do the first ten questions really matter?

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do the first ten questions really matter?

by htnakirs » Fri Aug 28, 2009 4:30 am
Hello Everyone

Do the first ten questions (esp in verbal) matter with regards to how high your scaled score can go. I have read numerous blogs that they do not, but from personal experience gained from testing the GPREP algorithm mutiple times, I see that the first ten questions are indeed important.

Anyone care to comment?

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by myohmy » Fri Aug 28, 2009 4:32 am
Yes, of course the first ten questions matter, but they shouldn't matter to the detriment of later questions in the test. That is, don't spend 1/2 an hour on the first 10, and end up with 10 minutes left for the last ten. Doing that will (likely) hurt your score more than evenly pacing yourself throughout the test.

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by iamjakekim » Fri Aug 28, 2009 5:53 am
I think it DOES matter.

Many people that I know end up getting 51 in Q without solving all the questions.

Many of them got up to like 35 or 34.

Probably they all got 95%+ of questions right though.

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by zuleron » Fri Aug 28, 2009 11:05 am
The first 10 questions only matter to the extent that if you do poorly on the first 10 you only have 27 questions to make up for it. THAT'S IT!!

Of course if you only answer 35/37 questions but get 34 of them correct, you will end up with a very high score... but if you are the type of person who can get 34 out of 35 GMAT questions correct, then it doesn't matter what the first 10 questions are... coz you will still get 34/37 correct... and you will still get a very high score...

BUT for the rest of us mere mortals... The most important rule for the GMAT is DON'T GET MULTIPLE QUESTIONS IN A ROW WRONG. It is worse for your score to get Q 27, 28, 29 wrong than it is to get Q 4, 7, 10 wrong.
Last edited by zuleron on Mon Aug 31, 2009 8:02 am, edited 1 time in total.

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by vaibhav.iit2002 » Sun Aug 30, 2009 9:47 am
I didn't believe in first 10 questions myth, but I got 31 despite doing 32 correct questions in verbal in Princeton test. I did 4 wrong questions in first 6 and even though I managed to make last 13 questions correct in a row, the score was so poor. This made me doubtful about this myth.

Any suggestions?

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by gmatplayer » Sun Aug 30, 2009 10:06 am
One benefit of getting as many as correct in first 10 is you do get high level (700+) questions in later part (lets say next 10). And another thing is even if you do get many of 11-20 wrong, your score would not lower as much because penalty of getting wrong in high level questions is lot less than lower level questions. Furthmore, overall percentage of correct is also important factor in getting final score. I mean getting (lets say) first 20 correct and then remaining all wrong would put you back to about average score. And this is because your incorrect selection in very easy questions in later part of the test.
The strategy I would prefer is getting correct in at least sandwich pattern so even if you know that questions you are solving is tough and you are likely to have incorrect, you should not spend too much time on it and you should try to get next question correct in order to get yourself back in the game. This is predictable in case of Quant only. For verbal I don't see any easy way in less than two minutes to check & work more on the question. Remember, you are always going to get an opportunity to increase your current level by offering you little difficult question than your existing score throught the test.

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by zuleron » Mon Aug 31, 2009 7:33 am
gmatplayer wrote:One benefit of getting as many as correct in first 10 is you do get high level (700+) questions in later part (lets say next 10). And another thing is even if you do get many of 11-20 wrong, your score would not lower as much because penalty of getting wrong in high level questions is lot less than lower level questions.
This is only patially true because even if you got the first 10 correct your score will fall extremely fast if you then get questions 11, 12, 13, & 14 wrong. I'd say if with the first 10 correct the computer is giving you a 48 in Q. And then you get the next 5 wrong, you probably drop to a 44. So to get back to 48 you'll need probably 6 in a row correct. Now you are at question 21. If you then get another 4 incorrect, your score drops again. And to get back to 48 you'll need another string of correct answers. But now you are quickly running out of questions and you're running out of time. You'll need even MORE questions if you are getting long strings of questions wrong e.g. 3 in a row, but only getting 2 in a row correct.

My basic point is this: getting the first 10 correct is great! But it is NOT as important as avoiding strings of incorrect answers. The GMAT is VERY harsh with srting of incorrect questions. And you are likely to get strings of incorrect answers if you spend too much time on the first 10 and then have to rush later on through what will be high level questions (seeing as you got the first 10 correct). And in my opinion, the worst time to get strings of questions wrong is towards the end of the test (after question 26) because you'll have no more questions to build up your score. Not to mention, you'll be running out of time which will iuncrease the pressure on you making you even more likely to get strings of questions wrong.

So the takeaway should be don't focus on the first 10 to the detriment of the rest of the test.

With regards to the level of difficulty of the questions: The GMAT is sort of counterintuitive because it doesn't punish getting difficult questions wrong but it punishes getting easy questions wrong. Think about it. In a regular test a difficult question will be awarded more points and getting it correct will earn you more points whereas getting it wrong will lose you more points. On the other hand easy questions are awarded fewer points and getting them correct/wrong witll earn/lose you fewer points. However, on the GMAT if you get a 51 Quant level question wrong, well then you are scoring 50 in Quant - hardly a punishment. But if you get a level 39 quant question wrong then it is a loooong way to get to getting a 50 in quant because you will NEVER se a level 50 Q question without first getting level 40, 41... 49 correct. So for this reason your focus should not be so much on getting super-hard questions correct as much as it should be on NOT getting easy questioons wrong.