Practice test is the most important tool to gauge your GRE preparation. But, regrettably, many of the full length GRE practice tests fails to estimate your performance accurately. Other than the ETS GRE Power Prep II, most of the full length online test will either overestimate your score or under-predict it. Apart from that if you practice with a low-quality GRE practice test, you can end up lowering your GRE skills by neglecting the actual test materials that you should be studying. Therefore, it is critical to practice with the right test materials. In this article, Grad Bunker has compiled all the best free GRE practice test for you to take right before your exam.
Why should you take practice tests:
Abraham Lincoln was quoted as saying
“ Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.”
You can be the strongest lumberjack in the world, but with a dull axe, you are in trouble!
So as true for GRE. Many of the test takers fail to get their dream score because the do not take their practice test too seriously. They work hard while preparing. But when it is the time to take the mock test they barely take it seriously. Taking multiple mock tests before your sit for your actual exam, will make you fully prepared for the test. In general, practice tests are helpful for:
- Figuring out your current scoring level
- Developing your mental stamina and perfecting your timing
- Analyzing your strengths and weakness so that you can prepare accordingly
Features of a good GRE practice test:
There is no good GRE practice test other than ETS Power Prep II which can accurately predict your score for the real exam. And, not all of the available practice tests can maintain the ETS standard in terms of difficulty level. However, a good practice test should have the following qualities:
- High-Quality Questions: The practice questions should reflect the same difficulty level similar to what you will encounter in the real GRE. The questions should be worded similarly and test the same concepts. You might see much tougher questions in the practice test which is completely OK, but do not settle down with easy questions. It will make you under-prepared for the real exam.
- Has Similar Adaptability : GRE is section adaptive. Your performance of the first verbal and quantitative sections dictates the difficulty level of the second verbal and quantitative sections. ETS spent tons of money to develop such algorithm for designing it’s adaptive test. You can not just expect to have a similar algorithm from the other free/paid test platforms. So, the mock test that you will take may or may not have the same adaptability. But they will try to estimate your score within a range.
- Provide In-depth Answer Explanations: GRE questions are not hard. They are just tricky enough to bamboozle you during the real exam day. So you need to learn all the different types of tricks to solve the different questions. Therefore, the answer explanations of that practice test should be detailed. They should provide all the clues to make you understand and prepare you to solve similar types of questions.
The Best Free GRE Practice Tests:
PowerPrep II: It is considered as the holy grail for mock test. Because it is made by the same people who make the actual GRE. You should download it to get access to two complete practice GREs. These are official practice tests which means they have the same format, content, timing and most of all the difficulty level will be exactly same as the real GRE. It provides only the answer key, no explanations – that’s the only con.
Manhattan Prep Free GRE Practice Test: It is one of the best unofficial free GRE practice test. However, you can also buy six practice test for just $49 if you can afford. But, beforehand, you can try the free practice test. The practice questions are of good-quality and the exam section is adaptive. The good thing is that Manhattan provides in-depth answer explanations for the questions. You just need to create a Manhattan Prep account to access the test.
Princeton Review Free GRE Practice Test: Princeton offers only one GRE practice test for free. You need to create an account to access the test, but you will have free access only for 14 days. Questions are somewhat similar to real GRE, except a few which seems much easier then the real exams. The major issue is that you will not be able to look at the questions again, and no answer explanations are provided.
Kaplan Free GRE Practice Test: Kaplan provides you a good unofficial free practice test with similar types of questions you will see on real GRE. Once you finish the test, you will get detailed analysis of individual sections and topics that you aced and identify the areas that you need to work on to improve. However, you may find some questions that are a bit off.
McGraw Hill Free GRE Practice Test: It provides high quality questions and robust answer explanations. You can access to the test without creating an account.
Economist GRE Tutor: Just sign up for a free 7-day trial account, and you will get access to one free GRE practice test. The questions are obviously unofficial, but their test makers have done a pretty good job in designing quality questions.
When you should take these practice tests?:
The sole purpose of giving mock test is to identify your strength and weakness. You should know the area that you already mastered, where you are lagging, where you are taking more time to get the answer and where you are failing. Therefore, it is critical to take the practice tests effectively while you prepare.
Grad Bunker suggests you to take a full length test at very beginning of your study. The purpose of this test is not see how well you do rather the goal is to find your strengths and weakness, and devise a study plan accordingly. You may take the unofficial test from Manhattan and prepare your perfect study plan based on the analysis report so that you can devote more time to the topics in which you are frequently going wrong or you are not confident about.
After that we assume you are taking two to three months to prepare for the real exam, and once you are done with the initial phase of your preparation and have a good grip on solving the problems, you should take one test from PowerPrep II. It will help you gauge your performance for both verbal and quant.
One month before your GRE exam:
Take at least 2 weeks to work on your weakness and hone your strengths. After that, you should take the rest of the mock tests and review the incorrectly answered questions carefully so that you do not keep making the same mistakes.
Grad Bunker strongly suggests to take at least 5 full length tests before you sit for your real exam. And during the last week before the actual test day, take the PowerPrep II test. Since it is an official test, it will give you a close prediction about your score that you might score in the real GRE.
You should take the practice tests timed and in one sitting in the same manner that you will take the actual test. This will help you to habituate with the longer during exam.
Disclaimer: No A.I. was used to generate any portion of this content.