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# Help needed: analysis of the Verbal section results (CAT V31)

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Intern
Joined: 12 Dec 2016
Posts: 11
WE: Consulting (Accounting)
Help needed: analysis of the Verbal section results (CAT V31)  [#permalink]

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14 Oct 2018, 10:21
Hey guys, urgent help needed!

I took a GMATPrep CAT today and scored V31. That's actually an improvement from V28-29 (from 1.5 months ago), but that's a different story.
I need help with the interpretation of my Verbal result - I attached a screenshot of my analysis (error log), indicated the question type and the level of difficulty (source - gmatclub, found all the questions here, though couldn't find it for RC questions). I am particularly interested to understand why the difficulty level plummeted in the middle of the test, i.e. questions 21-25, bubbled in with red. I rushed on the last RC passage since was running out of time, then did the 2 SC questions (34, 35) and guessed the last question (in ~10 secs), so clearly ran out of time.

Would be grateful for your thoughts on this and would also love to hear a couple of tips (if any). Happy to provide any additional information if needed.

I was hoping to take the test in a week or two, but not later since R2 dates are approaching. I think I need to concentrate duly on RC and CR now (and try to push for V38+).

Cheers,
Mcwlalcott
Attachments

GMATPrep 5 Verbal.JPG [ 71.59 KiB | Viewed 217 times ]

Orion Representative
Joined: 26 Jul 2010
Posts: 353
Re: Help needed: analysis of the Verbal section results (CAT V31)  [#permalink]

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18 Oct 2018, 09:54
Top Contributor
A couple factors that may be in play here:

1) What one person may label as "hard" might statistically come out as easier than that, and vice versa. So don't take those labels as absolutes...the scoring algorithm uses "actual difficulty" (not perceived difficulty), so there's often a difference between what people might say about a problem and what the computer really sees it as. *And* actually "difficulty" isn't the exact metric the GMAT really uses (the b-parameter in Item Response Theory measures the ability level at which the question provides the most data about segmenting users - sort of "at what score range is the difference the greatest between what percent of users get this right and what percent get it wrong?" - so what you and I would consider "difficulty" is very highly correlated with how questions are administered but it's not an exact relationship.

2) The delivery system for questions is also a little bit constrained by "content balancing," which is the system's mandate to ensure that everyone sees the same general distribution of content (so you don't see 10 boldface CR questions while I see 10 assumption questions). Sometimes that may mean that the best question the system has to show you is a little "easier" (or harder) than its estimate of your ability would prefer to serve, because another aspect of its programming is telling it "you have to serve an SC problem involving modifiers" for example, and the selection of those problems doesn't directly match what the system would love to be able to serve from an Item Response Theory adaptive perspective.

My guess is that what you're seeing here is more a function of #1 than #2, but either way those are contributing factors to why the perceived difficulties don't match up to what you'd have expected to see as the delivery of questions on that test.
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Brian

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Intern
Joined: 12 Dec 2016
Posts: 11
WE: Consulting (Accounting)
Re: Help needed: analysis of the Verbal section results (CAT V31)  [#permalink]

### Show Tags

24 Oct 2018, 06:33
VeritasPrepBrian wrote:
A couple factors that may be in play here:

1) What one person may label as "hard" might statistically come out as easier than that, and vice versa. So don't take those labels as absolutes...the scoring algorithm uses "actual difficulty" (not perceived difficulty), so there's often a difference between what people might say about a problem and what the computer really sees it as. *And* actually "difficulty" isn't the exact metric the GMAT really uses (the b-parameter in Item Response Theory measures the ability level at which the question provides the most data about segmenting users - sort of "at what score range is the difference the greatest between what percent of users get this right and what percent get it wrong?" - so what you and I would consider "difficulty" is very highly correlated with how questions are administered but it's not an exact relationship.

2) The delivery system for questions is also a little bit constrained by "content balancing," which is the system's mandate to ensure that everyone sees the same general distribution of content (so you don't see 10 boldface CR questions while I see 10 assumption questions). Sometimes that may mean that the best question the system has to show you is a little "easier" (or harder) than its estimate of your ability would prefer to serve, because another aspect of its programming is telling it "you have to serve an SC problem involving modifiers" for example, and the selection of those problems doesn't directly match what the system would love to be able to serve from an Item Response Theory adaptive perspective.

My guess is that what you're seeing here is more a function of #1 than #2, but either way those are contributing factors to why the perceived difficulties don't match up to what you'd have expected to see as the delivery of questions on that test.

Thank you very much Brian! Very helpful!
Re: Help needed: analysis of the Verbal section results (CAT V31)   [#permalink] 24 Oct 2018, 06:33
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# Help needed: analysis of the Verbal section results (CAT V31)

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