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Computer Adaptive Testing


Okay, in this video, I'm going to talk about something that's actually very important because a lot of people have misinformation or they just aren't 100% clear on how the process works. The GRE is a section adaptive test. So what does that mean? Your first math and first verbal sections will both be of medium difficulty.

And on a side note, your math and verbal performance are kept separate on the GRE. Math only affects math and verbal only affects verbal. Anyway, as I was saying, your first sections are of medium difficulty. Your performance on the first sections will determine the level of difficulty for your second section, which could be easy, medium, or difficult. So while two test-takers might both start out with sections that are roughly the same difficulty-wise, their second sections could look very different depending on how accurate they were in their first sections.

It's important to note that even though the first section is medium, there will be a smattering of both easy and difficult questions within a medium section. But overall, this section will be dominated by medium-level question types. The important distinction here for the GRE Is that unlike other CAT tests or computer adaptive test, the GRE is not question adaptive. The questions within each section do not change whether you answer them correctly or not.

Once your first medium section and your second section could be easy, medium, or difficult are launched, the questions are already predetermined and how well or poorly you perform with in that section will not change the questions that have been assigned to that section. Now let's talk about why it's important to understand that the GRE is section adaptive.

Well, there is a lot riding on that first section. The way GRE scoring works, the harder questions have greater weight than the easier questions. You could answer the same number of questions correctly as another test taker, but if you had an easier second section and they had a harder second section their score would be higher.

The bottom line a second section with more challenging questions means that you have unlocked access to a higher scoring range. If your second section mainly consists of easy to medium questions, your score potential is kept at a lower level. The main takeaway here, how well you do on that first section plays a huge role in determining your overall scoring potential, and that's why it is essential that you understand how section adaptivity works when taking the GRE.

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