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# Are GMAT questions getting harder at the end?

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Joined: 12 Aug 2018
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Are GMAT questions getting harder at the end?  [#permalink]

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14 Oct 2018, 09:41
I gave 3 GMAT mock tests on MBA-com recently and all have this same pattern in Verbal section: a majority of questions I got wrong are within the first 12 and last 12 questions.

screenshot:
imgbox[dot]com/qa07wWB8

(sorry I can't post a proper link because I am new member)

My hypothesis is the first 12 are wrong because of calibration, and the last 12 are because I ran out of time. Typically, how are wrong questions in a GMAT verbal section distributed? Is it just me or are GMAT questions really get harder near the end?

I think I should work on time management now. Any other advice is greatly appreciated!
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Are GMAT questions getting harder at the end?  [#permalink]

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14 Oct 2018, 22:42
navieh wrote:
I gave 3 GMAT mock tests on MBA-com recently and all have this same pattern in Verbal section: a majority of questions I got wrong are within the first 12 and last 12 questions.

screenshot:
imgbox[dot]com/qa07wWB8

(sorry I can't post a proper link because I am new member)

My hypothesis is the first 12 are wrong because of calibration, and the last 12 are because I ran out of time. Typically, how are wrong questions in a GMAT verbal section distributed? Is it just me or are GMAT questions really get harder near the end?

I think I should work on time management now. Any other advice is greatly appreciated!

Hi
First of all, you shouldn't take all Gmatprep tests in the initial stage itself. Only 6 Gmatprep tests are available and are to be used in the different stages of your preparation. Anyway, in my opinion, you should not be worried about the number of questions wrong or right. The Gmat is an adaptive test and your score depends on the number of questions wrong or right in a particular difficulty level. The more lower level questions you get right the harder questions you will get and vice versa. You should focus on the basics of Quant and Verbal first and then work on time management. Hope it helps.
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Re: Are GMAT questions getting harder at the end?  [#permalink]

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15 Oct 2018, 12:30
In terms of your question about difficulty -- it's all going to depend on how you're doing on the questions because the GMAT is an adaptive test. So yes, if you're getting a lot of questions right in a row then you are going to end up getting harder and harder questions.
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Re: Are GMAT questions getting harder at the end?  [#permalink]

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15 Oct 2018, 18:14
1
Hi navieh,

I’m glad you reached out, and I’m happy to help. I understand your concern regarding the GMAC scoring algorithm, but since you answered 15 verbal questions incorrectly, I think your bigger concern should be improving your verbal skills, right? Rather than spending time worrying about the GMAC algorithm, you really should focus on the things you can control, and the number one thing you can control is getting better at the GMAT. If you get to a point at which you can dominate the GMAT, the specifics of the scoring algorithm won't matter because you will to have the skills that you need to get an amazing score.

Regarding your time-management issues, the first thing to understand is that timing on the GMAT, as in life, improves as your knowledge, understanding, and skill improve. Timing does not improve simply by “trying to go faster.” In fact, when people try to force speed before they’re ready to go faster, they tend to end up making a significant number of preventable mistakes. Sometimes these mistakes badly erode people’s test scores. In addition, when people rush learning -- a common pathology of those trying to force speed -- they actually never end up developing the speed they seek. One of the great paradoxes of learning is that to develop speed, a student must slow down to ensure that he or she masters the material. Consider the following examples, which hopefully will bring you some more clarity:

Imagine your goal were to run a mile in four minutes, a difficult feat even for professional athletes. So, you get yourself a running coach. You show up on the field and ask, “Coach, how do I get faster?” The coach responds, “Well, just run faster.” So, you try your best to “run faster,” but you can't; you’re running a 12-minute mile. Out of breath, you come back to the coach and say, “Coach, I stink. How do I get faster?” Again, he says, “Just run faster.” So, you try again, but this time you fall and skin your knees. You keep trying to run faster. On the tenth attempt, you pull your hamstring, falling to the ground in pain. Over your next four months of recovery, you ponder why you couldn't run faster.

That situation would be insane, right? No qualified running coach would ever provide you with that advice, because the coach would understand that no one gets faster merely by trying to run faster. Instead, the coach would set you up on a linear, comprehensive plan to make you a BETTER runner. He may have you run progressively longer distances at relatively slow speeds. He may have you run up and down the stairs at the football stadium. He may have you run up and down hills. He even may have you engage in strength training, yoga, or Pilates to make you a more fit athlete. After all of that training, he finally would bring you back on the field and time you running the mile. At that point, he’d coach you on how to push yourself through the pain of sprinting and help you to understand what a four-minute-mile pace feels like. He now could help you with those things because you would be in the necessary shape to be receptive to them. So, you begin your run, and BOOM! You run a 6-minute mile. What happened? Well, you became a better runner. You became a fitter athlete. You became stronger. Although you’re not yet at the four-minute-mile mark, your training has yielded considerable improvements.

Now imagine your goal were to play a complicated song on the piano. The tempo at which a pianist plays greatly impacts the way a song sounds. To make songs sound the way they should, often a pianist must play at a fast pace. But your experience with the piano is limited. Can you imagine trying to play the complicated song at full speed right at the outset? Doing so wouldn't be possible. Instead, you first need to master many aspects of the piano -- without really trying to get faster. In fact, you need to proceed slowly at first, sometimes very slowly. As you master the piano, you find that you’re able to play your song at progressively faster tempos. With time and dedicated, proper practice, you’re able to recreate the sound you seek. If in the early days of practicing you had tried to force speed instead of mastering your technique, you never would have become truly accomplished at playing the song.

The process of getting faster at solving GMAT questions is quite analogous to the process of improving one’s running speed or ability to play the piano at the proper tempo! To get faster, you must get better. As you further develop your GMAT skills, you will get faster at a) recognizing what a problem is asking and b) executing the necessary steps to quickly attack the problem.

The key takeaway is that once your GMAT knowledge improves, better timing will follow. In fact, a great way to know how well you have a mastered a particular topic is to be cognizant of your reaction time when seeing a particular question. For example, consider the following simple question with which many students who are beginning their prep struggle:

14! is equal to which of the following?

(A) 87,178,291,200
(B) 88,180,293,207
(C) 89,181,294,209
(D) 90,000,000,003
(E) 91,114,114,114

Upon seeing this question, what is the first thing that comes to mind? Grabbing a calculator to add up the values in the expression? Or are you able to quickly recognize that using the “5 x 2 pair rule” will allow you to efficiently attack the problem? (See the solution below.)

Solution:

14! = 14 × 13 × 12 × 11 × 10 × 9 × 8 × 7 × 6 × 5 × 4 × 3 × 2 × 1.

Notice that there is at least one (5 × 2) pair contained in the product of these numbers. It follows that the units digit must be a zero. The only number with zero as the units digit is 87,178,291,200.

Although this is just one example of many, you see that you must have many tools in your toolbox to efficiently attack each GMAT quant question that comes your way. As you gain these skills, you will get faster.

Lastly, you may find the following articles helpful: How to score a 700+ on the GMAT and How to get faster at solving GMAT questions.

Feel free to reach out with further questions.

Good luck!
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Re: Are GMAT questions getting harder at the end?  [#permalink]

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15 Oct 2018, 18:43
1
navieh wrote:
I gave 3 GMAT mock tests on MBA-com recently and all have this same pattern in Verbal section: a majority of questions I got wrong are within the first 12 and last 12 questions.

screenshot:
imgbox[dot]com/qa07wWB8

(sorry I can't post a proper link because I am new member)

My hypothesis is the first 12 are wrong because of calibration, and the last 12 are because I ran out of time. Typically, how are wrong questions in a GMAT verbal section distributed? Is it just me or are GMAT questions really get harder near the end?

I think I should work on time management now. Any other advice is greatly appreciated!

No, things are adaptive, so they are adapting to your level. However, some of the GMAT Prep databases are very shallow like 3,4,5, and 6 that have small database of questions and if you use up all of your easy ones in the beginning then the hard ones will be left for later. IN reality it should not be the case really but you will ALWAYS feel like you are failing if you are doing well. Only people who are doing poorly seem to feel confident and certain - based on the reports of what I have noticed on the forum.
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Re: Are GMAT questions getting harder at the end?  [#permalink]

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15 Oct 2018, 21:18
Hi navieh,

I think you will find this article on Timing Strategies for Efficient Time Management in GMAT to be very helpful. In addition, I would also like to invite you to the free Strategy webinar that we are conducting this weekend to better understand how adaptive tests work and how you should prepare to ace the GMAT. Register here to reserve your spot.

Regards,
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Re: Are GMAT questions getting harder at the end?   [#permalink] 15 Oct 2018, 21:18
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# Are GMAT questions getting harder at the end?

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