|Brian R. McElroy at 2017-04-11 10:07:05
UPDATE 6/21/16: Check out my detailed guide to navigating the GRE Powerprep II Software.
UPDATE 7/28/16: Check out these free explanations to the first 40 multiple-choice questions of the PowerPrep software.
Your score on Timed Practice Test #1 is your baseline score. If your initial score is low, don’t worry—you haven’t started preparing yet. If for some reason you’re not yet comfortable taking the first practice test, then switch steps #2 and #1. Save the other PowerPrep test and take it as your final practice test shortly before your test date.
Quick tip: If you choose to write the essay, then please be warned that the GRE Prep software has a bad reputation for swallowing up test-takers' essays--the software is a bit clunky, and for some reason, after you write them they have a tendency to disappear. So I strongly recommend that you write your essays on an outside word processor where your work can be saved as a backup, or at least make sure to cut-and-paste the text of your essay into a text document when you are done.
If you are considering taking the paper-based test, then you don't need to worry about the PowerPrep software. Instead, you should download and print the current paper-based GRE as well as the old one. (These questions overlap with the PowerPrep II questions.)
Yes, you can still feel free to print out and use these PDFs, even if you are planning to take the computer test, like 98% of GRE test-takers. However, I recommend that you don't try any of the questions from the PDFs before taking the PowerPrep CATs, or else some of the PowerPrep questions will be familiar, thus making the test's score prediction unreliable.
Curious to find out how you can get the most out of your 2 free GRE PowerPrep Tests by re-taking them in order to access the "hidden sections"? Did you know, for example, that there are twice as many questions on the PowerPrep software as there are on any given test? For more information, check out this blog by me: Brian's GRE Powerprep Score Simulations and Analyses
2) Purchase one, preferably two (the second copy should be left blank) of the Official Guide to the GRE, or (even better!) the Official GRE Super Power Pack. These books contain invaluable practice problems, information, and two additional paper tests (in addition to a CD-ROM containing the exact same PowerPrep software mentioned in step 1. Start working through these books from front to back. If you get stuck on something, just mark the page and move on. The idea is to get yourself familiarized with the test as much as you can before you start taking a class or working with a tutor. I would also strongly recommend the Manhattan Prep 5-lb book of GRE Practice Questions, which does not include real GRE questions but is an excellent resource for practicing specific types of GRE skills, and GRE Prep by Magoosh as an all-in-one strategy guide for the GRE.
5) Explore the free online resources from ETS, which are quite extensive. They even include a list of all possible issue essay topics and argument essay topics that could show up on the test, for example. Below is a selection of some of the most useful links.
Working with a private tutor--either in-person or online via Skype--is the very best way to maximize your score, for a variety of reasons:
1) You are given personalized attention, lessons tailored to fit your schedule, and the opportunity to discuss each question in-depth until you are fully satisfied.
Besides, thanks to the new ScoreSelect option, you may now take the GRE as many times as you want (up to five times a year), without your lower scores being seen by anyone but you. In a nutshell, ScoreSelect allows you to choose which scores you want to send to graduate programs, and which scores you want to hide from view, which takes away some of the pressure on test day, and gives you the option of taking the GRE multiple times to achieve your optimum score.
Homework and Practice Tests - Rules, Tips and Suggestions (and the art of Blind Repetition)