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Kaplan CATs vs GMAT Prep CATs

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Kaplan CATs vs GMAT Prep CATs [#permalink] New post 19 Aug 2012, 13:53
I've been going through the Kaplan OnDemand course. The first CATs I took were Kaplan's and I was scoring in the low 600s. I then took the first GMAT Prep CAT and scored a 720. I continued studying through Kaplan and took 2 more Kaplan CATs and scored a 610 and 630. Yesterday I took the second GMAT Prep CAT and scored a 750.

The GMAT Score Calculator seems to indicate that Kaplan CATs underestimate one's ability on the actual test to a pretty significant degree. I'm going to continue studying and focusing on weaknesses, but I'm curious about other people's recent experience with the CATs from these 2 sources. I'm scheduled to take the test in 10 days. What experiences have you had recently that indicate how accurate either Kaplan or GMAT prep CATs are at predicting an actual score?

Thank you for the thoughts.
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Re: Kaplan CATs vs GMAT Prep CATs [#permalink] New post 19 Aug 2012, 15:03
Don't worry about the Kaplan tests, they're way off. I took a Kaplan CAT 3 days before my actual GMAT (720) and scored a 540. All my GMAT prep tests were close to 700.
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Re: Kaplan CATs vs GMAT Prep CATs [#permalink] New post 20 Aug 2012, 04:19
How are the Princeton Review CAT's though? I have access to MGMAT CATs, but i would like to take around 10-14 CATs altogether. So i'm down to Princeton or Kaplan. bb's CAT reviews are quite old, so any update on the new Kaplan CAT tests?
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Re: Kaplan CATs vs GMAT Prep CATs [#permalink] New post 20 Aug 2012, 07:05
DJ2012 wrote:
Don't worry about the Kaplan tests, they're way off. I took a Kaplan CAT 3 days before my actual GMAT (720) and scored a 540. All my GMAT prep tests were close to 700.


That's great to know. Thanks for sharing. I certainly don't want to get complacent, but it helps me to know where to focus my studies. After starting with a bunch of Kaplan CATs I was fairly discouraged. I think they're definitely valuable for showing strengths and weaknesses, but I'm hoping GMAT Prep tests are slightly more representative of the real thing.

Thanks again.
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Re: Kaplan CATs vs GMAT Prep CATs [#permalink] New post 20 Aug 2012, 08:29
dyoung1561 wrote:
DJ2012 wrote:
Don't worry about the Kaplan tests, they're way off. I took a Kaplan CAT 3 days before my actual GMAT (720) and scored a 540. All my GMAT prep tests were close to 700.


That's great to know. Thanks for sharing. I certainly don't want to get complacent, but it helps me to know where to focus my studies. After starting with a bunch of Kaplan CATs I was fairly discouraged. I think they're definitely valuable for showing strengths and weaknesses, but I'm hoping GMAT Prep tests are slightly more representative of the real thing.

Thanks again.


It depends. I've seen people score higher on Kaplan CAT exams than on the real GMAT. :shock: If nothing works, i'm going on have to sign up with either Manhattan or Knewton.

I think MGMAT is a better benchmark. I struggled trying to finish their Quant Section though.
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Re: Kaplan CATs vs GMAT Prep CATs [#permalink] New post 20 Aug 2012, 21:59
dyoung1561 wrote:
DJ2012 wrote:
Don't worry about the Kaplan tests, they're way off. I took a Kaplan CAT 3 days before my actual GMAT (720) and scored a 540. All my GMAT prep tests were close to 700.


That's great to know. Thanks for sharing. I certainly don't want to get complacent, but it helps me to know where to focus my studies. After starting with a bunch of Kaplan CATs I was fairly discouraged. I think they're definitely valuable for showing strengths and weaknesses, but I'm hoping GMAT Prep tests are slightly more representative of the real thing.

Thanks again.


I am in the exact same boat! I have been scoring 580-560 using the Kaplan CATs and On Demand, and it just seems to be more discouraging than anything else.

I just bought the enitre MGMAT Complete Strat Guide, so hopefully I can knock that out and feel a little more comfortable before taking the test.

Dj2012 how did you feel going into the actual test? Clearly you did work!
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Re: Kaplan CATs vs GMAT Prep CATs [#permalink] New post 08 Feb 2013, 06:26
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I think it is more about analyzing the CAT then raw scores, but i do agree that both MGMAT and Kaplan do tend to under score when compared with GMAT PREP ( I have not taken the actual test so cannot say whether gmat prep is fully indicative of gmat). MGMAT has a quant section that is much tougher (most agree with this observation of mine) and more calculation intensive when compared to GMAT PREP. Kaplan CAT (i have only taken the first one) seemed to have quant that was slightly easier when compared to GMAT PREP, but verbal that was much tougher. In addition to the tougher verbal it was also not representative, especially CR .... Overall i have been getting 50-70 points less in both MGMAT CAT (because of a lower quant score) and Kaplan (because of a lower verbal score) then GMAT PREP. I would rate MGMAT CAT's to be superior because they challenge you on quant, and their verbal is quite similar to GMAT PREP and OG , QP1 etc. Kaplan Quant is easier, and their verbal is not representative in my opinon, so even though i will take all the 5 CAT's that i got with Kap premeir, i think the reviews of my MGMAT CAT's will be more beneficial.
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Re: Kaplan CATs vs GMAT Prep CATs [#permalink] New post 09 Feb 2013, 08:35
On average, the Kaplan CATs seem to be harder than the actual GMAT, and most people score somewhat lower on Kaplan tests than on the GMATPrep or the actual tests. But you may or may not be "average." :-D It isn't strange at all for Kaplan tests to overstate your scores, depending on your exact strengths and weaknesses.

I think its always best to avoid taking your practice test scores too seriously, unless you're doing the GMATPrep. I would argue that the MGMAT tests tend to be more accurate than the Kaplan tests on average... but again, you might not be "average," and the MGMAT tests might wildly understate or overstate your actual skills.

The GMAT is a really complicated test, and the exact scoring algorithm is a closely guarded secret. Tests from Kaplan or MGMAT represent a sincere effort by very brilliant people to reverse-engineer the GMAT... but they aren't the actual test, and in some ways, they aren't even close.

I know that it's really hard to accept this advice, but try not to freak out about your Kaplan or MGMAT practice test scores--they don't always mean exactly what they seem to mean. Analyze your errors carefully, take a critical look at your timing habits, and try to squeeze every bit of wisdom you possibly can out of your practice tests. But don't be too shocked if your Kaplan (or MGMAT or PR or Veritas) test results don't ultimately match your GMATPrep or actual GMAT scores. They're great practice, but they're rarely going to offer a perfect indication of your GMAT skills.
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Re: Kaplan CATs vs GMAT Prep CATs [#permalink] New post 09 Feb 2013, 08:50
GMATNinja wrote:
On average, the Kaplan CATs seem to be harder than the actual GMAT, and most people score somewhat lower on Kaplan tests than on the GMATPrep or the actual tests. But you may or may not be "average." :-D It isn't strange at all for Kaplan tests to overstate your scores, depending on your exact strengths and weaknesses.

I think its always best to avoid taking your practice test scores too seriously, unless you're doing the GMATPrep. I would argue that the MGMAT tests tend to be more accurate than the Kaplan tests on average... but again, you might not be "average," and the MGMAT tests might wildly understate or overstate your actual skills.

The GMAT is a really complicated test, and the exact scoring algorithm is a closely guarded secret. Tests from Kaplan or MGMAT represent a sincere effort by very brilliant people to reverse-engineer the GMAT... but they aren't the actual test, and in some ways, they aren't even close.

I know that it's really hard to accept this advice, but try not to freak out about your Kaplan or MGMAT practice test scores--they don't always mean exactly what they seem to mean. Analyze your errors carefully, take a critical look at your timing habits, and try to squeeze every bit of wisdom you possibly can out of your practice tests. But don't be too shocked if your Kaplan (or MGMAT or PR or Veritas) test results don't ultimately match your GMATPrep or actual GMAT scores. They're great practice, but they're rarely going to offer a perfect indication of your GMAT skills.



I agree . In my case, Quant is a weakness, and i have worked hard enough to a point where i am getting very close to the 80th percentile mark on GMAT PREP. When i took the MGMAT for the first time i was completely blown away (and as i found out i was not the first one to feel like this) with the timing on quant and managed to only finish around 28 questions before having to resort to random guessing on the last 9 or ten. I scored a dismal 40 because of this mistake. My Verbal score was around 38 which probably also suffered because i was so burned out with the quant section. When i took it for the second time (The Second CAT) i was moving faster then the first time, but had to pick and choose the questions i wanted to really go at hard ( the few questions where the extra 10-30 seconds may make the difference) so even though i finished the section i was moving way faster then i would have liked. I ended up scoring a 42, a slightly better performance but again i was not able to spend the ammount of time per question that i would have liked. The verbal score was around the same for me as in the first test. As a result i scored a 650 overall on both. A few freinds who are a part of my study group also took the MGMAT but because they were scoring around Q50-Q51 they did not find the quant on MGMAT CAT as brutual and were able to get around a Q47-48 even though they were too pressed for time. Their score overall was just a tad bit lower when compared to GMAT PREP. So with MGMAT I feel that if you are very good in quant (Around Q50 for GMAT PREP) you can still do reasonably well , however if your strenght is Verbal and you just about manage 46-47 in quant in GMAT PREP the MGMAT Quant will seem to be quite a bit of a "step up" primarily with timing.

Kaplan gave me a dismal Verbal score (translated to something like a V31 or 32) but this was at a back of a busy day and some study so i do not know whether i actually did poorly on the test, but i do recall that the CR seemed ambiguous and that is what lowered my score in V ( I got 100% accuracy in MGMAT CAT 1 CR, and only missed a few CR questions on the CAT 2). On the flip side, quant score was the best i have had so far in my prep (85th percentile)...So my overall score was same as MGMAT 650, and a full 50-70 points lower when compared to my last 2 GMAT PREP scores (both tests for the first time) that i took just 15 days earlier.
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Re: Kaplan CATs vs GMAT Prep CATs   [#permalink] 09 Feb 2013, 08:50
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