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Computer-Adaptive Test (CAT) for GMAT

General Information

A computer-based GMAT test is tailored to your performance level and provides precise information about your abilities. At the start of the test, you are presented with a test question of average difficulty. If you answer this right, the next question will be more difficult. But if you answer this wrong, you get an easier question and so on. It is very important to understand that the questions right at the beginning affect your score more than those towards the end. These are the questions that are used to measure your general ability and you are accordingly presented with a question set. Once you have progressed into a test, it is very tough to raise your level and get a better score. So take your time and answer the first few questions to the best of your ability.

Answer very carefully
In the computer-adaptive test (CAT), the computer scores each question before going on to the next question. So you have to answer the questions in the order they are shown on the screen. For this reason, you cannot go back to a particular question once you have answered it.

Computer Skills Required
You will need only minimal computer skills to take the Computer-Adaptive Test (CAT) of GMAT. You don't need to be computer literate to take the CAT. At the test center, you will have plenty of time to walk through a tutorial that will allow you to practise activities like answering the questions and using the mouse.

Practice before you start
All the skills you require are covered in a hands-on demo tutorial that you must complete before starting the actual timed test. Make yourself comfortable with all the sections of the tutorial before starting the test.

Comparability with paper-based tests
ETS has conducted some research which shows that the computer-based General Test Scores are comparable to scores earned on paper-based General Tests.

Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA)
For the Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA) Section, you are required to type out two essays (Analysis of an argument and Analysis of an issue) in the textbox provided. Prior to 1999, human beings graded the essays. However, under the new system, a human and a computer program called the 'E-Rater' grade essays. If the human and the program arrive at the same score for an essay, then that is the final score. If the scores differ significantly, a second human takes a look at the essay and finalizes the score. You have no automatic spell check options available, so avoid spelling mistakes. Obviously, the E-Rater has very strict standards of evaluation. So, it is critical that you understand how the E-Rater works and make sure that your essay includes all the important parameters/structures that the E-Rater looks for in an essay. The E-Rater uses a database of hundreds of essays for each of the 270 essay questions that could appear on the GMAT. The essays in this database are graded on a scale of 0-6 and the E-Rater evaluates your essay relative to these essays. The E-Rater places a large emphasis on structure - Your essay should be organized into paragraphs (An introductory paragraph followed by two or three content paragraphs and a conclusion) and should include the careful use of transitional words or phrases such as "I believe", "furthermore", "therefore", "for example", etc. Note that the E-Rater is not programmed to appreciate individuality. So a unique or creative essay structure is almost sure to backfire. Also, make sure you practise typing out essays on a computer terminal under timed conditions.

 
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