If you want to do well with the GRE, you have to pay for a premium-quality GRE Prep Course. But you may want to supplement that course with these free GRE study materials.
The GRE isn’t a test that you can just try to wing through, not when your future in grad school is on the line. You will have to pony up some real cash to get a good GRE prep course, with practice questions and practice tests to help you learn what you need to know. These practice materials can also become more familiar with the format and the type of questions you’re likely to encounter so that you don’t waste time trying to understand the questions.
However, the good news is that the Internet offers a lot of free stuff, and these include GRE practice tests and even full-length practice exams to help you get accustomed to the real thing. You won’t have to poke and prod through the various sites where you can get the actual GRE study materials for free, as we’ve done that for you.
Practice Question of the Day
Some sites offer a Practice Question for the Day, so you can supplement your current GRE prep course with new materials. Each practice question (or at least the ones from the reputable sites) offer the right answer and an explanation on how to answer the question.
Some sites offer only a specific type of question each day (such as they only offer math practice questions). Other sites offer an equal number of questions for both the Quant and Verbal sections.
You can start each day with a new practice question, maybe with your coffee and breakfast. That way, you can set the mood for the rest of the day when you tackle your paid GRE prep course. It feels great when you get the answer right, and you feel more confident.
But it’s not a really bad thing at all when you get the answer wrong. Just read the explanations for the question, so you can learn from your mistake. The next time you face a similar question, you’re more likely to get the answer right.
Also, take note of questions that are giving you a harder time. You may note a certain trend or pattern, so you can identify a current weakness you need to address. You can then tweak your current study plan to correct these weak areas instead of wasting time studying on topics you already know.
Let’s start with the Kaplan brand since they started this entire test prep course industry way back in 1938. You can sign up on their site and get the practice question of the day through an email. The questions cover all the GRE topics, and you get detailed but easily understood explanations whether you get the answer right or wrong.
If there’s something that can be improved here, it’s that some of the Verbal practice questions may be simpler than what you might encounter in the real GRE.
Just sign up and you get your daily question via email. You get both Quant and Verbal questions with question types and covered topics you’d find in the real GRE.
You also get helpful explanations for the answer, whether you’re wrong or right. It’s just that in some cases, the explanations may be a bit too simple.
This is another site that offers questions for Quant and Verbal, though it’s not as highly regarded as the Kaplan service. You should still try it, but be aware of some issues.
Some feel that the questions don’t quite match the style and format of what you’d find in the real GRE. Also, the explanations aren’t quite as helpful.
As the name of the service indicates, you only get math questions. That’s not bad, considering lots of people consider the Quant section as the more difficult part of the GRE. Now you can relearn your high school math with questions covering basic arithmetic, algebra, geometry, and data analysis. You’ll also get a nicely detailed explanation of how to arrive at the right answer.
GRE Practice Tests
You can make use of GRE practice tests to really get a more accurate feel of what it’s like to take the real thing. In some cases, you may get more than 2,200 practice questions at once. So, how do you use these questions for maximum benefit?
Start with diagnostics. You can’t fix anything if you don’t know what’s wrong, and a diagnostic test can identify your weaknesses so you can focus on them with your GRE prep course. You can get a starting GRE score that you should be able to improve on after taking a GRE prep course.
During the course of your GRE preparation, you can take each GRE practice test to monitor progress. Each time you take a practice test, you’ll find the sections where you excel while you may not do as well in certain topics. You can then focus on those “weaknesses”, even if you feel you’re already doing well.
Use the various practice questions, especially the ones you haven’t encountered yet. The point is to learn how to answer the questions. It’s not about memorizing the correct answer to specific questions.
As you take the full-length tests, you should feel more comfortable and more familiar with the format. You should be able to handle the time and effort needed, so that you can be ready for the real thing. Once you excel in the full-length practice tests, the real GRE won’t feel as intimidating.
So, where can you get these free practice tests? You can visit the sites we mention, sign up for their free GRE practice tests, and get them through email.
We put this option first for several reasons. The first and more important reason is that it’s from ETS, which stands for the Educational Testing Service. This is also the group that administers the real GRE in the first place. That means this is the most trustworthy and most reliable name when it comes to anything GRE-related.
Because the ETS is the same group that runs the actual ETS, they’re able to present questions in the practice test that have actually appeared in the real GRE in the past. These aren’t just accurate approximations of the real thing. These questions are literally the “real thing”.
The user interface here is exactly the same as in the real test. That means you can practice with the mechanics and the online calculator here. You can learn how to change your answers and move from one question to another here, so you’ll know what to do in the real GRE.
You don’t just get one free test either. You get 2 free tests, so you can use one as your diagnostic test to identify your weak points. The other one can be taken in the middle of your GRE studies to identify issues midway, or you can use it near the end of your prep course to give you an accurate idea of how you’ll do in the real thing.
ETS gives you a choice of getting a timed or untimed test. It’s just that you don’t get a test score if you opt for the untimed version.
Also, don’t expect your essays to get a score. But at least you get sample essay answers with scores, so you get a better idea of how you need to structure your essays.
ETS also offers a free test that focuses on just the Quant section. That shouldn’t be surprising, since most GRE test takers feel that the Quant section is more difficult for them.
Since the practice questions are from ETS, these questions are literally realistic. You get questions from both Quant sections, and there’s an explanation for each answer to the question.
On the other hand, this is in pdf form, so it’s not exactly interactive. Also, a separate book contains the right answers.
As the pioneer brand in the standardized test prep course industry, Kaplan also offers a free test.
They offer a practice test format that’s organized like the real GRE so that you get an accurate representation of the real thing. This is a timed test, and you get 4 hours to finish it. Afterward, you get the answers to all the questions, with detailed explanations for each question. You get a score analysis as well.
One thing that quite a few people notice is that the free Kaplan GRE practice test is tough. On one hand, that may be a good thing. How else are you going to learn? When you’re used to the challenging nature of the questions on this practice test, you should feel confident that you can handle whatever the real GRE can throw your way.
On the other hand, it may be too tough, at least when compared to the real GRE. This may give you a lower score than what you really ought to have achieved. Just don’t be discouraged by this, and use the challenging nature of the practice test to get better.
At least you still have other free GRE tests to give you a more accurate idea of where you really stand.
The Manhattan Prep brand is among the most famous for GRE prep courses. Their premium GRE prep courses may be a bit expensive, and they also offer a set of GRE practice tests for a price. But they also offer a free test too.
Their free full-length GRE practice test is considered among the best because it’s very realistic. Compared to other free tests, this one is perhaps the closest facsimile to the real thing. The types of questions you encounter will be very similar to what you’ll encounter in the GRE.
You get to choose whether to take a timed or untimed test, and you can also use an online calculator. This calculator has the very same functions that you see on the calculator in the real GRE.
Afterward, you get the Assessment Report (also for free) where you can see your results. You also get information regarding the difficulty levels you encountered, and how you did with the time limit.
The free GRE practice test from Manhattan Prep is top-notch, and you’ll hardly find one that’s better. If there’s anything “wrong” with it, it’s just that in some cases the Verbal questions may be a bit more complicated here compared to the real GRE Verbal questions.
If there’s a rival for Kaplan in the industry, it’s Princeton Review. It’s been around since 1981, and its GRE prep courses are just as highly regarded. Princeton Review also offers a free GRE practice test, which you should also take advantage of.
This is a full-length practice test, and you get very realistic test conditions as well to prepare you for the real thing. However, the user interface is quite friendly, so you can focus more on the actual questions rather than on the mechanics.
In contrast to Kaplan, however, the practice test from Princeton review feels slightly easier than the real thing. This means you can’t feel overconfident when you score high here, since your real GRE score for that specific time will really be lower. But you can use this with the Kaplan test, get the average score, and you’ll get a fairly accurate assessment of your current GRE standing.
This one isn’t an actual full-length practice test. But you do get 70 free questions to practice with. There are enough questions here to give you a clear idea of what to expect in the real thing.
Each question comes with an answer and a detailed breakdown on how to get the correct answer. Their explanations can really highlight the challenges you’ll face, while they also show you the truth behind some misconceptions about the GRE.
You can answer whichever question you want in the bunch, with no pressure. But if you answer them all, you should get a nice diagnostic test indicating your weak points.
This will offer free access to a huge bunch of practice questions. In fact, you can get up to 15 GRE practice tests. They even offer links to other official GRE practice tests from ETS, though these are the older versions than what you’ll get from ETS right now.
These questions are similar to what you see in the real GRE, and you get full explanations for the answers. You can take a practice test just for Quant or Verbal.
The main problem here is that all the tests are untimed, so you’ll need to time yourself. You also don’t get a detailed analysis of your score and performance.
This gives you Quant and Verbal sections as separate tests, so you can definitely find out where your weaknesses are. The level of difficulty is very similar to the real thing.
Of course, with this format, it’s not exactly a realistic testing scenario. In fact, there’s no timer as well. You don’t really get an assessment of your current GRE standing, but at least it gives you an idea of which sections to focus on in your preparation.
Magoosh is famous for its affordable GRE options, and they also offer a bunch of practice questions just on the math side of the GRE. You can use the set with a question for the day format, or you can go through as many questions as you’d like.
Here, you have categories of easy, medium, and hard questions to help you practice. You get the answers, plus the explanations too. If you’re worried about your GRE math performance, then these practice questions can certainly help.
Here you get to practice on all the 3 sections of the GRE, though each section is presented as a separate test. You also get the answer and explanation, and you even get a hint beforehand. While this can be helpful, you really don’t want to get used to it!
This should help you review, but there’s no detailed analysis of your score.
Again, this isn’t a full-length practice test. You just get a set of questions to help you with your GRE prep.
You can get the right answer at the end of each question, or you can go through all the questions first and get the answers when you’re done. Each answer comes with an explanation.
Of course, this isn’t an accurate simulation of the GRE. There’s no timer, and you don’t get a GRE score afterward. Just note where you got things wrong so you can focus on these subjects in your regular GRE prep.
With the expense of GRE prep courses these days, these materials are a breath of fresh air. While they’re not enough to even when you combine them all, they should be a nice supplement to your regular GRE prep course. They’re free and effective, so you can use them without worry!