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GMAT Prep Software Analysis and What If Scenarios

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Re: GMAT Prep Software Analysis and What If Scenarios [#permalink] New post 25 Feb 2013, 16:15
Bunuel wrote:

GMAT Prep Software Analysis and What If Scenarios

We will try to run different scenarios with GMAT Prep Software to find out whether various myth about scoring algorithm are legit.

Reports from the Real GMAT:

Added a few points to my verbal score: 600-to-740-all-about-timing-and-fundamentals-147029.html


1. What is the importance of the first 10 questions?

Experiment: We will try to disprove the myth the way OG/GMAC positions it: the first 10 questions are not critical
Methodology: we will attempt the worst case scenario and will answer the first 10 questions incorrectly (not guess but incorrectly); then we will attempt to answer the first 27 questions correctly and then the last 10 incorrectly (not guess)
Results: Q38 (48th percentile - ouch) with only 10 wrong answers
Analysis: obviously something is not right with the myth about the first 10 questions. They appear to be very important on the Quant. If you miss the first 10 (probably not a very realistic scenario for most) you have no way of climbing out of the hole - almost all questions that were offered to me were generally easy/medium difficulty. Let's try a different scenario next to check this myth (we'll miss the last 10 questions). Also interesting to note, when simulated in the previous GMAT Prep version, this scenario resulted in Q41 (so there have been changes in the scoring algorithms of the GMAT Prep).
Total Score: every question in the verbal section was answered as "E" and it resulted in the final score of V8, 1st percentile. Total score: 380 - 10th percentile
Questions: 20PS and 17 DS. Also, see what question topics were encountered in this scenario:




2. What is the importance of the last 10 questions?

Experiment: We will try to analyze the importance of the last 10 questions and if it equals the important of the first 10
Methodology: we will attempt the worst case scenario and will answer the first 27 Q questions correctly and then will answer the remaining 10 questions incorrectly (not guess but incorrectly).
Results: Q50, 92nd percentile - Nicely done though not great. I think it is possible to get Q51 with 10 incorrect ones.
Analysis: The questions were much harder this time with some new topics/types appearing on the test such as coordinate geometry DS. Conclusion: the last 10 don't count as much as the first 10. This myth is True (as long as you can get the first 27 right). Please note that I have not guessed the last 10 but rather answered them incorrectly (which means I still had to solve those questions too). If you are guessing, you will most likely get a higher score.
Total Score: every question in the verbal section was answered as "E" (again) and it resulted in the final score of V8, 1st percentile. Total score: 470 (90 points higher than when we missed the first 10 questions)
Questions: 20PS and 17 DS. Also, see what question topics were encountered in this scenario:



3. What is the importance of the middle 10 questions?

Experiment: We will try to analyze the importance of the middle 10 questions and see how it compares to the results of the previous 2 experiments
Methodology: we will attempt the worst case scenario and will answer the first 14 Q questions correctly; then I will answer incorrectly the following 10 questions, and will answer the remaining 13 questions correctly.
Results: Q49, 85th percentile - not as good of a result as in the case of missing the last 10 questions but it was much less effort (fewer hard questions than in the second case)
Analysis: The questions were not much easier than in the second scenario above even though I have made 10 consecutive mistakes. So, it may be a slightly better value in terms of effort/score but not by far
Total Score: every question in the verbal section was answered as "D" this time and it resulted in the final score of V6, 1st percentile. (Interestingly enough, it was a slightly worse result than "E"). Total score: 450



4. What is the penalty if I miss every third question?

Experiment: I will try to test a scenario in which a test takers answers every third question incorrectly (e.g. 3, 6, 9, etc. Thus giving themselves an extra 2 mins on quant). This scenario will simulate someone who takes 3 mins instead of 2 per question and then guesses every third question. Please note that this is the worst case scenario (we do not get any guesses right)
Methodology: Every 3rd questions answered incorrectly. So, 13 incorrect and 24 correct answers.
Results: Q49, 85th percentile
Analysis: Slightly lower score than in the case of missing the last 10 questions but it was much less effort in getting here(fewer hard questions than in the second or third scenarios I have tested). So far this is the best value in terms of effort/final score
Total Score: This time every question in the verbal section was answered as "C" this time and it resulted in the final score of V8, 1st percentile. Total score: 460, 23rd percentile.




5. Best Guessing Strategy: Part I - What if we guess a bunch of questions in the middle?

Experiment: I will attempt 3 different scenarios that will examine guessing strategies to figure out where the time should be invested.
Methodology: First 10 questions answered correctly, then GUESSED the next 17 questions (answered C to all of them and got 4 out of 17 correct) and finally answered the remaining 10 questions correctly.
Results: Q46, 73rd percentile.
Analysis: This is a pretty similar to the scenario above where we tried to figure out the importance of the middle 10 questions; missing 3 more (13 wrong vs 10 wrong) resulted in a lower score by 3 points (46 vs. 49).
Total Score: Every question in the verbal section was answered as "B" this time and it resulted in the final score of V6, 0 percentile. Total score: 420, 16th percentile.
Questions: 21PS and 16 DS.



6. Best Guessing Strategy: Part II - guess every third question

Experiment: I will try to test a scenario in which a test takers GUESSES every other question (e.g. 2, 4, 6, etc). I was answering C to all even numbered question and guessed correctly 3 out of 18
Results: Q40, 55th percentile. (22 correct answers and 15 incorrect answers, I guessed 3 questions correctly.)
Analysis: Not sure what I was expecting guessing every other question. I guess I got the 55th percentile (half the ultimate score but I also only invested half the effort and gottend double the time to answer my other questions). So far, I don' think this is the best strategy in terms of guessing since my goal would be to get the most return for the least amount of effort. However, I do think this score is too low to be seriously considered by anyone.
Total Score: Every question in the verbal section was answered as "A" this time and it resulted in the final score of V6, 0 percentile. Total score: 380, 10th percentile.



7. Best Guessing Strategy Part III - Variable Guessing

Experiment: first 10 questions answered correctly, GUESSED the next 9 questions (answered C to all of them, guessed 2 out of 9), then answered the next 9 questions correctly and finally GUESSED the remaining 9 questions (answered C to all of them, guessed 2 out of 9). So, 23 correct, 14 incorrect.
Results: Q49, 85th percentile. (23 correct answers and 14 incorrect answers, I guessed 3 questions correctly.)
Analysis: I was amazed to see Q49 as my final score. So far I think this is the best guessing strategy. It has resulted into the highest score (49) with 14 incorrect answers (compare that to scenario #5 above where I guessed the 17 middle questions and gotten 4 of them correct. I made 13 mistakes mistakes on that test but the final score was only 46. In this scenario I still only solved half the questions (guessed the other half). However, that's pretty darn good for solving only half the questions.
Total Score: Every question in the verbal section was answered as "E" and it resulted in the final score of V9, 2 percentile. Total score: 470, 26th percentile.

8. PS vs DS: what is the importance of DS questions?


Experiment: first 10 questions answered correctly. After that, I answered incorrectly to 12 DS questions only. So, 25 correct and 12 incorrect answers (all DS).
Results: Q50, 92th percentile.
Analysis:
Total Score: Every question in the verbal section was answered as "E" and it resulted in the final score of V8, 1 percentile. Total score: 470, 26th percentile.

9. PS vs DS: what is the importance of PS questions?


Experiment: first 10 questions answered correctly. After that, I answered incorrectly to 12 PS questions only. So, 25 correct and 12 incorrect answers (all PS).
Results: Q49, 85th percentile.
Analysis:
Total Score: Every question in the verbal section was answered as "E" and it resulted in the final score of V11, 3rd percentile. Total score: 490, 31st percentile.

Do you have any questions or ideas what you would like to try?
I will be running a few more scenarios - feel free to suggest what other scenarios would be interesting to test. Thank you!


Important Clarification: we have a strong reason to believe that even though GMAT Prep is the closest algorithm to the GMAT, it is most likely not identical. Some of these scenarios may result into a different outcome when attempted on the real test. We so far have no reports to confirm or dismiss these results based on the test day experience.

-
[Reveal] Spoiler:
Attachment:
myth.gif


bunuel, how about answering all DS questions incorrectly irrelevant of where they show up on the test. how does that affect the score on Quant.
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Re: GMAT Prep Software Analysis and What If Scenarios [#permalink] New post 03 Mar 2013, 12:20
pikachu wrote:
bunuel, how about answering all DS questions incorrectly irrelevant of where they show up on the test. how does that affect the score on Quant.


The verbal score is not affected differently by question type, so I would think that the same holds true for the quantitative. Whether the question is DS or PS is not likely to affect the score. Only location, difficulty, and correct/incorrect matter, and question type probably does not change the difficulty.
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Re: GMAT Prep Software Analysis and What If Scenarios [#permalink] New post 05 Mar 2013, 02:36
Ok here I go, I hope this doesn't get taken down due to being a childish quesiton but:

about CR placement and its affect on score? Most of my wrong in the Verbal Section are CR and they seem pretty darn insignificant. I am still hitting mid 80s percentile in verbal while getting the majority of CR questions wrong

I'm also confused on how to devise a pacing strategy for verbal as I had done with Math by the correctness/guessing based on the number of question.

and I give me corresponding 15minutes OR 8 questions for quant a couple of minutes plus or minus depending on wher ethey fall into that general pace.

For verbal as of now I mentally just give earlier questions some extra time and pace myself through the rest. It seems like verbal is much less rigid when it comes to results and pacing.
How would I devise a pacing strategy for verbal then since, from what I understand, the placement of the SC/RC is random and more important is what comes first?
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Re: GMAT Prep Software Analysis and What If Scenarios [#permalink] New post 07 Mar 2013, 07:25
Manimgoindowndown, I don't think it's true that CR is insignificant at all, and it's not weighted any differently than the other two verbal question types. If you're doing well on SC and RC, then it's certainly possible to get into the high 30s while having some serious CR deficiencies. But it's not because CR is insignificant--it's just because your overall, combined verbal level merits that score.

And hey, if you're able to score around the 85th percentile with some CR weaknesses, imagine what you could do if you improved your CR skills!

I don't think that pacing benchmarks are usually very helpful on the verbal section. This might sound really obvious, but most verbal mistakes happen because you misread or misinterpreted something, for one reason or another. A very tiny lapse in focus can cause you to miss a question, and that's a (presumably deliberate) design feature of GMAT verbal questions.

I think that benchmarking can actually cause you to make more of those small reading errors on the GMAT. On CR and RC questions, a huge proportion of your time will be spent reading and digesting the passage. You can't really do much to accelerate that process, unless you're willing to sacrifice accuracy. And the same is true when you start looking through the answer choices--what are you going to do, skim them to save time? That doesn't make much sense--if you're not reading carefully, you're extremely likely to miss the question, and you'll only save yourself 10-20 seconds in the process, since the bulk of your time is inevitably spent reading the passage, anyway.

So I just don't see the benefit of benchmarking for most people. If you hurry on verbal questions so that you have time to answer question #41, you'll probably screw yourself out of at least one question early in the test, and that's a crappy tradeoff. If you miss an easy question early, it will change the trajectory of the entire test, and your score will be disproportionately damaged. If you kick butt on questions #1-38, then questions #39-41 won't matter all that much.

I know that I'm in the minority on this, but I think you're better off answering questions thoroughly, methodically, and consistently throughout the verbal section. Don't cheat yourself out of a right answer early in the section just to hit some timing benchmarks.
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Re: GMAT Prep Software Analysis and What If Scenarios [#permalink] New post 10 Mar 2013, 18:31
Bunuel and Vercules,
My exam's on 14th..

Here's my finding of my experiment:

By not starting to throw away questions in quant and verbal until Q 20, I was able to increase my Q and V sub scores by 1-2-3 points. By throwing away questions, I mean not spending any time on the question and simply choosing an answer to get back on track.

I was not able to answer every question correctly in first 20 but accuracy was pretty high.

Earlier, I would check the clock after 10th Q and try to get back on track by throwing away.

Now by changing the strategy of not throwing away until 20th Question, I have been able to slightly improve my score.


I can't take the risk of not checking the timer until 30th or 35th Question in Verbal and Quant because I wouldn't be absolutely sure that I have answered all questions till then correctly. So throwing away after 30th or 35th Question will lead to consecutive mistakes and also increase anxiety which may affect score harshly.

The strategies tested by you were done with getting correct all the questions you did not guess.

So, I would request you guys to test this following realistic scenario and confirm if I am on right track and this strategy can be followed by others.

Quant:

Q 1-7 Correct
8-9 Incorrect
10-16 correct
17-incorrect
19 correct
20 correct
Now at this point, assuming that I am behind track by 6 mins and I have to throwaway 3.
21 correct
22 throwaway : incorrect
23-25 correct
26-throwaway: incorrect
27-28 correct
29-throwaway in correct
30: incorrect
31: incorrect
32-34-correct
35-incorrect
36-37 correct

For verbal, above + the following
38-40-correct
41-incorrect

Please also test similar realistic scenarios with not throwing away until first 25 questions ( throwing away starts after 25th Question because you are behind track by 10 mins : 5 questions )

Gettting First 20 questions right would boost your score by 30-40 points overall I believe. Please confirm this understanding. My exam's on 14th..
Thanks a ton for all the help, Bunuel, bb, Vercules, forum mods and fellow members!

Regards,
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Re: GMAT Prep Software Analysis and What If Scenarios [#permalink] New post 10 Mar 2013, 18:36
GMATNinja wrote:
Manimgoindowndown, I don't think it's true that CR is insignificant at all, and it's not weighted any differently than the other two verbal question types. If you're doing well on SC and RC, then it's certainly possible to get into the high 30s while having some serious CR deficiencies. But it's not because CR is insignificant--it's just because your overall, combined verbal level merits that score.

And hey, if you're able to score around the 85th percentile with some CR weaknesses, imagine what you could do if you improved your CR skills!

I don't think that pacing benchmarks are usually very helpful on the verbal section. This might sound really obvious, but most verbal mistakes happen because you misread or misinterpreted something, for one reason or another. A very tiny lapse in focus can cause you to miss a question, and that's a (presumably deliberate) design feature of GMAT verbal questions.

I think that benchmarking can actually cause you to make more of those small reading errors on the GMAT. On CR and RC questions, a huge proportion of your time will be spent reading and digesting the passage. You can't really do much to accelerate that process, unless you're willing to sacrifice accuracy. And the same is true when you start looking through the answer choices--what are you going to do, skim them to save time? That doesn't make much sense--if you're not reading carefully, you're extremely likely to miss the question, and you'll only save yourself 10-20 seconds in the process, since the bulk of your time is inevitably spent reading the passage, anyway.

So I just don't see the benefit of benchmarking for most people. If you hurry on verbal questions so that you have time to answer question #41, you'll probably screw yourself out of at least one question early in the test, and that's a crappy tradeoff. If you miss an easy question early, it will change the trajectory of the entire test, and your score will be disproportionately damaged. If you kick butt on questions #1-38, then questions #39-41 won't matter all that much.

I know that I'm in the minority on this, but I think you're better off answering questions thoroughly, methodically, and consistently throughout the verbal section. Don't cheat yourself out of a right answer early in the section just to hit some timing benchmarks.


Thanks a lot Charles for your reply here.
Say accuracy is around 70-80% till 30th Question on Quant and 80% till 35th Qs on Verbal having answered easy questions correctly and having entered the 700 level. will missing the remaining questions harm?
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Re: GMAT Prep Software Analysis and What If Scenarios [#permalink] New post 10 Mar 2013, 23:27
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Hey Yall,

Added results from another testing scenario.

11) What if you marked the last answer choice, but did not click submit and confirm, and the allotted time for the section gets over?



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Re: GMAT Prep Software Analysis and What If Scenarios [#permalink] New post 11 Mar 2013, 05:43
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Re: GMAT Prep Software Analysis and What If Scenarios [#permalink] New post 13 Mar 2013, 15:42
Awesome work, Bunuel and Vercules!

It's interesting to see that omitting the last seven quant questions is so deadly on GMATPrep, since the fine folks at GMAC insist that there isn't a huge difference between guessing and omitting questions at the end of each section. They published an official blog post on that issue a couple of years ago (http://officialgmat.mba.com/2009/09/17/ ... g/#more-57) and there's also an accompanying research study on the GMAC website (http://www.gmac.com/~/media/Files/gmac/ ... ssWhat.pdf).

Basically, GMAC argues that there isn't really a meaningful difference between guessing and omitting the last five questions on verbal. They also argue that you're better off omitting the last five if you're doing badly on the quant section, and you're better off guessing only if you're a "high ability" test-taker on the quant section. Interesting.

I guess there are a few ways to look at the differences between the GMATPrep results and the GMAC's official statements. It's possible that the GMATPrep software runs a substantially different algorithm than the actual test, but I think it's more likely that the dramatic result in Bunuel's study is the result of an extra couple of questions (omitting seven questions probably does substantially more damage than missing five) and the fact that he is clearly in the "high ability" category. :-D

A large proportion of GMAT Club members will ultimately do well on quant, so it's best for most members to guess at the end of the quant section instead of omitting questions. But on the verbal section--or for test-takers who aren't strong at quant--maybe it doesn't really matter all that much?
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Re: GMAT Prep Software Analysis and What If Scenarios [#permalink] New post 14 Mar 2013, 07:20
Bunuel wrote:

6. Best Guessing Strategy: Part II - guess every third question

Experiment: I will try to test a scenario in which a test takers GUESSES every other question (e.g. 2, 4, 6, etc). I was answering C to all even numbered question and guessed correctly 3 out of 18
Results: Q40, 55th percentile. (22 correct answers and 15 incorrect answers, I guessed 3 questions correctly.)
Analysis: Not sure what I was expecting guessing every other question. I guess I got the 55th percentile (half the ultimate score but I also only invested half the effort and gottend double the time to answer my other questions). So far, I don' think this is the best strategy in terms of guessing since my goal would be to get the most return for the least amount of effort. However, I do think this score is too low to be seriously considered by anyone.
Total Score: Every question in the verbal section was answered as "A" this time and it resulted in the final score of V6, 0 percentile. Total score: 380, 10th percentile.


Bunuel and Vercules,

Thank you for the hard work. I am still a little confused by this as the title doesn't match the description. Was the title intended to say "every other question"?

Additionally, as I mentioned in an earlier post, I was told by a GMAT rep that the GMATPrep software uses the same number of questions as the real test. To me, the existence of experimental questions in the real test means that GMATPrep cannot be using all questions to calculate the score, so there might be an element of randomness to the analysis. Do you get the same or variable results when you replicate these tests?
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Re: GMAT Prep Software Analysis and What If Scenarios [#permalink] New post 14 Mar 2013, 13:12
GMATNinja wrote:
Awesome work, Bunuel and Vercules!

....

Basically, GMAC argues that there isn't really a meaningful difference between guessing and omitting the last five questions on verbal. They also argue that you're better off omitting the last five if you're doing badly on the quant section, and you're better off guessing only if you're a "high ability" test-taker on the quant section. Interesting.

I guess there are a few ways to look at the differences between the GMATPrep results and the GMAC's official statements. It's possible that the GMATPrep software runs a substantially different algorithm than the actual test, but I think it's more likely that the dramatic result in Bunuel's study is the result of an extra couple of questions (omitting seven questions probably does substantially more damage than missing five) and the fact that he is clearly in the "high ability" category. :-D

A large proportion of GMAT Club members will ultimately do well on quant, so it's best for most members to guess at the end of the quant section instead of omitting questions. But on the verbal section--or for test-takers who aren't strong at quant--maybe it doesn't really matter all that much?




I have the same question....I always seem to have around 7 questions left when taking the quant sections of MGMAT CAT's. With limited time, should I guess on the last seven instead of trying to solve 1 more correctly and leave around 6-7 blank?
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Re: GMAT Prep Software Analysis and What If Scenarios [#permalink] New post 14 Mar 2013, 13:30
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hyt wrote:


I have the same question....I always seem to have around 7 questions left when taking the quant sections of MGMAT CAT's. With limited time, should I guess on the last seven instead of trying to solve 1 more correctly and leave around 6-7 blank?



Hi hyt,

Yes, you should not leave any of the last questions blank. If you face a time crunch at the end is a section then better guess all the seven question than get one or even two questions correct and rest blank. Based on the last test that I conducted on GMATPrep, the best approach would be to guess on 6 questions, mark a random option on the last question and then attempt it. If the time gets over your last question would still count as marked and if you are able determine the correct answer choice you will get it correct.

Hope this helps,

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Re: GMAT Prep Software Analysis and What If Scenarios [#permalink] New post 31 Mar 2013, 09:15
Good Insight. But I guess we can't depend on it fully since the experimental questions can swing the balance either ways.

Good to form a general strategy though!!
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Re: GMAT Prep Software Analysis and What If Scenarios [#permalink] New post 01 Apr 2013, 04:52
I tried a different scenario : All CR Correct, Rest All Wrong. Result V8 1%ile.

GMAC Representative claimed that SC, CR and RC are measured independently. However even though was getting all CR correct, the CR problems were pretty easy. Hence its not true that your ability in SC will not affect the difficulty level of CR/RC questions.
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Re: GMAT Prep Software Analysis and What If Scenarios [#permalink] New post 14 May 2013, 00:47
Hi Vercules and Bunuel,
Great job guys..
you guys had actually dissected whole gmatprep software... really given insightful to future test-takers like us.
Vercules: I would like to know
What if we get all CR question incorrect?
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Re: GMAT Prep Software Analysis and What If Scenarios [#permalink] New post 14 May 2013, 02:11
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For me reading once again the tests conducted by Bunuel and Vercules the scenario is pretty clear.

Quant: no matter what the first 10 questions MUST be correct and guess C if you do not answer a question or at least strategically, the rest of the questions

Verbal: no matter what the first 10 questions or so MUST be correct, then if you have to guess picking C (verbal counts more than quant in terms of overall score).

Correct me if I'm wrong, please.

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Verbal:1. Verbal question bank and directories by Carcass 2. MGMAT Study Hall Thursdays with Ron Verbal Videos 3. Critical Reasoning_Oldy but goldy question banks 4. Sentence Correction_Oldy but goldy question banks 5. Reading-comprehension_Oldy but goldy question banks

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Re: GMAT Prep Software Analysis and What If Scenarios [#permalink] New post 19 May 2013, 02:11
@vercules

What if you get 2 RC Passages (all questions related to it), 2 tough CRs, and 2 tough SCs wrong. Total 11 Ques incorrect but not in a stretch. How much score you get in Verbal? Please do it.
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Re: GMAT Prep Software Analysis and What If Scenarios [#permalink] New post 22 May 2013, 23:42
Hi Vercules,

what if we solve first 12 question correctly and from 13 to 25 alternate question correct.
and then from 25 to rest all correct.?
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Re: GMAT Prep Software Analysis and What If Scenarios [#permalink] New post 24 May 2013, 22:32
here's some data from Verbal section of my gmatprep #1

1 wrong in first 10 Qs:
5 wrong in next 10 Qs:

--> landed up with V29 .!

With 20 wrong across the section (!!! managed to make 14 mistakes in the last 21 questions !! )
I did realize that i was way slow by the time i completed first 20 : ate away about 48 mins by the time i finished first 20.
how could i've managed time better when i realized i was this slow?

i'm sure my situation is not unique ., and most likely what few of us might land up in. we normally dont plan for guessing until we realize we're way back on timing.

what would be the best approach for guessing if we end up having to guess from middle of the test, as in we dont follow this pattern (as in this what-if) right from the start?

any inputs appreciated,
thank you.
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Re: GMAT Prep Software Analysis and What If Scenarios [#permalink] New post 07 Jul 2013, 15:32
WarriorGmat wrote:
Hi Guys,

I have implemented strategy # 7 by Bunuel for MGMAT practice test in quant section.
and my quant score was Q47
Bang on!!! :o


Can you please post the summary sheet of your test (a screenshot would do). Wanted to understand how the score moves in that scenario.
Re: GMAT Prep Software Analysis and What If Scenarios   [#permalink] 07 Jul 2013, 15:32

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