Saturday, November 14, 2009

Second GRE Practice Test

Note: I am not reporting the results of pencil and paper tests, only the computer adaptive tests, as this is most similar to the actual GRE.

I unfortunately was unable to take my second practice test earlier this week due to a combination of being ill and needing more sleep followed by a technical problem at the Princeton Review site. However, I did finally take it late tonight.

Before I tell you the bottom line, let me say a few things:
1. I am relieved my score went up even after a week of variable studying.
2. I am pretty bummed it didn't go up more in quantitative.
3. I am a little bummed it didn't go up more in verbal, especially given the delay in taking the test, but I still surpassed my goal of improvement for the second test.
4. I feel better about the essays I wrote this time, the only ungraded part of the practice test.

But most importantly, what it came down to in my quantitative score was pacing. I had a 570 at one point and a 530 just before time ran out. Having not yet answered seven questions, my scored plummeted to 450! Most of my wrong answers on math I got by rushing those final questions. I missed only two problems through question 12, but it went downhill from there. I actually wasted a lot of time on one question due to not reading it through carefully the first time. Also, it didn't help that my daughter woke up in the middle of the math section and started talking to me.

My score:
Quantitative: 450
Verbal: 630

Total: 1080 (just slightly better than my "realistic goal of improvement")

I did much better on reading comprehension, which boosted my scores, but the questions I missed were due to rushing at the end (my pacing was messed up when my final sets of questions were unexpectedly reading comprehension, which always takes me longer).

Practice is good even though it always terrifies me. I just have to keep plugging away. Only 9 more days! Yikes!

My minimum goal for the next test is a 645 verbal and a 500 quantitative, which puts me just 55 total points away from my absolute minimum target on test day (I'd set my aim higher if I could, but I want to be realistic about my time constraints).


  1. Nice improvement! That's interesting that your practice tests give you a running score total, mine did not. I wonder how the practice tests will compare to the real deal.

  2. Thanks! Sometimes I think it is a fluke, and sometimes I think I actually am getting better at taking the test.

    So much of the test seems like luck of the draw to me.

    Anyway, I have the option of being able to see the running score or not during my tests. I don't think there is a running score on the real test.

    With this test, I felt I was doing really poorly on the verbal section, and then I saw the running score box and at that point I was at 670 or something, so I was able to keep my momentum. It was good to have a reminder that how I feel during the test doesn't necessarily reflect reality.