What are the Different Types of GRE&Reg; Practice?

Gregory Hanson

Most students planning to take the Graduate Record Examination® test for graduate school choose to spend some time working with written practice questions, computerized sample examinations, or test preparation classes and tutoring. Each of these varieties of GRE® practice has something to recommend it. Cost and time commitment vary widely between the different sorts of GRE® practice, and a student should choose which type or types to pursue based on his or her learning style and financial situation.

Several companies offer GRE practice exams.
Several companies offer GRE practice exams.

Printed or electronic guides are the simplest and least expensive option for GRE® practice. These resources generally consist of a series of tips describing the test, a discussion of tactics and techniques that can prove beneficial to students taking the exam, and a body of sample questions and answers. Students can complete the sample questions and verify their answers. In some cases, this type of preparatory material also includes explanations to show why one answer is correct and others are not as well as general GRE® study tips.

The GRE® is most often administered via computer, and many students find that GRE® practice that mimics the actual experience of taking the test is particularly helpful. Several different companies offer this sort of practice examination. In some cases, this type of practice even includes access to a computer lab similar to those in which the actual exam is administered, so a student can become accustomed to everything that he or she will face on the day of the actual examination. This type of GRE® practice is typically more expensive than a guidebook, but less expensive than personalized or classroom instruction in exam strategies. Some companies may offer free samples of this sort of service.

Many companies offer classroom instruction as a form of GRE® practice. These GRE® classes typically cover both test-taking strategies and some specific questions. This sort of practice is available both virtually and in physical classrooms. Students should generally select the instructional environment that fits best with their own learning styles. This type of instruction often also includes access to other GRE® practice materials, although it does not generally feature much one-on-one time between students and instructors.

Tutoring sessions are generally the most expensive form of GRE® practice, but they offer individual and personalized instruction. Some students find it easier to focus in this environment. This type of practice can also be easily tailored to the particular strengths and weaknesses of a specific student, which can be of great help for students who are either very weak or very strong in certain areas.

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