Before fighter pilots ever step into the cockpit of an airplane, they step into a simulator first. It flies just like the real thing, but a person’s life and a few million dollar piece of equipment are not at stake if the pilot goes down in flames. In the same way, preparing for the Graduate Record Examinations otherwise known as the GRE General test with a realistic GRE test simulator will insure that you know exactly what to expect when you arrive to take your GRE.
So many test takers believe that question type and subject content drilling is the best way to prepare for the GRE. This could not be more false. If you knew exactly what the test was evaluating and how it accomplishes that, you would agree that a realistic GRE test simulator is the best way to prepare for the GRE test.
The GRE is not specifically evaluating your knowledge of a subject. It is, however, evaluating your ability to think under pressure and find solutions with the material you are given. This kind of evaluation is performed under pressure for a grueling 3.5 hours where the subject matter is constantly changing and your brain is being made to constantly change gears. This isn’t grade school testing anymore. I don’t care how many past GRE test questions you study, you will never be prepared studying that way for the GRE.
The GRE is a computer adaptive test with a unique scoring algorithm. That means that the computer adjusts the test with each question you answer. If you answer a question correctly, it makes the next question more difficult and adjusts your scoring up accordingly. Likewise, if you answer incorrectly, it will make the next question a little easier and adjust your scoring down accordingly. The scoring algorithm gives different weight to different questions based on your performance and by the time you answer the last question, it has adjusted itself so that your scoring comes out completely equated to your performance abilities.
You absolutely cannot duplicate that kind of experience by studying all the past GRE questions and going over subject material, even though it is important to study for your specific subject. That’s not what is being said here. If you plan on entering business school, you should prepare yourself by studying the math and verbal material from which GRE questions are derived. But, you will be walking into the test blind if that is the only way you prepare for the GRE and that is what is being said here.
You should practice taking the test under conditions that simulate the actual testing experience. The time it takes to take the test and the format for which you take the test are all new to you unless you have taken the test before. When the time starts to run out, the timer starts blinking at the five minute mark. This of itself is a distraction. But, you can manage to finish the test and answer all the questions as accurately as possible. That is if you are ready for it and you know that it’s coming. If you have taken an accurate GRE test simulator, this moment won’t be so stressful to you.
An accurate GRE test simulator will present questions to you in the same manner the actual test does. The questions should get increasingly more difficult until your performance levels out and the GRE scoring algorithm has properly assessed your abilities. You would have to agree that testing under these conditions would more accurately prepare you to know exactly what to expect in the actual GRE test.
Even though the GRE is not the only deciding factor for getting you into the graduate institution of your choice, it is important that you perform at your best. You can study all the past questions that you want and you can study the subject material until your head literally explodes. But, you will never be prepared until you have practiced testing under the same testing conditions as the actual GRE. That is an undisputable fact.