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# Gmat secrets

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GMAT Secrets

GMAT Secrets

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• 1. MBA Center GMAT SecretsBy Hubert Silly, PhD
• 2. READY? Welcome to “GMAT secrets”!
• 3. What is this thing called the GMAT?The GMAT is a required test for entrance into MBA programs.It’s a multiple-choice test, which means that there is always one (and only one) correct answerfor each question. Is it a The GMAT tests your verbal and quantitative skills, not your management knowledge of management. test? A certain level of math and verbal skills is essential, but to ace the Is it a test of GMAT exam you’ll also need to know how to take the GMAT. knowledge? More than anything else, your GMAT score simply reflects Is it an IQ test? your ability to take the GMAT. This is a test of your ability to take a test.
• 4. What is the breakdown? Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA)Tutorial Two essays •Analysis of an issue •Analysis of an argument Quantitative (Mathematics) Section5’ BREAK 37 questions •Problem Solving •Data Sufficiency Verbal Section5’ BREAK 41 questions •Sentence Correction •Critical Reasoning •Reading Comprehension Three main subject areas •business •social sciences •science
• 5. What is the GMAT for?We contacted many of the top business schools. Our inquiries makeone thing perfectly clear: there is no universal or uniform use of GMATscores.For example:• Duke considers only the Verbal section of the test as a relevantselection tool, which is used primarily to evaluate your English abilities.• London Business School has found a high correlation between GMAT mathscores and eventual success in their MBA program and thereforeconcentrates on the quantitative score to select, or “weed out,” applicants.• Wharton considers the overall GMAT score to be a good indicator of futuresuccess in their MBA curriculum, especially for applicants with little or noscientific background.
• 6. GMAT policyYou might also consider the policy of certain schools toward applicants who have taken the GMATseveral times.• INSEAD, for instance, does not discriminate against the applicant and simply accepts the highestscore.• Stanford, however, averages the scores submitted. University policies change, so contact your target schools and do the research for yourself. Generally, the best tactic is to achieve the highest score possible the first time you take the test.
• 7. The CAT and YouExcept for the Analytical Writing Assessment and the ReadingComprehension questions, all the questions on the computer test areadaptive.It’s imperative that you understand the adaptive principle if you hopeto get a good score.And I’ll tell you a secret: You can skip questions in each sectionand still be guaranteed a score of 750.You can skip the last ten questions, that is, if you get the first tencorrect, because it’s that first third that establishes your level ofdifficulty.
• 8. If you can answer the first ten questions correctly and are able to maintain that score during the second third, you can quit without answering the last ten questions of each section. Take a look at Wanda’s score chart…Get the first third correct! Maintain that score! 800 This sample 700 graph is not 600 indicative of the actual ETS 500 algorithm, but it 400 should give you an idea as to the 300 way your score will be 200 determined. She didn’t have time to finish the exam, yet even without answering the last several questions, her score dropped only slightly. Those final questions were worth so much less.
• 9. The increments on the sample graph get smaller after each question is answered. After 7 or 8questions, the tracking system will have formed its general impression of your test abilities and asit continues to adapt the test to you, the following questions will vary by still fewer and fewerpoints.Note that you will not see Reading Comprehension questions within the first seven questions ofthe verbal sectionGet the first third Maintain thatcorrect! 800 score! 700 600 500 400 300 200Because several questions are related to a single passage, a poor understanding of one Reading Comprehensionpassage early on would kill your adaptive Verbal score.Reading Comprehension passages will not occur until after the computer has determined your skill level within theVerbal section.
• 10. Keep these two things about the CAT principle in mind: 1. Higher scores come from the value, not the number, of questions you answer correctly. 2. The test is designed to quickly determine your test level, within the first few questions of both the Math and the Verbal sections, and fine tune it as you go along.While you should aim at finishing all questions on the GMAT exam, it’s thefirst seven to twelve in a section that you should spend the most time andenergy on trying to solve. Adjust your strategy to the strategy of the test.A safe time to guess is on the last question. It will hardly affect your score atall.Try our Adaptive Quiz of World Capitals (coming soon) and find outfirsthand what an adaptive test is like.
• 11. Frequently Asked Questions Think you understand how the CAT works? If not, you’ll need to go back through what we’ve talked about so far. Or try some of the links below. These are some of the most frequently asked questions about the GMAT CAT.• Should I answer questions wrong on purpose so the test gets easier?• How much does the level of difficulty change from question to question?• Does my performance on one section affect the level of difficulty of the questions in the other sections?• Is the computer program that precise?• Can I skip a question?
• 12. Frequently Asked QuestionsShould I answer questions wrong on purpose so the test getseasier?Absolutely not! If you answer a question wrong, the computer will give youan easier question but your score will go down as a result.If you want a good score (and you know you do!) you must answer as manyquestions as possible correctly . The harder the question, the higher thepoint value.This is crucial information! Since the CAT scoring algorithm determinesyour test level very rapidly answering correctly without hesitation from thefirst question on is extremely important so that you start off with a highscore. It’s much easier to maintain a high score than it is to raise a lowscore.
• 13. Frequently Asked QuestionsHow much does the level of difficulty change fromquestion to question?In the beginning, quite a lot - toward the end, not so much. This isan important quirk in the system. The objective of the CAT is toquickly determine (right from the beginning) your approximate testlevel and then fine-tune it while you continue the test.To illustrate: a right answer on the first question results in anincrease of 50 points, a right answer on the second, an increase of40 points—on the second-to-last question a right answer nets youan increase of only 10 points.So, if you answer the first few questions correctly, you’ll swiftlyreceive more difficult (higher score value) questions and cantherefore raise your score.
• 14. Frequently Asked Questions Does my performance on one section affect the level of difficulty of the questions in the other sections? No. Each section is scored separately and begins with a question at the 500-level score value. If, for example, the Quantitative Section is the first section of the test, and if you get all the questions wrong, you’ll still begin with a question valued at 500 on the Verbal Section.
• 15. Frequently Asked Questions Is the computer program that precise? At The MBA Center, we don’t think so: it’s about as precise as the pencil-and-paper test. Standardized tests, even on computer, cannot be 100 percent accurate in their estimation of the level of difficulty of a given question. Some students consider difficult questions to be easy, other students consider easy questions to be difficult—it varies from test to test, student to student. However, the Adaptive Scoring System comes closer to identifying a personalized test level than did the pencil-and-paper test.
• 16. Frequently Asked Questions Can I skip a question? No. Unlike the old test, on the CAT you cannot skip a question and come back to it. Neither can you change your responses. In order to advance to the next question you must enter your answer and then confirm it. The explanation is simple: the computer selects a question for you which depends on an algorithm that takes into consideration all of your answers thus far—if you could go back and change an answer, the continuity of the algorithm would be broken.
• 17. Draw a Grid Ten years ago, you would have been able to cross out wrong answer choices in your booklet. This process of elimination was always a great strategy in the past. By ruling out answer choices that were definitely wrong, students could focus on the ones that were possibly right.Unfortunately, since you can’t write on the computer screen, you can’tcross out the wrong answer choices. A new system is necessary tokeep track of wrong answer choices.Our Process of Error Identification is your best tool when youapproach difficult questions, and drawing a grid will help you keep trackof it all.
• 18. When you sit down to take the test, use the time during themandatory CAT-tutorial (which you will know well before the exam)and during the optional 5-minute break between the Quantitativeand Verbal sections to draw yourself a grid, such as this: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 A X X X B X X O C O X X D X X X E X O X There are two specific advantages to the grid: 1. You can eliminate wrong answers and focus on remaining possible answer choices. 2. You can cross out an answer choice, and have a record of it, as soon as you see that it’s incorrect.
• 19. Strategies at work The power of good guesswork is one reason why multiple-choice tests are rarely given in school. Simply put, the correct answer is there right in front of you. That’s why ETS makes every effort to try to steer you toward misleading, incorrect answer choices.The Wrong Answer Factory realizes that most people who take thetest make the same mistakes: 1 errors in calculation 2 jumping to conclusions 3 overcomplicating simple problemsIf you know how wrong answers are made and what they’re made of,you’ll avoid being the victim of tricks and traps waiting for you.
• 20. The Wrong Answer FactoryGiven a little time, a little coursework and a little practice, you’ll beeliminating wrong answers with deadly accuracy.Take a look at this example: From September 1 to October 1, the price per share of a certain stock increased 10 percent. From October 1 to November 1, the price increased 20 percent. What was the combined percent increase from September 1 to November 1 ? (A) (B) (C) (D) (E) 32It’d be easy if they presented word problems this way, wouldn’t it?
• 21. Now look at this same question as you’d see it on the GMAT.Click on the oval that corresponds with the correct answer. From September 1 to October 1, the price per share of a certain stock increased 10 percent. From October 1 to November 1, the price increased 20 percent. What was the combined percent increase from September 1 to November 1 ? (A) 10 (B) 18 (C) 20 (D) 30 (E) 32
• 22. Not so easy any more.This is a tricky question. The temptation is simply to add 10 and 20 toget 30. But answering a Problem Solving question is never that easy.Answer choice (D) is there for test takers who don’t fully understand theproblem. Rule it out! ETS will never offer you a difficult question withsuch a simple solution. What about answer choices (A) and (C)? Some test takers pick numbers they see in the problem itself when they have no idea what to do. Rule them out! Those are there to fool test takers who are utterly lost. So what do we have left? Just (B) and (E). Much better odds, don’t you think? Now, let’s look at this problem a little closer.
• 23. Well done! Don’t forget that ETS has had years of experiencewriting Problem Solving questions. They know all about test takers’ most common mistakes. You should too! Don’t get fooled by: • Making simple arithmetic mistakes (adding instead of subtracting, for example) • Omitting a step of a multiple-step problem • Confusing units of measure or time (forgetting to convert from hours to minutes, for example)Click on the forward Advance icon and take a look at our method forapproaching Problem Solving questions.
• 24. Now suppose the September 1 price was \$100. Then the October 1 price, after a 10 percent increase, would be \$110. Increase that price by 20 percent and you get a November 1 price of \$110 + (20% of \$110) = \$110 + \$22 = \$132. That is 32 percent greater than the September 1 price. From September 1 to October 1, the price per share of a certain stock increased 10 percent. From October 1 to November 1, the price increased 20 percent. What was the combined The correct percent increase from September 1 to November 1answer is 32, ? (E). (A) 10 (B) 18 (C) 20 (D) 30 (E) 32 This is an example of one of the ways ETS will try to fool you using the Wrong Answer Factory techniques. In the following lessons, we’ll apply Wrong Answer Factory and Process of Error Identification strategies to all question types. Welcome to the GMAT
• 25. The Process of Error IdentificationRuling out incorrect answer choices is essential to all GMAT questiontypes. We call this the Process of Error Identification, and it’s the best way to avoid formulaic Wrong Answer Factory tricks. Use the Process of Error Identification to help you solve this next word problem… Click on the oval that corresponds with the correct answer choice. If Lorenzo walks to work at 3 miles per hour and returns along the same route at 2 miles per hour, what is his average speed for the round trip? (A) 2 miles per hour (B) 2.2 miles per hour (C) 2.4 miles per hour (D) 2.5 miles per hour (E) 3 miles per hour
• 26. If Lorenzo walks to work at 3 miles per hour and returns along the same route at 2 miles per hour, what is his average speed for the round trip? What’s the distance between home and work? It really doesn’t matter. His rates there and back remain the same. So choose a distance that works well with the numbers you already have. Try six… 1 hr 1 hr HOME WORK Average speed:12 miles in 5 hours, or 2.4 mph. 1 2 3 4 5 6 1 hr 1 hr 1 hr Now add the hours. Two hours to get to work, and three hours to get back home. Five hours for the round trip of twelve miles
• 27. Sorry, the correct answer is (C). Remember, ETS has had years of experience writing Problem Solving questions. They know all about test takers most common mistakes. You should too! Don’t get fooled by: • Making simple arithmetic mistakes (adding instead of subtracting, for example) • Omitting a step of a multiple-step problem • Confusing units of measure or timeClick on the (forgetting to convert from hours to minutes,Explanation for example) icon to see how it’s done. Click on the forward Advance icon and take a look at our method for approaching Problem Solving questions.