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Expert Suggestions on Preparation for Computer Based CAT-09


 What exactly is computer-based testing (CBT)?

In CBT, you appear for an exam that is conducted entirely on the computer. The multiple-choice questions appear on the computer screen along with the answer choices, and you have to indicate your answer choice by clicking the mouse at the appropriate place.

In what respects does CBT differ from Paper-based testing (PBT)?

Other than the fact that the mouse does the work of a pen in case of CBT, the two differ on the following counts :

Question/Time Ratio : The CBT allows more time per question as compared to PBT, having a fewer number of questions than the PBT.

Scores : In CBT, you get to know your score immediately on completion of the test. Official score reports, however, are sent to you later by post, just as in case of PBT.

Skipping questions : Unlike PBT, the CBT does not allow you to leave a question unanswered. You must attempt a question in order to get to the next one. And once you have answered a question, you cannot go back to it.

Adaptive Testing : This is probably the most important difference between the two kinds of tests. The CBT software is such that the level of difficulty of your next question depends on the correctness of your previous response. In other words, no two tests are alike - each examinee will get a different set of questions to attempt based on his or her ability level. (More on adaptive testing in the next question).

 How does the computer-adaptive test work?

 In a computer-adaptive test, the computer screen displays one question at a time, which is chosen from a very large pool of questions categorized by content and difficulty. The test starts out by posing questions of average difficulty. As you answer those questions, depending on whether you are correct or incorrect, the test poses future questions accordingly. So if you answer a question incorrectly, the next question will be easier, with a smaller point value; and conversely, if you answer the question correctly, the next question will be more difficult, with a larger point value. The larger number of difficult questions you answer, the higher score you receive.

 What computer skills do I need to take a computer-based test?

 Though previous computer experience is not a prerequisite, familiarity with the use of a personal computer does help. All CBTs have a detailed tutorial before you actually start the test, which tells you how to navigate through the test, how to answer, and what the various buttons on the screen indicate. There is no time limit for this tutorial, so you can make yourself comfortable before you start answering.

The GMAT requires you to type two essays for the Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA) Section, within a total of sixty minutes. This implies that some practice with the keyboard would certainly help. You do not have to be an expert typist - the AWA is not assessed on the number of words that you type - but some typing experience will surely stand you in good stead.

 What are the conditions like at the Test Centre?

 For taking the test, you will be assigned to an individual testing station (similar to a partitioned cubicle in an office). Other than your admit card and compulsory identification, you cannot carry anything with you - not even a pen. You are provided pencils, a sharpener, and ample sheets for rough work.

 Do I have the option of canceling my score?

 Yes, you have that option, but the decision to cancel must be made before you view your scores. Once you choose to view scores on the computer screen, you cannot cancel them - either at the test centre or later. Once you cancel the scores, you will not be able to view them.

 When is the GMAT given?

 The test is given year-a-round during normal business hours. There is often one week during each month in which the test is not offered.

 How important is the GMAT and how is it used?

 It is crucial! Although business schools may consider other factors, the vast majority of admission decisions are based on only two criteria: your GMAT score and your GPA.

 How many times should I take the GMAT?

 Most people are better off preparing thoroughly for the test, taking it one time and getting their top score. You can take the test as many times as you like, but many business schools will average your scores. You should call the schools to which you are applying to find out their policy. Then plan your strategy accordingly

 Can I cancel my score?

 Yes. When you finish the test, the computer will offer the option of canceling the test or accepting it. If you cancel the test, neither you nor any school will see your score. If you accept the test, the computer will display your score and it will be available to all schools.

 Where can I get the registration forms?

 Most colleges and universities have the forms. You can also get them directly from ETS by writing to:
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