Test Prep Insight is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more

Manhattan Prep GRE vs Real GRE

Detailed comparison about whether the GRE practice tests from Manhattan Prep are harder than the real GRE

Given that there is a strong correlation between taking practice tests and improving your GRE score, it’s no surprise that students often wonder how realistic the practice tests they are taking really are in comparison to the actual GRE. In this article, we analyze the GRE practice tests from one of the most popular prep providers on the market (Manhattan Prep) so that you have a better understanding of what to expect come test day.

Manhattan Prep GRE Interact
Sale: 10% OFF Code: PREP10MGRE

Difficulty of The Real GRE From ETS

The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) administered by the Educational Testing Service (ETS) plays a crucial role in the application process for graduate and business schools. This exam is typically required for admission to graduate programs worldwide, including MBA programs. Moreover, several law schools in the United States also accept GRE scores for admission purposes too.

The GRE consists of three sections – Analytical Writing, Quantitative Reasoning, and Verbal Reasoning. In total, you have one hour and 58 minutes to complete 54 questions, and one essay across these three sections.

The Quantitative and Verbal Reasoning sections are scored on a scale from 130-170 in one point increments, while the Analytical Writing section is scored on a scale from 0-6 in half-point increments.

Last year, the average score on the Verbal Reasoning section among test takers was 151. For the Quantitative Reasoning section, the average score was 158. Lastly, the average score for the Analytical Writing section was 3.4.

To give you an idea of what score it would take to get accepted into a top rated graduate program, consider the average GRE scores in 2023 for the three examples below:

  • Yale Law School – 168 Verbal / 166 Quant / 5.5 Writing
  • Purdue University Master’s In Engineering – 152 Verbal / 164 Quant / 3.8 Writing
  • Harvard University MBA – 163 Verbal / 164 Quant

In other words, the GRE is an extremely difficult exam, especially if you are eyeing admission to a top rated graduate school.

On the Verbal Reasoning section, you will need to score 162 or higher in order to crack the top 10% of test takers. For the the Quantitative Reasoning section, you would need to score 169 or higher to break into the top 10% of test-takers.

Manhattan Prep GRE Practice Tests

Manhattan Prep offers two different GRE prep courses. The first is the company’s self-paced, on-demand Interact course, and the second is the company’s GRE for MBA course.

However, regardless of which prep course you end up selecting, Manhattan Prep provides its students access to six full-length, adaptive practice tests.

Manhattan Prep GRE lesson plan
A look inside the Manhattan Prep GRE course

Alternatively, if you don’t want the company’s other GRE study materials, you can purchase the six tests individually for around $50, which is an absolute bargain in my opinion.

When taking the practice tests from Manhattan Prep, the company allows you to choose whether to take the exam timed or untimed. However, I always recommend you take the practice tests timed to simulate real GRE conditions.

Further, Manhattan Prep gives you the option to take partial exams as well. Again though, I highly recommend taking each practice test in-full so you get used to the true length of the exam.

Additionally, after completing all six tests, you have the option to reset the section pool and take additional practice tests. Just keep in mind that you may see familiar questions when retaking the practice tests.

Lastly, Manhattan Prep provides its students personalized assessment reports after each practice test. These assessment reports include detailed data and insights related to difficulty level, timing, and more. That way, you can analyze your strengths and weaknesses to know what you need to focus on moving forward.

How Accurate Are The Manhattan Prep GRE Tests?

The GRE practice tests from Manhattan Prep are extremely accurate. In fact, after evaluating the GRE practice tests from several different prep companies (including Princeton Review and Kaplan), I think Manhattan Prep’s are the most realistic.

The company’s online testing platform mimics the real GRE extremely well. Honestly, it’s hard to even tell the difference between Manhattan Prep and the real testing interface from the ETS.

Manhattan Prep GRE quiz
GRE practice question from Manhattan Prep

Manhattan Prep also nails the question length, difficulty and content of the real GRE as well. The company employs a team of in-house GRE tutors that study past GRE questions and then develop their own questions to mirror the actual exam.

As you can imagine, after years of studying official GRE exams, the in-house experts at Manhattan Prep have become quite proficient at creating realistic practice questions. Again, it’s difficult to even tell the difference between a real GRE question, and a practice question designed by Manhattan Prep. They are that similar.

As such, the scores you receive on Manhattan Prep GRE practice tests are a pretty good indicator of how well you will score on exam day. Of course, a lot of students do not perform as well on the real thing thanks to feelings of nervousness and anxiety.

Are The Manhattan Prep Practice Tests Harder Than The Actual GRE?

After taking the GRE practice exams from Manhattan Prep, I think the company does a good job overall of matching the difficulty of the real GRE. However, there are two caveats I have to that statement.

The first is that I actually found the quantitative section on the Manhattan Prep practice tests to be a little more difficult than the real GRE. There just seemed to be a good amount of quantitative questions from Manhattan Prep that were a little longer and trickier than what you see on the real exam.

Manhattan Prep GRE question solution
Answer solution to a Manhattan Prep GRE question

Then on the flip side, I actually think the verbal questions from Manhattan Prep were slightly easier and more straightforward than the verbal questions you see on the real GRE.

Therefore, the two sections sort of balance each other out. The quant section is slightly harder, while the verbal section is slightly easier.

👉 Read Next: Manhattan Prep vs Princeton Review GRE


Are practice tests a good way to prepare for the GRE?

Yes, taking practice tests is an excellent way to prepare for the GRE. Not only do practice tests help you become familiar with the format and structure of the exam, but they also help you identify areas where you excel and areas where you need improvement.

How hard are the GRE practice tests from Manhattan Prep?

The GRE practice tests from Manhattan Prep are quite difficult (just like the real exam). The scores you receive on the practice tests from Manhattan Prep are a fairly accurate indicator of how well you will perform on the real GRE.

How do the Manhattan Prep GRE practice tests and real GRE compare?

The GRE practice tests from Manhattan Prep mirror the actual GRE in terms of both testing interface and question content. The in-house GRE experts from Manhattan Prep do a good job of matching the difficulty, format, and structure of real GRE questions.