The Adaptive Nature of GMAT

The GMAT is not just a computerized version of a pen and paper exam. Part of the unique challenge of taking the GMAT comes from the fact that the exam is adaptive in nature. It adapts to every individual test taker’s abilities.

When you start the GMAT, the computer typically offers a mid-level difficulty question. If you solve the question, the questions will get harder progressively. If you get it wrong, you will receive an easier question. The questions are determined by an algorithm. The algorithm not only takes into account the number of questions answered correctly, but also the difficulty of the problems faced.

As you go deeper into the exam, the algorithm learns more about you and tries to serve up questions which offer true insights into your ability as a test taker. Remember that as a test taker, you will face a few difficult questions. Getting them wrong does not indicate a bad performance. It is best to solve the questions and let the algorithm take its course.

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Sometimes, you will be faced with an easy question in the middle of the exam. That does not necessarily mean that your scores are going southwards. The easy question may be the algorithm’s way of gauging your preparation for a particular area. It may even be from one of the experimental questions in GMAT.

A key area of GMAT is time management. The GMAT algorithm severely penalizes incomplete sections. Sometimes, it is better to guess than leaving the section incomplete. Take intelligent guesses by eliminating options.

The important thing is not to worry much about the adaptive nature of the exam. Give the exam to the best of your ability. Rest assured, the algorithm will do justice to your capabilities. 

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