relied less on context and more on vocabulary. Though I'm tempted to suggest that the vocabulary on the Manhattan practice test may still have been a shade tougher.

Overall, it seems that Manhattan throws a lot of difficult stuff at you and then gives you more points for it. I particularly noticed that they rated several of their diagram/graph questions as maximum difficulty when they seemed, to me, much easier than some of the other stuff.

Edited by okProteus
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