Saturday, 18 July 2015

Online GRE Mock Tests - Reality Check

There are many free and paid GRE (Graduate Record Examinations) practice tests available both online and offline. But students find it difficult to choose as they don't know whether the test will be able to give them correct idea about their status of preparation. Now why are the tests not close to the actual GRE??? After all, there are questions and answers only :)

Most tests don't have the correct scoring algorithm. GRE test algorithm is not a simple one and it requires some research to figure that out. Most tests don't provide score in current GRE scoring format and even if they do, they may be in-correct if they don't follow the correct scoring algorithm.

As GRE is a sectionally adaptive test i.e. performance in first Verbal and first Quant section determines the difficulty level of second Verbal and second Quant section respectively. This brings up a very fundamental question. How can someone decide, whether a question is of easy, medium or hard difficulty level? We don't think one person can, as it is quite subjective e.g. a person good at probability may think of a probability question as an easy question but for someone else it might be the toughest one. Without the correct classification of questions, one can't create a correct adaptive test.

Most tests don't even have the correct mix of various topics and question categories in them. This may lead to a lot of surprises for the test taker in actual GRE.

As they say, "Untrained warriors are soon killed in the battlefield." The simulated environment in which you practice should be as close as possible to the real battlefield. This requires the test makers to understand how ETS is able to solve the above problems.

There is a lot of technology involved in coming up with the GRE tests. Its accuracy is of utmost importance as it is considered by the universities as one of the most important measure of the abilities of their applicants.

Most coaching centers have good faculty and they are good at teaching the subjects. They also provide set of questions, answers and their explanations to the students. However, because all the above real tough problems can only be solved by technology and data science (as ETS does) and which is not the core competency of the faculty of coaching institutes, they end up creating wrong practice fields for the students.

We at Wiseswan are bringing together the solution to all the above problems using data science technologies. Key points to mention: -
  • Wiseswan knows all about GRE adaptivity and scoring algorithms.
  • Wiseswan can generate a full length correctly adaptive test out of any 80 question provided by anyone and host on our platform.
  • It can calibrate the scores correctly and let the test taker know where he or she stands in terms of his or her preparation of GRE. We give detailed analysis and explanation on the questions too, so to identify one's weaker areas.

Currently there are 2 Free Quarter Mock Tests and multiple practice tests available for Verbal and Quant. There are many more to come very soon including free full length adaptive mock test.

Stay tuned for more ...

Wednesday, 8 July 2015

GRE Scoring Algorithm Demystified

The GRE scoring algorithm is a bit complex in nature. Below are some facts about the test pattern and scoring algorithm.

  • The test is adaptive in nature.
  • The questions asked in GRE are divided into three(Easy,Medium and Hard) categories.
  • The first verbal/quant section contains questions of medium difficulty level as ETS assumes all student to be equally skilled.
  • Within a particular section all questions will be of same difficulty level and there is no adaptivity.
  • The number of questions answered in the first quant/verbal section decides the difficulty level of the second quant/verbal section.
  • Again all question in the second section of each of quant and verbal topics will be of same difficulty level and there is no adaptivity.

The GRE score is a function of number of correct answers in all four sections i.e. Verbal - 1, Quant - 1, Verbal -2, Quant - 2. There is no negative marking and leaving a question doesn't impact the score at all. So go for all questions. Below are some facts about the GRE scoring.

  • The score in both verbal and quant lies between 130 and 170. Hence, the minimum and maximum score by a test taker lies between 260 and 340.
  • Each section contains 20 question. So in total there are 40 questions for both verbal and quant topics. The scoring range is between 130 and 170 which means there are 40 marks distributed over 40 questions.
  • But the scoring is not linear. e.g. Compare two scenarios -
  • Scenario - 1 - If you have marked 7 correct answers in first verbal section and 19 correct answers in second verbal section, your total correct answer in verbal is 26.
  • Scenario - 2 - If you have marked 11 correct answers in first verbal section and 15 correct answers in second verbal section, you total correct answer in verbal is again 26.
  • The above two scenario won't result into same score. Score for Scenario - 1 and Scenario -2 respectively will be 155 and 156, which means if just the GRE raw score is to be the criteria you may swap your position from UTD to UTA. :)

Wiseswan has the algorithm for both adaptivity and scoring incorporated in its Free Mock Test and gives real time experience to the test taker. Whether you've just started or about to finish your GRE preparation, take a mock test and evaluate your preparation level.

Best of Luck!!!