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# GMAT Prep Software Analysis and What If Scenarios

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14 Sep 2016, 05:07
Recently, someone told me that if I am doing good in the real GMAT exam, I would be seeing more of DS questions and less of PS. Is this true? Can some people who have given the exam recently, shed light on the same? Apologies if this is the wrong thread to post my query.
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29 Sep 2016, 11:32
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Proximus, I'm pretty sure that the DS/PS balance doesn't change much, regardless of how well you're doing on the test. GMAT DS questions aren't fundamentally more difficult than PS questions once you get used to them -- and based on the thousands of GMATPrep (and real) tests I've seen, the DS/PS ratio seems reasonably stable, beyond a little bit of randomness.
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29 Sep 2016, 12:20
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GMATNinja wrote:
Proximus, I'm pretty sure that the DS/PS balance doesn't change much, regardless of how well you're doing on the test. GMAT DS questions aren't fundamentally more difficult than PS questions once you get used to them -- and based on the thousands of GMATPrep (and real) tests I've seen, the DS/PS ratio seems reasonably stable, beyond a little bit of randomness.

Thanks a lot for demystifying. I too hold a similar opinion about the difficulty of a DS or PS problem. I asked the question because if I might have given the exam with this misinformation, I might have panicked on seeing a balanced number of DS/PS problems. Now, I won't
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01 Oct 2016, 16:32
First, I have to say, you guys did an amazing job on these simulations

My assumption is that these results may be inflated.
For instance, let's take the case of simulation "2. What is the importance of the last 10 questions?" to illustrate my query.

I think that the algorithm has multiple time variables, i.e. the time spent per question, in addition to whether you get the question right or wrong, determine the difficulty level of your next question, and next question and so on.

Moreover, the score given per section takes into account not only right and wrong answers per difficulty level, but also the average time spent per question and difficulty level, and how many minutes before the clock runs out you finish the section.

My guess is, when you ran these simulations, you already had answer to the vast majority of questions, thence were able to answer pretty much all of them under 30 seconds, therefore finishing the section way ahead of time. Under this scenario the algorithm would somehow compensate the fact that you got so many questions wrong for the fact that you answered the questions so fast and finished so ahead of time, hence rewarding you with a high Quant score.

Let's now assume that you retake the test under more "realistic" conditions. You would spend between 45secs and 1min45secs on each of the first 27 questions, 27th question included. Considering that question n+1 should normally be harder than question n, more time should be allocated to each subsequent question (as would generally be the case on exam day). Then, the remaining time should be allocated (roughly) evenly to the last 10 questions that you intentionally got wrong, 28th to 37th. As a result, you would finish the test either right on time or (max) 2 minutes ahead. Based on my assumption that the algorithm has multiple time variables that can greatly influence the final score of each section, your score would not be so high as to get to Q50.

Any thoughts?
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Re: GMAT Prep Software Analysis and What If Scenarios  [#permalink]

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21 Nov 2016, 16:40
Hi!

Has anyone tested these scenarios more recently than 2013 (the year of the first post)?

I would like to know if there have been any significant changes.

Thank You!
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Re: GMAT Prep Software Analysis and What If Scenarios  [#permalink]

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Updated on: 06 Feb 2017, 23:11
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The GMAC has never given us any reason to believe that time spent per question is considered whatsoever in the scoring algorithm. This would suggest that completing the test faster would lead to higher scores, which is untrue as far as I can tell.

I suppose that someone could do the same simulations to the newer GMATPrep tests to see whether there are similar results, but there isn't much of a point, given that we now know the scoring algorithms on the GMATPrep Exams and the actual GMAT to be different in nature.

These scenarios are amazingly helpful in understanding the general GMAT scoring algorithm, but not the exact one. For one, there are zero experimental questions on the GMATPrep tests, but around 25% of the questions on the actual GMAT are experimental.
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Originally posted by mcelroytutoring on 21 Nov 2016, 19:44.
Last edited by mcelroytutoring on 06 Feb 2017, 23:11, edited 1 time in total.
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17 Dec 2016, 09:28
Hi Guys,

Just wanted to know , if these are true for actual GMAT as well ? I have been answering close to 75% of the answers correctly in GMAT Prep but the score is no where close to 600 wondering where should I improve. Will the score be different in the actual GMAT? If it is true for GMAT Prep and not the real GMAT, any other source which you guys can recommend for practice tests and which would give a score something closer to real GMAT.

Awaiting a quick reply as my GMAT is due soon.

Regards
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Re: GMAT Prep Software Analysis and What If Scenarios  [#permalink]

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18 Dec 2016, 11:15
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RAHULLATH wrote:
Hi Guys,

Just wanted to know , if these are true for actual GMAT as well ? I have been answering close to 75% of the answers correctly in GMAT Prep but the score is no where close to 600 wondering where should I improve. Will the score be different in the actual GMAT? If it is true for GMAT Prep and not the real GMAT, any other source which you guys can recommend for practice tests and which would give a score something closer to real GMAT.

Awaiting a quick reply as my GMAT is due soon.

Regards

Hi Rahullath,

The overall percent of answered questions correctly is much less important than the difficulty level of those questions, which is largely determined by the first 1/3 of questions in each section due to the adaptive scoring algorithm.

In general, I have found the Quant algorithm to be more severely "front loaded" than the Verbal algorithm in this regard. That is, overall performance matters more on the Verbal, and the performance on the first 1/3 of questions matters more on Quant. (The IR section is not adaptive and you are graded on the number of questions you answer correctly out of the 9 questions that count.)
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Re: GMAT Prep Software Analysis and What If Scenarios  [#permalink]

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11 Jan 2017, 04:17
mcelroytutoring wrote:
The GMAC has never given us any reason to believe that time spent per question is considered whatsoever in the scoring algorithm. This would suggest that completing the test faster would lead to higher scores, which is untrue as far as I can tell.

I suppose that someone could do the same simulations to the newer GMATPrep tests to see whether there are similar results, but there isn't much of a point, given that we now know the scoring algorithms on the GMATPrep Exams and the actual GMAT to be different in nature.

These scenarios are amazingly helpful in understanding the general GMAT scoring algorithm, but not the exact one. For one, there are zero experimental questions on the GMATPrep tests, but around 25% of the questions on the actual GMAT are experimental.

Hey, would you mind eloaborating on what you mean by experimental questions?

Thanks
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Re: GMAT Prep Software Analysis and What If Scenarios  [#permalink]

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11 Jan 2017, 17:03
Hi sefwow,

Before a question is placed in the pool of 'active' questions that are scored on the Official GMAT, each prompt must go through a 'testing phase.' The most realistic way to determine if a question is fairly worded and assessed the proper 'level' is to 'test it out' on an actual GMAT Test Taker. It's a standard process that every question goes through, but it means that a certain number of the questions that you will face when you take the Official GMAT will be 'experimental' (and they will not count towards your score). EVERY Test Taker experiences this though, so there's no inherent bias/harm to your performance. You just have to know that not every question counts (and unfortunately there's no way for you to tell what an experimental question 'looks like' since those questions are written in the exact same style as all of the other questions that count).

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Re: GMAT Prep Software Analysis and What If Scenarios  [#permalink]

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06 Feb 2017, 23:02
bb Bunuel carcass Vercules

It's 2017. Do these scenarios still hold good? Any chance of a re-check?
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Re: GMAT Prep Software Analysis and What If Scenarios  [#permalink]

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09 Feb 2017, 04:20
sillyboy wrote:
bb Bunuel carcass Vercules

It's 2017. Do these scenarios still hold good? Any chance of a re-check?

I assume that seeing as GMATPrep is still the closest thing in terms of grading to the real test that the algorithm hasn't changed significantly since this post was made.
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09 Feb 2017, 09:31
Hi,

Can you test a scenario here you would get every third question incorrect on verbal?

3,6,9, ... etc.

Thank you,
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07 Apr 2017, 06:47
1
Bunuel wrote:

GMAT Prep Software Analysis and What If Scenarios

We will try to run different scenarios with GMAT Prep Software to find out whether various myth about scoring algorithm are legit.

Reports from the Real GMAT:

Added a few points to my verbal score: http://gmatclub.com/forum/600-to-740-al ... 47029.html

1. What is the importance of the first 10 questions?

Experiment: We will try to disprove the myth the way OG/GMAC positions it: the first 10 questions are not critical
Methodology: we will attempt the worst case scenario and will answer the first 10 questions incorrectly (not guess but incorrectly); then we will attempt to answer the remaining 27 questions correctly (not guess)

Result: Q38 (48th percentile - ouch) with only 10 wrong answers
Analysis: obviously something is not right with the myth about the first 10 questions. They appear to be very important on the Quant. If you miss the first 10 (probably not a very realistic scenario for most) you have no way of climbing out of the hole - almost all questions that were offered to me were generally easy/medium difficulty. Let's try a different scenario next to check this myth (we'll miss the last 10 questions). Also interesting to note, when simulated in the previous GMAT Prep version, this scenario resulted in Q41 (so there have been changes in the scoring algorithms of the GMAT Prep).
Total Score: every question in the verbal section was answered as "E" and it resulted in the final score of V8, 1st percentile. Total score: 380 - 10th percentile
Questions: 20PS and 17 DS. Also, see what question topics were encountered in this scenario:

2. What is the importance of the last 10 questions?

Experiment: We will try to analyze the importance of the last 10 questions and if it equals the important of the first 10
Methodology: we will attempt the worst case scenario and will answer the first 27 Q questions correctly and then will answer the remaining 10 questions incorrectly (not guess but incorrectly).

Result: Q50, 92nd percentile - Nicely done though not great. I think it is possible to get Q51 with 10 incorrect ones.
Analysis: The questions were much harder this time with some new topics/types appearing on the test such as coordinate geometry DS. Conclusion: the last 10 don't count as much as the first 10. This myth is True (as long as you can get the first 27 right). Please note that I have not guessed the last 10 but rather answered them incorrectly (which means I still had to solve those questions too). If you are guessing, you will most likely get a higher score.
Total Score: every question in the verbal section was answered as "E" (again) and it resulted in the final score of V8, 1st percentile. Total score: 470 (90 points higher than when we missed the first 10 questions)
Questions: 20PS and 17 DS. Also, see what question topics were encountered in this scenario:

3. What is the importance of the middle 10 questions?

Experiment: We will try to analyze the importance of the middle 10 questions and see how it compares to the results of the previous 2 experiments
Methodology: we will attempt the worst case scenario and will answer the first 14 Q questions correctly; then I will answer incorrectly the following 10 questions, and will answer the remaining 13 questions correctly.

Result: Q49, 85th percentile - not as good of a result as in the case of missing the last 10 questions but it was much less effort (fewer hard questions than in the second case)
Analysis: The questions were not much easier than in the second scenario above even though I have made 10 consecutive mistakes. So, it may be a slightly better value in terms of effort/score but not by far
Total Score: every question in the verbal section was answered as "D" this time and it resulted in the final score of V6, 1st percentile. (Interestingly enough, it was a slightly worse result than "E"). Total score: 450

4. What is the penalty if I miss every third question?

Experiment: I will try to test a scenario in which a test takers answers every third question incorrectly (e.g. 3, 6, 9, etc. Thus giving themselves an extra 2 mins on quant). This scenario will simulate someone who takes 3 mins instead of 2 per question and then guesses every third question. Please note that this is the worst case scenario (we do not get any guesses right)
Methodology: Every 3rd questions answered incorrectly. So, 13 incorrect and 24 correct answers.
Results: Q49, 85th percentile
Analysis: Slightly lower score than in the case of missing the last 10 questions but it was much less effort in getting here(fewer hard questions than in the second or third scenarios I have tested). So far this is the best value in terms of effort/final score
Total Score: This time every question in the verbal section was answered as "C" this time and it resulted in the final score of V8, 1st percentile. Total score: 460, 23rd percentile.

5. Best Guessing Strategy: Part I - What if we guess a bunch of questions in the middle?

Experiment: I will attempt 3 different scenarios that will examine guessing strategies to figure out where the time should be invested.
Methodology: First 10 questions answered correctly, then GUESSED the next 17 questions (answered C to all of them and got 4 out of 17 correct) and finally answered the remaining 10 questions correctly.

Result: Q46, 73rd percentile.
Analysis: This is a pretty similar to the scenario above where we tried to figure out the importance of the middle 10 questions; missing 3 more (13 wrong vs 10 wrong) resulted in a lower score by 3 points (46 vs. 49).
Total Score: Every question in the verbal section was answered as "B" this time and it resulted in the final score of V6, 0 percentile. Total score: 420, 16th percentile.
Questions: 21PS and 16 DS.

6. Best Guessing Strategy: Part II - guess every third question

Experiment: I will try to test a scenario in which a test takers GUESSES every other question (e.g. 2, 4, 6, etc). I was answering C to all even numbered question and guessed correctly 3 out of 18

Result: Q40, 55th percentile. (22 correct answers and 15 incorrect answers, I guessed 3 questions correctly.)
Analysis: Not sure what I was expecting guessing every other question. I guess I got the 55th percentile (half the ultimate score but I also only invested half the effort and gottend double the time to answer my other questions). So far, I don' think this is the best strategy in terms of guessing since my goal would be to get the most return for the least amount of effort. However, I do think this score is too low to be seriously considered by anyone.
Total Score: Every question in the verbal section was answered as "A" this time and it resulted in the final score of V6, 0 percentile. Total score: 380, 10th percentile.

7. Best Guessing Strategy Part III - Variable Guessing

Experiment: first 10 questions answered correctly, GUESSED the next 9 questions (answered C to all of them, guessed 2 out of 9), then answered the next 9 questions correctly and finally GUESSED the remaining 9 questions (answered C to all of them, guessed 2 out of 9). So, 23 correct, 14 incorrect.

Result: Q49, 85th percentile. (23 correct answers and 14 incorrect answers, I guessed 3 questions correctly.)
Analysis: I was amazed to see Q49 as my final score. So far I think this is the best guessing strategy. It has resulted into the highest score (49) with 14 incorrect answers (compare that to scenario #5 above where I guessed the 17 middle questions and gotten 4 of them correct. I made 13 mistakes mistakes on that test but the final score was only 46. In this scenario I still only solved half the questions (guessed the other half). However, that's pretty darn good for solving only half the questions.
Total Score: Every question in the verbal section was answered as "E" and it resulted in the final score of V9, 2 percentile. Total score: 470, 26th percentile.

8. PS vs DS: what is the importance of DS questions?

Experiment: first 10 questions answered correctly. After that, I answered incorrectly to 12 DS questions only. So, 25 correct and 12 incorrect answers (all DS).

Result: Q50, 92th percentile.
Analysis:
Total Score: Every question in the verbal section was answered as "E" and it resulted in the final score of V8, 1 percentile. Total score: 470, 26th percentile.

9. PS vs DS: what is the importance of PS questions?

Experiment: first 10 questions answered correctly. After that, I answered incorrectly to 12 PS questions only. So, 25 correct and 12 incorrect answers (all PS).

Result: Q49, 85th percentile.
Analysis:
Total Score: Every question in the verbal section was answered as "E" and it resulted in the final score of V11, 3rd percentile. Total score: 490, 31st percentile.

9 and 10. Importance of answering ALL the questions in time.

Experiment: two scenarios:
A. Answered first 30 questions correctly and the remainder 7 questions incorrectly. Result Q50, 92nd percentile.
B. Answered first 30 questions correctly and didn't answer the remainder 7 questions at all (ran out of time). Result Q45, 71st percentile.
Analysis: As we can see it's extremely important to finish the test and manage to answer ALL the questions in time.

Do you have any questions or ideas what you would like to try?
I will be running a few more scenarios - feel free to suggest what other scenarios would be interesting to test. Thank you!

Important Clarification: we have a strong reason to believe that even though GMAT Prep is the closest algorithm to the GMAT, it is most likely not identical. Some of these scenarios may result into a different outcome when attempted on the real test. We so far have no reports to confirm or dismiss these results based on the test day experience.

-
Attachment:
myth.gif

[you-tube][/you-tube]: https://youtu.be/N1x_62uP85M

takeaways for understanding CAT logic:
a. difficulty level of each Q
b. Accuracy of each Q.
c. Timely completion of section. since GMAC interprets unanswered Q as incorrect, make sure to complete the test even at cost of educated guess.

Risk vs reward:
Enormous additional time spent(risk) on first few Q may not be as rewarding(get optimum score).

Hit kudos if you found video useful !
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Re: GMAT Prep Software Analysis and What If Scenarios  [#permalink]

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11 Apr 2017, 07:57
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I hope everyone listens to GMAC when they say that there is simply no benefit in trying to get the first ten questions right. If one spends extra time in getting those questions right(assuming extra time helps), then one will have a hard time finishing the questions towards the end. Either way if you cannot consistently get the questions right, there is no reason to stretch oneself beyond their comfort zone. And of course, there is strong penalty for not completing the sections. So the key is to keep moving and perhaps let go off some of the super difficult questions and do the best one can.

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Re: GMAT Prep Software Analysis and What If Scenarios  [#permalink]

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11 Apr 2017, 08:28
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1
I completely agree with Dabral on the issue of time management. Unless you're RIDICULOUSLY awesome at quant, you're going to miss some of the first 10 questions -- and that's totally cool. If you get stubborn early in the test, you'll risk running out of time later in the section, and that can potentially do a ton of damage. Missing easy questions later in the test is arguably a bigger risk than missing hard questions early in the test. And let's not kid ourselves: things can get really, really hard within the first 5-10 questions.

One interesting thing, though: when the GMAT says that there's a severe penalty for not completing the sections, that's not really the whole truth. It seems that failing to complete the section really isn't much worse than making blind guesses at the end -- despite warnings in some editions of the OG.

The GMAT folks actually ran a study on their own test back in 2009 to see whether you're better off guessing at the end of the test or running out of time. Here are their findings:

Quote:
Based on an analysis of thousands of actual GMAT records, the question of whether to guess or leave questions blank (at the end) depends on the number of items you have left, the section you are on (Verbal or Quantitative), and your relative ability. Here is how it breaks down:

• If you only have 1 or 2 items left in either section, it doesn’t make much difference if you guess or omit the question. You should finish the item you are on to the best of your ability and not worry about the others.
• If you are on the Verbal section, it doesn’t make much difference if you guess when you have up to about 5 questions left. You should finish the item you are on to the best of your ability and not worry about the others.
• In the Quantitative section, your odds improve if you guess and complete all the questions rather leave the final questions unanswered. After all, there are fewer questions in this section, so each item left blank in this section comprises a higher proportion of the test than in the verbal section. Guess as smartly as you can, but guess nonetheless—do not leave items blank.
• If you have an idea what your relative ability is ahead of time (i.e., you’ve taken a practice test or diagnostic test), then your guess versus omit strategy differs based on where you think you would fall. If your scores tend to be relatively low on the section, leaving the questions blank may actually result in a higher score than getting even the easy questions wrong by guessing. If you are near the top of the scale, you have farther to fall if you omit the items and therefore you should guess. Low ability—omit; high ability—guess; medium ability—see above.

This is from the official MBA blog, circa 2009: http://www.mba.com/us/the-gmat-blog-hub ... ssing.aspx. I always found it interesting that the GMAT's creators aren't completely clear on this issue -- but apparently, failing to answer a few questions at the end of the test isn't as apocalyptic as we might have believed.

The full study is available here: http://www.gmac.com/market-intelligence ... 1491081791
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Re: GMAT Prep Software Analysis and What If Scenarios  [#permalink]

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20 Apr 2017, 15:20

V37: Did not answer last question (SC).
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Re: GMAT Prep Software Analysis and What If Scenarios  [#permalink]

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27 Apr 2017, 09:39
Hi,
Just wanted a clarification if,
-Are these scenarios still valid in 2017 GMAT algorithm and are they valid for Verbal section when all Quant questions are answered E?
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Re: GMAT Prep Software Analysis and What If Scenarios  [#permalink]

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08 May 2017, 07:51
As I can see this post is 4 years old. Are the scenarios still accurate enough?
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Joined: 29 Dec 2016
Posts: 3
Re: GMAT Prep Software Analysis and What If Scenarios  [#permalink]

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08 May 2017, 07:53
As I can see this post is 4 years old. Are the scenarios still accurate enough?
Re: GMAT Prep Software Analysis and What If Scenarios   [#permalink] 08 May 2017, 07:53

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# GMAT Prep Software Analysis and What If Scenarios

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