- Video explanations for all of the questions in the Paper-based practice test Version 2 PDF are on our YouTube channel here.
- Our Official Guide 2nd edition book review
After a year of no new fresh questions, an entire test paper-based test and a new version of Powerprep II have appeared on the ETS website. For those starving for practice content that is great news. For those who’ve just embarked on their GRE journey, this point may seem trivial. However, in the long run, the new material adds even more questions to the pool – trust me, after months of studying you will have exhausted much of the high quality content out there.
- The new Paper-based Practice Test PDF is entirely new (there’s a link to the old one, for comparison’s sake, on this page).
- The new version of Powerprep has two tests. Test #1 is a repeat of Powerprep II, version 1.0, but Test #2 is all new!
- As was true of the relationship between the old PDF and the old Poweprep test, there is some overlap between Test #2 and the new PDF.
- Also, keep in mind a new edition of the ETS Official Guide is coming out in August as well– we’ll be doing a book review as soon as it’s released, to let you know just how much of it is new and whether it’s worth buying, especially if already own the first edition!
This batch of questions is also notable because it provides us with the first glimpse of recent ETS questions. Of course that does not mean test day the questions will be similar; nonetheless, there are some subtle differences between the questions from last year, differences I believe to be informative (they will definitely inform future questions that I write for Magoosh).
Good news: The vocab is easier. More good news: the syntax does not seem any more twisted then before. The bad news: in some cases the questions are very subtle and finding keywords or clue words is not as easy. My ability to quickly scan for the answer on the more difficult questions was thwarted and I had to spend time really reading every word, trying to piece together the overall meaning. In this sense, some Text Completions felt a lot like puzzles.
Not too much difference here… though I did notice that there were more questions in which pairs of synonyms were used. I remember when I took the test – I could just look for the pair of synonyms and there would be the answer. The old on-line test also had fewer synonym pairs. Meaning you can’t just scan the answer choices and look for the pair of synonym words.
In Reading Comprehension the questions and passages seemed business as usual, except for one major thing. The number of Critical Reasoning questions plummeted drastically. One verbal section only had one critical reasoning question. This is down from the three from the old paper-based test. As to whether this reflects the format of the CAT, I’d be curious to know.
The Quant section was pretty straightforward. No real surprises here: know your basics number properties, basic statistics, and how to approach word problems. Perhaps the only real surprise here was the ease of the questions compared to the last paper-based test/Powerprep test as well as much of the prep material out there. For example, just for fun I took a few Manhattan GRE online tests a couple weeks back (yes, I know one could be envious, wow that’s your job!, or simply find my glee a tad dorky). The questions on the Manhattan GRE were more difficult than the questions in this new batch of material. And Magoosh’s questions can be even more difficult.
Part of me is tempted to believe that the GRE quantitative section really isn’t about convoluted math questions and frightening factorials; it is more about testing your ability to work quickly and accurately in a high-pressure situation.
The more wary part of me, however, does not reach the same conclusion. Could the latest paper-based test be a Trojan Horse, one that ETS has wheeled into our walled garden of prep, lulling us into thinking, hey, this isn’t so bad? Probably. Thus, I would still err on the side of studying difficult questions. Even the Text Completions and reading passages will probably be trickier and longer.
So while all of this new material makes for great practice, do not be lulled into complacency by thinking that the score you receive after either test is the same you will receive test day.