One Mean CAT
To quote the makers of the GRE, “Time management is key.” Your timing skills could add or subtract 100 points from your score. Timing skills are important because the CAT (Computer Adaptive Test) has unusual pacing constraints:
- Double penalty for unfinished questions
The penalty for unfinished questions is severe (worse than getting a question wrong). You should pace yourself to make sure that you finish all the questions in the allotted time.
- No double checking
All answers are final. If you finish a section early, you cannot go back to double-check your earlier answers. For example, if you hurry and finish your section with 20 minutes left, you are stuck at the end of the test with 20 extra minutes. You could have spent that time double-checking your answers.
- No skipping
When you hit a tough question or get a mental block, you cannot skip the question without entering an answer. Instead, you have to trudge through it, guess, and hope you don’t waste too much time.
The GRE (another graduate school entrance examination) changed from a GRE style CAT to a modified adaptive test in order to fix these problems (on the GRE you can move forwards and backwards changing your answers). Ultimately, the GRE is not a user friendly test and requires much practice to get used to its awkward design.