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The GMAT Has Changed

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The GMAT Has Changed [#permalink] New post 30 Oct 2003, 09:15
For those that dont think the GMAT has gotten considerably tougher over the last few years, I beg to differ.

Would love to get other thoughts........


If you look at old GMAT tests from 5-10 years ago, the problems are, as a whole, easier to compute in a quicker timeframe, than the problems offered today. I think most test takers would tell you that 85% of the problems in the Official Guide (which come from old GMAT tests) simply pale in comparison to the vast majority of questions offered on the real CAT test today. Plus, tougher topics such as probability and combinations were never even tested on the exam until a few years ago.

Similarly, 7-8 years ago a mid-600 score would have earned you a score in the 93+ percentile. Today, it barely gets you an 80th percentile.

Finally, the test is (obviously) on computer now - there's no skipping hard questions and returning to them.....no circling "key" words in reading comp passages or critical reasoning, etc.

Personally, I think the test is quite tricky today. I really believe that the available materials (save the 100 hardest questions in the OG, and a select # of Kaplan problems) do not provide sound preparation. Now I'm stuck trying to get my hands on material that will actually prep me for what I can expect, as opposed to simple one-step problems that used to be common on older versions, but which simply dont cut the mustard anymore.

Just my two cents....
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 [#permalink] New post 30 Oct 2003, 14:18
No one is denying the fact that it it got tough. But since it is tougher so are the rewards. See folks saying that they missed last questions and yet managed to get 700's. What does that mean. The test is tough but not all the questions count. Infact the questions which are experimental are out and the questions which are not experimental must have got minor weightage even if wrong on the basis of past experimental experience. The heavier GMAT doesnt mean that percentage of folks scoring in 90+ percentile has dropped. If GMAT has changed then even the algorithm has also changed.
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 [#permalink] New post 30 Oct 2003, 19:43
I am not sure that GMAT has got tougher. Many problems that I encountered in actual GMAT were very easy - the one step type. At least two were simple fractions. Yet you could go wrong and make a mistake - and the wrong answer is also there in the choices !

Why the GMAT seems tougher is because the questions that you see in the exam have never been seen - either in OG or on Kaplan - or anywhere else. The fundamentals are same but the details are not. Instead of the longest line in a cuboid, it becomes distance of a corner lamp from the furthermost point !

Even if scoring is higher, it is the percentile which matters, not the actual score. A 98 percentile is very good, whether it is 730 of 2001 or 740 of 2003 or 750 of 2004 ! To me, it seems that GMAT is not getting tougher, it is the competition that is getting tougher ! ETS must be having a hard time preparing normalised questions.
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Re: The GMAT Has Changed [#permalink] New post 20 Nov 2003, 06:19
jjomalls wrote:
For those that dont think the GMAT has gotten considerably tougher over the last few years, I beg to differ.

Would love to get other thoughts........


If you look at old GMAT tests from 5-10 years ago, the problems are, as a whole, easier to compute in a quicker timeframe, than the problems offered today. I think most test takers would tell you that 85% of the problems in the Official Guide (which come from old GMAT tests) simply pale in comparison to the vast majority of questions offered on the real CAT test today. Plus, tougher topics such as probability and combinations were never even tested on the exam until a few years ago.

Similarly, 7-8 years ago a mid-600 score would have earned you a score in the 93+ percentile. Today, it barely gets you an 80th percentile.

Finally, the test is (obviously) on computer now - there's no skipping hard questions and returning to them.....no circling "key" words in reading comp passages or critical reasoning, etc.

Personally, I think the test is quite tricky today. I really believe that the available materials (save the 100 hardest questions in the OG, and a select # of Kaplan problems) do not provide sound preparation. Now I'm stuck trying to get my hands on material that will actually prep me for what I can expect, as opposed to simple one-step problems that used to be common on older versions, but which simply dont cut the mustard anymore.

Just my two cents....


I don't believe that. The scores (700, 750, 650, etc.) are SCALED, which means that there are adjusted to from the actual results to a standard scale that can be comparable from test to test. In the old days, there are a custom mapping for each test of number correct to scaled score which then mapped to a percentile. Now, since the questions are not the same, there is some secret algorithm that maps the results to a scaled score, but they are scaled nonetheless.

Someone made a comment that he didn't think there were more people in the 90+ percentile than before. Think about it. The 90 percentile is the 90 percentile. That means that 90% of the people who took that test scored below you.

I agree that the test questions are harder, especially for the top 15% or so student. This is because the test is shorter and becuase it is adaptive. I miss the old days when I could breeze through the easy quesions in a few minutes, then take my time for the hard ones and even go back and check them. Whenever I take a practice exam, I get 37 "very difficult" question thrown at me.

I think that those people who make the effort to prepare should want a hard test to differentiate themselves from those who do not.

You are right that there are few resources with difficult problems. I have always supplemented my study with "puzzle" books that have lots of neat problems in them to keep me on my toes. Don't buy the ones on sale now -- they are more geared to "tricks" than good math problems. Go to a college library and you will find a bunch of good problem books (many published by Dover) that are collecting dust on the shelves.

Manhattan GMAT posts one very challenging problem every week on their web site. the GMATClub published a new book of moderately difficult problems in 5 categories. The KAPLAN gmat 800 book has a few good problems also. There is an Indian site "ascent education" that has a collection of fairly good quant problems. For probability, buy a Schaum outlilne and do all of the problems in chapter 1 and 2 and you will have it down cold.

I tell my student that if they are really prepared, they will REJOICE everytime they get a hard question because every hard question is an opportunity to leave the mere mortals in the dust.

:)

Good luck.
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MBA, Anderson School of Management, UCLA, Class of 1993

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Which Schaum book for Probability.. [#permalink] New post 20 Nov 2003, 08:46
AkamaiBrah

Can you please be more specific which probability book you are referring to?

- Schaum's Outline of Probability --Seymour Lipschutz, Marc Lipson
- Schaum's Outline of Probability and Statistics -- Murray R. Spiegel, et al;
- Schaum's Outline of Probability, Random Variables, and Random Processes -- Hwei P. Hsu
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 [#permalink] New post 20 Nov 2003, 19:02
I guess Schaum's Outline of Probability and Statistics -- Murray R. Spiegel, et a
  [#permalink] 20 Nov 2003, 19:02
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