UPDATE 5/30/13: Starting July 2013, ETS will offer the PowerPrep II for the Mac. This is exciting news for Mac users. If you are Mac-user reading this, and you plan on taking the GRE before July, then the post below is still relevant, especially the “What am I going to do?” section.
With the Mac fast becoming the laptop darling of most college bound students one would think that ETS had long ago made all of its free online offerings Mac compatible. The short response: It hasn’t.
Curiously, Powerprep II, ETS’s free online GRE test, is not available for Macs. And despite Apple’s relentless ascendancy, ETS has no plans to make PowerPrep available for download on Macs.
Why would ETS do this?
I think the keyword here is ‘free.’ ETS has created a product – Powerprep I (for the old GRE) and PowerPrep II (for the new GRE)—and probably feels that it has nothing to gain from creating a Mac compatible test. Of course, it could make the test Mac compatible and charge users a nominal fee. Such a move would likely be very profitable. Nevertheless, ETS does not appear to be offering the test for the MAC – either paid or unpaid – for the foreseeable future.
What about the CD that comes with the book? Will that work on my Mac?
Surely, ETS would have made a Mac compatible CD. That can’t be too difficult? Again, Apple doesn’t really have much to gain financially, even though one could argue that if ETS made the CD Mac-accessible, then more people (read: Mac users) would buy the book. My cynical retort: Mac users assume that the CD will work on their computers.
Simply put: the PowerPrep II test is not available—and at this rate probably never will be available—for the Mac.
What am I going to do?!?
The answer to this question used to be very reasonable. I would tell students: “Borrow a friend’s or family member’s.” However, I have had two students who literally knew nobody who owned a non-Apple computer. In the end, both students had to take an on-line GRE test in the library (despite being kicked off multiple times by officious assistants).
But if you have access to a PC, then cajole your friend or family member into lending you their PCs for a bit. Insist if you have to—taking an actual practice Revised GRE test on a computer is that critical, Mac or no Mac. Another option is to use an online GRE Prep offering such as Magoosh. You can access it through a web-browser and it’s compatible with PCs and Macs. You’ll get an interface similar to that found on the Revised GRE, including an on-screen calculator. And you’ll get video lessons and practice questions on every topic covered on the GRE.
You may also want to try the ETS Paper-based test PDF, which is available for free online, though it won’t give you the computer-based experience that you’ll face on test day. If you do choose to use the Paper-based test, check out the video explanations we’ve recorded for all of those questions.
Let us know about your experience (or lack thereof) with Powerprep on Macs, and any solutions you’ve found!