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# GMAT Focus Algorithm - importance of the first 6 Questions is GONE

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Re: GMAT Focus Algorithm - importance of the first 6 Questions is GONE [#permalink]
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Maheshkv wrote:
This is helpful BB. Planning to give my Focus mock this weekend, can share my insights once done!

Any tentative timeline for launching gmat club tests for focus edition?

I don't have an exact timeline yet. Hoping to have them available by the time the new tests are live in November.
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Re: GMAT Focus Algorithm - importance of the first 6 Questions is GONE [#permalink]
The current version of GMAT Club Tests will remain available as long as the Classic GMAT is available. I don't think it makes sense to shut them down before that and we will probably keep them live for 3-6 months after the end as well so people can check their progress, mistakes, etc.

poojaarora1818 wrote:
Hi,

Just to add to the above note I want to know how long the Gmat Club tests for the current version would remain in place. Any idea??

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Re: GMAT Focus Algorithm - importance of the first 6 Questions is GONE [#permalink]
Thank you for your response. I appreciate it.

bb wrote:
The current version of GMAT Club Tests will remain available as long as the Classic GMAT is available. I don't think it makes sense to shut them down before that and we will probably keep them live for 3-6 months after the end as well so people can check their progress, mistakes, etc.

poojaarora1818 wrote:
Hi,

Just to add to the above note I want to know how long the Gmat Club tests for the current version would remain in place. Any idea??

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Re: GMAT Focus Algorithm - importance of the first 6 Questions is GONE [#permalink]
bb wrote:
While taking GMAT Focus GMAT Prep for entertainment purposes, I wanted to see how the GMAT Focus test algorithm compared to the Classic GMAT algorithm and I have to report that the Focus Test is behaving quite a bit different in many regards. It does not feel like a CAT. I will be taking more tests and sharing my observations as I go but here are the first impressions:

Evaluating the importance of the First 6 out of 21 Quant Questions

I am trying to simulate the good old "first 10 questions" are critical on GMAT situation we remember well from the classic format. You can refresh your memory here to see that missing the first 10 questions on the GMAT would give you Q30 or about 13th percentile or in other words - death. What about now?

Assumption: the first 30% of the questions are very important
Methodology: Deliberately made mistakes on the first 6 out of 21 questions and the rest answered correctly

Result: Q82, or 76th percentile (an equivalent of Q49) - this was a BIG surprise.

Conclusion: there is definitely a significant difference between the new and the old algorithms. If in the past the first quarter or third of questions determined if you are rich or poor, now the first section seems to be significantly deflated in terms of importance. But this is not it.... Not sure if anyone else has observed this and if this is the new format or perhaps the lack of depth in the test, but my test did not feel adaptive. I have gotten very hard questions right after missing some easier ones.

Difficulties of the questions encountered:

5 85 45 85 25 55 25 65 75 25 5 25 65 5 65 55 25 35 55 75 65

Disclaimer: the timer attempts for questions taken are still only around 100 per question so it is possible some of these are not very precise yet since they are quite new.

P.S. Interesting enough, I got 2 Geometry questions one about a spherical balloon radius and another one about intersection of circles. Very confused with this new test... maybe it is me but it does not seem to match the description... between the geometry, very chaotic question difficulty (this means don't freak out if you get a hard or easy question) and finally the score.

Anyone else observe inconsistency in their GMAT Focus GMAT Prep Tests?

Should I still study geometry to stay on the safe side then? Or can the gmat website help regarding the same?

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GMAT Focus Algorithm - importance of the first 6 Questions is GONE [#permalink]
Thanks for the analysis, bb. Based on this data you have derived from the official GMAT Focus practice exams, could it be that the GMAT Focus is / will be section adaptive like the GRE, instead of question-level adaptive like the current, "classic" GMAT?

In other words: perhaps the exam's difficulty adjustments are not made until after the 1st and 2nd sections—based on your overall performance on those sections, and that as a result, your performance only affects the difficulty of the next section(s)—which (the second part only) is something interesting and new that GMAC has in fact already revealed about the new exam?

Given the additional fact that you can now mark up to 3 questions per section for later review—and possibly even change your answers to those questions—it would seem impossible to maintain the exact same question-level adaptive nature of the test, anyway.

Of course, there is also a third possibility, which is that the new GMAT Focus uses a hybrid of the question adaptive and section-level adaptive scoring systems: it might only make adjustments after the first half of questions in each section (Q/V/DI), for example. In this case, however, there is still a chance that difficulty adjustments would be made based on answers that are later changed by the student—which is illogical and unfair.

If the scoring / difficulty algorithm has in fact changed, then this would of course delineate a marked and important change from the question-adaptive algorithm of the current GMAT, where adjustments to the test's difficulty levels are made after each and every response on the Quant and Verbal sections (except for the 9 "pretest" / unscored experimental questions: 3 on Quant and 6 on Verbal).

The IR section (3 pretest questions) on the current exam is not adaptive, but GMAC has indicated that the Focus's new Data Insights section (IR + DS) is in fact adaptive. The question remains, however: does this mean question-level adaptive, or section-level adaptive?

To state the obvious: the question-level adaptive scoring algorithm currently used on Verbal and Quant sections of the GMAT is also the most logical explanation for the current "front-loaded" nature of the Quant and (to a lesser extent) Verbal scoring systems—where questions at the beginning count more than those at the end. If the scoring algorithm has changed for the GMAT Focus, then so must our strategies to succeed on the GMAT, especially those related to pacing / time management.

Anyway, very interesting take, and I look forward to learning more.

Originally posted by mcelroytutoring on 07 Sep 2023, 11:52.
Last edited by mcelroytutoring on 07 Nov 2023, 19:03, edited 24 times in total.
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Re: GMAT Focus Algorithm - importance of the first 6 Questions is GONE [#permalink]
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Quote:
Conclusion: there is definitely a significant difference between the new and the old algorithms. If in the past the first quarter or third of questions determined if you are rich or poor, now the first section seems to be significantly deflated in terms of importance. But this is not it.... Not sure if anyone else has observed this and if this is the new format or perhaps the lack of depth in the test, but my test did not feel adaptive. I have gotten very hard questions right after missing some easier ones.

The red part is something of SUPER important. This could open up the gate to an entire new world in terms of strategy, approach, time management.............🤔
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Re: GMAT Focus Algorithm - importance of the first 6 Questions is GONE [#permalink]
I think it’s still too early to tell was just one data point of a single test and limited difficulty observations. I’m planning to take some verbal tests during this weekend, anyone else interested or board, feel free to join me 😉. Just send me a PM.

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Re: GMAT Focus Algorithm - importance of the first 6 Questions is GONE [#permalink]
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I have just finished a second quant test where I have answered the first 15 questions correctly and the last 6 questions incorrectly.

Result: Q80, 66th Percentile, or about Q48

There is basically little to no difference in scoring and placement of the questions which does bring a big question - is the adaptability built differently OR is it due to the very small question pool?
As a matter of fact, my score is lower after missing the last 6 than missing the first 6.
Very interesting (said nobody )
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Re: GMAT Focus Algorithm - importance of the first 6 Questions is GONE [#permalink]
If the evidence from the official GMAT Focus practice exams continues to point us toward the conclusion that the GMAT Focus is in fact no longer question-level adaptive, but instead, section adaptive, then I think that there are indeed many of us—GMAT tutors and students alike—who will (and should!) find this news not only highly interesting, but highly relevant as well.

This would also suggest, for example, that test-takers will no longer be able to leverage the GMAT scoring algorithm, in particular on the GMAT Focus Quant section, by "front-loading" their performances: performing well on the first 2/3 - 3/4 of questions, and then simply surviving the last 1/3 - 1/4 of questions, while also making sure to confirm all their answers in time, to avoid the penalty for not finishing.

Q46 (50%) with 12 questions wrong total (1/2/2/7 by quarter) - strong start, with most mistakes bunched at the end

Q39 (25%) with 12 questions wrong again (3/3/2/4 by quarter) — but this time more incorrect in the first half/quarter!
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Re: GMAT Focus Algorithm - importance of the first 6 Questions is GONE [#permalink]
mcelroytutoring wrote:
If the evidence from the official GMAT Focus practice exams continues to point us toward the conclusion that the GMAT Focus is in fact no longer question-level adaptive, but instead, section adaptive, then I think that there are indeed many of us—GMAT tutors and students alike—who will (and should!) find this news not only highly interesting, but highly relevant as well.

If that's the case, having 3 edits to change any answer from the section makes more sense now.

Also, bb when can we expect IR questions in the new Forum Quiz?
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Re: GMAT Focus Algorithm - importance of the first 6 Questions is GONE [#permalink]
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Nik1007 wrote:
If that's the case, having 3 edits to change any answer from the section makes more sense now.

Exactly. How could the GMAT Focus be question-level adaptive anymore, when you can now go back and change up to 3 answers at the end?

For now at least, the logical conclusion is that it isn't, and that it's now section-level adaptive like the GRE: except unlike the GRE, your overall performance on the first and second sections of the GMAT Focus supposedly affects the initial difficulty level of subsequent sections (V/Q/DI).
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Re: GMAT Focus Algorithm - importance of the first 6 Questions is GONE [#permalink]
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mcelroytutoring wrote:
Nik1007 wrote:
If that's the case, having 3 edits to change any answer from the section makes more sense now.

Exactly. How could the GMAT Focus be question-level adaptive anymore, when you can now go back and change up to 3 answers at the end?

For now at least, the logical conclusion is that it isn't, and that it's now section-level adaptive like the GRE: except unlike the GRE, your overall performance on the first and second sections of the GMAT Focus supposedly affects the initial difficulty level of subsequent sections (V/Q/DI).

make sense this ........but is too early to draw conclusions though!
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Re: GMAT Focus Algorithm - importance of the first 6 Questions is GONE [#permalink]
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bb wrote:
Evaluating the importance of the First 6 out of 21 Quant Questions

I am trying to simulate the good old "first 10 questions" are critical on GMAT situation we remember well from the classic format. You can refresh your memory here to see that missing the first 10 questions on the GMAT would give you Q30 or about 13th percentile or in other words - death. What about now?

Assumption: the first 30% of the questions are very important
Methodology: Deliberately made mistakes on the first 6 out of 21 questions and the rest answered correctly

Result: Q82, or 76th percentile (an equivalent of Q49) - this was a BIG surprise.

Conclusion: there is definitely a significant difference between the new and the old algorithms. If in the past the first quarter or third of questions determined if you are rich or poor, now the first section seems to be significantly deflated in terms of importance. But this is not it.... Not sure if anyone else has observed this and if this is the new format or perhaps the lack of depth in the test, but my test did not feel adaptive. I have gotten very hard questions right after missing some easier ones.

Difficulties of the questions encountered:

5 85 45 85 25 55 25 65 75 25 5 25 65 5 65 55 25 35 55 75 65

The main reason why missing early questions on the classic GMAT is so devastating is that the early questions are medium-level questions, and by missing them, you drive the difficulty down to easy, thus hurting your score.

In contrast, in this case, your second, fourth, and sixth questions were hard questions, even though you were missing questions. Missing hard questions would not be expected to wreck your score.

What I'd like to see is what happens if someone misses 10 or more questions in a row on the Focus Edition. Does the difficulty decrease significantly? Seeing whether it does, we should get a clearer understanding of whether the Focus Edition is question adaptive.
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Re: GMAT Focus Algorithm - importance of the first 6 Questions is GONE [#permalink]
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MartyMurray wrote:
The main reason why missing early questions on the classic GMAT is so devastating is that the early questions are medium-level questions, and by missing them, you drive the difficulty down to easy, thus hurting your score.

In contrast, in this case, your second, fourth, and sixth questions were hard questions, even though you were missing questions. Missing hard questions would not be expected to wreck your score.

What I'd like to see is what happens if someone misses 10 or more questions in a row on the Focus Edition. Does the difficulty decrease significantly? Seeing whether it does, we should get a clearer understanding of whether the Focus Edition is question adaptive.

Thanks Marty - I will play with this scenario. Missing 10 is a lot! but worth it for the experiment.

Here is another interesting find I discovered yesterday - I left 2 questions unanswered at the end of the test (I wanted to do all others correctly but somehow managed to miss one, #13 out of 21). Here is the result:

Attachment:

2-not-answered.png [ 16.29 KiB | Viewed 10548 times ]

I am expecting and hoping nobody will be in a situation where they will be leaving questions unanswered but it seems the penalty has become way more severe for leaving questions unanswered. I mean 52nd percentile! with only 1 mistake and 2 unanswered

Attachment:

list-of-questions.png [ 55.76 KiB | Viewed 10540 times ]
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Re: GMAT Focus Algorithm - importance of the first 6 Questions is GONE [#permalink]
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bb wrote:
I am expecting and hoping nobody will be in a situation where they will be leaving questions unanswered but it seems the penalty has become way more severe for leaving questions unanswered. I mean 52nd percentile! with only 1 mistake and 2 unanswered

Wow. That's brutal.

You did better missing 6 in a row in your other examples.

I guess nobody will be leaving questions unanswered. Apparently, doing so is no longer a viable option.
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Re: GMAT Focus Algorithm - importance of the first 6 Questions is GONE [#permalink]
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Gmat Focus Official Mock 2,

Quant - All correct,
Verbal - 6 incorrect (4 CR and 2 RC),
Data Insights - 6 incorrect and 1 unattempted.

Would like to hear others points on this performance : bb , MartyMurray any thoughts?
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Re: GMAT Focus Algorithm - importance of the first 6 Questions is GONE [#permalink]
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Maheshkv wrote:
Gmat Focus Official Mock 2,

Quant - All correct,
Verbal - 6 incorrect (4 CR and 2 RC),
Data Insights - 6 incorrect and 1 unattempted.

Would like to hear others points on this performance : bb , MartyMurray any thoughts?

Hi. THanks for sharing your mock test results! Can you tell me which question numbers you got wrong in Verbal?
At the same time, not sure I have a lot to share in terms of an opinion on your score besidees that it looks great! I think more on the DI would be nice. I do feel some things are still a bit unpolished in the test scores, something I need to research a bit more before sharing and potentially making a lot of stupid mistakes and misleading others
Re: GMAT Focus Algorithm - importance of the first 6 Questions is GONE [#permalink]
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