How a GRE Practice Test can Pave the Way for a Perfect GRE Score?
As the adage goes, “practice makes perfect.” This couldn’t be truer than when preparing for the GRE as an international student, and one of the most common ways to do so is by taking multiple GRE mock tests. Taking such exams as part of your GRE preparation journey not only gives you an idea of what to expect on the actual test but also sharpens your skills and points out areas that need improvement, allowing for a focused approach to test-taking. This guide aims to give you a comprehensive understanding of how to take these mock tests, the dos and don’ts while doing so, and how they will benefit you.
What is the GRE Examination?
Let us begin by knowing exactly what the GRE exam actually is! In its essence, the GRE is a standardized test required by many universities in the United States and other countries as part of the application process for graduate programs. Getting a perfect GRE score means proving you’ve got what it takes for grad-level studies by nailing verbal and math reasoning, plus showing off your sharp writing skills. It might sound daunting at first; however, with a proper approach to preparation, anyone can achieve this perfect score.
How is the GRE scored?
After you complete the GRE, you’ll receive three scores: Quantitative Reasoning, Verbal Reasoning, and Analytical Writing. Except for the Analytical Writing section, both the Quantitative Reasoning and Verbal Reasoning sections have a score scale ranging between 130 to 170 in one-point increments. The unofficial scores for both sections will appear on your computer screen immediately after completing the test.
On the other hand, the Analytical Writing section has a score range of 0-6, in half-point increments. Unlike the other two, this score will be available online about 10-15 days after you complete the GRE, along with your official scores for the other two sections. You’ll receive an email telling you to check your My GRE account once they’re available.
Based on data collected by ETS (the organization which develops and administers the GRE), the average scores for the GRE are:
- Verbal Reasoning: 150
- Quantitative Reasoning: 152
- Analytical Writing: 3.6
If you prepare adequately and with the right level of focus, it is extremely easy to not just achieve the aforementioned scores but surpass them.
Why take a GRE practice test?
Now, coming to the main purpose of this article. You might be thinking at this point that preparing for such a clear-cut examination process requires you to solve problems, right? The answer is a definite no on the same. Here are some ways in which a GRE mock test can help international students such as yourself achieve the perfect GRE score:
- Identifying Strengths and Weaknesses: As an international student, you may have strengths and weaknesses that are different from native English speakers due to differences in language and cultural background. A GRE diagnostic test can help international students identify their specific areas of strength and weakness and adjust their study plan accordingly. In the quantitative aspect, giving mock GRE tests is a great way to isolate what you need to work on, whether it be time management or accuracy.
- Diving into a GRE practice test enables you to familiarize with the format, which is key to acing the real deal: The GRE practice test can help you become more familiar with the test format, which is essential for success on the actual test. By practicing with sample questions and timed sections, international students such as yourself can reduce test anxiety and feel more comfortable during the test.
- Practicing Time Management: As we mentioned in the first point itself, time management is a critical skill for success in the GRE, and international students may need more practice in this area due to language barriers. For international students tackling the GRE, mastering a practice exam can be a real score booster.
- Improving English Language Skills: The GRE can be particularly challenging for international students due to the English language requirement. Practicing through mock tests can sharpen both vocab and reading prowess – key elements in acing the exam.
- Boosting Confidence: By taking a GRE mock test and performing well, your confidence will go up, and the test anxiety will lessen over time. Practicing repeatedly primes you to perform sharply when it counts.
Resources for GRE Practice Tests
International students can access several types of GRE practice tests, each with its own benefits and drawbacks. The official ETS practice tests are the most authentic and reliable, as they are created by the same organization that administers the GRE. However, they can be expensive and limited in number.
Another popular option is commercial test prep materials, such as GRE books, online courses, and mobile apps. Commercial GRE preparation materials provide helpful and affordable practice; however, they may not be as closely aligned with the actual GRE test as the official materials.
Online communities, think Reddit or GRE Prep Club, and expert blogs like Magoosh’s offer a treasure trove of practice tests for the GRE preparation. Dive into these forums, and you’ll uncover a goldmine of strategies, wisdom, and support from both seasoned test-takers and professionals. However, you need to be cautious about the quality and accuracy of the information and avoid getting overwhelmed or distracted by too many opinions and perspectives.
To make it easier for you to find out where you stand, we have prepared the Collegepond GRE Diagnostic Test, which is a cost-free resource! This carefully curated test lets you pinpoint your starting point and assess how ready you are for the big day.
How to take a GRE Practice Test?
Taking a GRE practice test requires preparation and strategy to maximize your time and effort. Here are some tips on how to take a practice test effectively:
- Choose a quiet and comfortable location with minimal distractions.
- Use a reliable and secure internet connection.
- Follow the test instructions and timing strictly.
- Use scratch paper and a pencil to work out the math problems and take notes.
- After you tackle a section, take a moment to go over your responses and the reasoning behind them; this way, you’ll pinpoint where you went wrong and what you’re already good at.
- After each section, take a hard look at your responses to figure out what’s clicking and where you need to step up your game.
What Not to Do while giving a GRE Practice Test
There are also things that have to be avoided to make sure that the exercise is not in vain. These errors might seem obvious at first, but in our experience, they are often overlooked and committed by many students over the course of their GRE preparation:
- Make sure not to Google the answers immediately if you don’t know them! Although it might seem like the best way to learn by addressing the doubt immediately, we would suggest you first complete the GRE mock test and then work on the doubts in one go.
- Do not take such tests at home if you know you might be disturbed at any point. We at Collegepond have a dedicated test center where you can take the test with no distractions, so if you cannot create the necessary environment for yourself, you can always just come to us for the same!
- Do not make half-baked attempts at these preparatory tests. Make sure that if you sit for a mock test, attempt it in its entirety to hone your attention span and mental stamina in an exhaustive setting.