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7 reason why GMAT ESR isn't useful - Detailed Analysis

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Is the GMAT ESR feature useful?

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7 reason why GMAT ESR isn't useful - Detailed Analysis [#permalink]

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New post 12 Feb 2015, 21:15
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Hello All,

You perhaps have heard about the GMAT Enhanced Score Report feature and are wondering what it means for you. I have had a lot of my students at CrackVerbal ask me this question so I did some research and wanted to share it with you.

Before we get into the details please read this excellent summary from GMAC on what the ESR is - http://www.mba.com/esr. You may view a sample enhanced score report here: [url]mba.com/esr-demo[/url]

I assume you are reading this post in 1 of 2 cases:

(a) You took the GMAT and it bombed so are planning to retake so you want the ESR to show you how you need to prepare

(b) You took the GMAT and are okay with the scores but are curious to know more (& are willing to spend $25 for that!).

If you have not taken the GMAT then don't worry about this. You can always come back after you have taken the test.

Let me break it down into the sections, and the reasons

Reason 1: The Dashboard:
This gives you the section-wise performance but this is stuff that you ANYWAYS would get from your official score report. So not useful

Attachment:
File comment: GMAT Dashboard
GMAT ESR 1.png
GMAT ESR 1.png [ 64.21 KiB | Viewed 9384 times ]


Reason 2: The IR Analysis

Firstly you shouldn't really be bothered too much about your IR score (unless you really bombed it!) but even if you want to see the performance the ESR just shows the number of questions you got right / wrong. As there are 12 questions and 8 of them count towards your IR score you kind of know how many questions you got right or wrong. So really GMAC should have given more insights by providing the number of multi-source questions you got right etc.

Attachment:
File comment: Time management by section
GMAT ESR 2.png
GMAT ESR 2.png [ 34.4 KiB | Viewed 9378 times ]


Reason 3: The AWA Analysis

This section is a waste as it just details your performance on the AWA on a scale of 0 to 6. The same chart/table is given to you in the OG. So absolutely of no use.

Attachment:
File comment: AWA Analysis
GMAT ESR 4.png
GMAT ESR 4.png [ 186.34 KiB | Viewed 9381 times ]


Reason 4: The Time Management by Section

This section is again useless because if you completed the test then you know you solved 41 Verbal questions in 75 minutes and 37 Quant questions in 75 minutes.

Attachment:
File comment: Time management by section
GMAT ESR 2.png
GMAT ESR 2.png [ 34.4 KiB | Viewed 9378 times ]


Reason 5: The Time Management for Verbal & Quant


This one LOOKS very important for re-takers as it should tell you where you are spending the most time. However, this data could be obscured if you ended up guessing towards the end. For example let us say you did poorly in RC and you ended up in trouble by the time you reached the last passage and so quickly guessed the 3-4 questions in under 1minute. So though you took 12 minutes for each of the 3 passages - you end up with a decent looking 9minutes per passage.

A chart which gave you an idea of how you managed your time overall (how you did in the start, how you managed to do in the end) would have helped a student lot more than this graph.

Attachment:
File comment: Time management Verbal
GMAT ESR 6.png
GMAT ESR 6.png [ 41.3 KiB | Viewed 9375 times ]

Attachment:
File comment: Time management Quant
GMAT ESR 9.png
GMAT ESR 9.png [ 47.16 KiB | Viewed 9344 times ]


Reason 6: Percentile scores for individual topics with Verbal & Quant


This one is again in the could-have-been-useful category especially if you are retaking (or are just curious to know your strengths and weaknesses). The biggest flaw here is that the GMAT adaptive algorithm works across all the sub-sections. So even if you are really good in SC you might end up not seeing very high %ile scores because some other section (say CR or RC) pulled you down.

For example, each time the adaptive algorithm puts you in a higher bracket because you answered some SC or CR questions correctly, your next RC passage might pull you down. So net-net in all sections you see around the same %ile ballpark though RC is really your problem area. So in a nutshell, the problem here is it doesn't REALLY tell you what your areas of strength or weaknesses are.

Also in Quant the report individually reports PS, DS, and the topics Arithmetic, Algebra, and Geometry. But those preparing for the GMAT would know that the better way would have been to tell if they had issues with DS questions in Algebra, or Word Problems in Arithmetic. The level of detail provided doesn't help much.

Attachment:
File comment: Verbal sub-section percentiles
GMAT ESR 10.png
GMAT ESR 10.png [ 67.09 KiB | Viewed 9339 times ]


Attachment:
File comment: Quant sub-section percentiles
GMAT ESR 7.png
GMAT ESR 7.png [ 61.18 KiB | Viewed 9337 times ]



Reason 7: Why make money from providing the correct information to students

This one is not based on the ESR itself but on the way GMAC should function. As already mentioned in Poets & Quants article: http://poetsandquants.com/2015/01/22/fo ... t-results/ asking students to pay $25 for understanding a test that you have set is unfair. To quote:
"Test takers, who already pay $250 a pop to take the exam, will be charged an additional $25 for the enhanced report, even though GMAC’s gross profit margins already are better than the margins Apple makes on either an iPad or an iPhone. GMAC says it collected $87.7 million in fees in 2012, yet it cost the organization only $45.7 million to administer the test, according to documents filed with the Internal Revenue Service. The effective gross profit on the actual exam is roughly 47.9%. If just 20% of the people who take the GMAT pay for the enhanced report, it would add more than $1.2 million to the annual revenue of the non-profit organization."

As another blogger, Sameer Kamat of MBA Crystalball put it rightly "Many folks who aren't happy with their scores shell out $250 to re-take it anyway. I spoke to someone recently who took it 6 times (with disastrous results!) before giving up on it. While GRE is trying to gain inroads into the GMAT turf, it would've helped if GMAC could've included this new feature without charging extra for it. The incremental effort for them to provide these insights is minimal."

In summary, if you are thinking about this. My advice is not to go for it. Instead if you want to reserve a consultation where I could walk you through your problem areas on the GMAT then let me know :)

I created a poll to know your views. Also give comments (and kudos) if you think you agree with this analysis.

Arun
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Re: 7 reason why GMAT ESR isn't useful - Detailed Analysis [#permalink]

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New post 18 Feb 2015, 21:58
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Thanks for posting this! I am also still looking for a good use for the ESR feature and hope someone can prove you wrong :-)
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Re: 7 reason why GMAT ESR isn't useful - Detailed Analysis [#permalink]

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New post 20 Feb 2015, 07:29
I am not able to understand what my data tells to me..there was a noise prob at center and I have got another retake from Pearson

My stats are
CR 28th percentile(21 scaled score)
Rc 95th percentile ( 51 scaled score)
SC 57TH percentile (30 scaled score)

Overall 31 scaled score.

Does it mean I got almost all questions correct in RC section?

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Re: 7 reason why GMAT ESR isn't useful - Detailed Analysis [#permalink]

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New post 20 Feb 2015, 10:50
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rajthakkar wrote:
I am not able to understand what my data tells to me..there was a noise prob at center and I have got another retake from Pearson

My stats are
CR 28th percentile(21 scaled score)
Rc 95th percentile ( 51 scaled score)
SC 57TH percentile (30 scaled score)

Overall 31 scaled score.

Does it mean I got almost all questions correct in RC section?

Posted from my mobile device



I don't think it means you have answered all questions correctly... but it does look like you have managed to score on RC quite well... Is it your strong suit or just how luck worked out?

P.S. The RC passages/questions tend to have non-adaptive scoring and perhaps this reflects it since individual RC questions are supposedly not adaptive.
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Re: 7 reason why GMAT ESR isn't useful - Detailed Analysis [#permalink]

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New post 20 Feb 2015, 19:17
Actually there was so much disturbance so I took longer to read passages.One passage at the middle was quite tricky and 4-5 para long with densed info. Generally I have higher accuracy in SC rather than in RC and generally get 3-4 questions wrong in the RC section MGMAT tests.

It seems ESR doesn't help much.I had to rush through 4-5 questions at the end which contained SC and CR questions.Getting them all wrong could have caused individual CR and SC scores/percentiles to drop.

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Re: 7 reason why GMAT ESR isn't useful - Detailed Analysis [#permalink]

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New post 24 Jun 2015, 13:38
bb wrote:
rajthakkar wrote:
I am not able to understand what my data tells to me..there was a noise prob at center and I have got another retake from Pearson

My stats are
CR 28th percentile(21 scaled score)
Rc 95th percentile ( 51 scaled score)
SC 57TH percentile (30 scaled score)

Overall 31 scaled score.

Does it mean I got almost all questions correct in RC section?

Posted from my mobile device



I don't think it means you have answered all questions correctly... but it does look like you have managed to score on RC quite well... Is it your strong suit or just how luck worked out?

P.S. The RC passages/questions tend to have non-adaptive scoring and perhaps this reflects it since individual RC questions are supposedly not adaptive.


bb,

I do think that a scaled score of 51 on any of the sections, means that all the questions in that particular sub section were answered correctly. This is based on my personal observation from GMATPREP and I am assuming that there is 0% difference in how the algorithm works (and interpretation of scaled scores) for both GMATPREP and actual GMAT. I got a 51 whenever I had answered all questions correctly in that sub section, be it DS or CR or RC.
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Re: 7 reason why GMAT ESR isn't useful - Detailed Analysis [#permalink]

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New post 24 Jun 2015, 17:55
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There are a couple of misconceptions in this thread.

bb wrote:
P.S. The RC passages/questions tend to have non-adaptive scoring and perhaps this reflects it since individual RC questions are supposedly not adaptive.


I'm not exactly what sure what this means, but RC questions are scored like any other questions. The one thing that makes RC different from CR or SC is that you're given an entire set of questions which, on average, ought to be roughly at your level (though some will be hard for you, some easy). The question sets are still selected adaptively - you'll get harder passages if you're doing well - and are still scored the same way as other questions.

And I think the explanation below misunderstands how the ESR is calculating scores by question type:

arun@crackverbal wrote:

Reason 6: Percentile scores for individual topics with Verbal & Quant


The biggest flaw here is that the GMAT adaptive algorithm works across all the sub-sections. So even if you are really good in SC you might end up not seeing very high %ile scores because some other section (say CR or RC) pulled you down.

For example, each time the adaptive algorithm puts you in a higher bracket because you answered some SC or CR questions correctly, your next RC passage might pull you down. So net-net in all sections you see around the same %ile ballpark though RC is really your problem area.


I gather you're suggesting that by doing well in SC/CR, a test taker gets harder RC questions, which will hurt his or her score. That's not how adaptive scoring works. On an adaptive test, your score will be the same whether you see tons of hard questions or tons of easy questions. Scoring is all based on probabilities: the algorithm knows the probability a test taker of each ability level will get a right answer to a question. If you get a test full of 700-level questions, and answer about 60% of them correctly, you'll get a 700. If you get a test full of 400-level questions, you'd need to get way more than 60% of them right to get a 700. And if you had a test full of 800-level questions, you could get less than 60% right to get a 700.

Difficultly level is already factored into the algorithm, so your performance on SC or CR doesn't affect your score on RC - it will affect your 'hit rate' on RC, but your score is not based on your 'hit rate'.

I agree that the ESR does not provide a lot of useful information, and the timing information is particularly useless for test takers who guess to finish a section. The most interesting information is the breakdown by question type (the scores for SC, CR and RC, for example). But that information is problematic for a different reason, not identified above: the sample size of questions from which the ESR is producing a score is too small to give a precise estimate of ability. We all know that on a full-length GMAT, the standard error is about 30 points - the GMAT doesn't always give a score exactly equal to your ability, and any score should correctly be considered to have a 'margin of error'. When you cut down the number of questions into batches of 10 or 15, the algorithm has a lot less information to go on. The margin of error goes way, way up, and the score you get on RC-only or CR-only might be quite far from your true level.

That's also why those diagnostic reports on company tests that break down your performance by subject and question type are often almost meaningless, especially when those reports divide up the test into very small batches of questions. I've seen some tests that try to judge how good a test taker is at Geometry from a sample of three questions, and that's just an absurd thing to do, mathematically speaking. So if, on an ESR, you have a very big difference in scores on different question types, that difference is probably meaningful. But if scores are fairly close, it may just be luck that caused one score to be higher than another. If you really want to assess your level in different question types, it's much better to assess yourself by attempting larger pools of official questions of similar difficulty - you really can't use a single test to assess yourself that way.
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7 reason why GMAT ESR isn't useful - Detailed Analysis [#permalink]

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New post 25 Jan 2018, 19:54
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I find GMAT ESRs to be incredibly useful--in fact, I'm rather obsessed with them. From the ESRs we've discovered exactly how many questions are counted on each section (30 on Verbal and 28 on Quant) and each quarter-section, for example. ESRs also provide excellent information on pacing, question difficulty and leveraging the scoring algorithm.

Could the ESRs be more specific? Of course. Breaking down each section into quarters and only providing average question difficulty levels only tells us so much. In a perfect world, I would love to actually be able to actually see all the questions! But let's not forget that pre-ESRs, we had nothing to analyze other than a score report and our vague memory of the test, so beggars can't be choosers.
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7 reason why GMAT ESR isn't useful - Detailed Analysis   [#permalink] 25 Jan 2018, 19:54
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