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5 Things I Learned Taking The New GMAT!

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5 Things I Learned Taking The New GMAT!


Just when I thought I was done with the GMAT, GMAC decided to change the test quite considerably. 30 mins shorter? Take my money, I thought to myself. While subjecting to the test again seemed like an ordeal that I wasn't quite ready for, but when bb asked me to take it and see how it feels, I decided to give it a shot. I took the test completely cold, meaning no preparation and no special routines. Just went to the centre and took it. My previous score was 760, and this time I came 10 points too close. One point in verbal which was waived off that I totally attribute to my nemesis - Reading Comprehension. So I sat on my experience, and ruminated on ways of writing this debrief. It was weird because, to be honest, it was a very similar experience. But at the same time, I saw a flock of very nervous folks figuring whether it is a good thing or a bad thing that the GMAT is shorter, and I wanted to help get some of us a reasonable resolve. So here goes!


1. Being great at SC is not going to help as much!


Sentence correction has always been my strong point. I used to be fairly effortless in my SC prep, and because I like structure and rules, I had a reasonably easy time in getting them right. I have gotten 760 twice and both times I scored a 98 percentile in SC. I am decent at CR and generally it is the tedious reading comprehension that takes away my focus, time, and my coveted V45 :(. In the previous version of the GMAT, you could reasonably say that 15-16 questions on the test were going to be those of Sentence Correction. That makes SC the most important section (okay I might be assuming a few things here, but on the basis of pure numbers, you are playing at good odds with that inference). But now SC barely covers a third of the test. In my test, I do not think I saw more than 10 SC questions. That means SC went from being 40% of the verbal section to 27%. Aww man! That is a 32% drop. So you could, reasonably, make a case that the importance of sentence correction has dropped by a third. That is not great for people like me, and I suspect, other non-natives who generally find SC to be the easiest section to improve upon. Sigh.

2. RC is the most important section on the GMAT verbal


On the flipside of the SC situation, RC seems to have filled up the void independently. I saw 4 RC passages. One of them was a giant. I was actually happy when I saw the size of the passage because I had this weird idea that long-ish passages tend to be straightforward. To my dismay it was about as dense as my almond flour mug bread :( It came with five questions. YES, FIVE! By the end of that RC, I was exhausted, out of time, and could see my V45 slipping away from me. Anyway, going away from weird food analogies, I could potentially see 14-15 RC questions on the test. Even if you take an average of 3-4 questions per passage, it could easily be 16 questions. That keeps RC at almost the same level as last year, but because the overall verbal test is shorter, RC dominates the test. This means that you better sharpen those RC skills if that's something that you have identified as a weak area.

3. Quant is as consistent as it was


Sure the quant section is shorter by 6 questions, but I really do not think it makes a difference. I scored a Q50 in all the three tests that I took within a year. I have made, at least, 2 mistakes, and most 4 mistakes to get to the Q50. In the last test, I made 3 mistakes. Overall, the quant section did feel easier than usual. I generally have had 2-3 questions where I would be stumped for a while and at least one question where I would have to guess and move on. This time, it felt weirdly simple. I don't exactly know if it was because I was testing at near-zero stress or it was just a random mindset thing. The quant section did not feel different. I thought having fewer question would help my stamina, but clearly, I have done better with 37 questions, though statistically, I do not think it makes any difference.

4. Do not bother with experimental questions and mass-hysteria


If you are about to take the GMAT, I would recommend avoiding the thread on recent changes in the GMAT on the forum. While it is fun speculating exactly how many experimental questions there are, how important it is to guess how the GMAT is psychoanalyzing you and whether the NSA is involved. I think it is a pretty useless train of thought, which should only be reserved for folks who are done with the test. One of the most important piece of advice I got before my first 760 test was from bb. It was about taking one question at a time, and not thinking about how you are doing in the test. I think it is crucial, as big picture thinking while taking the GMAT will definitely deter you from actually doing better in the test. I agree that it is very hard to not freak out when you get a question on quant which just needs the expansion of (a+b) squared (I had that in my exam in Q19 - man I was scared!) and your brain may try to trick you into falling down a quicksand of self-deprecation. I would recommend actively fighting against it.

Think about it this way. If you accurately knew how many experimental questions there will be on the test, would that information really help you? Would you, at any point, even remotely guess whether the question in front of you is scored or not? NO. So, who cares? Focus your energy on solving the question, and if you are not progressing with the question, move the hell on.

5. The AWA-IR section is unchanged


Well, if you did not know that, what are you doing here? Do your research!

Final Takeaways


I think the GMAT is the most standardized test in the world. They spend thousands of dollars for each question and GMAC execs are one of the most highest paid nonprofit execs in the world. They would not roll out a new format of the test unless they were absolutely certain that it would put no statistically significant advantage on the test takes. That defeats the purpose of standardisation. I witnessed a similar paranoia where GMAT enabled section-order and all of a sudden everybody was speculating about how it can change your game. Well, not really! If it did, they wouldn't make the change. My suspicion is that these changes are highly superficial which are built to entice more GMAT test takes (I guess they are approaching a flatline in the number of test takers) and curb the rising popularity of the GRE, which in my honest opinion, is not nearly as great a test as the GMAT. People often consider the GRE as a somewhat easier way out, and GMAC is trying to ease up on the rigor (at least cosmetically) to make it more appealing to test takers. I do think that the RC-SC switch is major and it might shave a few points off your verbal score, but I strongly believe that even that change would be well under the standard deviation of test scores.

What do you think? Are you planning to take the test anytime soon? I would be happy to take questions :)
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New post Updated on: 24 Apr 2018, 23:23
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Thanks again for the contribution, souvik101990. I agree that it doesn't make any sense for test-takers to worry about the number of experimentals on the new GMAT, especially that the number of experimentals has now been reduced by almost 50%.

In other words, unless you want to gamble with your GMAT score, it's not wise to try to guess which questions are experimentals.

However, when a high-scoring GMAT student such as yourself encounters a very easy question toward the middle/end of the test, it is likely that you have been served an experimental question, since the difficulty level of experimental questions is set in advance of the test.

-Brian

p.s. You mentioned getting 4 wrong on Quant for a Q50/51. How many questions did you answer correctly/incorrectly on Verbal for a V41? Would you mind sharing your ESR?
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Originally posted by mcelroytutoring on 24 Apr 2018, 07:15.
Last edited by mcelroytutoring on 24 Apr 2018, 23:23, edited 16 times in total.
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New post 24 Apr 2018, 07:26
Thanks for this brief souvik101990 :-)
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New post 24 Apr 2018, 07:38
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Quant Errors - new test - 4, old test - 2 - both Q50

New test ESR

Image

Old test ESR

Image

Verbal Errors - new test - easily between 6-8 - damn you RC. old test - 5

New test ESR

Image

Old test ESR

Image

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New post Updated on: 24 Apr 2018, 07:52
souvik101990 thank you for sharing your experience. It's amazing that you scored a 750 without any practice :o

my question: are the CR and SC sections more difficult now? Request you to shed some light on your experience with CR and SC questions for this test
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Simple and handy template for CR: https://gmatclub.com/forum/simple-and-handy-template-for-cr-242255.html

simple template for more vs greater and fewer vs less: https://gmatclub.com/forum/simple-template-for-more-vs-greater-and-fewer-vs-less-242216.html


Originally posted by ENEM on 24 Apr 2018, 07:41.
Last edited by ENEM on 24 Apr 2018, 07:52, edited 1 time in total.
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New post 24 Apr 2018, 07:49
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RC is the most common verbal question type now and thus the most important part of Verbal :|
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New post 24 Apr 2018, 07:54
Skywalker18 correct me if I am wrong, but wasn't RC always the most important section of verbal? I had read a review post that said that RCs can make or break your verbal score

https://gmatclub.com/reviews/comments/e ... -345351164
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Simple and handy template for CR: https://gmatclub.com/forum/simple-and-handy-template-for-cr-242255.html

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New post Updated on: 26 Apr 2018, 17:53
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Interesting! Looks like you actually got 10 wrong on Verbal this time, as opposed to only 5 wrong the first time, when you earned a V42.

Scoring a V41 with 10 questions wrong (67% correct) out of the 30 counted questions is actually pretty darn amazing from a "maximizing your score with the most number of questions wrong" perspective.

All things considered, earning a 750 (98%) with 14 total questions wrong out of the 58 counted questions (76% accuracy) on Quant and Verbal is an excellent turnaround--you managed the algorithm quite well by performing your best at the beginning of Verbal and not getting any easy questions wrong.

For comparison, when you earned a 760 (99%), a composite score just 10 points higher, you answered only 7 questions wrong out of the 58 counted questions (88% accuracy).

These respective ESRs serve as just another reminder that the number of questions answered incorrectly is only one consideration toward your overall GMAT score--question difficulty level (in particular, how many hard questions you answer correctly) is another major factor.

souvik101990 wrote:
Verbal Errors - new test - easily between 6-8 - damn you RC. old test - 5

New test ESR

Image

1st quarter = 1 wrong = 7/8 = 88% correct
2nd quarter = 2 wrong = 5/7 = 71% correct
3rd quarter = 3 wrong = 4/7 = 57% correct
4th quarter = 4 wrong = 4/8 = 50% correct

souvik101990 wrote:
Old test ESR

Image

1st quarter = 1 wrong = 7/8 = 88% correct
2nd quarter = 1 wrong = 6/7 = 86% correct
3rd quarter = 1 wrong = 6/7 = 86% correct
4th quarter = 2 wrong = 6/8 = 75% correct

-Brian
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You can download my official test-taker score report (all scores within the last 5 years) directly from the Pearson Vue website: https://tinyurl.com/y94hlarr Date of Birth: 09 December 1979.

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Originally posted by mcelroytutoring on 24 Apr 2018, 08:25.
Last edited by mcelroytutoring on 26 Apr 2018, 17:53, edited 15 times in total.
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New post 24 Apr 2018, 08:29
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mcelroytutoring wrote:
Interesting! Looks like you actually got 10 wrong on Verbal this time, as opposed to only 5 the first time, when you earned V42.

Scoring V41 with 10 questions wrong is actually pretty darn amazing from a "maximizing your score with the most number of questions wrong" perspective.


Yeah I think it was that disgusting RC. got the whole bunch wrong most likely.

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New post 24 Apr 2018, 08:29
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Hello souvik101990,

Congrats once again :-D

As we all know that RC is going to constitute major chunk of verbal from now, did you find any change in the difficulty level of RC - was it more convoluted?

Also, could you please point out how many long passages did you get?
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New post 24 Apr 2018, 08:40
Thanks souvik101990 for sharing your experience. Congratulations on amazing score that too without prep.

It's evident now that RC is the most important section of verbal.
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souvik101990 wrote:
mcelroytutoring - i think i made 4 mistakes in verbal last time - but yeah UGH on this one.

Hi souvik101990, Here's how I concluded 5 wrong on the V42:

1st quarter = 1 wrong = 7/8 = 88%
2nd quarter = 1 wrong = 6/7 = 86%
3rd quarter = 1 wrong = 6/7 = 86%
4th quarter = 2 wrong = 6/8 = 75%

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You can download my official test-taker score report (all scores within the last 5 years) directly from the Pearson Vue website: https://tinyurl.com/y94hlarr Date of Birth: 09 December 1979.

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Originally posted by mcelroytutoring on 24 Apr 2018, 09:07.
Last edited by mcelroytutoring on 24 Apr 2018, 09:39, edited 1 time in total.
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ENEM wrote:
Skywalker18 correct me if I am wrong, but wasn't RC always the most important section of verbal? I had read a review post that said that RCs can make or break your verbal score

Hi ENEM,

The most common question type on Verbal used to be Sentence Correction (not Reading Comprehension), but now the opposite is true:

Image

-Brian
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New post 24 Apr 2018, 09:23
Thank you for sharing your experience and congratulations on scoring a 750, souvik101990!

Atleast now it is clear that how RC is going to play an important role in the exam.

Just one question, did you find SC and CR questions with the similar difficulty level or have they become tougher than the earlier test?

Thank you once again!
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New post 24 Apr 2018, 09:48
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mcelroytutoring wrote:
souvik101990 wrote:
mcelroytutoring - i think i made 4 mistakes in verbal last time - but yeah UGH on this one.

Hi souvik101990, Here's how I concluded 5 wrong on the V42:

1st quarter = 1 wrong = 7/8 = 88%
2nd quarter = 1 wrong = 6/7 = 86%
3rd quarter = 1 wrong = 6/7 = 86%
4th quarter = 2 wrong = 6/8 = 75%

-Brian



haha you are right. I counted 1,1,1 and 2 wrong. The Q50 is a fluke.
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souvik101990 wrote:
The Q50 is a fluke.

What do you mean by "a fluke"? I disagree--give yourself some credit! :-) Scoring Q50/51 (currently 86% but formerly 97%) 3 times in a row is very impressive. If you scored a Q50, then you deserved a Q50, no matter how many questions you answered incorrectly.

The only difference between a Q50 with 4 wrong and a Q50 with 2 wrong is most likely that the first Q50 was served tougher questions overall.

Yes, there is such a thing as a "high" Q50 and a "low" Q50, which tends to have an effect on the composite score conversion, and explains how the exact same subscores in Quant and Verbal can yield different composite scores. However, remember that the adcoms at Business Schools don't have access to the level of data that we can see on the ESRs. As far as they know, all Q50s are equal--though one could argue that the composite score conversion does provide a clue in this regard.

-Brian
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Re: 5 Things I Learned Taking The New GMAT!  [#permalink]

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New post 24 Apr 2018, 10:44
souvik101990 wrote:
But now SC barely covers a third of the test.

Interesting. Another experience with the new GMAT seems to have encountered the following breakup:

8/9 questions of CR, 13 questions (4 paragraphs) of RC and 14/15 questions of SC.

So it seems that the exact (or even the approximate) break-up is not cast in stone as yet, and test-takers should be ready for this.

The one consistent pattern that emerges however, is that CR has least number of questions.
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Re: 5 Things I Learned Taking The New GMAT!  [#permalink]

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New post 24 Apr 2018, 10:49
souvik101990 thanks for another debrief :-)
Is it safe to assume that we will get at least 1 RC per 10 questions (if there are going to be 4 RC's)?
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Re: 5 Things I Learned Taking The New GMAT!  [#permalink]

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New post 24 Apr 2018, 15:35
souvik101990 you are a one amazing fellow! Proud of you and appreciate your input and help.


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Re: 5 Things I Learned Taking The New GMAT! &nbs [#permalink] 24 Apr 2018, 15:35

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