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# Are the 1st 10 questions really that important?

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Intern
Joined: 06 Apr 2010
Posts: 14
Are the 1st 10 questions really that important? [#permalink]

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18 May 2010, 17:53
Most places I have read that the 1st 10 questions are most important in GMAT because they set your avg score, and therefore one should spend more time on the 1st 10 questions.

I tend to disagree with this notion. In fact I believe the last 10 questions are the most important. Reason is, even if you do poor in the 1st 10 questions you still have room to make up for them but if you screw the last 10 then there is no room, thats your final score.

What do you guys think?

Thanks.
Manager
Joined: 08 May 2010
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Re: Are the 1st 10 questions really that important? [#permalink]

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18 May 2010, 20:51
3
KUDOS
Manhattan GMAT has a free report at their website called GMAT Uncovered. (all you have to do is register and you will also be able to access one free CAT GMAT). This report specifically covers this question and debunks the myth of the first ten questions. (I have no affiliation with Manhattan GMAT other than I bought two of their products.)

Thanks,
Brian
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Re: Are the 1st 10 questions really that important? [#permalink]

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18 May 2010, 22:09
1
KUDOS
The first 10 questions are important because the system hasn't calibrated for your level yet. If you miss a 650 level question, it may give you a 600 level question. By the time you reach the end of test, it has a pretty good basis for what your skill level should be, so if you miss a 650 level question, it's more likely to give you another 650 or something not too far from that.

All of the questions are important, but in my test taking experience, the exam is far more forgiving in the last 10 questions than it is in the first 10. If you only get the first 10 correct though, you're going to get a low score.

Your logic isn't unreasonable though. It's probably safe to say that the middle questions are the safest to get wrong, but it's not like you really have any choice in which questions you get wrong.
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Re: Are the 1st 10 questions really that important? [#permalink]

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19 May 2010, 17:23
dont worry about it - bottom line you are still gonna have to finish the test and you cant advance without answering the question before. Also there's no question in the test worth spending more than the "recommended" 2mins on.
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Re: Are the 1st 10 questions really that important? [#permalink]

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19 May 2010, 17:51
shaselai wrote:
dont worry about it - bottom line you are still gonna have to finish the test and you cant advance without answering the question before. Also there's no question in the test worth spending more than the "recommended" 2mins on.

Yeah, I'd tend to try and adopt this mentality. If you're in the test and worrying about the first 10, you're more likely than anything else to give yourself nerves and distract yourself from taking the test. It's been designed a certain way, and investing anything more than a bit of curiosity into the mechanics of the algorithm will be detrimental towards the goal of getting a higher score. i.e. you don't improve your score by beating the system, you do it by doing well... on every question.
Intern
Joined: 23 Feb 2010
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Re: Are the 1st 10 questions really that important? [#permalink]

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23 May 2010, 18:46
I'd also look at it another way. I appreciate that trying to figure out the scoring system is interesting, but I would say the first 5 to 10 questions are really important for another reason - it sets your rhythm for the section.

If you take your time, stick to the routine that you've practiced and confidently solve the first 5 to 10 questions, you'll be on the right track for the rest of the exam. If you panic and stray away from your preparation early in the test, it will be hard to get back and you may find yourself in that dreaded scramble-mode.
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Re: Are the 1st 10 questions really that important? [#permalink]

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27 May 2010, 14:37
1
KUDOS
Expert's post
This is an idea that will probably never fully go away, but GMAC itself has debunked the "first 10 count more" myth, and says explicitly that all questions are worth the same amount. (We touched on this in a blog post last year: http://blog.veritasprep.com/2009/10/tho ... ummit.html)

Basically, it boils down to the fact that the test needs to be flexible enough to account for false positives and false negatives -- the chance that some people will guess right on a question when their true ability level suggests they'll get it wrong, or they really know how to do a problem but slip and get it wrong. If the test were too rigid, getting the first few questions right might permanently put you in the "700+" camp, even if your true ability level is more like 600. But, the test is actually much more flexible than that: Even if you get the first ten right, if you start start missing questions that are appropriate to a certain level, it will start to knock your score down. Run out of time toward the end of the test, and this is even more likely to happen, and your score can drop dramatically. So, even if you "test above your level" early in the test by taking extra time to carefully work through every problem, you won't be able to keep up that charade forever, and the test will definitely "find you out" sooner or later.

Think about it this way: You can't go back and change answers later, and it's worthless to have 4-5 minutes left at the end... All you can use that time for is to do a really good job on the last question. So, spend the extra 5-10 seconds on the first few problems to make sure that you're not making silly mistakes, and to build confidence (and, like that Doberman guy says, build a rhythm). But don't plan to spend an extra 25-50% on the first 10 like some people recommend... That's just poor pacing!

Scott
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Intern
Joined: 29 Mar 2010
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Re: Are the 1st 10 questions really that important? [#permalink]

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28 May 2010, 07:18
1
KUDOS
I think the first 10 question myth is created by the prep/coaching classes. Since that would achieve there perspective of putting you on a high score and safely predicting that if you answer 1 question wrong for every 2 answered you will still end up with an acceptable score that they will be able to defend with you in saying that you have considerably improved from where you started.

This scheme sounds a gaurantteed plan for sticking between 550 - 650 score. But fails other wise in case you want to score higher.

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Re: Are the 1st 10 questions really that important? [#permalink]

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31 May 2010, 00:06
Also see here: un-scientific-analysis-of-gmatprep-64970.html

P.S. GMAC does acknowledge the importance of the first 10 questions
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Re: Are the 1st 10 questions really that important?   [#permalink] 31 May 2010, 00:06
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# Are the 1st 10 questions really that important?

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