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GRE - Practice vs. real scores


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I did lower on the Verbal on the actual GRE than I did on the practice tests I was taking. On the practice tests, I was making between 660-690. On the actual GRE, my Verbal score was a 610. The math was about the same. I was averaging about a 660-680 on the practice tests, and my actual score was 660 on the GRE.

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Although I had a different result with the verbal (I scored 590 and 610 on the PowerPrep software, 640 on the actual test), the math was pretty much spot-on (750 and 770 in the PowerPrep tests, 770 on the actual test). The verbal seems to be sort of hit-or-miss.

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Quant: pretty close. I consistently scored between 790 and 800 on the practice tests, regardless of the testprep maker. I scored 800 on my first try, and 750 on the second try (when I basically rushed through the quant to get to the Verbal--the only score that counts for my field).

Verbal: My practice tests overestimated my score, anywhere from between 20 points (Kaplan) to 70 (ETS, Barron's, most of the other testmakers). I averaged between 750 and 800 on practice tests, scored 690 and 730 on my two tries.

My inclinations might be skewed because, ironically, quant is my strength, but only my verbal score counts. However, I thought that the quant is considerably easier on the actual exam than the practice tests, whereas the Verbal was considerably harder. In any case, when I took the test, I was sure that I had scored much lower on quant (I would estimated my score 50 points lower) and was dead certain that I had scored much higher on verbal (would have guessed 50 points higher).

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At first I used practice tests in books (Barron's and Princeton Review) which were spectacularly bad indicators of how I was going to score. (I think I consistently scored about 650 V and 730 Q on the Barron's tests). PowerPrep was a better predictor--I got about 750V and 800 Q on that. (Actual score was 790V, 800Q).

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I actually performed a little better on the actual GRE. On the two (or three, I can't remember) practice tests, I had 620 to 660 on verbal, and ended up with a 680. For quant, I went from around 750 (consistently in the practices, I think) to a 780. I think the verbal is much more likely to be different between testings, practice or real, simply because the specific words you get on one test matter much more than the specific math problems you get.

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verbal was lower than on the practice tests (just about every practice I took I got high 700s and ended up with 650 on the real one). Verbal is so darn variable!

Quant was pretty close...I'd generally get mid 700s and I ended up w/760. I do have to say though the quant on the actual test was so much harder to do than on the practices - I was really sweating!

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Thanks everyone. I'm trying to figure out exactly how much effort I'll need to hit 780-800. All of my practice tests are in that range, but I'm concerned that the practice tests will be considerably harder than the real thing.

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  • 4 years later...

See for yourself which practice test specifies the closest actual score.
ACTUAL GRE SCORE : 316 (V:152 , Q: 164, AWA: 3.5)
My practice test scores :

                                                                          V       TOTAL

KAPLAN ONLINE PRACTICE TEST1               149 156   305
KAPLAN ONLINE PRACTICE TEST2               149 158   307
KAPLAN ONLINE PRACTICE TEST3               149 160   309
KAPLAN ONLINE PRACTICE TEST4               150 162   312

BARON CD1                                                    152 163   315
BARON CD2                                                    152 163   315

BARON BOOK PRAC TEST1                           149 161  310
BARON BOOK PRAC TEST2                           144 164  308
BARON BOOK PRAC TEST3                           148 163  311
BARON BOOK PRAC TEST4                           150 166  316
BARON BOOK PRAC TEST5                           150 165  315
BARON BOOK PRAC TEST6                           153 164  317

PRINCETON ONLINE PRAC TEST1                 149 162  311   3.5 AWA
PRINCETON ONLINE PRAC TEST2                 151 164  315   3.5 AWA
PRINCETON ONLINE PRAC TEST3                 153 163  316   3.5 AWA
PRINCETON ONLINE PRAC TEST4                 154 169  323   3.5 AWA
PRINCETON ONLINE PRAC TEST5                 160 165  325   3.5 AWA

MANHATTAN ONLINE PRAC TEST2                 154 157  311
MANHATTAN ONLINE PRAC TEST3                 154 160  314
MANHATTAN ONLINE PRAC TEST4                 154 166  320
MANHATTAN ONLINE PRAC TEST5                 151 166  317
MANHATTAN ONLINE PRAC TEST6                 153 166  319

ETS POEWER PREP1 150 157 307
ETS POEWER PREP2 151 161 312

According to me Manhattan test prep is the best. Princeton is only good for AWA, since they rate AWA scores. Barron book for 6 practice test was also good, especially the verbal section. Kaplan was difficult for me since i took it during d initial preparation so I would say it was difficult and good.
Best of luck guys. !

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  • 4 weeks later...

My Quant score was pretty on-par with my practice exams, however I scored 10 points higher on the Verbal than I had been during practice. I used the Princeton Review. I would have retaken because my Quant score was low, but the chances I would do so surprisingly well on the Verbal convinced me not to retake. I guess I stepped it up a bit on test day?? Who knows. 

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PowerPrep 1: 152Q 160V

PowerPrep 2: 152Q 159V


Manhattan (did 2 tests)


152Q 163V

152Q 164V


Princeton Review


160Q 159V


Magoosh Predictor


149-154Q 154-161V


Actual GRE:

149Q 159V


My two cents: PR Math is very misleading, don't even bother. I REALLY, REALLY, REALLY thought I'd get a 152Q at least based on pretty much all my other tests lol but the actual test was harder than every test material. Magoosh "hard" questions, which I felt would be harder than the actual test, were actually the closest to the real thing.


I wish Manhattan was right about my verbal lol. ETS verbal, and even PR verbal is SPOT ON.

Edited by SocGirl2013
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