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I took a magoosh practice test a week before the actual GRE Aug 2017

Magoosh (2 Months before Test): 145Q 155V
Magoosh (1 Week before Test) 153Q 156V
Actual Score:  154Q 159V 4.0AWA


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POWERPREP II: Math 169/Reading 170/Didn't do writing   Actual: Math 170/Reading 170/Writing score not out yet.   Time studied: ~5 hours? I had a really strong preparation from my high school Engli

Average Manhattan GRE Scores (6 tests): V: 158      Q: 161 Powerprep 1: V: 160     Q: 169 Powerprep 2: V: 154     Q: 165 Real GRE:     V: 162      Q: 161   I felt that the best indication of how

While I was studying for the GRE I wondered how similar the practice tests I was taking were to the real thing...   So I thought starting a thread comparing practice test scores vs. actual results o

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This thread helped me too so I hope my records help.

8/7/17 PowerPrep 1 153 V 151 Q 304
8/14/17 Manhattan Prep 1 161 V 152 Q 313
8/23/17 Manhattan Prep 2 159 V 158 Q 317
Average: 157.67 V 153.67 Q 311.33
8/28/17 Actual: 162 V (91%) 156 Q (62%) 5 AW (93%) 318
10/3/17 Manhattan Prep 3 158 V 157 Q 315
10/10/17 Manhattan Prep 4 162 V 155 Q 317
10/17/17 Manhattan Prep 5 158 V 158 Q 316
10/24/17 PowerPrep 2 159 V 158 Q 317
Average: 159.25 V 157 Q 316.25 
10/31/17 Actual: 164 V (94%) 156 Q (62%) 5.5 AW (98%) 320
Disappointed that I didn’t improve for Quant, but really happy about my verbal and AW scores plus the fact that I just made 320 combined. I did notice that my second take appeared to be much harder than my first take. On my second take I got an experimental verbal but everything looked equally hard so I couldn’t tell which one was the “fake.” I seriously thought I was bombing until I got the score. My first math section in take 2 felt really hard, but my second felt too easy so I knew I bombed the first math section. 
My takeaways:
- Magoosh and Manhattan combined did the trick for me and doing the writing portions during my practice runs was enough studying for the writing section.
- I definitely felt like Manhattan’s Verbal portions are not very representative but they get the job done. I really didn’t think their Data Based Questions were accurate and it was a pain to scroll for them. Their math questions were hard but good practice. 
- Magoosh was my go to for the verbal questions and for getting conceptual understanding behind the math that I didn’t take since high school. Their flashcards were definitely the MVPs for my GREs. My practice scores shot up fr take 1 to take 2 on those alone. However, that’s because my weakness was vocab and my strength was Reading comp. 
- At first I tried using the Magoosh schedules but I realized I needed to create my own. Don’t be afraid to do your own thing! I realized that I am the type of person that needs to drill the math in, so I watched the Magoosh videos and then did the Manhattan 5lb boom problems on that topic. When I tried doing the random questions, I couldn’t get the concepts and remember the strategies so I realized I needed to drill them in my head through problems in order to get it. Not everyone needs this though.
- I also found vocabulary.com really useful. I believe the Barron’s 500 GRE words are a list and you can study a list in a game format. What I love about vocabulary.com is that they ask you about the word in different ways—like finding opposites and filling in the blank—in order to make sure you understand the concept.
- the first trial was a bit demoralizing but it also spurred me to actually get serious with studying. I also think the low score was because it was not done in test conditions. This motivated me to find a place. I pretty much used my local community college library so that I can also practice “going to the test site” along with familiarizing myself with a new space. 
- If you get distracted easily like I do, ask your test centers and see if they offer ear plugs and sound canceling headphones. I used both and they were very helpful for my concentration. 
Im just really happy to be done with this thing and hope I get in so I don’t have to take it again ever!
Edited by MintChocoChip
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Don't have my official scores yet, but just took the test so will update this in around 10 days. But wanted to share because this thread really helped me!

  • POWERPREP 1, 2 weeks before the test: 165 V 154 Q
  • POWERPREP 2, 1 week before the test: 167 V, 155 Q
  • Magoosh Test 1, 4 days before the test: 159 V 156 Q
  • Magoosh Test 2, 2 days before the test, 162 V, skipped the Quant section 
  • Practice Averages: 163.25 V, 155 Q 
  • Real GRE: 166 V, 163 Q
Edited by mten
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Practice Test (a few months before the real test): I don't recall the score, but I missed 3 questions total on the two verbal sections combined and didn't even attempt the quant! 

ETS Practice Test 1 (two weeks before the real test): 169 V, 151 Q

ETS Practice Test 2 (two days before the real test): 169 V, 152 Q

Real Test: 167 V, 157 Q, 5.5 AW

I took a look at the Q section several months before the test. That's when I realized I'd forgotten almost all the math I'd once known! I bought "Cliffs Notes Math Review for Standardized Tests." I studied that book, off and on, for a couple of months and then took the ETS practice tests. I didn't go through the whole book, didn't even bother with the geometry section, but it still helped me tremendously. Even though my Q score doesn't matter for my program, I'm really glad I did that review! Without that review,  I wouldn't have had a clue on the Q sections, and that frustration on test day might've hurt my performance on the verbal sections. Plus, this gave me a total score that keeps me in the running for fellowships.

I didn't study for the verbal or writing sections.

If I could do it over, I wouldn't have taken the second practice test so close to the real one. Better to rest, I think.

Edited by snickus
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  • 1 month later...

My practice test scores so far are:

  • Magoosh 1 (11/23/2017): 159V/147Q
  • Magoosh 2 (12/15/2017): 161V/152Q
  • Magoosh 3 (01/15/2018): 163V/156Q


  • ETS PowerPrep Test 1 (09/17/2018): 153V/139Q - this was before I had done any prep at all.
  • ETS PowerPrep Test 2 (01/23/2018): 157V/143Q

I take the actual test for the first time on February 3rd, and I'm rather concerned right now because while I seem to be consistently improving on Magoosh (I've always been terrible at algebra, so I've been learning math from the ground up for the past few months) my PowerPrep scores are still utterly abysmal. My target score is a 161-163V and a 155-158Q and I'm hoping to apply to doctoral programs in political science next October.


Has anyone else here seen a massive disconnect between PowerPrep scores and Magoosh?

Edited by PoliSciNerd0617
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Manhattan 1 Q - 161 V - 162 Total: 323 (Stopped once on math)

Manhattan 2 Q - 164 V - 161 Total: 325 (Stopped twice on math)

Manhattan 3 Q - 161 V - 164 Total: 325

Manhattan 4 Q - 161 V - 163 Total: 324

Real - Q - 167 V - 165 Total: 332 (After 3 months of part-time prep with a full-time job and lots of international work travels)

As you can see, I never did break a 165 barrier on quant in ANY of my full-length practice tests (even when I gave myself a bit more time). 167 was a nice surprise, but I felt that the quant sections in the real thing were MUCH more manageable than any of Magoosh/Manhattan sections. I would say that Magoosh quant problems were slightly harder than the real thing, while the Manhattan quant problems were not only much harder BUT also not very representative of the real test. I think, in general, it's good to practice with more difficult problems, but it does have the effect of freaking you out. Those working on Manhattan practice tests - DON'T freak out. The real thing is easier.

As for the verbal...I felt that the real test was much easier than all the other verbal practice problems I've done. The real test felt like there was a consistent internal logic on WHY a certain choice was the right answer as opposed to other tests I've done, in which I sometimes questioned the validity of some answers' internal logic.

The most important takeaway from my GRE experience is to BE FOCUSED for the entire duration of the test. I know this may sound super obvious, but I think this was the only thing I was thinking about as I was writing my exam. I want to point out that I'm NOT a naturally gifted test-taker. I detest standardized tests. I actually got super bored/distracted after the 10 minute break, and had trouble getting back into the test (hence the verbal section I got at this point cost me a few points). Find ways to keep yourself engaged with the test! 

Glad I got this one over with though.

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On 11/24/2017 at 3:57 AM, BrometheusBob said:

Love the concept for this thread. I think I'll edit in other practice tests as I go along. Don't know how many more there will be since I'm aiming to get the test over with soon. Took the test several years ago during college just before the format change (and ended up not going to grad school before it expired).

Actual GRE (2011) - 800Q / 640V / 4.0W

(Oct 22)  Manhattan 1 - 161Q  / 160V
(Nov 5)   Powerprep 1 - 167Q  / 165V
(Nov 24) Powerprep 2 - 169Q / 166V

I just took the GRE today. I'd estimate I studied about 50 hours across a few months (not continuously). Here are some other practice test scores I got:

Official GRE Guide 1 - 170Q 164V        (three weeks prior to test)
PowerPrep Plus 1 - 169Q 163V 3.5W (two weeks prior to test)

MyGRE Tutor 1: 170Q 156-159V
MyGRE Tutor 2: 160-163Q 153-156V
Magoosh 1: 159Q 164V (Cue the heart attack I had seeing that)
Magoosh 2: 163Q
Magoosh 3: 164Q
(The above are from between 1-2 months ago before I gave up on non-official materials)

Average Official/Powerprep 168.75Q 164.5V 
Average Non-ETS                   163Q       159.4V

Actual: 170Q 166V (Writing to come)

So I have to say I was somewhat disappointed with the non-ETS content, particularly Magoosh's math questions. It was helpful in some ways for sure, but so much of it just felt overly pedantic and it caused me unnecessary panic. Too many questions where the trick is to realize that you can't assume that lines that are drawn perfectly parallel are actually parallel or that angles that look like right angles are right angles etc. And it's true that those could show up on an actual test, but often they do not.

Personally, I recommend just buying the official ETS set (gre guide, verbal, quantitative). I also liked the Powerprep Plus test I purchased, but it is expensive for what it is. All the material on the test is pretty much in those official sources if you study it cover to cover. And the practice tests and sections in those materials are more representative of the actual test than either Magoosh, MyGRE Tutor, or the 5lb Manhattan prep book. Just my opinion.

Edited by BrometheusBob
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I took the GRE back in October 2017, and I just found out (March 2018) that I got into UCLA's film school for a MA in cinema and media studies. This thread was super helpful, but also anxiety producing as well. I graduated with my BA in May, and basically started studying all the way until October. I didn't start working until December, so studying all day really burnt me out. I studied my ass off and my scores did improve overtime, but not by that much to be honest. And my actual score was lower than my power prep score, which is pretty unusual from what I've read on here. (But i didn't sleep well the night before so that probably had something to do with it). 

I got a 314. 162 V, 152 Math, and 5.5 Writing. I used magoosh + manhattan prep. 

I just wanted to come on here and say, and I know it's easier said than done, but don't stress too much about this test. I definitely studied way too much, was miserable those 4 months, and thought I didn't do well enough b.c most of what I read was saying you needed at least a 320 for UCLA, regardless of what the program was....clearly that wasn't true. 

My advice would be to study, but don't exceed a few hours a day. Remember they're looking at your entire profile which means writing sample, GPA, rec letters, personal statement, resume, and more. So the GRE most likely isn't going to make or break your application. 


Edited by UB95
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Want to prepare for GRE? Here is a 4 step-easy process-

Step 1: Get Started with Understanding the GRE

So, as the first step, take the time to understand what the GRE will test.

GRE Syllabus-

1) A section called “Analytical Writing Ability” or AWA, which is basically just essay writing

This section contains two essays:

 a) “Analysis of an issue” in which you will be asked to write either for or against a given topic.

 b) “Analysis of an argument” in which you will be given a situation that you need to argue against.


2) Two sections of 35 minutes each for Quantitative Reasoning (fancy-speak for Maths)

 The four areas in which you will be tested are:

  a) Arithmetic

 b) Geometry

 c) Algebra

 d) Data Analysis


3) Two sections of 30 minutes each for Verbal Reasoning (nothing but plain old English)

 a) Text Completion in which you will be given a sentence (or two) with one, two, or three blanks. From among the options, you need to pick the word(s) that correctly convey the intended meaning.

 b) Sentence Equivalence in which you will be given a sentence with one blank and you need to pick two (yes two!) options from among the six given. As you can imagine, the two words you pick should be synonymous, and fit in the blank.

 c) Reading Comprehension, in which you will be given a passage followed by a set of questions that you need to answer. The answer could either be explicitly stated in the passage (easy!) or implied through context (tough!).


4) One section of either Maths or English that is not scored

 GRE also gives you one extra section of either Maths or English. Thus, in total, you will have five sections.

Step 2: Get the right GRE Study Material

Following are the GRE study materials available to you:

a)      GRE Preparation on the internet

With the advent of online content and fast internet speeds, why would you want to stick to the “traditional” methods of pen and paper? Online GRE preparation gives you the flexibility to study on the go. Test preparation companies such as CrackVerbal offer you great options to study from the convenience of your home. See GRE Online course.

b) GRE preparation books

 If you think the internet is a distraction and want to stick to a book, there are several options to choose from. You could either choose resources from a test preparation company like CrackVerbal, or stick to the official books published by ETS, as already discussed. CrackVerbal resources are:

 The CrackVerbal GRE Verbal Guide

The CrackVerbal GRE Quant Guide


c) Free downloadable GRE preparation material

 Do you know that Khan Academy has explanatory videos for many topics in the GRE Quantitative Reasoning section? (Trivia: Khan Academy was founded by Salman Khan, who has degrees from MIT and Harvard). You can find the videos here.

 You can also have a look at learning words through Learning Words the Fun Way – Flashcards. If you find them interesting, you can head over to Amazon to buy the entire set of 500 flashcards with quirky cartoons to help you quickly remember words and their  meaning: CrackVerbal’s GRE Flashcards – pack of 500


Step 3: Prepare for the GRE

You just need a clear GRE study plan that is customized to meet your needs. 
For many GRE aspirants, the study plan needs to be designed based on the urgency to appear for the exam. For example, if you are planning to apply in August-September (fall intake) and it is already May, you would need an intensive three-month plan to be able to apply with a score.

Step 4: Take the GRE

GRE practice tests

 Before you go into the battlefield, you need to ensure that you have enough “match practice”.

 There is good news and bad news.

 The good news is that the GRE practice tests offered by ETS. are a fairly accurate indicator of where you will stand on the real test.

 The bad news is that you have only two full-length practice tests. Hence, after you take the tests, there is really no way to know if you are improving.

 You can always drop into your nearest CrackVerbal center if you want to take a free test, and have it evaluated by  inhouse GRE experts.

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Official GRE (9/3/16): 162v; 153q; 5.0a

ETS Powerprep II (Sept, 2018): 170v;156q

ETS Powerprep I: 168v; 163q

Official GRE (10/6): 163v; 159q; 5.5a

ETS Paper Test I: 166v; 159q 

Official GRE (10/27): 165v; 161q

All tests are listed in chronological order. I'll update this post when my analytic score comes in. I was very nervous when I took the test on (10/6/2018), which negatively affected my performance, so the second time, I used a mild dosage of a beta-blocker called Inderal. Although I was still very nervous, I performed better, and I would recommend beta-blockers if you suffer from stress-induced cognitive dysfunction. I still think I could do better, but I cannot justify spending any more money on this test. For preparation, I used Magoosh and Manhattan's 5lb. book.

Also, like many others, Powerprep II predicted my score exactly (326).

Edited by I_am_the_last_Thylacine
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I didn't have much time to study. I took my first practice test before I started studying to get a baseline. Used a Manhattan Prep Math Refresher book for one week and then Magoosh for four weeks, focusing almost exclusively on math. I studied for about 30-60 minutes 3-5 times weekly for four weeks, and studied very little in the week leading up to the real test.

ETS Practice Test 1 (5 weeks before real test): 148Q, 151V

Magoosh Practice Test (3 weeks before real test): 151Q, 156V

ETS Practice Test 2 (1 week before real test): 154Q, 160V

Real Test: 156Q, 162V

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ETS PowerPrep 1 (September 1st) - 149Q, 166V <- this was when I started studying

ETS PowerPrep2 (September 15th) - 153Q, 168V

Actual (September 22nd) - 156Q, 166V

i also did one of the Princeton practice tests for the analytical writing and scored a 5, which i also got on the actual test.

so my verbal scores pretty much stayed the same which i think makes sense as i'm applying for english lit. i spent a decent amount of time reminding myself how to do maths, and i think even though i had a few weeks you can see that the studying DID help there, although it's still only 61st percentile. i mostly used the princeton review and also Math Lab for maths revision.

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Powerprep 1: Q 166 V 151

Powerprep 2: Q164 V155

Kaplan: Q 162 V 154

Actual test: Q 161 V 157


Happy with my performance in verbal and made significant stride, although personally 160 was my threshold in verbal. However, not delighted with Quant I expected to reach 165+, don't know what went wrong but anyway, I hope social science programs can take me in with this score. Also I found Quant section in real test really tough to manage, especially 2nd section. Something to do with MST, maybe. Because, in all the practice test I scored perfect 20 in Quant section 1, I guess it was not the case with real thing. ?

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I thought I'd give some data points and my thoughts on practice test quality. 

Powerprep 1: 161 V/137 Q (The Q shouldn't count because I just stopped paying attention. But I was equally inattentive in the Verbal section)

Powerprep 2: 166 V/153 Q

Powerprep Plus: 170 V/162 Q

Paper Test: 168 V/158 Q


Magoosh score estimate: 159-164 V/158-163 Q

Economist GRE tutor estimate: 168 V/166 Q (the latter is too high for some reason)

Manhattan Test: 167 V/161 Q

Manhattan Test: 164 V/ 162 Q


Final test: 169 V/163 Q


About practice materials: no independent company has quite figured out the art of writing realistic GRE Verbal questions. Magoosh's questions are not just "hard" sometimes––they are completely implausible, with sentences that are ambiguous and whose answers they claim are correct can easily be disagreed with and debated. ETS questions are never ambiguous or debatable. Magoosh also vastly underestimates your score. The same goes for the Economist GRE: their passages and questions do not resemble ETS questions, and especially their text complexions can be extremely debatable, even, in my opinion, incorrect. I liked their math tutoring, though. 


Manhattan comes close, but their text completions are more about vocabulary than about logic. I have viscerally disagreed with their use of language and their reasoning. Use a variety of materials but take some questions with a grain of salt; if they don't feel very "ETS," they're just not good questions.

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Though I don't remember what I scored on each test individually, I can give some estimates.

First Power Prep test and first test in official GRE book: Q 158 (ranging 155-158 throughout all tests), V 169 (ranging from 165-170)

Actual 1: Q 155, V 162, AWA 5.0

Actual 2: Q 158, V 164, AWA 6.0


I studied for this over 6 months, so it was pretty disappointing to see my quant scores barely improve. I thought the first Power Prep and tests in the GRE book were much easier than the actual test. I thought the Magoosh questions were a little more accurate, difficulty-wise. I performed much worse on verbal during the actual test. The first section was very easy both times, but I found the second section to be VERY confusing both times. It wasn't that I didn't understand the vocabulary, but I just found the wording of the questions to be unclear. If I had unlimited money, I would consider experimenting with purposely getting some questions wrong on the first section to not move onto the advanced section for my second verbal section. However, that's a huge risk for a test that is so costly. If you plan on doing very well in the verbal, practice with Magoosh questions set to Very Hard.

For the AWA section, I got lucky the second time around - for my issue task, which I always found more difficult, I got a prompt that meshed well with my actual interests and was therefore easier for me to write about. Seeing my scores for both tests, it seems that writing more definitely helped. Being a fast typist may be an advantage. 

Edited by kl1992
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Hello all! Just wanted to add to this thread to post practice scores vs real scores for the GRE! I took 6 practice tests total and I did the Princeton Review books before I started full length tests. Here are my scores!

Practice Test 1 taken 11/14/18 with Magoosh: scored 155 and 155 total of 310

Practice Test 2 taken 11/21/18 with Magoosh: scorred 146 and 148 total 294 (not sure what happened here and with the one to follow ha!)

Practice Test 3 taken 11/26/18 also with Magoosh: 297 total (I didn't write down the specifics)

Practice Test 4 taken 11/28/18 with Manhattan: 158 and 155 total 313

Practice Test 5 taken 12/04/18 with ETS: 153 and 152 total of 305

Practice Test 6 taken 12/05/18 with ETS: 153 and 153 total of 306

Average of all 6 tests for me was a 304. My goal for the real GRE was a 305.

Took the real GRE on 12/12/18 and scored 156 and 151 total of 307.


I think that ETS is the closest to the actual! Feel free to respond with any questions but that's basically all the studying I did... The books took a while to get through but I think they were worth it to brush up on skills! I also downloaded an app on my phone for practice questions and tried to do a couple each day. Hope this helps someone!

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  • 3 weeks later...

I took only 2 practice tests (powerprep) and those were also just before the exam. Before taking these however, I did like 80-100 hard quant questions found in the internet.

Powerprep test 1:  V 148  Q 169  (3 days before the real GRE)

Powerprep test II:  V 145  Q 164  (2 days before the real GRE)

Real GRE:  V 147  Q 167

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I studied for about 3 months using EmpowerGRE and taking every free practice test I could find. In my experience my real scores were very similar to the highest scores I was able to get on the practice tests. 

Powerprep 1: 158V 154Q 

Manhattan free: 161V 155Q  

Kaplan free: 158V 158Q 

Official guide 1: 159V 150Q 

Princeton free: 161V 151Q 5AW

Official guide 2: 162V 151Q 

Powerprep 2: 166V 150Q 

Real test: 165V 159Q 5AW

I was pretty upset with my last power prep quant score because I couldn't figure out why my score seemed to keep getting lower the more I studied. I was so shocked in the testing center when I got a 159, I think the test proctor thought I had bombed it lol. My score ranged from 158-166V 150-158Q which is an 8 point difference for both sections, luckily on the actual test I got pretty much my highest scores from that range. Obviously the power prep tests are the best and most realistic test you can take, however, my quant score was way higher then I scored on either power prep even though I took the second one a few days before my real test. I also recommend the Princeton free test as that one will actually grade a writing section which I found useful. Don't loose hope if your practice scores seem to be all over the place or even decreasing like mine did. Take a deep breath and you'll be fine.

Also, while I would have loved a 160+ quant score, in my field verbal scores are looked at much more heavily and I figured I would be competitive with anything over 155. Know the score ranges for you schools and field, and don't let other people's perfect scores scare you. 

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