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How to Study for the GRE (Part III) — The Ugly

Update: This is an older post about books/software for the “Old” GRE. For reviews on study material for the Revised GRE, click here.  

What if the ultimate preparation—The Power Prep software—were only available for certain people? Surely we could cry foul, discrimination, or even worse. Well, mount the rafters and get ready to scream—if you own a Mac you will not be able to use the PowerPrep software. But hold on…it gets worse. If you own a PC, especially a more current model, the chances of the PowerPrep software working are slim.

So dust off that circa 2002 clunker—it may have some use after all. But don’t despair. If you try three PCs there is about a 50% chance one of them will work.

But back to the Apple thing, now that some of us have had time to un-ruffle our feathers. ETS has no plans in the immediate future to make its software compatible on Mac…and this goes for the CD as well, for those who purchased the book.

I’ve had students email ETS and plead; but it, unsurprisingly, has remained intransigent.

But you can come down from the rafters now. There are two ways to deal with this.

1. Ask a friend or family member

We all know many people who own a PC. Some of them also have an old laptop decaying somewhere in a closet.

2. Install a PC environment on your Mac

I’m not a computer person in the advanced sense, so the above trick is beyond my capacity. But those who are good with computers probably know how to pull this off. To the best of my knowledge, it involves running the PC Vista program on a Mac. If any of you could chime in on how to do this, the Magoosh community would be very thankful.


Back to The Good

Not to be overlooked, there are yet other avenues to help simulate the CAT environment. Which brings us back to The Good.

Barron’s has a CD-rom that is Mac compatible. The math is similar to what you’ll see on the test, and is sometimes even harder. The verbal section tends to be easier, but is adequate prep for those looking to crack 500 on verbal.

Finally—and there may be a little bias involved here—I know of a website that allows you to practice under simulated conditions. Better than just the timer, this site also breaks down problems into types, e.g. Algebra, Geometry, Probability, etc. And that’s not all—if you are unsure about anything, each question has a comprehensive video and text explanation. The site? GRE Magoosh.

So to recap: know The Ugly, avoid The Bad, do The Good…and you should walk out of the testing center with a smile on your face.

By the way, students who use Magoosh GRE improve their scores by an average of 8 points on the new scale (150 points on the old scale.) Click here to learn more.

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