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# Question difficulty level

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Intern
Joined: 14 Aug 2018
Posts: 11
WE: Engineering (Consulting)

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27 Feb 2019, 11:49
I have a question about the difficulty level of the questions.

How do people come up with the ranking level of the questions? Some of the hard questions on GMAT prep QP1 software are only a sub-600 question on this website.

I am confused about how to best measure my progress.

I know that taking an official practice CAT is the best way to gauge my capability, but I want some metric on a day to day basis to see whether this any improvement in my ability.
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Posts: 3047
Location: India
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GRE 1: Q170 V169

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27 Feb 2019, 19:18
akrockheartz19 wrote:
I have a question about the difficulty level of the questions.

How do people come up with the ranking level of the questions? Some of the hard questions on GMAT prep QP1 software are only a sub-600 question on this website.

I am confused about how to best measure my progress.

I know that taking an official practice CAT is the best way to gauge my capability, but I want some metric on a day to day basis to see whether this any improvement in my ability.
I guess it is a combination of the number of people who got the question correct and the average time taken, because I've seen questions with very different difficulty levels that seem to have almost the same "percent correct". However, one of the mods would be best placed to answer this question.

The point I'd like to make is broader. You should look at the difficulty level you see here as an estimate of the actual difficulty of the question you are doing. These estimates should ideally not be used in very specific analyses of your performance. Use them to get a broad idea about the question(s) you are solving. Particular estimates could be "off", but as long as they are reasonably accurate in aggregate, they are doing their job.
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27 Feb 2019, 21:41
Difficulty is a hard thing to judge. What's hard for me may be easy for you and vice versa. We approach this question mathematically and statistically. If you are speaking specifically about the difficulty of questions on GMAT Club, then it is not only the % of correct that comes into play. You may have people solving one question and spending 2 minutes and get 60% correct while another question may only take 20 seconds and also have 60% correct. Are both questions the same difficulty? We did not think so, so we take time into consideration when determining question difficulty.

However, no system is perfect and the issue is ... people In general the audience on the GMAT Club tends to be after harder questions, esp in Quant. Few will want to post easy questions since nobody needs help with those and most people don't feel like practicing with easier questions. Since we arrange questions in a histogram distribution for difficulty measure, it is likely that a number of questions that usually would be considered medium are pushed into the lower tier and those that are hard, further to the medium difficulty level.

Thanks,
BB.
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27 Feb 2019, 22:52
Hi akrockheartz19,

Many Test Takers become too fixated on the 'implied level' of the questions that they're working on - instead of what really matters: defining WHY they're getting questions wrong and becoming more efficient at approaching the overall Exam. It's also worth noting that just because a 3rd party describes a question as "700 level" does not necessarily make it so. 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?
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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04 Mar 2019, 07:07
Hi akrockheartz19,

I’m glad you reached out, and I’m happy to help. Regarding the difficulty of questions, bb provided a perfect explanation.

Regarding how to track your progress, if you are following a detailed study plan, then ideally you are working on each quant and verbal topic individually, and then practicing each topic until you’ve gained mastery. Right? Thus, as you go through the process of learning about and doing practice questions involving each quant or verbal topic, you should have a sense of how well you understand what you’ve just learned right?

For example, let's say you are learning about Number Properties. After learning about all the concepts within number properties ideally you’d practice by answering 50 or more questions just from Number Properties, some of which questions would be relatively easy and others of which would be relatively difficult. Given the results of your practice, you’d then have a good idea of how well you understand that topic right? Thus, you don’t really have to spend much time worrying about specific levels of question difficulty or about your daily improvement, as how well you are progressing should be pretty clear.

If you’d like any further advice, feel free to reach out, and I’d be happy to help.

Good luck!
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Re: Question difficulty level   [#permalink] 04 Mar 2019, 07:07
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# Question difficulty level

Moderator: DisciplinedPrep