girl studying for the GRE

Which ETS GRE Powerprep Tests Should I Use?


NEW! There are now 5 ETS GRE Powerprep practice tests available. These are the official GRE's practice tests and are very very similar to the real GRE.

ETS (the company that creates the GRE) questions are valuable since they're rare - the company doesn't release very many questions or tests, and third-party tests and questions are never consistently realistic. Our goal, therefore, is to maximize the number of ETS questions we can access.

In other words, use all 5 Powerprep tests.

Warning! 5 tests is not very many tests. Do not waste these tests by taking them before you're ready. I do not generally recommend using one of them as a diagnostic test - instead, use a free test from a company like Manhattan Prep to get a sense of where you're starting or where you stand.

(Keep in mind a third party test won't be that accurate, but it's a useful ballpark).

Before I tell you which tests to use and how to use them, let me clarify the nomenclature on the ETS website. I'll go in order of how the Powerprep practice GRE tests are currently listed on the ETS site.

Note: "Powerprep" = free test, and "Powerprep Plus" = paid test.


Official GRE® Mentor Course

This is a self-paced study course, featuring questions that are mostly recycled from Powerprep Plus tests 1 and 3. Even though it has some new questions, for $100 I think it's a bad deal, and isn't a tremendously useful teaching tool, since ETS's explanations of its own questions aren't always very helpful. It does include access to the short Powerprep Plus Test 2 described below, which is cool I guess.


Powerprep Practice Tests


POWERPREP® Online - Practice Test 1

This is the first free Powerprep test. It's just like the current GRE in every way, other than the quant, which is a bit easier than the quant on the current test. Still 100% worth using, though. (The paid Powerprep tests are more recently written and more reflective of the current level of math difficulty on the GRE).

*Since there is an easy, medium, and hard level of difficulty on the 2nd sections of quant and verbal for each Powerprep test, if you just did the test once, you only got one of those 2nd sections. Redoing the test to get the other difficulty levels is good extra practice.


POWERPREP® Online - Practice Test 1 (Untimed - No scores provided)

This is the exact same thing as the "Powerprep Online - Practice Test 1 for the Shorter GRE". It's untimed, though, so you won't get a score. I don't recommend using it - you should be taking Powerprep tests timed, and it's no fun to not get a score at the end!


POWERPREP® Online - Practice Test 2

This is the second free Powerprep practice test. Again, it's quant is a little bit easier than that of the current GRE, but is still excellent practice.


POWERPREP PLUS® Online - Practice Test 1

This is a paid test ($39.95). Being a "Powerprep Plus" test, it 1. costs money, 2. answer explanations are included, and 3. you'll also get a grade for your Issue essay. Note that you cannot retake a Powerprep Plus test for free - you'll have to pay for it again if you want to do that.


POWERPREP PLUS® Online - Practice Test 2

This is a paid test ($39.95), but is included with the purchase of GRE Mentor (described above).


POWERPREP PLUS® Online - Practice Test 3

This is the third paid test ($39.95). BTW, all three paid tests are equally valuable, in my opinion.


Other Stuff

You'll also see some books available for purchase on the ETS site. Note that the questions in these books are unique; they're not duplicated on the above Powerprep tests, so you should buy the books (but they're probably cheaper on


The Official Guide to the GRE® General Test, Third Edition

The OG has about 300 practice questions, which is why we buy it. Note that this book's back cover misleadingly claims the book includes access to two practice tests. ANYONE has access to the two tests the book is referring to: it's referring to the two free Powerprep tests. The 2 practice tests in the book itself are different than those.


Official GRE® Verbal Reasoning Practice Questions

150 verbal questions.


Official GRE® Quantitative Reasoning Practice Questions

150 quant questions.


Official GRE® Super Power Pack

For superheroes - this pack includes the above 3 books sold as a set. This is what most people should be buying.


Official GRE® Value Combo

This includes the Verbal and Quantitative practice books only.


SCOREITNOW!™ Online Writing Practice

This tool allows you to get your essay graded. It may still include the old "Argument Essay", but skip that, since the only essay on the new short GRE is the Issue Essay. A handy tool if you want an accurate essay grade (keep in mind, the Powerprep Plus Tests will grade your essay).


Practice Testing: The Bottom Line


Since our goal remains to do and analyze as many real ETS GRE questions as we can, I recommend the following sequence for most people.

  1. Purchase all 5 Powerprep tests.

  2. Work backward from your planned test date, schedule your final Powerprep about a week before that date, and space the tests out every week or two. For example, let's say your test date is November 15th.

Powerprep Plus Test 3: Nov. 8th

Powerprep Plus Test 2: Nov. 1st

Powerprep Plus Test 1: October 25th

Powerprep Test 2: October 18th

Powerprep Test 1: October 11th

My reasoning for this kind of schedule is that I want you to be taking the tests when you know what you're doing. By that point in your study plan, you'll be most capable of handling the questions the test will throw at you.

That's it! Questions? Lemme know.

- Vince Kotchian, GRE tutor

Go Back