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Penalty - MGMAT CAT Question + Looking for Quant advice

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Penalty - MGMAT CAT Question + Looking for Quant advice [#permalink] New post 20 Feb 2014, 17:52
Hi,

First of all thanks to everyone for providing such great information on this forum. It's been a great help!

Recently I took my first 2 MGMAT CATs and scored low on the Quant, but didn't know about the penalty for skipping questions:

Q34 (15 correct, 9 incorrect, 13 blank)
Q36 (16 correct, 9 incorrect, 12 blank)

Nearly all of the questions I completed were in the 700-800 range.

My question is, had I spent the 30 seconds or so randomly guessing D, how much would that have potentially increased my Quant score? Thanks!

Last edited by mickeyd on 21 Feb 2014, 15:45, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Penalty - MGMAT CAT Question [#permalink] New post 21 Feb 2014, 00:01
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To answer your question: probably not much. Yes, there is a penalty for not finishing the test, but look at it this way: you're talking about guessing blindly on 12-13 questions at once. Given that no one answer choice is favored over any other answer choice (i.e., you're going to get an even distribution of correct A's, B's, C's, D's, and E's over the long run), you can guesstimate that you would answer maybe 2 or 3 of those 12-13 correct with blind guesses. Even splitting those correct answers up evenly among the 12-13 questions, you're still looking at getting strings of 4 questions wrong, multiple times, at the end of the test. Chances are that's going to swing the test toward thinking those ones you got right were actually outliers, meaning they won't have much of an impact. Also, remember that the algorithms used by GMAC are designed to take into account the fact that you always have a 20% chance of getting a question right simply by guessing. In short, you're not going to be supplying any new information to the algorithm by simply guessing on the last 12 questions of the test.

The bigger issue at hand is that you are taking 75 minutes to complete ~25 problems. You're averaging more than a minute longer per question than you should be. Regardless of how many correct answers to 700-level questions you can string together at the beginning of the test, you're going to run out of time, and that's ultimately going to drag your score down as low, if not lower, than would simply going through the questions with timing in mind and skipping/guessing on the ones you don't have a good grasp on within a short period of time. Remember that your score is roughly equivalent to the "level" at which you're getting half the questions right and half the questions wrong. You should probably aim for getting your timing down on the lower-level questions and build up from there. Making sure that you get the hard questions right at all costs just locks you into a downward spiral where you take more time to get a hard question right, which leads to a harder question that takes even longer to complete. (And this is ignoring the fact that, on a lot of the harder questions, you're STILL going to get it wrong, even after investing all that time.)

TL;DR: Focus on your timing more. Getting a handle on your timing is crucial for getting better at the test.
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Re: Penalty - MGMAT CAT Question [#permalink] New post 21 Feb 2014, 06:42
Ccs127 wrote:
The bigger issue at hand...


Hi, thanks for your response. I have certainly focused nearly all of my efforts in recent weeks on improving my timing. Yesterday I took the free GMATClub Quant exam (m25 I believe) and was able to complete Quant test with 10 minutes to spare. I answered 22/37 for a Q45.

Can anyone speak to the reliability of the GMATClub free exams? (Yes I know, "GMATPrep is the most reliable indicator") etc., but I'm not asking for such a precise answer. Just more like, now that I've worked on some timing, does a Q45 on GMATClub mean I can at least break Q40?

(I am currently scoring V45+ and my goal is 700, so my quant goals are relatively modest compared to others on this forum. I'm just hoping to score a Q41-42.)

Thanks in advance!
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Re: Penalty - MGMAT CAT Question [#permalink] New post 21 Feb 2014, 08:37
mickeyd wrote:
Ccs127 wrote:
The bigger issue at hand...


Hi, thanks for your response. I have certainly focused nearly all of my efforts in recent weeks on improving my timing. Yesterday I took the free GMATClub Quant exam (m25 I believe) and was able to complete Quant test with 10 minutes to spare. I answered 22/37 for a Q45.

Can anyone speak to the reliability of the GMATClub free exams? (Yes I know, "GMATPrep is the most reliable indicator") etc., but I'm not asking for such a precise answer. Just more like, now that I've worked on some timing, does a Q45 on GMATClub mean I can at least break Q40?

(I am currently scoring V45+ and my goal is 700, so my quant goals are relatively modest compared to others on this forum. I'm just hoping to score a Q41-42.)

Thanks in advance!


GMATClub tests are amazing prep, but I wouldn't pay too much attention to the score/percentile. They aren't all that predictive of what kind of score you can expect on the actual test. I remember reading something along those lines from one of the higher-ups around here (bb maybe?).

In my experience, the tests are some of the best in terms of getting you to READ CLOSELY. You'll find that GMATClub tests are not all that computationally intense. You can arrive at *some* answer most of the time that you feel moderately confident in. But after you do a few of the tests, you're NEVER going to feel 100% confident in your answers anymore. That's the beauty of these tests...it gets you to actively read and understand what the question is asking, what information you're given, and perhaps most importantly, what information you're NOT given. After doing 10+ full-length exams on here, I'll never again read through a question stating "x and y are non-negative numbers" without writing down "x, y = 0? x, y = non-integers?" just because of how many times I got burned by that during my first couple tests. And considering that GMAC uses exactly those kinds of "tricks" in the real problems...

In short, I'd recommend continuing to do the GMATClub tests, as they will undoubtedly help bring your score up. Just don't pay too much attention to your score at the end.

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Re: Penalty - MGMAT CAT Question [#permalink] New post 21 Feb 2014, 15:52
Ccs127 wrote:
mickeyd wrote:
Ccs127 wrote:
The bigger issue at hand...


Hi, thanks for your response. I have certainly focused nearly all of my efforts in recent weeks on improving my timing. Yesterday I took the free GMATClub Quant exam (m25 I believe) and was able to complete Quant test with 10 minutes to spare. I answered 22/37 for a Q45.

Can anyone speak to the reliability of the GMATClub free exams? (Yes I know, "GMATPrep is the most reliable indicator") etc., but I'm not asking for such a precise answer. Just more like, now that I've worked on some timing, does a Q45 on GMATClub mean I can at least break Q40?

(I am currently scoring V45+ and my goal is 700, so my quant goals are relatively modest compared to others on this forum. I'm just hoping to score a Q41-42.)

Thanks in advance!


GMATClub tests are amazing prep, but I wouldn't pay too much attention to the score/percentile. They aren't all that predictive of what kind of score you can expect on the actual test. I remember reading something along those lines from one of the higher-ups around here (bb maybe?).

In my experience, the tests are some of the best in terms of getting you to READ CLOSELY. You'll find that GMATClub tests are not all that computationally intense. You can arrive at *some* answer most of the time that you feel moderately confident in. But after you do a few of the tests, you're NEVER going to feel 100% confident in your answers anymore. That's the beauty of these tests...it gets you to actively read and understand what the question is asking, what information you're given, and perhaps most importantly, what information you're NOT given. After doing 10+ full-length exams on here, I'll never again read through a question stating "x and y are non-negative numbers" without writing down "x, y = 0? x, y = non-integers?" just because of how many times I got burned by that during my first couple tests. And considering that GMAC uses exactly those kinds of "tricks" in the real problems...

In short, I'd recommend continuing to do the GMATClub tests, as they will undoubtedly help bring your score up. Just don't pay too much attention to your score at the end.

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Wow, I just reviewed my GMATClub test and you're exactly right. Soooo many "tricks" that I fell for, including:

-Question discussed Cubes and Spheres, I solved for squares and circles
-Question asked if xyz > 0, I didn't consider the possibility that one was equal to 0.

After every problem set/CAT I've been taking meticulous notes about my mistakes, so this was definitely an eye-opener. I plan to take another exam tomorrow. Given that I have 4 MGMAT CATS and 4 GMATPrep exams (I bought Exam Pack 1), would it be fine to take the GMATPrep Test 1? Now that I think I can finish the Quant in time I think it would be helpful to see the most realistic estimate of my score.
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Re: Penalty - MGMAT CAT Question + Looking for Quant advice [#permalink] New post 25 Feb 2014, 08:51
I would think that taking one of the GMAT Prep CATs would be fine at this point, but I wouldn't burn more than one or so unless your actual exam is coming up soon. GMAT Prep is the best predictor of actual score, and it's the only source of official GMAT questions (outside of the OG and question packs). That's what you want to be practicing with in your final weeks. MGMAT and GMATClub exams are great for practice and timing, but at the end of the day, they're only approximations of the real thing. In my opinion, you don't want to be depending on them for last-minute review and prep. Use the official materials for that.

Just to give you an idea of my approach, I'm four weeks out from the test and have done all six MGMAT CATs (timed, scores of 740/710/730/740/780/780) and about ten of the GMATClub quant exams (untimed, 51s on all but the first). During the remaining four weeks, I've got the two GMAT Prep CATs (and the exam pack, if I feel like I need it) and a few GMATClub exams to complete. The Club tests will keep me sharp on quant tricks over the next few weeks, and I can finish out with the official materials in an effort to best mirror the actual exam.

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Re: Penalty - MGMAT CAT Question + Looking for Quant advice [#permalink] New post 25 Feb 2014, 09:03
Ccs127 wrote:
I would think that taking one of the GMAT Prep CATs would be fine at this point, but I wouldn't burn more than one or so unless your actual exam is coming up soon. GMAT Prep is the best predictor of actual score, and it's the only source of official GMAT questions (outside of the OG and question packs). That's what you want to be practicing with in your final weeks. MGMAT and GMATClub exams are great for practice and timing, but at the end of the day, they're only approximations of the real thing. In my opinion, you don't want to be depending on them for last-minute review and prep. Use the official materials for that.

Just to give you an idea of my approach, I'm four weeks out from the test and have done all six MGMAT CATs (timed, scores of 740/710/730/740/780/780) and about ten of the GMATClub quant exams (untimed, 51s on all but the first). During the remaining four weeks, I've got the two GMAT Prep CATs (and the exam pack, if I feel like I need it) and a few GMATClub exams to complete. The Club tests will keep me sharp on quant tricks over the next few weeks, and I can finish out with the official materials in an effort to best mirror the actual exam.

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Hey,

Thanks for the response. My test is actually 5 days away (this Saturday!)

I've actually taken several exams since my last post, with great improvement!

(Feb-13) MGMAT CAT1: 640 (V45 Q34)
(Feb-16) MGMAT CAT2: 660 (V45 Q36)
---------------------------------
(Feb-21) MGMAT CAT3: 740 (V45 Q46)
(Feb-22) GMATPrep 1: 720 (V41 Q48)
(Feb-23) GMATPrep 2: 770 (V46 Q50)
(Feb-24) MGMAT CAT4: 720 (V45 Q44)

Here's my 5 day plan:

Tuesday: Review last exam, take GMATPrep 3
Wednesday: Review last exam, rest
Thursday: Do lots of GMATClub/OG/Question Pack 1 problems, timed
Friday: Take GMATPrep 4, review exam
Saturday: Beat GMAT!

Shooting for 700 and some change, though as long as I break 700 I'll be happy!
Re: Penalty - MGMAT CAT Question + Looking for Quant advice   [#permalink] 25 Feb 2014, 09:03
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