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Huge variation in GMATprep Qaunt

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Joined: 06 Oct 2013
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Huge variation in GMATprep Qaunt [#permalink]

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21 Dec 2013, 21:44
I took two GMAT prep tests and I am bit surprised with the variation in Quant. Second GMAT prep test I took today clearly felt harder. I just reviewed all Qs and only indication is that I got Q 11 to 17 incorrect in a row.

GMAT Prep-1 : Q47, V35 - 660
MGMT CAT: Q41, V38 - 650
Today: GMAT Prep-2 : Q39, V39 - 640 (I worked on verbal so I clearly see difference)

The reason I am taken a back is because after getting only 2 incorrect in first 10 - I clearly felt I was getting fairly harder questions back to back. I was behind on time so some of the incorrects between 11 to 17 are near guesses. Ironically, in first exam I never found questions to get to this level of difficulty - yet scored 47. I did look at type of questions I got wrong and they are from range of topic. I am not convinced with a specific topic has greater trend of weakness other then probability.

So I was wondering if anyone had a similar issue - My learning is simple: Never run too behind on time to have to guess multiple, and secondly if you plan to guess - just guess - spending 30 second and guess hardly has increased success rate. Nonetheless, I just find my first GMAT Prep was just much easier and it seems odd to get to 47 then. I was actually not happy with my quant performance in first test as I made a few casual mistakes and was surprised to see 47. Any insight appreciated from other's experiences.

Last edited by sophrosyne on 21 Dec 2013, 23:51, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Huge variation in GMATprep Qaunt [#permalink]

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21 Dec 2013, 22:21
sophrosyne wrote:
I took two GMAT prep tests and I am bit surprised with the variation in Quant. Second GMAT prep test I took today clearly felt harder. I just reviewed all Qs and only indication is that I got Q 11 to 17 incorrect in a row.

GMAT Prep-1 : Q47, V35 - 660
MGMT CAT: Q41, V38 - 650
Today: GMAT Prep-2 : Q39, V39 - 640 (I worked on verbal so I clearly see difference)

The reason I am taken a back is because after getting only 2 incorrect in first 10 - I clearly felt I was getting fairly harder questions back to back. I was behind on time so some of the incorrects between 11 to 17 are near guesses. Ironically, in first exam I never found questions to get to this level of difficulty - yet scored 46. I did look at type of questions I got wrong and they are from range of topic. I am not convinced with a specific topic has greater trend of weakness other then probability.

So I was wondering if anyone had a similar issue - My learning is simple: Never run too behind on time to have to guess multiple, and secondly if you plan to guess - just guess - spending 30 second and guess hardly has increased success rate. Nonetheless, I just find my first GMAT Prep was just much easier and it seems odd to get to 47 then. I was actually not happy with my quant performance in first test as I made a few casual mistakes and was surprised to see 47. Any insight appreciated from other's experiences.

Timing can be a score killer - that is what happened to you. Missing all those questions consecutively is not good. You don't want to miss more than 2-3 questions in a row, so you never want to put yourself in a position where you are guessing on multiple questions back-to-back.

Here's what happened to you. You spent extra time on the early questions and were getting questions right that were above your ability level. This did 2 things: 1) the GMAT thinks your ability is higher than it really is so you get harder questions, and 2) you are behind in time so you have to rush through these harder questions. As you speed to try to catch up you miss a lot of questions that are both hard and easy and your score takes a major hit.

As you noted, you are much better off staying "on-time". Fix your pacing and you should see your score go back to your natural ability level.

KW
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Re: Huge variation in GMATprep Qaunt [#permalink]

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21 Dec 2013, 23:32
I just realized that I didn't address your second point about guessing. You want to get in the mode of strategic guessing. When you realize you can't answer the question, you need to look at it a bit differently to see if you can figure out what the answer couldn't be. That way you can eliminate a choice or two, thereby greatly increasing your odds of guessing correctly. That strategic guessing process probably takes close to a minute, so you are correct that spending 30 seconds to guess on a problem is probably no better than a simple random guess that takes only a few seconds.

KW
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Kyle Widdison | Manhattan GMAT Instructor | Utah

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Re: Huge variation in GMATprep Qaunt [#permalink]

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21 Dec 2013, 23:49
KyleWiddison wrote:
I just realized that I didn't address your second point about guessing. You want to get in the mode of strategic guessing. When you realize you can't answer the question, you need to look at it a bit differently to see if you can figure out what the answer couldn't be. That way you can eliminate a choice or two, thereby greatly increasing your odds of guessing correctly. That strategic guessing process probably takes close to a minute, so you are correct that spending 30 seconds to guess on a problem is probably no better than a simple random guess that takes only a few seconds.

KW

Thanks. That sounds like a good advise. I checked my score again - it is actually 38!! I took GMAT 6 years ago and not in one CAT (real GMAT (I scored 49) or practice) have I scored below 40 up-till now! This serves as good an example as any in explaining how severe the penalty is for getting multiple questions wrong in a series. >3 guess at the time is probably solid score hit.

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Re: Huge variation in GMATprep Qaunt [#permalink]

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30 Dec 2013, 07:54
sophrosyne wrote:
KyleWiddison wrote:
I just realized that I didn't address your second point about guessing. You want to get in the mode of strategic guessing. When you realize you can't answer the question, you need to look at it a bit differently to see if you can figure out what the answer couldn't be. That way you can eliminate a choice or two, thereby greatly increasing your odds of guessing correctly. That strategic guessing process probably takes close to a minute, so you are correct that spending 30 seconds to guess on a problem is probably no better than a simple random guess that takes only a few seconds.

KW

Thanks. That sounds like a good advise. I checked my score again - it is actually 38!! I took GMAT 6 years ago and not in one CAT (real GMAT (I scored 49) or practice) have I scored below 40 up-till now! This serves as good an example as any in explaining how severe the penalty is for getting multiple questions wrong in a series. >3 guess at the time is probably solid score hit.

Don't focus on "how not to get multiple wrongs in a row" since there is nothing you can do about that. You do try to get every question correct. Focus on "not guessing in a row". Here is an excellent article on how to guess effectively: http://www.veritasprep.com/blog/2010/10 ... for-field/

Also your key takeaway from this should be that you need to keep a good pace. If you lose your pacing while trying to game the system (say, by spending too much time on first ten questions), you may actually score lower than your ability.
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Re: Huge variation in GMATprep Qaunt [#permalink]

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02 Jan 2014, 13:05
VeritasPrepKarishma wrote:

Don't focus on "how not to get multiple wrongs in a row" since there is nothing you can do about that. You do try to get every question correct. Focus on "not guessing in a row". Here is an excellent article on how to guess effectively:...

Also your key takeaway from this should be that you need to keep a good pace. If you lose your pacing while trying to game the system (say, by spending too much time on first ten questions), you may actually score lower than your ability.

Thanks for the pointer Karishma. I took another test and scored 44. Did run out of time and guessed last 6. Bottom line is exactly what you have suggested: don't over emphasize on first 10 Qs, don't worry too much about guessing, just do best to solve every problem but at the same time have pacing ( in my case I need to have constant sense of urgency through the 75 min period or I get slower - double checking calculations overtly, getting stuck on hard problems etc.).

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Veritas Prep GMAT Instructor
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Re: Huge variation in GMATprep Qaunt [#permalink]

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02 Jan 2014, 21:59
sophrosyne wrote:
VeritasPrepKarishma wrote:

Don't focus on "how not to get multiple wrongs in a row" since there is nothing you can do about that. You do try to get every question correct. Focus on "not guessing in a row". Here is an excellent article on how to guess effectively:...

Also your key takeaway from this should be that you need to keep a good pace. If you lose your pacing while trying to game the system (say, by spending too much time on first ten questions), you may actually score lower than your ability.

Thanks for the pointer Karishma. I took another test and scored 44. Did run out of time and guessed last 6. Bottom line is exactly what you have suggested: don't over emphasize on first 10 Qs, don't worry too much about guessing, just do best to solve every problem but at the same time have pacing ( in my case I need to have constant sense of urgency through the 75 min period or I get slower - double checking calculations overtly, getting stuck on hard problems etc.).

You can also save some precious minutes in the beginning because the first few questions will be easy (compared to your ability) and should take just a few secs each. We are usually unable to hurry up in the beginning and spend a lot of time cross checking the answer by solving the question in multiple ways since we are not "in the zone" at the start of the exam. We pick up pace after a few questions but by then the questions are harder too. Urge yourself to not waste time in the beginning and that might make a difference in your score. Of course you must try this on a few practice tests before you do it in the actual exam.
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Karishma
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My Blog

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Re: Huge variation in GMATprep Qaunt   [#permalink] 02 Jan 2014, 21:59
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