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First 5-10 questions in each GRE section...


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Hi everybody,

Several times already I have come across information that the most important questions on GRE are the first 5-10. As far as I understand, within each section questions of different types are not mixed. So in the verbal section first you get sentences with words to plug in, then analogies, then reading comprehension, then antonyms. Spending more time on the first 5-10 questions basically means paying more attention to sentences with missing words and may be also analogies. That does not sound too bad since I myself find this part rather easy (definetely easier than reading comprehension!). And in the quant section first 5-10 questions are all comparisons (Column A, Column B ) . And I somehow like them much more than word problems or graphs or answer choices.

Of course I understand that both plugging-in words and comparing columns may contain pretty tough stuff as well. Anyway, I just like those two types and thinking that they will be the questions I will need to work on the most is definetely pleasing.

What do you think about that thing with the first several questions on GRE? Did you use the advice to make them your priority? Did it work out for you?

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From what I remember, questions were decently mixed, like there may be two or three similar questions and then you move on to another type. Someone can correct me if I'm wrong, I took the test back in October and promptly shoved it out of my memory haha.

Sources say that the first questions are the most important because they basically set the tone for the rest of the section. The first questions will be of medium difficulty, and based on how you do you'll then start to get easier or harder questions. You want to get to the harder questions because they have more weight, thus the emphasis on the first questions. I tried to stick to this rule, but I was also highly stressed and just wanted to get out of the room hahaha.

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From what I remember, questions were decently mixed, like there may be two or three similar questions and then you move on to another type. Someone can correct me if I'm wrong, I took the test back in October and promptly shoved it out of my memory haha.

Sources say that the first questions are the most important because they basically set the tone for the rest of the section. The first questions will be of medium difficulty, and based on how you do you'll then start to get easier or harder questions. You want to get to the harder questions because they have more weight, thus the emphasis on the first questions. I tried to stick to this rule, but I was also highly stressed and just wanted to get out of the room hahaha.

That's pretty much it.

Person A gets all, but the last 10 questions correct.

Person B gets all, but the first 10 questions correct.

Person A will receive a higher score.

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I, too, was informed that the first questions determine how high a score you can achieve by ascertaining what bar you're at: when you get questions wrong the test will give you easier and easier questions until you start getting them right, but the easier questions are, the less they're worth. So you want to correctly answer as many of the harder questions you get in the beginning as possible, so you're offered more valuable questions! I would try thinking of it as a slippery slope....

Good luck!

Edited by Jae B.
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From what I remember, questions were decently mixed, like there may be two or three similar questions and then you move on to another type.

That's exactly what I wanted to know! :)

I tried to stick to this rule, but I was also highly stressed and just wanted to get out of the room hahaha.

I guess I will be feeling the same laugh.gif

Thanks! :)

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I, too, was informed that the first questions determine how high a score you can achieve by ascertaining what bar you're at: when you get questions wrong the test will give you easier and easier questions until you start getting them right, but the easier questions are, the less they're worth. So you want to correctly answer as many of the harder questions you get in the beginning as possible, so you're offered more valuable questions! I would try thinking of it as a slippery slope....

Good luck!

Thank you! :)

...And in official GRE guide books they write: don't worry, all questions have the same weight. Liars! angry.gif

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Thank you! :)

...And in official GRE guide books they write: don't worry, all questions have the same weight. Liars! angry.gif

I've spent the last year (among other things) "playing around" with the official ETS POWERPREP program.

I've run the two tests supplied so many times, literally over 100 times for each test, that I have all the right answers memorized. I.e., I can get an 800 on both exams every time if I want to. (This applies to POWERPREP ONLY, not the REAL GRE!!!!!! .... ( My real scores in Feb 2010, using questions that I did not know before taking the test :) were 760 V 690 Q).

Point of this is: that preparatory work enabled me to come to some very interesting discoveries:

(1) If I DELIBERATELY answer the first three questions WRONG, the highest possible score, on both verbal and quantitative, is about 600 to 660.

(2) If I DELIBERATELY answer all questions correctly up to but not including the last two questions, for both verbal and quantitative, I can STILL get an 800. Yup, you read it right. You can get the last two questions WRONG, and still score an 800 on POWERPREP ... IF you answered every single preceding question correctly.

(3) If I DELIBERATELY answer the FIRST question wrong, and all other questions correctly, my score is 780.

The computer adaptive test DEFINITELY adapts and it's absolutely critical that you answer the first five to ten questions correctly if you want to score significantly over median, i.e., over 650 in quantitative and over 600 in verbal.

Good Luck,

John

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The computer adaptive test DEFINITELY adapts and it's absolutely critical that you answer the first five to ten questions correctly if you want to score significantly over median, i.e., over 650 in quantitative and over 600 in verbal.

Great! Now the Theory of The First Five Questions is officially proven to be correct!! smile.gif

Thank you so much for sharing the results of your experiments!!!!

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Oh, it is all becoming more and more clear to me... I see why people can get very different results on practice tests and on the official test. There are so many threads about GRE where people are complaining that they don't understand where this difference comes from. Well, if the weight of questions depends on whether they appear in the beginning or in the middle and in the end - a preson may be faced with questions that he/she knows better in the beginning while taking a practice test and may not be faced with those questions on the official GRE, and if this person doesn't know about this rule he/she may try to move quickly throught the beginning, thinking that it is important to give all questions equal amount of time, because they are equally important. But it is not true!!!!

Thanks god I know that now cool.gif

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Hi again,

I forgot one other piece of information you all may find interesting.

Some of the test guides say, "If you have no inkling, not the slightest clue as to what the correct answer is, then answer D ..." ... while some others say, under the same conditions, "answer C" ....

Well, I also ran POWERPREP and answered every question with C. Then I ran it again and answered every question with D.

My results were indistinguishable: on both Verbal and Quantitative exams, for "all answers C" and "all answers D", the results came out between 250 and 280.

I conclude there is no subliminal preference on the part of the test designers to make "C" or "D" the right answer; or, put another way, the correct answers are equally dispersed among all possible choices (i.e., "A" through "E").

John

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Hi again,

I forgot one other piece of information you all may find interesting.

Some of the test guides say, "If you have no inkling, not the slightest clue as to what the correct answer is, then answer D ..." ... while some others say, under the same conditions, "answer C" ....

Well, I also ran POWERPREP and answered every question with C. Then I ran it again and answered every question with D.

My results were indistinguishable: on both Verbal and Quantitative exams, for "all answers C" and "all answers D", the results came out between 250 and 280.

I conclude there is no subliminal preference on the part of the test designers to make "C" or "D" the right answer; or, put another way, the correct answers are equally dispersed among all possible choices (i.e., "A" through "E").

John

Thanks, John!

That is very interesting!

I also have read about letter preferences among GRE designers but I did not really believe it :) I am actually rather suspicios of magical ways to get great results on tests smile.gif And I was also inicially suspicios about that thing with the first questions but then I found the same information on the forum and in an on-line article... In the end I decided to write this post because I wanted to be sure. And now I definetely am! smile.gif

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The GRE scoring mechanism narrows your score down to a certain range following each question. The range gets more narrow the further you go in the test. So if you get question 1 right, you get a harder question for question 2, then a harder question for question 3. If you realize all of a sudden at some point in the test that you have a question that's much easier than the previous question, that likely means you missed the previous question.

As an example, let's say your first question asks what 2+2 is. You answer 4. The GRE has narrowed you to 500-800. The next question asks what 3+3 is. You answer 6. The GRE mechanism narrows your range to 550-800. Then you answer another question right, so the score narrows more, say 580-800. Then you answer a question wrong. Well, at this point, you've established 580 as your floor, so you won't fall below that. However, you've also knocked 800 out. So your score range has now narrowed to 580-760. And so it goes until you reach your final score. (I don't know the exact score formula, how much the questions are worth, etc., so the score increments I used are examples only.)

All that being said, and as others have said, spend plenty of time on the first few questions. Once you're locked into a score range, you can't get out of that range. So it's important to establish a high range on the front end of the test.

Best wishes.

Edited by reimaginethis
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All that being said, and as others have said, spend plenty of time on the first few questions. Once you're locked into a score range, you can't get out of that range. So it's important to establish a high range on the front end of the test.

Best wishes.

Thanks!!!!

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All that being said, and as others have said, spend plenty of time on the first few questions. Once you're locked into a score range, you can't get out of that range. So it's important to establish a high range on the front end of the test.

And the ultimate irony is this: Suppose you're shooting for an 800 on the verbal test. You have 30 questions and 30 minutes. If you spend too long on the first ten questions (say, two minutes each) .... then you only have 10 minutes left to answer the remaining 20 questions. That's 30 seconds per question. Only the very very brightest can answer all questions correctly under that scenario.

So, if you KNOW you're very good at [ Q or V ] and you want to score a TOP score, not just a good score, then you CAN'T spend a lot of time on the early questions, because then you'll never have enough time LEFT to solve the really very difficult questions you'll get at the end.

N.B.: None of the above negates the general advice for MOST test takers: Be very careful on the first five to ten questions, and use extra time if you need to.

But if you're in that rarefied atmosphere (you expect to score 780+ on Quant and 750+ on Verbal), then you can't waste time on the first ten. You must CONSERVE time for the last few questions, which will be the most difficult of all.

As the Wicked Witch in The Wizard of Oz said while melting, "Oh what a world, what a world!"

Edited by DrFaustus666
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(2) If I DELIBERATELY answer all questions correctly up to but not including the last two questions, for both verbal and quantitative, I can STILL get an 800. Yup, you read it right. You can get the last two questions WRONG, and still score an 800 on POWERPREP ... IF you answered every single preceding question correctly.

And have you tried answering all but the last 10 or 5 questions correctly? I wonder what the result would be then...

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And have you tried answering all but the last 10 or 5 questions correctly? I wonder what the result would be then...

GOOD QUESTION ! No, I haven't tried that, but I'll do that tonight when I have some time. Your question definitely piques my curiousity. :)

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GOOD QUESTION ! No, I haven't tried that, but I'll do that tonight when I have some time. Your question definitely piques my curiousity. :)

I tried Quantitative only, but here it is:

28 questions. Questions 1-23 correct; 24-28 incorrect: score 760

Questions 1-18 correct; 19-28 incorrect: score 670

Surprisingly HIGH.

The adaptive thing is even more adaptive than I suspected. Wow!

The moral is: REALLY concentrate on the first 10 questions or so, it makes a BIG difference.

John

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What happens if you "run out of time" at the end and leave the last 1, 2, or 3 undone? Have you tried that scenario?

Edited by emmm
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I tried Quantitative only, but here it is:

28 questions. Questions 1-23 correct; 24-28 incorrect: score 760

Questions 1-18 correct; 19-28 incorrect: score 670

Surprisingly HIGH.

The adaptive thing is even more adaptive than I suspected. Wow!

The moral is: REALLY concentrate on the first 10 questions or so, it makes a BIG difference.

John

Wow! It is a major breakthrough in the science of GRE-ology! smile.gif

Thank you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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What happens if you "run out of time" at the end and leave the last 1, 2, or 3 undone? Have you tried that scenario?

As far as I know it is better to answer all the questions, even if you do it randomly. Please somebody correct me if I am wrong rolleyes.gif

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As far as I know it is better to answer all the questions, even if you do it randomly. Please somebody correct me if I am wrong rolleyes.gif

I've read that as well, and it makes sense to give yourself a chance. I could see someone really running out of time, though, and not selecting anything for the last few. *college course placement exam flashback* laugh.gif

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As far as I know it is better to answer all the questions, even if you do it randomly. Please somebody correct me if I am wrong rolleyes.gif

StrangeFox. That's correct.

emmmm. No I haven't tried leaving questions blank because all of the GRE prep books and the GRE website itself say there is a "heavy penalty" for unanswered questions. I haven't found out how "heavy" the penalty is.

The logic makes sense. They DON'T want anyone to put major concentration into the first 10 questions or so, then just totally blow off the rest of the exam, expecting to get an 800 by only answering 10 questions.

John

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I know -- I heard the same. But life does not always cooperate. I asked because I had the wonderful experience of getting to the last question on my GRE Q section this past weekend and realizing I did not have enough time to finish it. First reaction WAS to freeze, before my brain came back to life and tried to get my hand to click ANYTHING. Not quick enough, however, so last question went unanswered -- final score on Q = 770. So, I guess the penalty wasn't horrible.

Edited by emmm
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