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Experts' Topic of the Week, 5/22/17: Ultimate RC Guide for Beginners

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Experts' Topic of the Week, 5/22/17: Ultimate RC Guide for Beginners [#permalink]

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New post 26 Nov 2017, 04:54
Thank you for these Golden lines GMATNinja sir.
My queries:
Are the questions on an RC passage fixed? (Is the RC as a whole easy/hard depending on our performance on the previous questions?)
If YES, then how is the next question after that RC chose ? (Out of 4 questions if I get first question correct and the remaining three incorrect in RC.
Or first three incorrect and the last one correct, then how is the next question decided?)
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Re: Experts' Topic of the Week, 5/22/17: Ultimate RC Guide for Beginners [#permalink]

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New post 28 Nov 2017, 21:51
1
jayesh99modi wrote:
My queries:
Are the questions on an RC passage fixed? (Is the RC as a whole easy/hard depending on our performance on the previous questions?)
If YES, then how is the next question after that RC chose ? (Out of 4 questions if I get first question correct and the remaining three incorrect in RC.
Or first three incorrect and the last one correct, then how is the next question decided?)

Thank you for the kind words, jayesh99modi!

The question about RC is a good one, and I'm not 100% sure about the answer -- and as far as I know, GMAC has not publicly told us the answer to your question either, but maybe somebody can correct me on that.

There are two ways that the GMAT could, in theory, handle selection of your RC passages. The first is something called a "testlet": basically, the set of three or four RC questions is "fixed" for each passage in this scenario, so your answer to the first RC question does not impact the difficulty of the subsequent two or three questions on that passage. (And for whatever it's worth: in most cases, you'll see three RC passages with three questions each, and a fourth passage with four questions.) So if the GMAT uses "testlets" on RC, the difficulty of your entire passage would be based on your performance BEFORE you see that RC passage, because the RC questions for that passage would not "adapt" based on your performance within that passage.

The second possibility is that each RC passage actually has MORE than three or four possible questions. If this is the case, then each question after the first can be selected based on your performance WITHIN that passage.

Again, I don't have any inside information, but I suspect strongly that the second possibility is correct, since many of the RC passages in the OG (and GMATPrep Question Pack and Verbal Review) have more than three or four questions associated with them. Plus, some psychometricians (the statistician types who design standardized tests) aren't crazy about "testlets" (the first possibility, above) -- but that's a longer and much less interesting story. (Not-so-fun-fact: I spent two and a half years in a PhD program in psychometrics and education policy before I came to my senses and returned to teaching. So if anybody out there is having a hard time sleeping, I can tell you all about the three-parameter logistic model in computer adaptive testing, and you'll be knocked out instantly.)

In any case, there really isn't a big difference between those two ways of handling RC passages in terms of how they affect your score in the end. On an adaptive test, questions are selected based on your ENTIRE performance on the section up to that point -- so the difference between the two ways of handling RC would be very, very tiny in the grand scheme of things.

Sorry, that was probably a much longer answer than you bargained for! :dazed

The short short version: I think the test adapts after EVERY question -- even RC. But it doesn't really matter much, one way or another!
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Re: Experts' Topic of the Week, 5/22/17: Ultimate RC Guide for Beginners [#permalink]

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New post 29 Nov 2017, 00:47
1
GMATNinja wrote:
(Not-so-fun-fact: I spent two and a half years in a PhD program in psychometrics and education policy before I came to my senses and returned to teaching. So if anybody out there is having a hard time sleeping, I can tell you all about the three-parameter logistic model in computer adaptive testing, and you'll be knocked out instantly.)



GMATNinja

Cracked me up :lol:

Helps with the prep :dazed
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Re: Experts' Topic of the Week, 5/22/17: Ultimate RC Guide for Beginners [#permalink]

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New post 29 Nov 2017, 05:34
GMATNinja wrote:
jayesh99modi wrote:
My queries:
Are the questions on an RC passage fixed? (Is the RC as a whole easy/hard depending on our performance on the previous questions?)
If YES, then how is the next question after that RC chose ? (Out of 4 questions if I get first question correct and the remaining three incorrect in RC.
Or first three incorrect and the last one correct, then how is the next question decided?)

Thank you for the kind words, jayesh99modi!

The question about RC is a good one, and I'm not 100% sure about the answer -- and as far as I know, GMAC has not publicly told us the answer to your question either, but maybe somebody can correct me on that.

There are two ways that the GMAT could, in theory, handle selection of your RC passages. The first is something called a "testlet": basically, the set of three or four RC questions is "fixed" for each passage in this scenario, so your answer to the first RC question does not impact the difficulty of the subsequent two or three questions on that passage. (And for whatever it's worth: in most cases, you'll see three RC passages with three questions each, and a fourth passage with four questions.) So if the GMAT uses "testlets" on RC, the difficulty of your entire passage would be based on your performance BEFORE you see that RC passage, because the RC questions for that passage would not "adapt" based on your performance within that passage.

The second possibility is that each RC passage actually has MORE than three or four possible questions. If this is the case, then each question after the first can be selected based on your performance WITHIN that passage.

Again, I don't have any inside information, but I suspect strongly that the second possibility is correct, since many of the RC passages in the OG (and GMATPrep Question Pack and Verbal Review) have more than three or four questions associated with them. Plus, some psychometricians (the statistician types who design standardized tests) aren't crazy about "testlets" (the first possibility, above) -- but that's a longer and much less interesting story. (Not-so-fun-fact: I spent two and a half years in a PhD program in psychometrics and education policy before I came to my senses and returned to teaching. So if anybody out there is having a hard time sleeping, I can tell you all about the three-parameter logistic model in computer adaptive testing, and you'll be knocked out instantly.)

In any case, there really isn't a big difference between those two ways of handling RC passages in terms of how they affect your score in the end. On an adaptive test, questions are selected based on your ENTIRE performance on the section up to that point -- so the difference between the two ways of handling RC would be very, very tiny in the grand scheme of things.

Sorry, that was probably a much longer answer than you bargained for! :dazed

The short short version: I think the test adapts after EVERY question -- even RC. But it doesn't really matter much, one way or another!



This query came up when I read it on Veritas Prep Material that the questions in an RC passage are fixed.
But after reading your explanation I'm clear that there isn't much scope for them to be fixed.
Thank you GMATNinja Sir for clearing my doubt.
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Experts' Topic of the Week, 5/22/17: Ultimate RC Guide for Beginners [#permalink]

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New post 15 Feb 2018, 23:16
GMATNinja

Thank you so much for this article. This would help me a long way towards my Prep as RC is my weakest area.

Also all of your articles and tips are invaluable. Thanks much. :thumbup:
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Re: Experts' Topic of the Week, 5/22/17: Ultimate RC Guide for Beginners [#permalink]

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New post 04 Mar 2018, 23:28
Ninja ,
Thanks alot.
Do you prefer starting up with RC in verbal preparation ? , I'll be just starting off with my verbal now . Do you also run a thread for Critical Reasoning for beginners ?? Could you recommend few resources to count on for CR ?
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Re: Experts' Topic of the Week, 5/22/17: Ultimate RC Guide for Beginners [#permalink]

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New post 05 Mar 2018, 12:24
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loserunderachiever wrote:
Ninja ,
Thanks alot.
Do you prefer starting up with RC in verbal preparation ? , I'll be just starting off with my verbal now . Do you also run a thread for Critical Reasoning for beginners ?? Could you recommend few resources to count on for CR ?

CR for beginners is here, and SC for beginners is here. Both have links to resources for both question types.

In general, I'd recommend starting with RC and CR, and when you're pretty close to achieving the results you want on those two question types, you can add in SC. It can take quite a while to build your skills in RC and CR -- depending, of course, on how good your skills are to begin with -- but SC is relatively finite, and there's a limited number of high-quality, official SC questions available. So it's generally best to start working on SC only after you've made some significant headway on everything else, unless you're already close to your goals on RC and CR.

Welcome to GMAT Club, loserunderachiever!
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Beginners' guides to GMAT verbal
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YouTube LIVE verbal webinars
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SC & CR Questions of the Day (QOTDs), featuring expert explanations
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Need an expert reply?
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Sentence Correction articles & resources
How to go from great (760) to incredible (780) on GMAT SC | That "-ing" Word Probably Isn't a Verb | That "-ed" Word Might Not Be a Verb, Either | No-BS Guide to GMAT Idioms | "Being" is not the enemy | WTF is "that" doing in my sentence?

Reading Comprehension, Critical Reasoning, and other articles & resources
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Re: Experts' Topic of the Week, 5/22/17: Ultimate RC Guide for Beginners [#permalink]

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New post 05 Mar 2018, 19:33
GMATNinja wrote:
loserunderachiever wrote:
Ninja ,
Thanks alot.
Do you prefer starting up with RC in verbal preparation ? , I'll be just starting off with my verbal now . Do you also run a thread for Critical Reasoning for beginners ?? Could you recommend few resources to count on for CR ?

CR for beginners is here, and SC for beginners is here. Both have links to resources for both question types.

In general, I'd recommend starting with RC and CR, and when you're pretty close to achieving the results you want on those two question types, you can add in SC. It can take quite a while to build your skills in RC and CR -- depending, of course, on how good your skills are to begin with -- but SC is relatively finite, and there's a limited number of high-quality, official SC questions available. So it's generally best to start working on SC only after you've made some significant headway on everything else, unless you're already close to your goals on RC and CR.

Welcome to GMAT Club, loserunderachiever!


sir, Are there any sources to practice RC. Recent test takers have enumerated that level of RC is tougher in real exam than those in official guides and Question packs.
And since we expect something around 3-4 passages , we need to wire our mind for the same during preparation. Many suggest LSAT RC but its very different as compared to Gmat RC. So kindly suggest something in this regard.
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Experts' Topic of the Week, 5/22/17: Ultimate RC Guide for Beginners [#permalink]

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New post 20 Mar 2018, 15:23
GMATNinja

I have setup a spreadsheet in which I will start noting down the main idea, structure, tone and purpose of each item I read.
For the structure/flow, could you clarify whether there is a difference between the purpose of the passage and WHY the author wrote the passage?

Thanks.
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Re: Experts' Topic of the Week, 5/22/17: Ultimate RC Guide for Beginners [#permalink]

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New post 08 May 2018, 14:14
GMATNinja Charles any chance you or anyone in your team had a chance to create fake tests on the new GMAT Prep software. It lets the user hide the menu up top but the downside is that once the user hides the menu he/she can not see the question numbers. Any way out to hide the clock but still be able to see the question number.

As always I appreciate your excellence and help to this global GMAT community.
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Re: Experts' Topic of the Week, 5/22/17: Ultimate RC Guide for Beginners [#permalink]

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New post 11 May 2018, 14:53
Rocket7 wrote:
GMATNinja Charles any chance you or anyone in your team had a chance to create fake tests on the new GMAT Prep software. It lets the user hide the menu up top but the downside is that once the user hides the menu he/she can not see the question numbers. Any way out to hide the clock but still be able to see the question number.

As always I appreciate your excellence and help to this global GMAT community.

Ooh, great question -- I hadn't actually played with the new GMATPrep online system until I saw your post.

(And for anybody who isn't sure what Rocket7 means by "fake tests", the full story is here: https://gmatclub.com/forum/experts-topi ... 44293.html. At the moment, the post still refers to the old, non-online software, but we'll post an update at some point.)

As far as I know, there's no way to show the question number while hiding the timer. So here's what I'd recommend: go ahead and hide that menu at the top that shows the time and the question number. And then just keep track of the question number on your scratch paper. If you're using process of elimination on all of the verbal questions -- and everybody should do that! -- then you're probably writing "A B C D E" on your page, anyway. And as long as you stick the question number in front of the "A B C D E", you should be able to keep track adequately.

And if that doesn't work perfectly, it's not the end of the world to occasionally unhide the menu so you can see the question number.

I hope this helps!
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Beginners' guides to GMAT verbal
Reading Comprehension | Critical Reasoning | Sentence Correction

YouTube LIVE verbal webinars
Series 1: Fundamentals of SC & CR | Series 2: Developing a Winning GMAT Mindset

SC & CR Questions of the Day (QOTDs), featuring expert explanations
All QOTDs | Subscribe via email | RSS

Need an expert reply?
Hit the request verbal experts' reply button -- and please be specific about your question. Feel free to tag @GMATNinja and @GMATNinjaTwo in your post. Priority is always given to official GMAT questions.

Sentence Correction articles & resources
How to go from great (760) to incredible (780) on GMAT SC | That "-ing" Word Probably Isn't a Verb | That "-ed" Word Might Not Be a Verb, Either | No-BS Guide to GMAT Idioms | "Being" is not the enemy | WTF is "that" doing in my sentence?

Reading Comprehension, Critical Reasoning, and other articles & resources
All GMAT Ninja articles on GMAT Club | Using LSAT for GMAT CR & RC |7 reasons why your actual GMAT scores don't match your practice test scores | How to get 4 additional "fake" GMAT Prep tests for $29.99 | Time management on verbal

Re: Experts' Topic of the Week, 5/22/17: Ultimate RC Guide for Beginners   [#permalink] 11 May 2018, 14:53

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