Practice for the GRE with Free Software

Practice for the GRE with Free SoftwareResources for GRE practice and prep include books, flash cards, and free gre software, including mobile apps.  Each resource has its own specific advantages.In some ways, books are the most flexible resource, because they contain a large amount of information, typically including chapters of content review for each test section, more chapters of example test questions, one or more practice tests, and general information about the test and process of taking the test.  In a prep book, you can cover the information in any order that you want.

GRE Books and Flashcards

A set of flashcards contains a more limited amount of information than most test prep books, but is more portable.  Flashcards provide a unique feed back mechanism for refreshing and reinforcing important concepts.

Although physical books and flashcards are excellent learning tools for the GRE, they cannot fully replicate the experience of taking the real GRE computer-based test.  In order to approximate as closely as possible the feel of the real computer-based test, it’s important to practice with electronic simulations available as mobile apps or other types of software.

GRE Apps and Software

Mobile apps can replicate much of the look and feel of flashcards and books.  Apps that are playable on a smartphone or tablet are as convenient for practicing on the go as conventional flashcards.   The only limitations of apps are the technical limitations (such as battery life) of the mobile device on which they’re played, and the typically more linear navigation patterns (compared to physical books or flashcards).

Besides mobile apps, there are plenty of other types of test prep software available for the GRE.  Some are included on CD as a bonus feature when you purchase a physical test prep book.  Others may be downloaded directly.  One type of software that you should definitely make part of your GRE prep plans is the Powerprep (R) Software that is available for free from the official makers of the GRE.  This official prep software includes 2 full length practice tests that will give you the closest available simulation of what taking the actual computer-based GRE is like.

Since the official GRE prep software only includes 2 practice tests, I’d recommend taking one of those tests early, to see how you score, and then save the other test for later.  Then spend time prepping with review exercises and practice tests available in other prep software, apps, and/or books.  Once you feel you’ve improved and are hitting at or near your target score, take the second official practice test.  That will allow you to confirm whether you're reaching your target score.

Note:  One limitation of GRE Powerprep (R) is that it’s not currently available for Mac OS.  You’ll need a Windows operating system to run the software.

Achieving your target score on the GRE is well worth investing some money in test prep resources.  But it's nice to know that you can enhance your investment with a free resource that gives you a very accurate simulation of the GRE test taking experience.  You can download the PowerPrep (R) software after registering at the official website of Educational Testing Services.


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