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Free GRE Practice Test Resources (Guaranteed to Improve Your Score)

So you want to take the GRE test! Or rather, you’re planning on taking the GRE—it’s not always the same thing. A fair number of people would take their chances with a carnival dunk tank full of piranhas rather than spend four hours on a grad school test. It’s human nature! (Test anxiety, that is. I don’t know who would put piranhas in a dunk tank.)

The good news, and there’s a lot of it, is that you can minimize your test anxiety and boost your score—within the next half hour. And I’m not selling you snake oil, either. Instead, I’m about to familiarize you with the best tool in your test-taking arsenal: the GRE practice test.

Taking a GRE practice test not only teaches you what to expect from the test in terms of form and content, but it also ends up being a huge time-saver on test day. Why? Because once you’re familiar with the (sometimes) labyrinthine instruction format, you’re good to go. You’ll never have to read those instructions again. Given the time pressure you’ll face on the GRE, this is a big chunk of point-earning time you’ll redeem for free.

What are some other benefits to taking a GRE practice test? You’ll be able to figure out exactly how to study: the subjects you need to brush up on, the question formats you need to master, and the best ways to spend your time on the test.

With all of that awesomeness in mind, let’s take a look at full-length GRE practice tests. In this post, we’ll:

  • Go into greater depth about why they’re necessary.
  • Offer you the chance to take a GRE diagnostic right here and now so you know exactly what your next steps are.
  • Provide you with free GRE practice to sharpen your skills even further (and point you to the best places to find all you could ever need before test day).

Ready to walk away from those piranhas now? I thought so!

TABLE OF CONTENTS

gre practice testsgre verbal diagnostic gre quant diagnosticgood gre practice versus bad gre practicewhere to find the best gre practice tests

 
how to take a full-length gre sample testgre practice test tipsgre diagnostic takeawaymagoosh gre practice test

 

Why You Must Take GRE Practice Tests

gre practice tests So I haven’t convinced you yet that you absolutely have to take GRE practice tests in order to succeed on the exam, eh? I get it—maybe you’re a seasoned test-taker and think you’ve got this under control. Or maybe you’ve never seen the GRE but look back fondly on your SAT scores, thinking, GRE? NBD.

But actually, no matter where you are in the GRE prep process, practice is really important, and taking a GRE diagnostic test is vital. For every single GRE test-taker (including you!).

If you’re planning to take the GRE, you’ll fall into one of the following categories:

  1. Beginner: You’re just beginning your GRE prep and need solid diagnostic resources.
  2. Intermediate: You’ve already started prep and need to move beyond the basics and monitor your progress.
  3. Advanced: You know a lot about the GRE (maybe you’re studying for a retake) and need advanced practice.

Each of these categories comes with its own unique challenges. Beginners might feel either overconfident, never having seen the test before and thinking it’s just a version of a college admissions test like the ACT or SAT. Intermediate GRE preppers may think they’ve done enough—or maybe they’ve run out of quality resources and don’t think there’s anything more they can do. And advanced GRE test-takers can definitely feel like they’re at the end of the road, materials-wise, and may have hit a plateau, which can be discouraging.

Attitudes towards GRE practice tests and GRE practice can also be attributed to score goals. You might be an advanced GRE practicer who’s more than 20 points away from your score goal, which (especially given the above conditions), can be incredibly frustrating. You might be an intermediate prepper who just can’t seem to get those last 5 or 10 points you need to be a competitive candidate for your dream programs.

What should you do? Take a GRE practice test.

Beginners, you need to know what the test looks like and how you’ll approach it (hint: it’s way harder than the SAT). Intermediates, you need to figure out the areas where you can boost your scores even higher. Advanced preppers, you too need to look at these areas—but you also need to look at how you’re approaching these questions, because finding better GRE prep materials can help you change your approach and break through to the next level.

Not sure whether you’re a beginner, intermediate, or advanced GRE student? Don’t worry—labeling levels of understanding is not a straightforward process. Just ask Magoosh student @AvolynFisher:

Here’s the thing—no matter where you are in your GRE prep journey, the key to breaking through every single one of the situations listed above is to take a GRE practice test.

But knowing your prep level can be helpful in understanding how to get the most out of your practice tests. And we have a method to help determine how much more prep you need to reach your goal!

Free GRE Diagnostic Test

gre verbal diagnostic gre quant diagnostic So no matter how much you’ve already prepped, it’s important to find out how prepared you are right now for each multiple-choice section of the GRE. That’s why we’ve crafted this two-part GRE diagnostic exam for your edification!

Follow each link below to the corresponding quiz. This is one of the best GRE diagnostic tests out there, because it’s brief (10 questions per section), yet accurate at determining your strengths and weaknesses for the official exam.

And now, with no further ado, your GRE diagnostics!

When you’re done taking the each section of the GRE diagnostic test, Magoosh will explain your level of GRE preparedness (but won’t offer a full score). We suggest saving your results as a GRE diagnostic test PDF so that you can return to them as you plan out your practice going forward.

I know: there’s no AWA diagnostic test here. That’s because a) most programs will care far less about your AWA than your multiple-choice scores, and b) hand-grading is really important for AWAs. With that said, you should definitely practice for the AWA, at least a little, and find a trusted grading partner to help you score your essays. If you’re willing to shell out $13, ETS will actually score two of your essays, though there are definitely other options available, including smart self-scoring.

If you want to take a full-length GRE practice test right now, sign up for a 7-day free Magoosh trial to get access to our expertly written tests with extensive feedback and additional practice!

Good vs Bad GRE Practice

good gre practice versus bad gre practice Here’s the basic, yet often overlooked key to raising your GRE score: practice doesn’t make perfect. Good GRE practice makes perfect.

What do I mean by “good GRE practice?” I mean studying with questions that are exactly like those you’ll find on test day in both form and content. I mean taking GRE practice tests that have answers and explanations that actually teach you how to do better next time. I mean official (and official-like) practice. For an example, take a look at some Magoosh GRE Math Practice Questions.

Good GRE Practice: The Official

So where can you find a free GRE practice test online (full-length)? Several places, including the test-maker’s website. The importance of official practice, or practice released by the test-maker (in this case, ETS), can’t be overstated. These questions are the real deal. They may be cribbed from former tests or written by the same staff who write the questions for the Official Guide; in either case, practicing with them and then studying your answers will lead to score improvement.

Good GRE Practice: Elsewhere

Studying with bad questions (un-test-like, or even good questions with bad explanations) won’t properly prepare you for the test. And surprisingly, given the mountains of GRE prep material that are out there, good GRE questions are hard to find!

With the caveat that official practice is always the best, we know that it’s limited, too. There aren’t an infinite number of official problems you can solve. Even if there were, who could pay for them? That’s why it’s important to find rigorously developed prep questions.

For example, Magoosh uses the same process as the ETS to develop our practice test questions, basing our GRE practice tests and practice problems on data, rather than instinct (although we think our test prep experts have some of the best/nerdiest instincts in the industry). You can find out more about the Magoosh GRE practice test development process below. We also like to recommend Manhattan’s material, for students who are looking for even more good practice.

Where to Find the Best Free GRE Practice

where to find the best gre practice tests Whew! Now that you’ve done some GRE sample questions and even taken our mini GRE Diagnostic Test, you know that you need to explore some more online resources to build up the best toolbox of GRE practice questions.

But…where can you find these resources?

As we’ve already seen, the official ETS resources (also known as the free Powerprep practice tests) are the best place to start. The ETS GRE practice tests are free. They’re from the test-maker. This is a top-notch resource. Once you’ve finished those, though, or if you want to save them for closer to test day to make sure you have near-perfect predictions of your scores, where can you turn for more free GRE practice questions, tests, and resources?

  • Manhattan GRE Prep offers a free GRE practice test.
  • Magoosh’s GRE Vocabulary Flashcards help you master more than 1,000 GRE vocab words. Available as an app or on your desktop, they’re a great companion to Magoosh’s extensive library of GRE video lessons!
  • Khan Academy is an amazing resource, particularly when you need a refresher on particular math or verbal concepts. No, there isn’t any specific section for the GRE, but once you’ve completed a practice test or two, search the site for concepts that are giving you trouble, and chances are you’ll find a video that spells out exactly how to attack the problem type that’s troubling you.
  • The ETS…again! In this case, the ETS offers unparalleled access to their actual Argument and Issue Essay Topic Pools. That’s right: you will see one of these topics on your actual exam. That means that when you practice writing AWAs, you should absolutely be using these topics—maybe your practice essay topic will be one that you see on test day! And even if not, you know it is exactly like what you’ll see on your test.

The Best GRE Practice Tests Money Can Buy

The problem with free practice tests, however, is that they can only take you so far. This is particularly true if you’re prepping for a long time. Very few companies can afford to release high-quality materials at a low cost, which is why a lot of the “free GRE practice tests” you’ll find tend to be sloppy in some regard (confusing explanations, if there even are any, questions that don’t mirror what you’ll see on test day…).

With that in mind, you’ll probably want to consider purchasing high-quality tests, both online and in books, especially if you have more than a few weeks to prep.

Magoosh’s Online GRE Prep

One way to access some great GRE practice exams? You can sign up for Magoosh GRE to get access to our pool of full-length practice tests. Even if you’re only worried about taking, for example, a GRE math practice test, you can adapt Magoosh resources to help you prep for exactly what you need.

How? So, you sign up for your account. Log in. You’ll see a menu item labeled “Practice” on your dashboard, as in the image below, and you can choose to take a full practice test or start a shorter, customizable practice session:
 
Magoosh GRE Practice Test
 

To review your tests, click “Review,” then filter your results using a variety of criteria, or scroll down to view a summary of your past practice sessions. You can also see your past test results in the Magoosh GRE Prep & Practice app!

There are a few things to keep in mind with Magoosh’s tests. We don’t grade your writing (but we do give pointers on how to get your writing graded, as we mentioned earlier in the post). We also don’t give you an “experimental” section, as ETS will on test day. What this means is that you’ll see four sections (two math and two verbal), rather than five sections, as you will on test day.

As you can learn in the bonus section at the end of this post, we constantly use data to evaluate the efficacy of our GRE questions, and we base our score estimates on past clients’ scores on the official exam. (Our students score an average of 6 points higher than the average GRE-taker in each multiple-choice section—that’s a 12-point boost in your score! Plus, twenty percent of Magoosh students score in the top 10 percentile on the GRE, and we have 18 alumni with perfect scores. How’s that for incentive to learn more?)

Books with the Best GRE Practice Tests

best gre book For a lot of students, supplementing online practice with good old-fashioned book learnin’ can be a winning combo. Even I admit that staring at a screen all day isn’t good for you!

You can never go wrong with ETS, which not only publishes The Official Guide to the GRE Revised General Test, 2nd Edition, but also the Official GRE Verbal Reasoning Practice Questions & Official GRE Quantitative Reasoning Practice Questions, as well as Practicing to Take the GRE General Test, 10th Edition.

And, if you want another chance to experience that fresh, new-book smell, check out GRE Prep by Magoosh. Not only does it have a full-length, expertly written GRE practice test, with answer key and excellent explanations, but it also contains a coupon for 20% off the full online GRE prep course. Not too shabby! (It also comes in eBook form, but it won’t have that woodsy smell.)

Other Options

Once you’ve exhausted these superlative options, there’s definitely no dearth of GRE prep books out there. For advice on what to buy, what to leave, and what to run screaming away from, check out the Best GRE Books as reviewed by our resident GRE expert, Chris Lele! Chris not only reviews them, but also ranks the value and quality of their practice tests in the above post. Some of his favorites include:

  • Barron’s
  • Manhattan Review
  • Vibrant
  • Princeton Review
  • McGraw Hill

…among many, many others.

grelearnmore

How to Take a Full-length GRE Sample Test

how to take a full-length gre sample test Now that you know where to find good GRE practice, let’s take a look at how to do good GRE practice. More specifically, we’ll look at how you should take a timed, full-length practice test (it’s actually way different than studying with questions or even question sets!).

When to Take a GRE Practice Test

While your practice test schedule will depend to some extent on your GRE test date, some things are universal. First of all, it’s a good idea to take a full-length GRE diagnostic test right now. While the diagnostic quiz will have given you some sense of how prepared you are for the score you want on the GRE, it’s important to have a full snapshot of your strengths and weaknesses as they are today.

After your initial GRE diagnostic, try to take one GRE practice test a week between now and test day. I know: this can be a lot, particularly if your test day is several months away. However, practice tests are not only the best way to measure your progress, but they’re also the best way to determine how to tweak your GRE studying.

The Importance of Guided Practice

Once you have your GRE practice tests ready to go, start crafting your GRE study plan around your strengths and weaknesses. You can use the free study schedules (as well as more GRE resources!) to address your needs and make sure you cover all the material you need to before test day! (For some quick tips, you can check out the GRE Math Review Quiz and the Top 5 Online Grammar Resources for the GRE!)

GRE Practice Test Tips

gre practice test tips A quick note here that just taking GRE practice exams isn’t enough. Instead, you’ll need to take them under test-like conditions. What do I mean by this? First of all, for each exam, set aside 4 uninterrupted hours to complete the practice test, preferably around the time of day that you’ll be taking the official GRE.

Find a place to work where you won’t be disturbed, preferably where it’s quiet. Turn off your cell phone—no, you know what? Leave it in another room to really minimize temptation. Have a timer handy and don’t forget to restart it for each section (actually, if you can handle having your cell phone or iPad in the same room as you take the test, use the Magoosh Study Timer app, which is pre-programmed to time you for each section of the GRE.

Once you’ve opened the test booklet, be sure to take the entire practice test at one time, rather than attempting different sections at different times. You won’t be able to leave and come back to the test on the official exam, so don’t let yourself do so now or you won’t get an accurate picture of where you are score-wise.

Also, don’t skip the AWA section! While it isn’t as important to most schools as your multiple-choice scores, remember: you’re going to have to get that section squared away on test day, and it can tire you out. You’re not going to get to dive into the multiple-choice questions fresh as a daisy.

Otherwise, take a ten-minute break between the first GRE Verbal section and the second GRE Quant section. No less, no more. And finally, remember to eat healthy snacks before sitting down to practice. Don’t eat during the test, because (all together now!) you won’t be able to on test day.

Takeaway

gre diagnostic takeaway

Taking a GRE practice test is one of the best things you can do for your GRE score—if you do it correctly. The great news is, now you know how to! So dive into your GRE diagnostic and start your free GRE practice today, bearing in mind that the true key to unlocking GRE success is studying those tests and adjusting course accordingly. If you do that? You’ll be golden.
 

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Congrats, Magoosher! You’ve reached the end of our regularly scheduled programming. Stay tuned for an in-depth look at how the Magoosh GRE Experts develop the GRE practice that you’ll find in Magoosh GRE Prep, or click here to return to the Table of Contents.
 


 

Bonus: GRE Practice Test Development, Magoosh-Style

This section is for really committed students who are interested in learning more about Magoosh GRE prep! Jump back up to the Table of Contents if you’re not yet interested in learning more.

magoosh gre practice test In case you’re wondering how we develop our GRE test and practice questions here at Magoosh, we thought we’d give you an overview of the development process.

  1. First, we use data from previous GRE tests to drive the creation of our practice questions. What do they test? How do they test it? What’s changing?
  2. We elicit feedback, both from our students’ data (and comments!) and our remote GRE tutors, so that we know what’s working and what’s not.
  3. Based on the first two steps, our experts improve or remove questions from the bank as required.
  4. Lather, rinse, repeat. We’re constantly evolving our product and questions, just as ETS does. However, we have the added benefit of data-driven feedback, whereas ETS focuses on using data primarily for question creation.

You can see our data-usage in practice with the following GRE practice question. Take a look:

 

This is what you’ll see in your Magoosh practice session:

 

free gre practice - magoosh

 

But behind the scenes, here’s what’s going on. We check out how long it takes students, on average, to answer this question:

 

gre diagnostic magoosh

 

We check out how many students get it right (here, it’s about 45%—this is a tough question!), and we look at exactly which answers our students are choosing, correct and incorrect:

 

gre practice test magoosh 2

 

As you can see, our data tells us how many of our students are answering each question correctly. Too many, and we know it’s too easy. Too few, and we know it’s too hard. We’re constantly working to hit that GRE sweet spot!

Please feel free to let us know if you have any questions about Magoosh GRE Prep, or anything else you read about in this post, by leaving us a comment below. We’ll be happy to respond to you! Or, if you’re ready to start studying, click the “Learn More” button go check out our different GRE prep plans.

Happy Studying!

Click here to return to the Table of Contents.

grelearnmore

 

Magoosh students score 12 points better than average on the GRE. Click here to  learn more!

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