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# Why You Should Use Only Real GMAT Questions

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Re: Why You Should Use Only Real GMAT Questions  [#permalink]

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30 Jul 2016, 09:13
mcelroytutoring wrote:

I also disagree that the answers to verbal questions are much harder to judge. Well-written verbal questions should have only one defensible answer.

I thought so too, and then I ran into a question in the OG that has two defensible answers: in-colorado-subalpine-meadows-205282.html

So I've come to the conclusion that either the OG has some verbal questions that are not so well written or even well-written verbal questions have 2 defensible answers sometimes.

But as a rule of thumb, official GMAT questions, regardless of how difficult they are, have only one defensible answer each, and the defensible answer is usually very obvious.
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Re: Why You Should Use Only Real GMAT Questions  [#permalink]

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Updated on: 31 Dec 2017, 01:08
HiLine wrote:
mcelroytutoring wrote:

I also disagree that the answers to verbal questions are much harder to judge. Well-written verbal questions should have only one defensible answer.

I thought so too, and then I ran into a question in the OG that has two defensible answers: http://gmatclub.com/forum/in-colorado-s ... 05282.html

So I've come to the conclusion that either the OG has some verbal questions that are not so well written or even well-written verbal questions have 2 defensible answers sometimes.

But as a rule of thumb, official GMAT questions, regardless of how difficult they are, have only one defensible answer each, and the defensible answer is usually very obvious.

Yes, the revelation that the OG 2017 has 50+ typos (mostly in the answer explanations, but still relevant) shows us that even the GMAC writes flawed questions sometimes.

That being said, GMAC makes something like \$100 million a year in profit. I doubt that there are any test companies out there spending nearly as much as GMAC does on GMAT content creation and editing. Even if there were, then it would still be true that only GMAC knows for sure what's on the GMAT, and what's not, and only GMAC has access to the precise algorithm and question pool.

Every source of questions has its flaws, even the GMAC questions, because at the end of the day the questions (and books) are still written by humans who occasionally make mistakes.

_________________
Harvard grad and 99% GMAT scorer, offering expert, private GMAT tutoring and coaching worldwide since 2002.

One of the only known humans to have taken the GMAT 5 times and scored in the 700s every time (700, 710, 730, 750, 770), including verified section scores of Q50 / V47, as well as personal bests of 8/8 IR (2 times), 6/6 AWA (4 times), 50/51Q and 48/51V (1 question wrong).

You can download my official test-taker score report (all scores within the last 5 years) directly from the Pearson Vue website: https://tinyurl.com/y7knw7bt Date of Birth: 09 December 1979.

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Originally posted by mcelroytutoring on 30 Jul 2016, 09:31.
Last edited by mcelroytutoring on 31 Dec 2017, 01:08, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Why You Should Use Only Real GMAT Questions  [#permalink]

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30 Jul 2016, 09:38
mcelroytutoring wrote:

That being said, GMAC makes something like \$100 million a year in profit. I doubt that there are any test companies out there spending nearly as much as GMAC does on GMAT content creation and editing. Even if there were, then it would still be true that only GMAC knows for sure what's on the GMAT, and what's not, and only GMAC has access to the precise algorithm and question pool.

This actually raises a question I've been wondering about. Who created the GMATPrep algorithm? If the GMAC did, do they have different teams writing the 2 algorithms?
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Re: Why You Should Use Only Real GMAT Questions  [#permalink]

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Updated on: 31 Dec 2017, 01:08
HiLine wrote:
mcelroytutoring wrote:

That being said, GMAC makes something like \$100 million a year in profit. I doubt that there are any test companies out there spending nearly as much as GMAC does on GMAT content creation and editing. Even if there were, then it would still be true that only GMAC knows for sure what's on the GMAT, and what's not, and only GMAC has access to the precise algorithm and question pool.

This actually raises a question I've been wondering about. Who created the GMATPrep algorithm? If the GMAC did, do they have different teams writing the 2 algorithms?

GMAC did, but the common wisdom is that they created a simpler algorithm for GMATPrep so that enterprising computer users couldn't find a way to reverse-engineer the actual GMAT algorithm.
_________________
Harvard grad and 99% GMAT scorer, offering expert, private GMAT tutoring and coaching worldwide since 2002.

One of the only known humans to have taken the GMAT 5 times and scored in the 700s every time (700, 710, 730, 750, 770), including verified section scores of Q50 / V47, as well as personal bests of 8/8 IR (2 times), 6/6 AWA (4 times), 50/51Q and 48/51V (1 question wrong).

You can download my official test-taker score report (all scores within the last 5 years) directly from the Pearson Vue website: https://tinyurl.com/y7knw7bt Date of Birth: 09 December 1979.

GMAT Action Plan and Free E-Book - McElroy Tutoring

Contact: mcelroy@post.harvard.edu (I do not respond to PMs on GMAT Club.)

...or find me on Reddit: http://www.reddit.com/r/GMATpreparation

Originally posted by mcelroytutoring on 30 Jul 2016, 09:46.
Last edited by mcelroytutoring on 31 Dec 2017, 01:08, edited 2 times in total.
Current Student
Joined: 27 Mar 2016
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GMAT 1: 770 Q51 V44
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Re: Why You Should Use Only Real GMAT Questions  [#permalink]

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30 Jul 2016, 09:52
mcelroytutoring wrote:
HiLine wrote:
mcelroytutoring wrote:

That being said, GMAC makes something like \$100 million a year in profit. I doubt that there are any test companies out there spending nearly as much as GMAC does on GMAT content creation and editing. Even if there were, then it would still be true that only GMAC knows for sure what's on the GMAT, and what's not, and only GMAC has access to the precise algorithm and question pool.

This actually raises a question I've been wondering about. Who created the GMATPrep algorithm? If the GMAC did, do they have different teams writing the 2 algorithms?

GMAC did, but the common wisdom is that they created a simpler algorithm for GMATPrep so that enterprising computer users couldn't find a way to reverse-engineer the actual GMAT algorithm.

Given how accurate GMATPrep is as a performance prediction tool, I doubt anyone would have to go beyond its algorithm to create a superb GMAT imitation tool. Reverse engineering this tool has gotta be almost impossible.
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Re: Why You Should Use Only Real GMAT Questions  [#permalink]

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31 Jul 2016, 02:45
HiLine wrote:
mcelroytutoring wrote:

I also disagree that the answers to verbal questions are much harder to judge. Well-written verbal questions should have only one defensible answer.

I thought so too, and then I ran into a question in the OG that has two defensible answers: in-colorado-subalpine-meadows-205282.html

So I've come to the conclusion that either the OG has some verbal questions that are not so well written or even well-written verbal questions have 2 defensible answers sometimes.

But as a rule of thumb, official GMAT questions, regardless of how difficult they are, have only one defensible answer each, and the defensible answer is usually very obvious.

I don't think that I've ever encountered a GMAT verbal question with two defensible answers. The example above, I think, has only one possible answer. I agree with you that answers to verbal questions aren't necessarily harder to judge. I think what makes a verbal question tougher to write is that there's generally much more text than in a math question. And all of that text has to conform to a GMAT standard. Long Quant word problems also have that issue and in my experience are usually the most "off" of third party quant questions.

Happy Studies,

A.
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Re: Why You Should Use Only Real GMAT Questions  [#permalink]

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31 Jul 2016, 07:15
HerrGrau wrote:
HiLine wrote:
mcelroytutoring wrote:

I also disagree that the answers to verbal questions are much harder to judge. Well-written verbal questions should have only one defensible answer.

I thought so too, and then I ran into a question in the OG that has two defensible answers: in-colorado-subalpine-meadows-205282.html

So I've come to the conclusion that either the OG has some verbal questions that are not so well written or even well-written verbal questions have 2 defensible answers sometimes.

But as a rule of thumb, official GMAT questions, regardless of how difficult they are, have only one defensible answer each, and the defensible answer is usually very obvious.

I don't think that I've ever encountered a GMAT verbal question with two defensible answers. The example above, I think, has only one possible answer.

Check out my explanation for there to be two defensible answers in that thread. Please feel free to chime in over there.
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Re: Why You Should Use Only Real GMAT Questions  [#permalink]

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31 Jul 2016, 11:13
Checked it out before I replied here:) I think Mike McGarry did a great job breaking it down demonstrating that there was only one answer.
_________________
"It is a curious property of research activity that after the problem has been solved the solution seems obvious. This is true not only for those who have not previously been acquainted with the problem, but also for those who have worked over it for years." -Dr. Edwin Land

GMAT vs GRE Comparison

If you found my post useful KUDOS are much appreciated.

Here is the first set along with some strategies for approaching this work: http://gmatclub.com/forum/the-economist-reading-comprehension-challenge-151479.html
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Re: Why You Should Use Only Real GMAT Questions  [#permalink]

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Updated on: 31 Dec 2017, 01:09
Top Contributor
himpuju wrote:
In continuation to my post above, I would like to tell here that I agree with 90% of the things mentioned here. I am in complete agreement with the statements below –

a) Official questions are of the best quality, closest to the actual questions and most dependable practice material
b) You should practice official questions more than any other unofficial questions
c) Some of the questions of the big test prep companies are too difficult or too easy or ambiguous or not related to GMAT concepts

I even agree with the below statement but with a caveat.

d) You can score a 700+ or even a 780 by practicing / studying only official guides, questions and tests without touching any other unofficial source at all and without help from any test prep company’s material / course.

The caveat for statement d is that you need to learn the concepts of GMAT from a very good GMAT tutor who can guide you how to use the official materials and questions. This caveat is never mentioned in any of the posts here as that will look like a direct advertising and people may not take it as a neutral advice.

You can score a 700+ without knowing anything about probability. I was weak in probability and I am not sure whether I gave correct answer to the only probability question in my actual GMAT or not. I scored 760. But along with probability if you are unsure about number properties, word problems, inequality, geometry and co-ordinates and have a speed problem in RC and not confident in answering difficult RC and SC questions then you cannot score 700+ even if you practice 4000+ official questions over 3-4 months.

Unless you are already strong with most of the GMAT concept (which is only true for probably less than 5% of the candidates), you need to build the concepts tested in GMAT to score 700+. It’s ok if you are weak in 3-4 specific topics like probability, co-ordinates, bold face CR, idioms etc, but then you need to be confident in other areas.

You can build the concepts in three ways – Option 1) Taking help from a test prep company, Option 2) Taking help from a good GMAT tutor and Option 3) For self prep, use unofficial guides like MGMAT SC and quants guide or PowerScore CR Bible and associated topic wise unofficial questions. Use some official questions in between for practice.

After you build the concepts in the first 20% or 30% part of your preparation, you can devote the last 70-80% part to official questions. If you are targeting a 700+ score by self prep only not taking any help from a big test prep company or a GMAT tutor and you are only using official materials / questions / tests avoiding all unofficial materials then you are putting yourself into a big risk of not achieving your target score.

Again, I am not a GMAT tutor or expert, but I have seen people practicing only a lot of official questions without building the concepts well with help from any GMAT tutor or unofficial materials and failing to achieve their target score. They are inspired by the advices like a, b, c above but did not understand the caveat in statement d as it is not explicitly mentioned.

Sorry for the long post again, but in summary, my advice is if you are only practicing official questions, go for option 2 above, otherwise go for option 1 or 3.

Very well put! I do think that I am biased sometimes, in that most of my private GMAT students are already well above-average, and that as a result the roughly 4,000+ real GMAT questions that are available are nearly always sufficient for a full preparation. And yes, I hesitate to tout the many benefits of private tutoring, because it will seem like shameless self-promotion...which would only be partly true. ; )

Are there topics that are under-represented in the official materials? Yes, especially the more esoteric quant topics. If you are going for a perfect 51 in quant, then you probably need more math practice, for example...even on the types of questions that show up only once or twice in the official GMAT question pools. The issue is that 1 or 2 times is usually not enough to build sufficient confidence with the material. The same could probably be said for verbal, especially if English is not your first language...more practice is usually a good thing, so long as the synthetic questions you use are well-written enough to not lead you in the wrong direction, or simply confuse you further.

Others will go so far as to argue that you should study topics that don't show up in the official materials, just in case they show up on your particular CAT. For example, I have yet to see an official GMAT question that requires one to calculate Standard Deviation, though I have heard that they exist. However, if you are going for a perfect 800, then there are things you will want to know "just in case" they actually show up on the test, and for those topics I will agree that the official materials can fall short. The same goes for Verbal, which is why I suggest that you follow Andrew's advice and possibly supplement your studies with LSAT Logical Reasoning questions (but again...use only real LSAT questions when possible).

If you are a low verbal scorer, or a non-native English speaker, and you have the motivation to also use non-official materials to round out your studies, then allow me to suggest the "GMAT sandwich" method, where official questions are your bread (start and finish), and non-official questions are your meat/veggies (the middle part of your preparation). That way, your first and last impressions of the test are made using official questions only, so as to get a better feel for the exact wording, structure, conventions and content of real GMAT questions.

_________________
Harvard grad and 99% GMAT scorer, offering expert, private GMAT tutoring and coaching worldwide since 2002.

One of the only known humans to have taken the GMAT 5 times and scored in the 700s every time (700, 710, 730, 750, 770), including verified section scores of Q50 / V47, as well as personal bests of 8/8 IR (2 times), 6/6 AWA (4 times), 50/51Q and 48/51V (1 question wrong).

You can download my official test-taker score report (all scores within the last 5 years) directly from the Pearson Vue website: https://tinyurl.com/y7knw7bt Date of Birth: 09 December 1979.

GMAT Action Plan and Free E-Book - McElroy Tutoring

Contact: mcelroy@post.harvard.edu (I do not respond to PMs on GMAT Club.)

...or find me on Reddit: http://www.reddit.com/r/GMATpreparation

Originally posted by mcelroytutoring on 31 Jul 2016, 15:43.
Last edited by mcelroytutoring on 31 Dec 2017, 01:09, edited 6 times in total.
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Re: Why You Should Use Only Real GMAT Questions  [#permalink]

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31 Jul 2016, 16:38
1
bb wrote:
I am going to stop editing my post and post a new one: Thinking more about it, it seems hard to believe MGMAT would try to save money on their \$1,500 course by excluding the \$25 Official Guide or somehow steering me away from it. They include it and they reference the questions at the end of their chapters. I am sure their tutors also use some of the OG questions in one-on-one just like you do. I don't think there is that much difference from what I have observed in MGMAT tutoring.

You definitely get the Official Guide with an MGMAT course and yes, there are OG questions referenced in each MGMAT chapter. But the reality is (and I don't mean to single MGMAT out) that the meat of the MGMAT program is MGMAT questions. It's not "let's get you up and running with some instruction and drills and then get you on a healthy diet of Official GMAT questions ASAP". That would be great. Also, the Official Guide is one resource of many. Most people aren't going to hit a home run on the GMAT just using the Official Guide. Someone please correct me if I'm wrong on this but I don't think the plentitude of other Official GMAT resources (Question Pack 1, GMAT Focus, Quant Review, Verbal Review, GPT) are an integral part of the syllabus. Again, not meaning to pick on one specific company. I'm just making the point that providing one GMAT book and having some target questions from that book at the end of a chapter isn't what I would consider a full implementation of the best resources available. That said, what's more important is to provide a little guidance for people studying. A couple of things come to mind related to this thread:

1. I've been doing a lot of criticizing BUT it's OK to take a GMAT course. It can provide structure, motivation, and a foundation. Just don't expect the course to provide you with everything that you need to rock your GMAT.

2. With that in mind, if you are going to take a course, use the course to learn the basics but then focus most of your preparation on Official GMAT materials. You can learn a lot by googling questions (lots of excellent explanations here on GMAT club). Remember: don't only review with your eyeballs! Actually put pen to paper and re-do questions.

Happy Studies,

A.
_________________
"It is a curious property of research activity that after the problem has been solved the solution seems obvious. This is true not only for those who have not previously been acquainted with the problem, but also for those who have worked over it for years." -Dr. Edwin Land

GMAT vs GRE Comparison

If you found my post useful KUDOS are much appreciated.

Here is the first set along with some strategies for approaching this work: http://gmatclub.com/forum/the-economist-reading-comprehension-challenge-151479.html
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Re: Why You Should Use Only Real GMAT Questions  [#permalink]

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Updated on: 31 Dec 2017, 01:09
Top Contributor
HerrGrau wrote:
bb wrote:
I am going to stop editing my post and post a new one: Thinking more about it, it seems hard to believe MGMAT would try to save money on their \$1,500 course by excluding the \$25 Official Guide or somehow steering me away from it. They include it and they reference the questions at the end of their chapters. I am sure their tutors also use some of the OG questions in one-on-one just like you do. I don't think there is that much difference from what I have observed in MGMAT tutoring.

You definitely get the Official Guide with an MGMAT course and yes, there are OG questions referenced in each MGMAT chapter. But the reality is (and I don't mean to single MGMAT out) that the meat of the MGMAT program is MGMAT questions. It's not "let's get you up and running with some instruction and drills and then get you on a healthy diet of Official GMAT questions ASAP". That would be great. Also, the Official Guide is one resource of many. Most people aren't going to hit a home run on the GMAT just using the Official Guide. Someone please correct me if I'm wrong on this but I don't think the plentitude of other Official GMAT resources (Question Pack 1, GMAT Focus, Quant Review, Verbal Review, GPT) are an integral part of the syllabus. Again, not meaning to pick on one specific company. I'm just making the point that providing one GMAT book and having some target questions from that book at the end of a chapter isn't what I would consider a full implementation of the best resources available.

There isn't a single GMAT company I know of that offers something like this...but there should be. It's what most independent, private GMAT tutors like us do, because using real GMAT questions as a basis for your teachings is a no-brainer, at least when you aren't handcuffed by a non-compete contract with a GMAT prep company who claims otherwise.

The problem in many cases is profit-related: when you run a large GMAT prep company, unless you want to get sued or potentially pay a king's ransom for licensing fees, you can't sell books full of another company's questions. So if you want to make money selling test-prep books and materials, then the best you can do is "reference" real GMAT questions and/or write your own imitation questions, which are inevitably of lesser quality than the real thing, even when they are well done.

Of course there is some teaching value in synthetic questions, but there is even more teaching value in real questions: not only do you learn the concepts behind the test, but you also get a better feel for the precise wording, content and difficulty level of the GMAT itself, which many outside test writers have tried and failed to fully replicate.

There are thousands of cola drinks in the world, but there is only one Coca-Cola, and yes, most of us who pay close enough attention can tell the difference.

_________________
Harvard grad and 99% GMAT scorer, offering expert, private GMAT tutoring and coaching worldwide since 2002.

One of the only known humans to have taken the GMAT 5 times and scored in the 700s every time (700, 710, 730, 750, 770), including verified section scores of Q50 / V47, as well as personal bests of 8/8 IR (2 times), 6/6 AWA (4 times), 50/51Q and 48/51V (1 question wrong).

You can download my official test-taker score report (all scores within the last 5 years) directly from the Pearson Vue website: https://tinyurl.com/y7knw7bt Date of Birth: 09 December 1979.

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...or find me on Reddit: http://www.reddit.com/r/GMATpreparation

Originally posted by mcelroytutoring on 31 Jul 2016, 16:52.
Last edited by mcelroytutoring on 31 Dec 2017, 01:09, edited 8 times in total.
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Re: Why You Should Use Only Real GMAT Questions  [#permalink]

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Updated on: 31 Dec 2017, 01:10
Top Contributor
HerrGrau wrote:

2. With that in mind, if you are going to take a course, use the course to learn the basics but then focus most of your preparation on Official GMAT materials. You can learn a lot by googling questions (lots of excellent explanations here on GMAT club). Remember: don't only review with your eyeballs! Actually put pen to paper and re-do questions.

I couldn't agree more! So many people skate by on simply "studying" the explanations on GMAT Club, which builds false confidence. It's one thing to understand the correct answer / explanation, but quite another to be able to execute the correct solution without a "cheat sheet". Especially on Quant, always write everything down by hand, from start to finish!

I recommend that you first try the question yourself, then read the explanation on GMAT club and/or work on it with your GMAT tutor. Afterward, put the question aside for a long while (which gives you time to forget the correct answer / solution), then try it again to see whether you fully understand it. Keep doing that until you've seen the question so many times that you've either memorized the answer or mastered the question.

Even after you've memorized the answer, you can still learn from the question, but it clearly loses at least part of its utility. For this reason, students with excellent memories might find that they need to venture outside of official sources of questions. Yet for most of the mere mortals among us, it's hard to learn/remember 1,000 new facts without forgetting at least some of them, so repetition of past GMAT questions--re-learning that which you've already learned and then forgotten--is one key to maximizing your learning.

_________________
Harvard grad and 99% GMAT scorer, offering expert, private GMAT tutoring and coaching worldwide since 2002.

One of the only known humans to have taken the GMAT 5 times and scored in the 700s every time (700, 710, 730, 750, 770), including verified section scores of Q50 / V47, as well as personal bests of 8/8 IR (2 times), 6/6 AWA (4 times), 50/51Q and 48/51V (1 question wrong).

You can download my official test-taker score report (all scores within the last 5 years) directly from the Pearson Vue website: https://tinyurl.com/y7knw7bt Date of Birth: 09 December 1979.

GMAT Action Plan and Free E-Book - McElroy Tutoring

Contact: mcelroy@post.harvard.edu (I do not respond to PMs on GMAT Club.)

...or find me on Reddit: http://www.reddit.com/r/GMATpreparation

Originally posted by mcelroytutoring on 31 Jul 2016, 16:57.
Last edited by mcelroytutoring on 31 Dec 2017, 01:10, edited 4 times in total.
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Re: Why You Should Use Only Real GMAT Questions  [#permalink]

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01 Aug 2016, 07:17
HerrGrau wrote:
Checked it out before I replied here:) I think Mike McGarry did a great job breaking it down demonstrating that there was only one answer.

On top of that, Mike McGarry said this:

Quote:
You see, to be a weakener, we can't say something that we have a hard time distinguishing from the original argument, or that requires really fine grade distinctions.

To me, this implies that the other answer is arguably a weakener, though not as "strong" of a weakener as the official answer.
I don't think what the alternative answer implies is hard to distinguish from the original argument.

The problem is that the conclusion is not clear. This is the original sentence:

Quote:

The control plots yielded significantly more larkspur seeds than the dandelion-free plots, leading the researchers to conclude that the presence of dandelions facilitates pollination (and hence seed production) in the native species by attracting more pollinators to the mixed plots.

So which of the following is the conclusion:

1. That the presence of dandelions facilitates pollination,

or

2. That the presence of dandelions achieves this by attracting more pollinators to the mixed plots?

A GMAT official CR question typically has a very clear conclusion.
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Re: Why You Should Use Only Real GMAT Questions  [#permalink]

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01 Aug 2016, 07:27
mcelroytutoring wrote:
HerrGrau wrote:
bb wrote:
I am going to stop editing my post and post a new one: Thinking more about it, it seems hard to believe MGMAT would try to save money on their \$1,500 course by excluding the \$25 Official Guide or somehow steering me away from it. They include it and they reference the questions at the end of their chapters. I am sure their tutors also use some of the OG questions in one-on-one just like you do. I don't think there is that much difference from what I have observed in MGMAT tutoring.

You definitely get the Official Guide with an MGMAT course and yes, there are OG questions referenced in each MGMAT chapter. But the reality is (and I don't mean to single MGMAT out) that the meat of the MGMAT program is MGMAT questions. It's not "let's get you up and running with some instruction and drills and then get you on a healthy diet of Official GMAT questions ASAP". That would be great. Also, the Official Guide is one resource of many. Most people aren't going to hit a home run on the GMAT just using the Official Guide. Someone please correct me if I'm wrong on this but I don't think the plentitude of other Official GMAT resources (Question Pack 1, GMAT Focus, Quant Review, Verbal Review, GPT) are an integral part of the syllabus. Again, not meaning to pick on one specific company. I'm just making the point that providing one GMAT book and having some target questions from that book at the end of a chapter isn't what I would consider a full implementation of the best resources available.

There isn't a single GMAT company I know of that offers something like this...but there should be. It's what most independent, private GMAT tutors like us do, because using real GMAT questions as a basis for your teachings is a no-brainer, at least when you aren't handcuffed by a non-compete contract with a GMAT prep company who claims otherwise.

The problem in many cases is profit-related: when you run a large GMAT prep company, unless you want to get sued or potentially pay a king's ransom for licensing fees, you can't sell books full of another company's questions. So if you want to make money selling test-prep books and materials, then the best you can do is "reference" real GMAT questions and/or write your own imitation questions, which are inevitably of lesser quality than the real thing, even when they are well done.

Of course there is some teaching value in synthetic questions, but there is even more teaching value in real questions: not only do you learn the concepts behind the test, but you also get a better feel for the precise wording, content and difficulty level of the GMAT itself, which many outside test writers have tried and failed to fully replicate.

There are thousands of cola drinks in the world, but there is only one Coca-Cola, and yes, most of us who care can tell the difference.

All test prep companies for the LSAT use official questions. I think the reason this isn't the case for the GMAT is that much fewer official GMAT questions are available to students. Perhaps companies like Manhattan GMAT want to save official questions for students to practice on their own; though I would opine that with effective study methods, a GMAT student should never run out of official GMAT questions to practice. Half of these are plenty.
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Re: Why You Should Use Only Real GMAT Questions  [#permalink]

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01 Aug 2016, 08:35
HiLine wrote:
HerrGrau wrote:
Checked it out before I replied here:) I think Mike McGarry did a great job breaking it down demonstrating that there was only one answer.

On top of that, Mike McGarry said this:

Quote:
You see, to be a weakener, we can't say something that we have a hard time distinguishing from the original argument, or that requires really fine grade distinctions.

To me, this implies that the other answer is arguably a weakener, though not as "strong" of a weakener as the official answer.
I don't think what the alternative answer implies is hard to distinguish from the original argument.

The problem is that the conclusion is not clear. This is the original sentence:

So which of the following is the conclusion:

1. That the presence of dandelions facilitates pollination,

or

2. That the presence of dandelions achieves this by attracting more pollinators to the mixed plots?

A GMAT official CR question typically has a very clear conclusion.

The conclusion is clear. Directly from the passage: the presence of dandelions facilitates pollination (and hence seed production) in the native species by attracting more pollinators to the mixed plots. Mike called choice B a strengthen. He definitely did not say that it was a "weak" weaken. If you want to interpret the question in your own way that is completely fine but I think it's important to be clear for anyone else studying:

1. This question isn't ambiguous. B is a strengthen, E is a weaken. There are no ifs, ands, or buts about this.

2. If your goal is a great GMAT score, there are never two possible answer choices on Official GMAT questions.

A.
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Re: Why You Should Use Only Real GMAT Questions  [#permalink]

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01 Aug 2016, 09:44
1
We have settled the issue over in the appropriate thread. I think I misinterpreted one crucial word in the passage. Thanks, HerrGrau, for helping me figure out this question.

I hereby declare that any real GMAT question has only one defensible answer choice, until proven to the contrary.
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Re: Why You Should Use Only Real GMAT Questions  [#permalink]

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Updated on: 31 Dec 2017, 01:10
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HerrGrau wrote:
I agree with you that answers to verbal questions aren't necessarily harder to judge. I think what makes a verbal question tougher to write is that there's generally much more text than in a math question. And all of that text has to conform to a GMAT standard. Long Quant word problems also have that issue and in my experience are usually the most "off" of third party quant questions.

A.

Yes, that is a good rule of thumb. The more text that an imitation GMAT question has, the more likely that it is not going to fully resemble a real GMAT question. And the issue is only becoming more acute, as questions on the GMAT are slowly getting longer--i.e, more words--over time.
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Originally posted by mcelroytutoring on 01 Aug 2016, 12:32.
Last edited by mcelroytutoring on 31 Dec 2017, 01:10, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Why You Should Use Only Real GMAT Questions  [#permalink]

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Updated on: 31 Dec 2017, 01:10
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HerrGrau wrote:
bb wrote:
What I think would be more helpful for everyone here and myself included is explaining how could one get away using just the official questions to get a Q50?

To answer this question I'd have to take off two months from teaching and write a book.

A.

I'd read it. It would definitely have to reference a lot of questions from the GMATPrep tests and Question Pack, in order to access the toughest questions.

You could start each lesson with an official question, then supplement with skill drills and and/or non-official questions if there aren't enough similar ones to practice. That being said, the frequency of topics that show up on the official materials is also a sign of their frequency on the test: if a topic or concept only shows up once or twice in the official materials, then that's probably a sign that most students not going for a 51 don't need to worry much about it, as opposed to a topic or concept that is frequently tested on the GMAT (such as ratios, factors, multiples, inequalities and rates).

It could be done...all it would really require is organizing the questions by topic, rather than by number, and doing one's best to teach the individual concepts one at a time. You could make liberal use of the easy questions from the book at the outset, and then work your way out to the hardest ones. GMAT Club already has helpful difficulty rankings for the 2016 OG that seem more realistic than GMAC's.

The rule for most GMAT prep students? Spend the exact proportion of your practice time that the topic appears in your practice materials. If 10% of your GMAT questions reference number properties, then that's how much of your study time you should spend on it. I have seen many a GMAT student obsess over a minute combinatorics issue, for example, when they still have weaknesses in much more common types of GMAT questions. Don't go chasing waterfalls, just stick to mastering the rivers and the lakes that you're used to. ; )

The other issue is classification. How do you classify a GMAT question with 5 or 6 moving / overlapping parts? Well, you try your best. You classify it a bunch of ways, and at the end of the book you add up the classifications of the questions you got wrong, to get an idea of what topics you should worry about most, and you let that information guide the next portion of your studies.

One issue I worry about is that the audience for a "How to Score 51" book is probably rather narrow. Better to make a "How to Score 700 Plus" book, based on official GMAT questions, with bonus chapters / additional synthetic questions and drills for those going for a perfect 51. It is true that students with extremely high GMAT scores tend to get questions in harder categories, and so in some cases the pool of official questions might not be fully sufficient for them. But we're talking about the top .1 percent of students here.

For the other 99.9 percent of GMAT Club users...yes, you can get the score of your dreams (700 plus or even 750 plus) using only official questions, if you are organized, disciplined and motivated.

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Originally posted by mcelroytutoring on 01 Aug 2016, 18:47.
Last edited by mcelroytutoring on 31 Dec 2017, 01:10, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Why You Should Use Only Real GMAT Questions  [#permalink]

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04 Aug 2016, 03:54
1
HiLine wrote:
We have settled the issue over in the appropriate thread. I think I misinterpreted one crucial word in the passage. Thanks, HerrGrau, for helping me figure out this question.

I hereby declare that any real GMAT question has only one defensible answer choice, until proven to the contrary.

Glad we made it! I think it's an interesting back and forth. Mostly because your reasoning was great. But, we disagreed on the facts. Whenever I'm taking a GMAT and am a little stumped on a tough CR question I ask myself "do I have the facts straight?". Then I go back to the passage and re-think it, trying to look at the text from a different perspective (as you did).

Happy Studies,

A.
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If you found my post useful KUDOS are much appreciated.

Here is the first set along with some strategies for approaching this work: http://gmatclub.com/forum/the-economist-reading-comprehension-challenge-151479.html
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Re: Why You Should Use Only Real GMAT Questions  [#permalink]

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14 Aug 2016, 03:24
When can I begin using the questions taken from GMatPrep CAT1 and CAT2 databases (I think there are 1000+ questions)? I have found them in GMATClub and I have completed both GMAT Prep1 and 2 and won't be re-taking them as I have 4 more Gmatprep CATs remaining from Exam packs 1 &2. In such a case and with my exam date on 10Sep can i download these and practice using them or would these questions be repeated in any of these exam pack CATs ,i.e, GMat Exam Pack1 and Exam pack2?
Re: Why You Should Use Only Real GMAT Questions   [#permalink] 14 Aug 2016, 03:24

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