GRE Prep Club
July 19, 2019

Joined: Jul 19, 2019

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Oates, Tyler EMPOWERgre Review


Improvement 10 Points

Course EMPOWER Test Prep On Demand Course

Location Online

I recently took my third and final (thank God) GRE. I scored a 170 Verbal, 160 Quant, and 5.0 AWA. I used a total of three self-study prep programs over the course of a year (Manhattan Prep GMAT, Magoosh GRE, EmpowerGRE). I originally used MHP in preparation for the GMAT, but after a great deal of frustration (Practice tests: 580, 620, 700, 650- it did not seem that my effort “input” consistently resulted in an corresponding performance “output”). As a result I decided to take a GRE in order to make a more informed decision as to which test I would focus my full effort. With no additional GRE-specific study I scored a 161-V, 158- Q, 5.0 AWA (FEB 2019). Though not the score I needed, I left the test feeling optimistic that I could improve. I switched to Magoosh GRE prep and utilized their 1-month study plan. I really liked the video lessons and explanation after each question (which I needed for my more than rusty Quant skills). I dedicated a significant amount of prep (~35 hrs/wk- remember my quant was verrry rusty- for five weeks). I went into my second test (May 2019), very confident however I was disappointed when my Quant score did not improve (164-V, 158- Q, 4.0 AWA). Leaving that test, I felt as though I had executed my intended game plan with respect to verbal, however quant still stumped me. I felt like the test was calling the shots, and I was simply along for the ride, question by question. I work in US Army Special Operations, making a living jumping out of planes and blowing stuff up, so I refused to believe that it was nerves (nah there were definitely nerves!). I knew I needed to get more strategic in my approach toward TAKING the test, not just the material ON the test. My goal was to squeeze 2 more points from Quant- 160 or bust. This is where EmpowerGRE came in. I heard of them through my initial prep research and was drawn to try them because of their data driven approach to triaging questions. Often times I knew I a problem needed to be “Triaged” but didn’t even have a good way of dumping it (a 1 out of 5 guess is not a recipe for success). Additionally, I felt like I was at my math learning capacity. Frankly I was not worried about “getting smarter” but rather “working smarter”. (Note: EmpowerGRE also has an extensive video lesson library, syllabus, and explanations for each question. If I had it to do over I would have used them from the start) I studied the “Tactical” sections very intently for roughly 3 weeks, before my final test in July 2019. I finally got the score I wanted (327+). As I had dozens of 158 quant scores (it didn’t seem to matter I couldn’t get over the hump) I can honestly attribute the 2-point quant increase to EmpowerGRE’s program. If I am being fair, I know that 160 is not thattttt high for quant, but having battled it for so long it felt good to get that small victory. For those who crush quant but struggle with verbal I still found EmpowerGRE to be very beneficial. My ETS PowerPrep quant scores hovered around 163-166 so I am fortunate that I had a decent base. However, I still learned from EmpowerGRE and entered that final test with very confident in my strategy and game plan. I was able to raise my score from 164 to 170 without much additional verbal-section specific studying (under 10 total hours).

Here is the TLDNR version.
Have a strong grasp of the test but are trying to earn those very elusive last few points
You feel like you are stuck at a certain score and despite hours and hours of studying and hundreds of problems you can’t break through
You took the test and felt like IT (rather than you) was dictating your strategy (rushing through questions at the end, didn’t know where to start on a question, or have been like did I miss something, what is this?)
You believe that $49 (with a score guarantee) is worth adding an additional arrow in your quiver (even it only gets you 1 additional point, they all add up)

Then I highly encourage you to give it a try.

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