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How 'accurate' are GMAT Official practice CATs?

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How 'accurate' are GMAT Official practice CATs?  [#permalink]

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New post 04 Aug 2019, 11:02
Hi all,
I just took my second of the two GMAT Official Prep practice CATs, and if it is accurate, I'm very happy with my score. Not to say I'm going to stop studying, but that I'm on the right track.
However, I'm wondering if the practice exams have any real relation score-wise with what I should expect on the GMAT itself. Does anyone know?

Thanks!
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New post 04 Aug 2019, 12:27
bcl wrote:
Hi all,
I just took my second of the two GMAT Official Prep practice CATs, and if it is accurate, I'm very happy with my score. Not to say I'm going to stop studying, but that I'm on the right track.
However, I'm wondering if the practice exams have any real relation score-wise with what I should expect on the GMAT itself. Does anyone know?

Thanks!


Hello bcl

You should be very happy ;)

In general official materials are the most accurate predictor you can find on the market.

Every other third party test comes with caveat.

For instance, besides official materials/CAT's, I can only recommend Manhattan.

That being said, Manhattan Quant section can be harder than real thing, so you would usually score less on that test, than on real test day.

If you dont know that fact and take Manhattan mock, that can mess with your confidence.

But since you are using officials CAT's, no worries, you are really on right track.




Keep up with good work :cool:
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Re: How 'accurate' are GMAT Official practice CATs?  [#permalink]

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New post 04 Aug 2019, 15:00
Hi bcl,

The most realistic CATs available are the 6 from GMAC, but the 'accuracy' of a CAT score is also based on how realistically YOU go about making the CAT-taking process. For example, if you skip sections, retake a CAT that you've already taken, pause the Test, take it at home, take it at a different time of day as your Official GMAT, do anything else that is unrealistic, etc., then your score is likely to be less accurate (and in many cases, that ultimately means an unrealistic, artificially-'inflated' score result). As such, as you continue to study - and take practice CATs - you should put in the extra effort to make sure that each of those experiences is as similar to what you will face when you take the Official GMAT as possible.

Before I can offer you any additional advice for your studies, it would help if you could provide a bit more information on how you've been studying and your goals:

Studies:
1) How long have you studied? How many hours do you typically study each week?
2) What study materials have you used so far?
3) How have you scored on EACH of your CATs (including the Quant and Verbal Scaled Scores for EACH)?

Goals:
4) What is your goal score?
5) When are you planning to take the GMAT?
6) When are you planning to apply to Business School?
7) What Schools are you planning to apply to?

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Re: How 'accurate' are GMAT Official practice CATs?  [#permalink]

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New post 04 Aug 2019, 22:27
bcl wrote:
Hi all,
I just took my second of the two GMAT Official Prep practice CATs, and if it is accurate, I'm very happy with my score. Not to say I'm going to stop studying, but that I'm on the right track.
However, I'm wondering if the practice exams have any real relation score-wise with what I should expect on the GMAT itself. Does anyone know?

Thanks!
They are excellent in terms of the algorithm and in terms of question quality. They can't, however, simulate exam pressure (no practice test can).
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How 'accurate' are GMAT Official practice CATs?  [#permalink]

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New post 04 Aug 2019, 22:35
Welcome to GMAT Club bcl

Lst week one user got a 760 on the Practice test only to get a 660 on the real GMAT and someone else had a somewhat of an opposite experience. I think it is fair to say they are the best estimation tool that works very well for about 80% of the test-takers. There are cases when it clearly does not or when results are skewed/inflated due to users having seen the questions before (I believe that even 1 question can skew the results on a practice test, despite GMAC saying otherwise many years ago during a cheating scandal). Anyway, read this post: https://gmatclub.com/forum/760-official ... 01757.html

P.S. Try to avoid that.
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Re: How 'accurate' are GMAT Official practice CATs?  [#permalink]

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New post 04 Aug 2019, 22:41
bcl wrote:
Hi all,
I just took my second of the two GMAT Official Prep practice CATs, and if it is accurate, I'm very happy with my score. Not to say I'm going to stop studying, but that I'm on the right track.
However, I'm wondering if the practice exams have any real relation score-wise with what I should expect on the GMAT itself. Does anyone know?

Thanks!


Hi BCl,

I totally agree that official CATs are the real predictors but just in case if you have seen those questions before then the result is not the best indicator of your performance.

All the best for your prep.
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Re: How 'accurate' are GMAT Official practice CATs?  [#permalink]

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New post 05 Aug 2019, 06:56
bb oof. My 2nd CAT was also 760 :o - definitely will try to avoid that. I'm hoping that since my two scores two weeks apart are only 20 points apart, instead of 80, my scores are slightly more indicative. I'll be content (but not thrilled) if I get 20 points fewer than my first exam score, which that poster did.

Time to get back to the inequalities made easy guide!
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New post 05 Aug 2019, 17:00
Hi EMPOWERgmatRichC, thanks for the reply!

I tried to make this CAT as realistic as possible. It was my first time taking this one, I did it all in one sitting (except for the two allotted 8-minute breaks), etc. I did Quant, Verbal, IR, AWA, which I think is the best format for me, and which I plan on doing during test day. I did take it at home but I have a small desk that's probably pretty similar to a testing center, and I took it in the late morning instead of early afternoon like my real test would be - nothing that I would consider confounding though. No phone, no Google, no music, nothing.

Study duration: 3 weeks total, 2 weeks in. 15-20 hrs/week. Using primarily Kaplan 2017/2018 (couldn't get 2019 from the library) and lots of gmatclub problem sets (the ones around DS and combinatorics have made a pretty big difference, though it doesn't yet show in the score).

First CAT (two weeks ago; 0 days study - also, not realistic, I took a long break between the Q and V sections):
Q: 49, V: 42, IR: 7

Second (today):
Q: 49, V: 46, IR: 8

I think I can get a Q50/V46. I have one week until the test and I'm planning on working on inequality and abs. value quant problems (I just need to be much faster) and sentence correction problems. I've already made big improvements around sentence correction as you evidenced by the verbal score.

Goal: 730+
Goal programs: I'll be applying to 2 top 5s in round 1 which I'm particularly interested in, and then maybe I'll apply to 2 or 3 more of the top 10s in round 2 if I don't get in to my top 2. I'm targeting programs on the 'quantier' side in particular with a decision science element available.
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Re: How 'accurate' are GMAT Official practice CATs?  [#permalink]

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New post 06 Aug 2019, 09:05
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Hi bcl.

The official practice tests are fairly accurate predictors of performance on the actual GMAT. At the same time, there are some factors to be aware of.

One is that many practice questions provided by test prep companies are based on questions that appear in the GMAT Prep practice tests. So, sometimes people's official practice test scores are inflated, because the people have picked up on patterns in the practice questions they have seen and then answered the questions on practice tests by using those patterns rather than via using skills and methods that would be effective in answering any questions.

This issue comes up more in verbal, with many people scoring significantly lower in verbal on the actual test than they have on practice tests. For instance, a person who has been scoring V44 on practice tests may be surprised to find that he or she scores V37 on the actual GMAT.

So, to hit your score goal, you have to be sure to learn to use foundational, logical methods, rather than application of patterns, for answering verbal questions, so that, if you see verbal questions that are somewhat different from the ones you have seen in practice, you will be ready to handle them.

Another thing to be aware of, one that is related to the above, is that GMAT verbal questions have been evolving over the years, probably partly in response to the verbal study materials that are available. So, you have to be ready to handle new twists in verbal. For instance, while, in many practice Critical Reasoning questions, the conclusions are found at the ends of arguments, in newer questions, the conclusions to arguments may be buried somewhere in the middle of passages. In Sentence Correction questions, the writers put patterns that everyone knows to look for in incorrect choices, making the incorrect choices seem to be correct. So, to score as well in verbal as you have been on practice tests, you have to be ready for some new twists.
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New post 06 Aug 2019, 09:09
Thanks for your reply Marty, as well as for the information particularly around the Verbal section. I'm not particularly worried about CR, and am much more concerned about SC, so I am hoping these won't affect me too much. I'll keep an eye out though!
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New post 07 Aug 2019, 11:12
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MartyTargetTestPrep wrote:
Another thing to be aware of, one that is related to the above, is that GMAT verbal questions have been evolving over the years, probably partly in response to the verbal study materials that are available. So, you have to be ready to handle new twists in verbal. For instance, while, in many practice Critical Reasoning questions, the conclusions are found at the ends of arguments, in newer questions, the conclusions to arguments may be buried somewhere in the middle of passages. In Sentence Correction questions, the writers put patterns that everyone knows to look for in incorrect choices, making the incorrect choices seem to be correct. So, to score as well in verbal as you have been on practice tests, you have to be ready for some new twists.


Really good insight!  
The verbal questions, especially SC, have changed a lot in the last couple of years. 
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Re: How 'accurate' are GMAT Official practice CATs?  [#permalink]

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New post 07 Aug 2019, 11:21
bcl wrote:
Hi all,
I just took my second of the two GMAT Official Prep practice CATs, and if it is accurate, I'm very happy with my score. Not to say I'm going to stop studying, but that I'm on the right track.
However, I'm wondering if the practice exams have any real relation score-wise with what I should expect on the GMAT itself. Does anyone know?

Thanks!

Not very, but they do have the same algorithm. The pool of questions makes all the difference
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Re: How 'accurate' are GMAT Official practice CATs?  [#permalink]

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New post 08 Aug 2019, 11:43
Hi bcl,

Since you're so close to Test Day, there isn't much time to make any big changes to how you handle the Exam. Assuming that this recent CAT is an accurate reflection of your current skills, then you appear to be in position to hit your Score Goal. If you've truly been studying for just 2 weeks, then you're likely a really strong critical-thinker overall - which is great. Many Test Takers spend 3 months (or more) of consistent study time before they hit their 'peak' scores, so if you can score at this level in such a short period of time, then that is impressive.

In these last few days, while you might be tempted to do a lot of studying, you should ultimately limit your studies to general practice and light review (NO CATs and NO 'cramming') - you would be better served by getting some extra rest so that you can go into Test Day calm, clear-headed and ready to work.

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Re: How 'accurate' are GMAT Official practice CATs?  [#permalink]

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New post 10 Aug 2019, 09:42
bcl wrote:
Hi all,
I just took my second of the two GMAT Official Prep practice CATs, and if it is accurate, I'm very happy with my score. Not to say I'm going to stop studying, but that I'm on the right track.
However, I'm wondering if the practice exams have any real relation score-wise with what I should expect on the GMAT itself. Does anyone know?

Thanks!


The GMATPREP practice exams are very accurate at measuring your official score, given that you have replicated the exam center settings or take any unsanctioned breaks. Glad to hear that you are happy with your score!
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New post 12 Aug 2019, 15:46
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bb, all,

I'm happy to report I tentatively earned a 750 (49Q, 44V, 7IR) today, and a big thanks goes to GMAT Club! I'll admit I'm momentarily disappointed by my verbal and IR 'slips', but seems I held on with quant (wow that was much harder than GMAC CAT!). I'll certainly not fret nor lose any sleep over this though, and am excited to move on to the other parts of my applications. I really could not have done it without this forum - I used it as my primary resource. Big shoutout to all of you who participate regularly to make it such a wonderful resource!

Cheers,
bcl
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Re: How 'accurate' are GMAT Official practice CATs?   [#permalink] 12 Aug 2019, 15:46
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