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Taking the GRE/ GMAT? Try this strategy

By Rituparna Roy Chowdhury
Last updated on: June 24, 2005 16:26 IST
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It's not just the effort you invest into preparing for the GRE/ GMAT that counts.

Your strategy while answering the test on D-day is just as important.

One simple tactic you could use is make sure you answer the first few questions correctly.

image Why? Beacuse your score will depend a lot on how you answer the first few questions -- the GRE and GMAT are computer adaptive tests.

What is a computer adaptive test?

It is a test where the computer adapts to the examinee's level of competence and generates questions comparable to his/ her merit.

How does it work?

At first, you are asked a question of average difficulty level in both the Verbal and Quantitative Ability sections.

Now, depending upon whether you answer it right or wrong, the computer would determine the difficulty level of the next question you will be asked.

If you answer it right, the next question you are asked will be more difficult.

If you answer it wrong, your next question will be less difficult.

What about the marking system?

All questions don't carry equal marks. The marks allotted to each question depend upon how tough the question is.

So, if you answer the first few questions right, the computer would understand you as a student of a higher calibre, and would keep asking you questions of a higher difficulty level.

Hence you get the opportunity to be measured on a higher scale, where you would be marked higher.

Similarly, if you had answered the first few questions wrong, the difficulty level of your questions would go down and you will consequently be measured on a lower scale.

Why Sanjay scored more that Sujata

Now let us consider two students Sanjay and Sujata who took the test. Sanjay answered the first three questions correctly and went on to make mistakes in the next four.

Sujata answered the first two questions wrong and got the next four right.

In spite of getting more answers right, Sujata's score was lower than Sanjay's.

This is because she correctly answered questions of a lesser difficulty; these carry lower marks.

What should your modus operandi be?

It is absolutely imperative for you to devote slightly more time in answering the first few questions and try to get them right.

The process stabilises after the first seven to eight questions in each section.

You can do this at the expense of leaving out a few questions at the end owing to time constraint, although you should try to answer all the questions within the time limit cfff.

Part I: Tips to improve concentration on D-day


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Rituparna Roy Chowdhury specialises in helping students frame essays/ SOP and edits thesis for PhD students, conveying their themes with better communication skills. He is currently working on a short-term project for Kaplan, a Washington Post Company, and a leading Test Preparation Company in the US, to edit content for their simulated Tests on SAT, TOEFL, GRE and GMAT. He has worked with The Princeton Review, a leading MNC in the GRE/ GMAT/ SAT training segment. He can be contacted at

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Rituparna Roy Chowdhury