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Accuracy of Powerprep vs. Kaplan MSTs


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I'm planning to take the GRE in two weeks, after two months of intense studying, especially in math. I primarily used Kaplan materials, and feel that they have helped me, despite their lackluster reputation. However, I don't quite know what to make of my practice test scores. My scores on the 5 Kaplan MSTs are all pretty much the same, and definitely below where I want them to be, especially for quant.

 

Verbal/Quant

MST1: 160/148

MST2: 158/152

MST3: 158/153

MST4: 157/154

MST5: 160/153

 

Powerprep: 168/162

 

At that point, I was starting to get discouraged, but yesterday, I took the first Powerprep test, and was shocked to see a 168 verbal and 162 quant! Actually, I feel that's where I should have been all along with verbal, but the math score was very surprising. I took all of these tests within a 3 week period, so I don't understand why there is such a huge discrepancy. I know the general consensus is that Powerprep is most accurate, but is Kaplan really that deceptive? I feel like Kaplan tricked me into thinking I was a dummy. I've also been working through the official ETS book of quant. problems, and find those significantly easier than Kaplan as well, so I don't think my Powerprep score was just a fluke. Can anyone venture a guess as to what's going on here? Which scores should I believe?

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Hi Kaitlynlea,

 

None of the GRE "prep company" MSTs is a perfect match for the real GRE, but I wouldn't go so far as to call Kaplan's MSTs 'deceptive.'

 

In these sorts of comparisons, the DETAILS matter, so here are some things to consider regarding how you took your MSTs:

 

1) What time of day and day of the week did you take the Tests?

2) Did you take the ENTIRE MST (including the AWA)?

3) Were there any difference in the location, environment, distractions, etc.?

4) Had you seen any of the PowerPrep questions before (during your studies, in chatroom discussions, etc.)?

 

It could also be that you're starting to 'hit your stride' in regards to your performance. If that's the case, then you should keep doing what you're doing.

 

GRE masters aren't born, they're made,

Rich

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Hi Rich,

 

I just discovered Empower and have been finding it very helpful. Unfortunately I only had time to do the 24 hour trial because my test is next week, but I'll definitely recommend it to friends. The triage concept in particular will make a huge difference. I came across a little detail in one of the Empower podcasts about how the MSTs work, and I wanted to confirm it with you. Is it true that the experimental section cannot be one of the first 2 sections of the test? Did I understand correctly that this section will always come up sometime after the break? If so, that explains one issue I had with my practice tests. One one of them, the first quant section made me panic, and it turned out to be the experimental one.

 

Thanks for your feedback!

 

--Kaitlyn

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In general, PowerPrep is the best estimation(since it is basically a version of the same GRE you take).

 

In my experience:

Princetion Review and Manhattan prep underestimate both measures.

Barron's overestimate's quant.

No idea about Kaplan, but some experts claim that it's math is not as tough as the actual test.

Let us know your results! :)

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  • 3 weeks later...

You can't beat PowerPrep in terms of realism, because it is real. The only drawback is that there are just 2 lousy tests available. Why just 2? The LSAT has like 100 tests available.

 

Mechanician, I took a Kaplan MST, and I think you might be right about the math, or at least in stage 1.

 

Kaitlynlea, I agree. Triage is a game changer. I think if everyone knew about it, it would blow the curve.

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Powerprep is quite accurate, so it s best to use it 1 mid-way through preparation to see how you re doing and one close to the exam to brush up on the last remaining points. Kaplan s math is just too easy, it s nothing like the real test , and their verbal is sometimes poorly justified so I found it annoying to work with. Still, good practice as it forces you to think about the questions.

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Powerprep is quite accurate, so it s best to use it 1 mid-way through preparation to see how you re doing and one close to the exam to brush up on the last remaining points. Kaplan s math is just too easy, it s nothing like the real test , and their verbal is sometimes poorly justified so I found it annoying to work with. Still, good practice as it forces you to think about the questions.

Hi Random_grad,

 

TOTALLY same thought. Some of the Kaplan vocab justifcations are so arbitrary as to be totally unreasonable. There was one in particular that involved incredibly detailed knowledge of ancient history to get...something to do with Alexander the Great and the Gordian knot. It's in the Kaplan Verbal guide. Ridiculous. I'm still just prepping for the GRE myself and I can tell that real GRE questions would never do that. The real GRE tests context more so than raw vocab, and knowing that has made a big difference. Kaplan doesn't really seem to get that IMO.

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@adamski,

Well, the gordian knot is a pretty standard cultural reference that might appear on the exam. What I meant was that sometimes Kaplan would have 2 very similar options which both fit and they just twost their justification into fitting their pick.

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