Many schools require minimum GRE scores for graduate school candidates. If you want to improve your chances of getting into the schools you select, estimating your scores ahead of time will let you compare your estimated score to the minimum and average scores of other candidates accepted into the university.
Paper-Based Practice Test
Take the paper-based practice test offered by ETS before you begin your study regimen. ETS provides prospective test-takers with only one paper test. Most test-takers take the GRE using the adaptive computer-based test. Whether you plan to take a paper test or live in an area where ETS doesn't offer the computer-based test, use the paper test to give you an idea of what to study. After taking the test, review your answers. Concentrate on your weak areas during your study session.
Computer-Based Practice Test
ETS offers the POWERPREP software to GRE test-takers to practice for and estimate the score you might receive on the GRE. The software prepares you to take the test by giving you an overview of the test design and question types. It also provides test-taking strategies and a guide to the scoring system. Take one of the two computer-based tests after you complete your initial study cycle for the exam. The score you receive will give you an estimate of your actual GRE score. Save the other computer-based test until after you've done more studying, to see whether your score improves before you take the real test.
When you decide to take the practice test, make sure that your environment closely matches the actual testing environment. Keep the room quiet and at a moderate temperature. Make sure you sit at a desk while taking the desk to most closely imitate the actual testing environment. Give yourself four hours to complete the entire test, with a 10-minute break after the third section. The Analytical Writing section gives you 30 minutes per task. The Verbal Reasoning and Quantitative Reasoning sections allot 30 and 35 minutes, respectively.
If possible, get a friend to act as the proctor. Ask him to read the directions and time you. Instruct your friend to inform you when it's time to stop working and then move on to the next section when taking the paper-based test. For the computer test, rely upon the computer timer to keep yourself on track. Remember that the test adapts to your answers. When you get a question correct, the next question becomes harder.
- Educational Testing Service: Computer-Based GRE® Revised General Test Content and Structure
- Educational Testing Service: Frequently Asked Questions About the GRE® Revised General Test
- Educational Testing Service: Understanding Your Scores
- Educational Testing Service: Prepare for the GRE® Revised General Test
- Educational Testing Service: POWERPREP® II, Version 2.0 Software -- Preparation for the Computer-Based GRE® Revised General Test
Avery Martin holds a Bachelor of Music in opera performance and a Bachelor of Arts in East Asian studies. As a professional writer, she has written for Education.com, Samsung and IBM. Martin contributed English translations for a collection of Japanese poems by Misuzu Kaneko. She has worked as an educator in Japan, and she runs a private voice studio out of her home. She writes about education, music and travel.