Welcome to part 3 of the article series on analyzing your GRE practice tests. As we discussed in the first and second parts of this series, we’re basing the discussion on the metrics that are given in Manhattan Prep tests, but you can extrapolate to other tests that give you similar performance data. If you haven’t already read those, do so before you continue with this third part.
In the first part, we discussed how to assess the data provided in the “question list”—the list that shows the questions you received and how you performed on each one. In the second part, we began analyzing the data in our Assessment Reports. We’re going to continue with that task today.
Last time, we covered the first of five Assessment Reports that you can generate in the testing system. Today, we’ll cover the final four reports.
Quantitative by Question Format and Difficulty
The second report shows your quant performance by Question Format and Difficulty. You will already have some ideas about your performance from your initial analysis; now, you’re seeing whether this data confirms what you already suspect and whether you can pick up any additional nuance from this more detailed report.
In general, performance drops as questions get harder, so you would expect to have the highest accuracy on the Easier problems, dropping to your lowest accuracy on the Devilish problems. Check to see whether this trend holds or whether the data is surprising.
Our pretend student generally followed this expected trend for Quant and QC questions: as the questions got harder, her average performance dropped. (We should really give her a name. Let’s call her… how about Cathy?) On the other hand, Cathy missed a couple of easier DI questions even though she answered harder DI questions correctly. Hmm! Maybe she made some careless mistakes on something she did know how to do, or maybe the questions tested something that she didn’t know but that she could learn without too much trouble. She’ll need to dig into the individual questions to find out, but it certainly looks like there’s a good opportunity here for her to pick up some points.
Do you see the one data point that really jumps out here? Cathy spent 8.5 minutes on a single DI question! Except for that, her DI timing was right on target. She needs to make sure she’s got a mechanism in place to cut herself off so that she NEVER takes anywhere near that much time on a single question again!
Other than that, this data tells us that what we already hypothesized earlier is likely on target.
(Note: there is also a “medium-low” difficulty category, but Cathy happened not to get any math questions in that group.)
Verbal by Question Format and Difficulty
Now do the same thing for verbal! (Note: some people prefer to do all of the quant analysis and then do all of the verbal analysis; feel free to do the analysis in whatever order makes the most sense to you.) Continue Reading…