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Intern
Joined: 07 Jun 2010
Posts: 26

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27 Jun 2010, 10:22
Hi,

I recently took a GMATPrep practice test from mba.com. Based on the results I got, I would like to get a few questions answered.

For the Practice Test, I got Q: 43, V:39, Total 670.

For Quantitative, I only attempted 31/37 questions, and got 7 wrong (I still have to work on my timing)
For Verbal, I attempted 41/41 questions, and got 8 wrong.

I was quite surprised because I didn't even finish all the questions in time. Last week, with a Kaplan Practice Test, I finished slightly more questions but scored a Total 600.

Questions:
1) I was surprised that my quantitative score (Q:43) was higher than my verbal score (V:39), even though I answered more verbal questions and got approximately the same number of questions wrong. Is there an explanation for this?

2) I heard that in the GMAT CAT, when you answer a question correctly, the next question becomes harder. If you answer a question incorrectly, the next question becomes easier. I assume questions are weighted differently, correct?

3) On a similar note, person A who answers his first 10 questions right would in theory need to spend more time with these progressively harder questions than person B who misses half of his first 10 questions (and get progressively easier questions). But that would put person A at a disadvantage in terms of the clock - he would have less time than his counterpart to answer the remaining questions. How does GMAT penalize incorrect questions vs. unanswered questions? In general, suppose someone answers almost all his Quantitative questions right (e.g. only 2 incorrect) but due to progressive difficulty only manages to finish 30 questions (leaving 7 questions unattempted), how will his Q score compare to someone who answers slightly more questions incorrectly (e.g. 6 incorrect) but manages to attempt all 37 questions and therefore has a slightly higher (# Q correct/Total 37 questions) ratio?

4) In my CAT Practice test, I ran out of time on my 31st Quantitative question; the clock ran out before I could CONFIRM my answer. Similarly, I ran out of time on the 41st Verbal question, before I could confirm my answer. However, in the review column after the test, the computer showed that I attempted 31 questions for Quantitative instead of the 30 whose answers I confirmed, and counted that 31st unconfirmed question as incorrect. Similar for Verbal. In real GMATs, if the tester gets to a question, but fails to confirm an answer before timeout, does that question count as attempted and incorrect?

5) Can anyone enlighten us on the actual formula/algorithm used to calculate the scores? Seems like scores will vary depending on combination of #attempted/#correct/#incorrect/question difficulty.

Thank you!

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27 Jun 2010, 14:15
1
KUDOS
Are you including the 6 blank questions among your 7 wrong on Quant? Or was it 7 errors + 6 blanks = 13 total?

pinecrest wrote:
1) I was surprised that my quantitative score (Q:43) was higher than my verbal score (V:39), even though I answered more verbal questions and got approximately the same number of questions wrong. Is there an explanation for this?

(1) The 0-60 scale for Quant scores and Verbal scores is different. It’s more useful to compare percentiles. Your 43 in Quant is 67 percentile, but your 39 in Verbal is 87 percentile. You did do better in Verbal, as you suspected.

(current chart here: http://www.mba.com/mba/thegmat/gmatscor ... gmeans.htm)

pinecrest wrote:
2) I heard that in the GMAT CAT, when you answer a question correctly, the next question becomes harder. If you answer a question incorrectly, the next question becomes easier. I assume questions are weighted differently, correct?

(2) All questions are weighted the same. But missing a very easy question would hurt your score more than missing a very hard question, because it effectively drags your average* down more. So if you must think of questions as weighted, think of them as weighted by how much easier than your goal score/ability they are. As for questions that are harder than your target score, getting them wrong won’t hurt you a bit. (If only we could know during the test which ones are these freebies!)

* Your score is not just a simple average of the question difficulties, but this is a practical way to think of it.

pinecrest wrote:
3) On a similar note, person A who answers his first 10 questions right would in theory need to spend more time with these progressively harder questions than person B who misses half of his first 10 questions (and get progressively easier questions). But that would put person A at a disadvantage in terms of the clock - he would have less time than his counterpart to answer the remaining questions. How does GMAT penalize incorrect questions vs. unanswered questions? In general, suppose someone answers almost all his Quantitative questions right (e.g. only 2 incorrect) but due to progressive difficulty only manages to finish 30 questions (leaving 7 questions unattempted), how will his Q score compare to someone who answers slightly more questions incorrectly (e.g. 6 incorrect) but manages to attempt all 37 questions and therefore has a slightly higher (# Q correct/Total 37 questions) ratio?

(3) The penalty for blanks is roughly twice that for wrong answers. Don’t leave any blanks, whatever you do. Even a wrong random guess is better. In your example, the person with 2 true errors and 7 blanks would definitely score lower than the person with 6 true errors, assuming everything else was the same.

In reality, everything else would not be the same. To finish on time, nearly everyone at every level must guess! The person who made 6 true errors working at an even pace probably made other good decisions along the way: guessing when a problem was too hard to finish in 2 minutes (and therefore one that wouldn’t hurt the score anyway), taking time to be careful on the dangerous easy questions.

pinecrest wrote:
4) In my CAT Practice test, I ran out of time on my 31st Quantitative question; the clock ran out before I could CONFIRM my answer. Similarly, I ran out of time on the 41st Verbal question, before I could confirm my answer. However, in the review column after the test, the computer showed that I attempted 31 questions for Quantitative instead of the 30 whose answers I confirmed, and counted that 31st unconfirmed question as incorrect. Similar for Verbal. In real GMATs, if the tester gets to a question, but fails to confirm an answer before timeout, does that question count as attempted and incorrect?

(4) When the clock stops, the algorithm takes any answer you have selected, even if you do not confirm. bb (GMATClub) recommends selecting an answer bubble the moment you see the question, then change your selection if necessary before confirming. The idea is to prevent blanks.

pinecrest wrote:
5) Can anyone enlighten us on the actual formula/algorithm used to calculate the scores? Seems like scores will vary depending on combination of #attempted/#correct/#incorrect/question difficulty.

(5) Your score will depend on all of that. Every question on the GMAT has not just a single difficulty value, but actually a difficulty function. It is ability (x-axis) vs. probability of getting it right (y-axis). In other words, people with low GMAT ability (score) have a certain probability of getting a given question right (lowest is 20%, because multiple-choice) and people with high ability have a higher probability of getting the problem right.

Your score will be the product of all the upward-sloping curves for each right answer and all the inverse downward-sloping curves (probWrong = 1 – probRight) for each wrong answer. So you have a probability function associated with you. Your score is based on the ability level where your probability peaks.

In practical terms, your score has a lower limit set by the questions you get right and an upper limit set by the questions you get wrong. Thus the importance of the “easy” questions: you want them to be part of your lower limit calculation, not the upper limit calculation.
_________________

Emily Sledge | Manhattan GMAT Instructor | St. Louis

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Kudos [?]: 491 [1], given: 6

Intern
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27 Jun 2010, 14:29

Yes, my Q score was 7 incorrect in addition to the 6 that are blank - yeah, I need to improve on my timing. So, based on your experience, in order to keep time (75 minutes, 37 questions), if I don't get the answer to a question within 2 minutes, should I just guess and move on to the next question?

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Manhattan Prep Instructor
Joined: 28 Aug 2009
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Kudos [?]: 491 [0], given: 6

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28 Jun 2010, 11:18
I find that if I am going to be able to solve within 2-2.5 minutes, I know it about 1 minute into the question. Conversely, if it's going to take longer, I know that at the one minute mark, too. Listen to your gut feel about it. If you are making progress and it's just a matter of finishing up, then you can occasionally go a little over 2 minutes to do so. But if you are spinning your wheels, start a guessing approach around 1-1.5 minutes to give your self time for that.
_________________

Emily Sledge | Manhattan GMAT Instructor | St. Louis

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Manager
Joined: 29 Jun 2010
Posts: 246

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Schools: LBS, Oxford

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29 Jun 2010, 06:17
=============================================

The section will replace one of two writing portions on the exam and add an audio component for some questions, the Graduate Management Admission Council said at its annual industry conference in San Diego. The new test will be administered beginning in 2012, Bloomberg Businessweek reported on its website. The test’s verbal and math sections won’t change.

Business school faculty members wanted a section that simulated the skills students use in MBA classrooms, said Dave Wilson, president and chief executive officer of the McLean, Virginia-based admissions council. It is the biggest alteration to the test since the GMAT was switched to the computer-adaptive format in the late 1990s, he said.

“These questions are really microcosms of what goes on in the MBA classroom and it will help schools identify students that will thrive in the classroom, not just survive,” said Wilson.

The latest version of the GMAT -- the 10th generation of the exam -- will be followed closely by admissions officers, students and test-preparation companies, as GMAC pilots the exam this year and prepares for its launch on June 4, 2012. The test is being rolled out a year ahead of schedule.

The organization has spent more than \$10 million developing the new questions. The admissions council will rely on audio technology designed by its testing administrator, Pearson Vue.

Compete With ETS

The test will compete with the Educational Testing Service, which has persuaded some business schools -- including Harvard University, the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton, Stanford University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology -- to allow students to submit the Graduate Record Examination for admission.

The format of the new GMAT section will require test takers to interpret charts, graphs and spreadsheets, determine the relationships between data points, and answer interactive questions that will gauge their analytical skills.

During portions of the section, students will wear headphones, a new feature that will help schools assess auditory learning styles.

The changes to the exam mirror shifts in the classroom as schools have changed their curriculums to emphasize problem- solving and critical thinking, says Peg Jobst, senior vice president of GMAC services.

In August 2011, Princeton, New Jersey-based ETS will unveil its own revised test. It includes new types of questions in the Verbal Reasoning and Quantitative Reasoning sections, new answer formats and an on-screen calculator.

New ETS Test

David Payne, an ETS vice president and chief operating officer for college and graduate programs, said that business schools and test-takers have given positive feedback. ETS is “completely focused” on the changes, he said in a statement.

These types of questions will help schools assess analytical thinking skills and the ability to pull together information, said Stacey Kole, deputy dean of the full-time MBA program at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.

‘We are not going to lose anything the old GMAT had,” said Kole, a board member for GMAC who served on a committee that looked at ways to improve the exam. “We’ll just be gaining more, and for me, that is very exciting.”

Kudos [?]: 49 [0], given: 12

Manager
Joined: 04 Feb 2007
Posts: 85

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30 Jun 2010, 12:09
Alchemist1320 wrote:
=============================================

The section will replace one of two writing portions on the exam and add an audio component for some questions, the Graduate Management Admission Council said at its annual industry conference in San Diego. The new test will be administered beginning in 2012, Bloomberg Businessweek reported on its website. The test’s verbal and math sections won’t change.

Business school faculty members wanted a section that simulated the skills students use in MBA classrooms, said Dave Wilson, president and chief executive officer of the McLean, Virginia-based admissions council. It is the biggest alteration to the test since the GMAT was switched to the computer-adaptive format in the late 1990s, he said.

“These questions are really microcosms of what goes on in the MBA classroom and it will help schools identify students that will thrive in the classroom, not just survive,” said Wilson.

The latest version of the GMAT -- the 10th generation of the exam -- will be followed closely by admissions officers, students and test-preparation companies, as GMAC pilots the exam this year and prepares for its launch on June 4, 2012. The test is being rolled out a year ahead of schedule.

The organization has spent more than \$10 million developing the new questions. The admissions council will rely on audio technology designed by its testing administrator, Pearson Vue.

Compete With ETS

The test will compete with the Educational Testing Service, which has persuaded some business schools -- including Harvard University, the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton, Stanford University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology -- to allow students to submit the Graduate Record Examination for admission.

The format of the new GMAT section will require test takers to interpret charts, graphs and spreadsheets, determine the relationships between data points, and answer interactive questions that will gauge their analytical skills.

During portions of the section, students will wear headphones, a new feature that will help schools assess auditory learning styles.

The changes to the exam mirror shifts in the classroom as schools have changed their curriculums to emphasize problem- solving and critical thinking, says Peg Jobst, senior vice president of GMAC services.

In August 2011, Princeton, New Jersey-based ETS will unveil its own revised test. It includes new types of questions in the Verbal Reasoning and Quantitative Reasoning sections, new answer formats and an on-screen calculator.

New ETS Test

David Payne, an ETS vice president and chief operating officer for college and graduate programs, said that business schools and test-takers have given positive feedback. ETS is “completely focused” on the changes, he said in a statement.

These types of questions will help schools assess analytical thinking skills and the ability to pull together information, said Stacey Kole, deputy dean of the full-time MBA program at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.

‘We are not going to lose anything the old GMAT had,” said Kole, a board member for GMAC who served on a committee that looked at ways to improve the exam. “We’ll just be gaining more, and for me, that is very exciting.”

So the lesson here is to take your GMAT before 2012 where you will have spend more time to learn new strategies for the new section
_________________

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Manager
Joined: 29 Jun 2010
Posts: 246

Kudos [?]: 49 [0], given: 12

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01 Jul 2010, 01:05
AWA was getting useless ...reasoning will be a better gauge of MBA talent

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