GMATClub attends 2011 GMAC Test Prep Summit (NYC) Sept 15, 2011
GMATClub was invited by the GMAC to attend this year's TestPrep Summit. It was in NYC on Sept 15. As I attended the conference in 2009
, there were many familiar faces (folks from Princeton, Kaplan
, MGMAT, Manhattan Review
, etc.) and some new faces from the various prep companies.
The conference was from 8am-5pm. There are handouts, but they are color. I need to find a color scanner to make sure I take advantage of the quality of the handouts. They will be added at a later date. One aspect of the conference was a repeat: The myths about the GMAT (same handouts at 2009). Dr Lawrence Rudner (psychometrician, head of R&D at GMAC) said he felt these repeats were necessary given how some myths refuse to die (and cause people a great deal of anguish in the prep process (why did I do so poorly)).
The first presentation was by Puck Fernsten of Pearson (specifically Pearson Test of English). This was mostly a rehash of the 2009 presentation with some new information (more schools accepting of PTE, some countries (Australia and UK) using PTE as a mechanism to grant student visas, etc.). The take away was PTE is first to market and first to technology. It's not IF PTE will over take IELTS or TOEFL, but when. Puck mentioned Pearson has not push the marketing too hard (yet), but is expecting a high swing in the coming years.
Dr Rudner presented next with some R&D updates. This mostly dealt with statistics of # of tests administered, score skewing (math scores still skewing upwards, 50 is now a 98 percentile). He also presented a really neat tool the GMAC rolled out on score statistics. You can see the tool here:http://www.gmac.com/gmac/researchandtre ... search.htm
A survey was recently completed by test takers and Dr Rudner presented the North American statistics. See the attachment for this for more details (once attached).
Global responses: 3,300
North American: 330
Interesting answers: More than half of the respondents did NOT use a diagnostic test to begin his/her study plan (studied blindly). People also wished he/she had more detailed explanations in the prep process when doing study problems and many relied on the prep company/consultant/prep resource to be the expert in the GMAT (content, questions, timing, etc.).
Next, Dr Rudner present updates on his stats with the schools. Schools in general are becoming more selective. We used to see a normal distribution (the top schools were very selective and things followed a general bell curve). We see the same overall distribution (averages), but the line has shifted greatly (see attachment once attached). The GMAC is still focused on increasing membership to other advanced degree programs outside of the MBA (master's in management, hospitality, etc.), and is receiving favorable feedback on this.
Part of the presentation focused on retakes. The data stops with 3rd retake. After 3rd, the data is either consistent (not much improvement), or questionable. A question came up on a reminder tool about open slots for scheduling as many people here have mentioned that (something to send you a note when someone cancels a spot). An attempt was made at this, but it was discovered the technology did not match the need for such a tool. Two things were said here:
1. Keep your eye on the test day and keep checking. Seats are canceled all the time (Dr Rudner said the finance dept thanks those who make optional donations to the GMAC
2. When you only see one set of time slots (only mornings or only afternoons), it's likely the remaining seats have not been released to the test centers yet. The GMAC does validation on demand and attempts to accommodate by batch releasing seats for tests.
One BIG note: As of now, official results are out within 5 days, and the GMAC is aware of this. Once IR comes out, results WILL, yes WILL take the full 20 business days for a time (until the GMAC has a firm grip on scoring). Once there is solid data on scoring IR, the results will come out in a more timely fashion (how long until 5 days again, no idea). For those folks taking the test next year (or for late admits into programs taking apps until the spring/summer), please be aware of this.
Dr Rudner expanded on this, saying adcom at the schools have a big task on its hands. To quote Dr Rudner: "There is a problem of people who will be successful but can't get in (admission bias). Validity is the utility of the exam, for the adcom, this means proper decision vs improper decision. "
Next, Andy Martelli presented some new informaiton on productions (Andy is VP of new products at the GMAC). Hightlights:
New GMATPrep will come out next spring to showcase IR. The following improvements were made:
- You can reset your tests (instead of manually doing it)
- Your score is saved (was a big item GMAT Club was lobbying for)
- The program will track scores
- The program will track your progress on the test (time per problem, strengths, weaknesses, etc.).
- It will have IR
- You can opt in for GMAC research tracking
will be out March 2012. It will have IR and you will have the option for purchasing 150 new problems (not in any other source). A mobile app will come (when is the question) and Android for the current OG 12
is in the works. 35% of OG 13
is brand new material.
Finally: NextGen GMAT
Dr Rudner took us through a few bullet points. Analysis of an issue is being dropped for IR. The GMAC has been doing a big push to clean up question pools (see here for verbal SC clean up: attention-gmat-takers-very-important-120728.html
). It will take some time to clean everything out. Expect some information to be released in November of this year on GMAC.com and MBA.com
The user interface for NextGen will be unchanged. The difference will be in the feel of some questions and IR. The scale for IR is currently unknown. The goal is to have scalability on questions (i.e. how well will IR differentiate between test takers). One specific goal: item analysis is to have the same curve on all population types (if you have not seen IR, that won't make any sense, so don't worry about it).
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