GMAT CAT Versus Paper Based Test

We should have not said more about GMAT Computer Adaptive Test. After all, the exam has transformed to CAT format since 1998. However, most test prep companies still use previous paper-based questions as the teaching materials. This often misleads test takers to prepare for it like SAT in high school. Although most questions remain the same, test-taking strategies and scoring policy are basically different. This passage is to address the major differences between these two formats, thus helping you develop a great strategy for highest possible score.

You can no longer make NOTE!

The greatest disadvantage for CAT is that you can no longer make notes when you find words or phrases in a long reading passage that are important to answer the following questions. It is obvious that you can’t draw on the computer screen. Though you are given five to seven pieces of scratch paper, they are seldom useful, except on Math Section. You should train yourself to memorize key words.

You can only answer one by one!

In a paper test, you are smart to answer the easy questions first, and then the more difficult ones. In the CAT test, however, you are unable to choose which question to answer first. If you do not respond to an assigned question, the next one will never come out. No matter how difficult it may be, you should pick up one among the five.

All answers are final!

There are two buttons you should click after you finish a question, one is “Next” and the other is “Confirm”. You should click the “confirm” button before the next question comes out. Once you confirm, you can not go back to double check your earlier answer. Therefore, in preparing for GMAT, you should get used to the way of “all answers are final”. In your mind, there should be only one button to click, not two. There are approximately two minutes for each question. It is the same for a whole section. If you finish a section before time is up, you cannot go back to the previous section. In other words, if you hurry and finish your math section with 10 minutes left, you can’t take the time to the verbal section.

Not all questions count the same!

In the paper test, every question counts the same score. In a CAT, it is not. Rather, difficult question counts more. Before put into the database, each question created by the test writers is assigned a difficult level score, ranging from 1 to 5. The higher the difficult level, the higher score you will achieve if you answer correctly. The first question is in the middle level. If you answer right, the next question presented will be more difficult and vice versus until you finish the test. In other words, if the questions become more and more difficult, you can expect to get a high score.

The first ten counts most!

The CAT puts much more value on the first ten questions than the later ones. Your “base” score is determined by your performance on the first few questions. Your score is then tuned by the  later questions. To get highest possible score, you should spend more time on the earlier questions than the later questions.