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Thread: Power Prep 1 and 2 -- Score Swings

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    Power Prep 1 and 2 -- Score Swings

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    I've noticed a large scoring difference between power prep 1 and power prep 2 -- with PP1 scoring me on both verbal and math an average of 60-80 points higher than PP2. For instance, on PP1, if you get 5 wrong the verbal it's almost impossible to score below 730 -- but on the PP2 you can score as low as 690 (and this is getiting the first 5 questions correct).

    Has anyone else noticed this?

    And how does the real test score compared to PP1 and PP2, somewhere in the middle, I take it?

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    An Urch Guru Pundit Swami Sage
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    First, I am assuming that you are talking about the free software ETS allows you to download?

    If so, if I have Powerprep 1, can I download Powerprep 2 and have them both installed at the same time?

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    dear all,

    I dont know that powerprep has two version.how could u people come to know that it has two version like PP1 and PP2 ?

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    He means there are two practice tests with the software.

    I find test 2 more inclement as well.

    Jive, do you feel there is real merit to the "first 10 question" strategy? In other words, do you think the exam determines the bulk of your score by the first 10 or so questions?

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    Sorry I wasn't clear -- I meant, on the two powerprep tests, as Oldman pointed out.

    As for taking special time on the first ten questions strategy, I think it's a good one. That said, I haven't taken the actual GRE yet, but from what I've seen on the powerprep, it's absolutely vital.

    Here's some of the stuff I've learned in practice. The thing on the verbal is that if you absolutely know the answer for an antonym, don't spend more than a few seconds on it, read all the answers but don't dwell on them. If you don't know the answer, apply some POE strategies from PR and Kaplan but don't waste too much time, because vocab is either you know it or you don't. As for the analogies, I think they can be less cut and dried and you can reason them out more, so I think one should spend a bit more time on them, as well as on the more challenging sentence completions...sentence completions are usually simple, but, as is the case on powerprep, they can throw out some weird stuff as with the PP's "seem as ___ travelers from a distant past." -- just one I remember that takes some serious thinking out.

    And then, with reading comprehension, the first two set of questions (of which there are two in the first set and then three in the second), one should go more slowly on these than one would on the last (third) set. I noticed that by playing around on the verbal that they count far more than the last set of reading comp questions. For instance, I have gotten three wrong total, and when I've gotten two wrong from the last set of rc's, I scored 790 as opposed to 760/770 when I got three wrong from earlier RC questions.

    As for the math, a few days ago I finally hit 700+ (720) on powerprep 1. Last month I've been in the mid 600's. In part, I knew some of the answers having taken it a few times before but mainly it was due to going slowly on the first five questions plus getting lucky on a few difficult questions. (I got 9 wrong to get 720). Given I'd not reached this level before, I was given questions from around question 7 or 8 that I've never seen...so that was a good feeling. Now, I'm in the advanced stage of my math prep and want to give myself a chance at solving some of the harder problems...I do feel as if the 720 may have been a fluke, given I made some random guesses, as well as some decent POE. I gauge my true quant level probably in the high 600's at this time.

    Another general strategy might be try to be as perfect as you can before you see a reading comp on the verbal or a data interpretation on the quantitative -- this means going slowly even on the antonyms that you know are right. I think it is possible that you might see a data interpretation question on the first few questions, but usually they pop up around 12-14 (if powerprep is any indication).

    One thing to note on the verbal as I've seen from powerprep is that if you miss the first few questions and then you start to get "easy" questions, you're in tough shape, because the analogies are not really much easier than the so called "hard analogies" -- at least as far as determining the relationship goes. Ability to encode the meaning of words is what they're out to test at the 'higher level,' not really relationship complexity. I think the ETS psychologists may have determined that it's hard to make an analogy more difficult without making the words more arcane. Analogies are generally hard for everyone -- even those with huge vocabularies. That's one thing about the verbal, is that theoretically, both encoding and "educing relationships" exist on the same plane at the very high levels in order to test high ability test takers, but, strangely, the drop off in difficulty (for the high ability test taker) is not really that much when the abstruse words vanish.

    This is important to consider, because when you see difficult words in an analogy, you can safely assume that ETS believes this is a "hard question."
    Last edited by Jive Miguel; 03-05-2008 at 09:47 AM.

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    Thank you for the incredible breakdown and analysis Jive!

    Seeing your verbal score is so high, do you feel Barron's word list is sufficient to score in the 700s? What resources are you using to study GRE vocab?

    I agree with your strategies.

    As far as sentence corrections, I've found that it's much better to approach them from a logical perspective rather than trying to go by how the sentence sounds. Most of the time the sentence corrections will ask you to use the definition of a word or phrase and complete the logical flow of the sentence. It's not always easy to deduce, but my hit rate has gone up considerably on these using this technique.

    As far as antonyms, if I have no clue after 15 seconds, I just guess and move on. My thinking is to save time for the reading comps. One thing I've discovered about the reading comps is you don't need to read the shorter ones. I begin by reading the first question and literally finding the answers in the passage.

    I've also been using some speed reading techniques that help you find information in passages more quickly. Here is a link if you're interested:

    YouTube - Speed Reading Practice #1

    YouTube - Learn to Speed Read!

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    Thank you for the incredible breakdown and analysis Jive!

    De Nada. Just a scatter of two cents.

    Seeing your verbal score is so high, do you feel Barron's word list is sufficient to score in the 700s? What resources are you using to study GRE vocab?

    If given enough time, I would not rely solely on Barons word list -- though I think it is a good list. The Barons list taken in combination with Princeton GRE hit Parade, one should clear 600 (if you're cold on all the words). To clear 700, you need to be good at analogies, which is vocabulary based, but often it's a different set of vocabulary that you need to know. Where to find those words that you need for the analogies? Big Book. I think Big Book is the best prep for sentence completion and analogies and is also a good addition to antonym vocabulary - mendacious, dissemble, lachrymose, etc...as for reading comp, I hate to practice it because it's so boring but I think the best RC practice is done on a CAT, split screen...powerprep.

    Reading high brow journals and dense arcana is helpful, too, especially on topics that are outside one's interest zone. I don't think practicing in Barons or Kaplan or any of the books will help your RC much...take their advice and apply it to CAT tests. Or, cull a passage from some dull tome from online, and turn it into a reading comp passage where you try to create test questions as ETS does. It might change the way one thinks about reading passages. Ultimately, the test guides are always moving us to consider what it is the test takers are trying to trip us up on, so the more you can think like the test makers (the enemy), the better. I just came up with this idea and I might try it out.

    "As far as sentence corrections, I've found that it's much better to approach them from a logical perspective rather than trying to go by how the sentence sounds."

    I agree...they have to be thought out much in the same way that RC need to be thought out...I've also discovered that POE works well with SC and reading comprehension, even better than for the analogies and antonyms.

    As for non GRE related vocabulary books, the best vocab book I've bought is "How to Build A Better Vocabulary" by Maxwell Nurnberg and Morris Rosenblum. The words in this book go way beyond the GRE level and you'll be dealing w/ words like "aleatory' (based on chance) "anfractuous" (which is another "tortuous" -- winding -- word). So, the harder concept words will help out in a way that hard math problems make less difficult problems far easier...I guess it goes back to the weight lifting analogy. You want to exceed what's expected of you so that you can be surprised by what you once thought was difficult. Any effort to learn beyond what's on the exam to make your facility stronger, will help (as an adjunct to studying what on the exam). But, with lack of time to prep -- Barons and PR GRE Hit Parade words.

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    Jive,

    I've found that vocab is hit or miss for me...one day I can take a Big Book test and get 70-90% of the sentence corrections correct, and anywhere from 70 - 100% of the analogies correct.

    Did you ever experience this? Do you think it is due to a wall I've hit in my vocabulary? There's only so many types of relationships they test and I have them all memorized. Outside of vocab, I can't think of whatelse I can do to improve.

    I would like to get more consistent. With such fluctuations it's hard to determine what areas I need to work on. Obviously, one can never learn enough vocab. But short of memorizing the dictionary, do you have any other approaches that have helped you get more consistent scoring?

    Speaking of vocab, as one obviously can't memorize every word in the dictionary, do you think it is worth the effort for me to stop vocab for a week or so and focus on roots and suffixes? Or should I just keep plowing ahead memorizing as many "GRE words" as possible?

    Thanks in advance.

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    I'll say it again - WTF?

    I am scoring low 500's on the quant on power prep test 2 and low 700's on power prep test 1, getting around 10 wrong on both quants, with wrong answers both fairly spaced out through both tests.

    This is really weird. Which score is like the real thing?

    Both tests should be scored similarly but they're not and I take it my score should be around 600 if I were to take the real test at this time. But here I'm guessing...this discrepancy has nothing to do with differences in my performance and all to do with this crazy *&ing CAT.

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