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## R&D on GMAT prep

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by gmatmachoman » Sun Dec 05, 2010 2:14 am
@gmat1011;

Can u tell me what questions are that 2 wrong belong to?

I just now noticed Anand's snapshot he made 3 mistake like : @ 17 : RC ; 30 : CR ; 41 : SC and scored 45.

So once u tell the wrong ones, I can understand better.....

Actually this part of analysis is getting trickier.

Is that just one point difference can make a substantial difference in scaled scores??

@Rishab :
U said u got 9 incorrect and got 40...

In one of my case studies, i got 14 incorrect and got 28..That's a whopping 12 point difference in scaled score.

So understanding the pattern/algorithm is not EASY task....

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by gmat1011 » Sun Dec 05, 2010 6:13 am
both the incorrect ones - Q. 9 and Q. 39 were CR questions...

one thing I'd really like to know is how the experimental questions come into the equation on the real GMAT. 25% of the questions overall across the 2 sections are "experimental" and not graded... what if I get all the exp. ones right and get the ones which count wrong... wonder what will happen then...

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by kola_member » Sun Dec 05, 2010 7:10 am
I am sure your did not get two SCs wrong. If you did, you will not end up with 48,
I guess the guy above had some SCs wrong there.

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by kola_member » Sun Dec 05, 2010 7:14 am
kola_member wrote:I am sure your did not get two SCs wrong. If you did, you will not end up with 48,
I guess the guy above had some SCs wrong there.
There you go ! Getting Scs wrong pushes your score down more than getting RC or CR wrongs, generally speaking.

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by sashish007 » Mon Dec 13, 2010 12:18 pm
rishab1988 wrote:Hi guys

Now I don't remember exactly the data of 8 GMATPrep CATs that I taken,but I do remember that I never got more than 2-3 SC incorrect 1-2 CR incorrect.

For my split used to :

2 SC 1 CR 3 RC -44
1 SC 1 CR 2 RC -46
2 SC 1 CR 4 RC - 41

3 SC 3 CR 6 RC -39 [shocking isn't it].
3 SC 3 CR 7 RC -38 !

After reading some people's posts that they got bombed after crossing 10 incorrect question mark,I asked those guys how many were RC and invariably most answered that the no of incorrect questions were RC.

My logic goes this way:

Since SC is the most learn-able part in verbal ,it is highly likely that the SC question that you got wrong might have been answered correctly by others.

Next comes CR.You can build accuracy in CR after a lot of practice.So getting a CR question wrong penalizes less than a SC.

Next comes RC.I believe that this is the least learn-able part in the verbal.A persons' RC ability 90% of the times stays the same no matter how many questions he practices.That's why getting a RC incorrect penalizes you the least.Remember 50% of the test takers[not givers as most international students say.lol] are non-native people! Most of those people can improve their SC ability by using prep guides such as MGMAT SC strategy guide etc.,but most of the people find it difficult to improve their RC skills.You can't improve them overnight!

Btw did I mention that I got a 40 on verbal with even 9 questions incorrect!

the above analysis is very close to the actual answer. for instance, many people tend to score better on quant than they do on verbal. if you had, say, 9-12 incorrect in quant, your score hovers in 45-49 region. this is because you attempted harder questions and then got them wrong. but on the verbal, you need to have very few incorrect (single digit) to get into the 35+ zone.

generally speaking, whether it is quant or verbal, if you make mistakes early on or on really stupid stuff (sc or ps), you get penalized a lot more than you would if you answered a harder question (rc or ds) wrong - quite logical!

my 2 cents.

-Ashish
Ashish
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by msingh » Mon Jan 17, 2011 6:39 am
I did not read each and ever post on this thread but i can share my experience, specially in Verbal.

My experence in one line - If you get 3-4 consecutive wrong answers, you are doomed. Here is break-up of my max score in Verbal. In this test i did not get more than 2 consecutive wrong answers.

Score in verbal = 34

Break up -

#Questions answered = 38 out of 41

Here is breakup of my correct answers by taking sample set of 10 questions.

SC Total SC CR Total CR RC Total RC Qs# Range
4 5 2 2 3 3 1-10
3 4 3 3 3 3 11-20
1 3 1 3 2 4 21-30
4 4 1 1 2 3 31-41

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by powerpuff » Mon Jan 17, 2011 6:57 am
Amazing insights here on this thread. Thank you guys for the great stuff!

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by bblast » Thu Feb 03, 2011 4:55 am
Gmat prep-1 verbal 40 - 9 incorrect,

u just gotta nail the 1st rc folks,and try to make the least mistakes in RC.
rest assured a 35+ if u keep making mistakes randomly and not back to back,

more than 10 mistakes in verbal(v<35) hasta la vista babay !!

Cheers !!

Quant 47-Striving for 50
Verbal 34-Striving for 40

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by gmatmachoman » Sat Feb 05, 2011 11:20 pm
Going by the responses from my fellow co aspirants who wanted to beat/molest/crash/ridicule the monster called GMAT,
I certainly feel this thread has done Justice and has shared quite insightful experiences.

The following inferences are purely based on the GMAT prep & fellow aspirants experiences & their shared data.

Inferences on Verbal:

To get more than 40 (scaled score)

1. Dont make more than 8 mistakes.
2.Avoid consecutive mistakes
3. Mistakes at the beginning is penalised heavily than the mistakes at the end of the section.
4. As the rule says, all sections SC,CR,RC are important. But when it comes to scoring,as per our data collected RC weighs more.

To get more than 44+
1. Make no more than 4 mistakes.

One aspirant was asking me about the influence of experimental section on the scores, the answer is we need to "assume" some variables in the study. Since this study is purely a empirical one, it is given to some assumptions.

Bottom line:
www.mba.com /GMAC has said in its website that they follow the same algorithm for the real test, so on that note we started this thread and deduced the results.

Specials thanks to all the participants & Rajat & e-gmat team for their seed of this thought process!!

Thanks for the cooperation. With out your contributions,this much data could have not been generated. Thx

Rgds
Govi.

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by chendawg » Tue Mar 22, 2011 7:29 am
I'm not sure if this post actually helps or hurts me from a psychological point of view on test day. I'm gonna pretend I didn't read this post lol

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by sashish007 » Thu Mar 24, 2011 12:36 pm
i thought of sharing this verbal ONLY report: V31
what's special about this is that despite the fact that i was able to get 13 questions right in a row later (24-36), i still scored low.
i acknowledge the fact that there are few mistakes initially, and 4 places with consecutive wrong answers.
Attachments
v31
Ashish
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by ldoolitt » Thu Mar 24, 2011 3:21 pm
This is a neat thread. Am following.

Random question:

Has anyone thought of the more direct approach of just decompiling the gmatprep software and reading the algorithm from code? I mean as a software engineer thats where my first thought goes. Its purely a client application and I'm guessing its not encrypted so with enough time and willpower...

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by beatitin11 » Sun Apr 10, 2011 7:13 am
One of my observations in Section 3.4 Interpretive Guide of the Diagnostic Test of OG12:

9 out of 17 correct answers (8 mistakes) in CR is considered above avg and 11 out of 18 correct answers (7 mistakes) in SC is above average, but only 14 out 17 correct answers (3 mistakes) in RC is above average. This too indicates to me that RC questions have higher weightage over SC and CR questions in verbal.

Does this make sense to you guys?

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by Ian Stewart » Mon May 16, 2011 3:22 pm
I just saw this thread for the first time. I hate to be negative about the studies performed above, but there's no chance you'll be able to reverse-engineer the GMAT scoring algorithm from response patterns in GMATPrep. A few things about the scoring algorithm:

* despite what you might read in books, the algorithm is not a secret. It's based on a field of test theory called Item Response Theory that you can learn about on wikipedia;

* that said, the mathematics behind the algorithm is horrendously complicated. Unless you have an undergraduate degree in probability theory or statistics, you shouldn't even look at it;

* there are two components to the algorithm that work hand-in-hand: the scoring algorithm, and the question selection algorithm. All of the research above is inherently ignoring the importance of the question selection algorithm, and without understanding question selection, you can't understand how GMAT scoring works.

Oversimplifying the math, the algorithm basically does this: at the end of your test, the algorithm looks back over all the questions you answered and tries to determine what difficulty level of question you can handle comfortably, and what level is too hard for you. So if the test looks back over your answers and sees that you get most of your sub-600 level questions right, but that you don't get very many questions right that are above the 600-level, the algorithm will conclude that you're most likely a 600-level test taker. When the algorithm does this, it has no idea when you saw each question. If you get a 500-level question wrong early in your test, that hurts you just as much as getting a 500-level question wrong at the end of your test. The algorithm is completely blind to question 'position'.

One consequence of this is that it hurts you considerably more to get a 250-level question wrong than to get an 800-level question wrong. If you answer an 800-level question wrong, that is only evidence that you might not be an 800-level test taker, but you still might be a 750-level test taker. On the other hand, getting that 250-level question wrong is evidence that you can't handle even the lowest level questions, and you'll need to do some work to persuade the algorithm that your wrong answer there was an anomaly. It's for this reason that your number of correct answers is only weakly correlated with your score. If you were to take a test consisting of only 200-level questions, you'd need to get almost all of them right to get a respectable score. If instead your test consisted only of 800-level questions, you could get a ton of them wrong and still get a good score. For example, the Diagnostic Test at the beginning of OG12, mentioned in the post above, is full of hard questions, so you can get a lot of them wrong and still get a good score according to their score table.

So in one sense, early questions are more important than later ones, since answering them correctly gives you the opportunity to see harder questions later on. But if you're a genuine 600-level test taker, then even if you answer your first 10 questions correctly (something, I should add, that a 600-level test taker will almost never be able to do) and start seeing a lot of 700-level questions, eventually you'll start getting most of your questions wrong (if you didn't, you wouldn't be a 600-level test taker, you'd be a 700-level test taker). You won't be able to 'outsmart' the algorithm by some exceptional response pattern early in the test.

There are several further complicating factors:

* further complicating things is the presence of experimental questions. Some of your questions simply don't count, and you won't have any way to know which those questions are (where they occur on your test is determined completely at random). If GMATPrep models the presence of experimental questions correctly, then it will be the case that some wrong answers have no influence at all on your score.

* the observation above that wrong answers in RC hurt more than in SC or CR is likely due to the fact that RC is the least 'adaptive' question type. RC passages are always accompanied by a group of questions, and while on average these questions might be hard or easy, each question individually will have its own difficulty level - even in a batch of RC questions which is hard overall, one or two of the questions might be easy. So if you answer several RC questions incorrectly, you're more likely to be answering easy questions incorrectly, which hurts you more than answering difficult questions incorrectly.
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by [email protected] » Mon May 16, 2011 5:34 pm
That is a well-researched very thorough posting that indicates that time would be better spent learning the concepts and practicing the questions rather than trying to reverse engineer the system.

Great stuff!!
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