Regarding Mock GRE : LUSENET : York University Undergraduate Psychology Students' Association : One Thread

I wrote the Mock GRE back in 2001, offered by The Princeton Review, and sponsored by the UPSA. I think it's a great way to assess your strengths and weaknesses before writing the official exam and appreciate the opportunity, however, I am concerned with the manner in which the test results were reported by the Princeton Review.

From what I could gather, they did not take into account that we had less time to write the exam than the time that will be allotted when we write the official exam. Therefore, the scores from the Mock GRE are understated, and their claim that taking their course results in an average increase of 200 points is grossly overstated. It seems that The Princeton Review's only objective in offering this free mock GRE service is to make more money. That's to be expected and understandable, considering they are, first and foremost, a profit organization, and not an educational institution. But, I think students writing the Mock GRE should be made aware by the UPSA that if the score they receive in the mail 2 weeks after they've written the Mock GRE is not comparable to the avg. entrance scores for schools such as Harvard or Princeton (as reported by the Princeton Review), they should not worry excessively. The students who didn't do as well as they had hoped may, but not necessarily, require the help of the Princeton Review to improve their score by 200 points. The fact that they'll write it for a 2nd time, with more allotted time should improve their score substantially.

I'd like to stress that I am NOT making a a judgement on the value of the courses offered by the Princeton Review, but rather, simply stating that their claims of a 200 point increase in GRE score cannot be solely attributed to their instruction.

-- Enzo Verrilli (, February 04, 2002


Mock GRE

I totally understand your point, Enzo. As Vice President of UPSA, I would like to make it very clear that, in my opinion, the results that people received on the mock GRE that was held through UPSA and Princeton Review is not necessarily representative of the results you might receive on the actual exam. There are a number of important differences between the mock GRE and the actual exam -- the actual exam will be on computer, your level of motivation will differ, your preparedness for the exam will differ, the setting will differ, etc. These will all affect your results. Furthermore, with regard to the effectiveness of Princeton Review courses in improving your results, studies have found that those who benefit most from such preparation courses are those people who have little or no practice on multiple choice exams and those who are rusty in their basic mathematical skills (e.g. have been out of school for an extended period of time). For the average person, studies have shown that these preparation courses, on average, increase a person's score by about 1/4 to 1/3 of a standard deviation. Many of these test preparation companies tout an improvement of 1/2 or a full standard deviation, and this is not accurate based on the findings of numerous independent studies. Thus, please interpret your scores on the mock GRE with caution and regard them, at best, as a rough approximation to your actual score. At the same time, think critically about the messages that test preparation companies are sending out to students with regard to the efficacy of their programs. When in doubt, visit the UPSA office (152 BSB) and speak to those students who have written the GRE and can speak from experience.

Anthony C. Ruocco UPSA Vice President

-- Anthony C. Ruocco (, February 04, 2002.

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