GRE Preparation - Free Practice Tests
Manhattan Review provides one free practice test to all GRE students, in order to help them gauge their abilities and organize a study plan that will help them prepare efficiently and get a top score on test day. In order to be provided access to our free GRE General Test, click the link "GRE FREE Diagnostic Test", submit your information, and then follow the instructions we send you in order to take your free test.
The practice test that we provide you is computer adaptive, just like the testing program used by the Education Testing Service (adminstrators of the GRE). The test is adaptive on a section-by-section basis. This means that the first math and verbal sections are of average difficulty, with a mix of easy and difficult questions. After completion of the first section, the test program assembles the second section based on first section performance. Students who perform well on their first Verbal and Quantitative section will "level up" and face a more difficult second section.
The test program assembles the second test section by selecting from a large pool of questions with varying difficulty levels. Even students who take the GRE on the same day may face very different tests because of the adaptation, and of course students who take the test on different days will face even more different questions. To compensate for this variation in difficulty level, the test calculates the overall difficulty level of the exam and gives higher scores to more difficult exams. Specifically, your "raw score" (the number of questions you answered correctly) will be converted into a "scaled score" in a process called "equating". The practice test that we provide will work in exactly the same way, giving you a reliable indicator of how you will perform on test day as well as a chance to find potential areas of improvement.
Choosing a Target Score
One of the first components of a successful study strategy is to choose a target score, to give yourself a benchmark to motivate your study preparations. Choosing a target score is a task for the student, based on their own performance, their availability and willingness to study for the test, and the requirements of the graduate programs where they hope to matriculate. GRE practice tests are a critical component to using your target score effectively: they give you an initial indication of what might be realistic, allow you to monitor your progress as you continue to study and improve, and they are themselves an excellent form of preparation for the test.
Strengths and Weaknesses
After you have chosen your target score, the next crucial stage in preparation is identifying your strengths and weaknesses on the test. The free online test will make it easy for you to review your performance. The answer key offers detailed explanations of each solution, to help you with your studying. Even the essay section of the test will be graded by a computer program, similar to the one used by ETS, which offers feedback about how to maximize your writing score.
For the purposes of your test preparation, it is most important to identify your weaknesses. After each practice test you can review your answers, including the amount of time spent on each question. This data gives you the opportunity to expose content areas or problem solving techniques that you do not yet understand, or to identify sections of the test where you are spending too much time solving problems. Once you know your weaknesses, you can organize your studies and dedicate your time to strengthening the skills you need to improve your scores.
Although weaknesses are most useful to identify during test preparation, on test day itself it is also beneficial to have a solid understanding of what question types you excel at. The GRE computer testing program makes it easy to skip questions and complete them at the end of the section. If you are pressed for time, it is best to focus on the questions that you can answer most quickly and accurately, saving more difficult problems for the end.
GRE vs. GMAT
If you are unsure whether the GRE is the right test for you, it is possible to take practice tests of different graduate exams to help decide which exam to take. Manhattan Review offers free online computer-adaptive exams for both the GRE and the GMAT. While the GMAT is used as an admissions benchmark exclusively for business schools, the GRE is used for a variety of graduate programs, including an increasing number of business schools. The GRE and the GMAT are fairly similar, and score comparison tools exist (although the test administrators emphasizes that the two tests measure different things). The GRE is reputed to have an easier quantitative section and a more difficult verbal section than the GMAT. Generally, this makes the GRE an easier test for students who have a thorough understanding of the English language and a strong undergraduate education, but a more difficult test to achieve substantial score improvements on. Taking a practice exam of both the GRE and the GMAT is the best way to get a sense of what the tests are like, and which exam might be a better fit for your educational background, needs, and priorities.