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Chandler's Theory--"Can one predict the Experimental Section?"

Discussion in 'MCAT Discussions' started by chandler742, Sep 24, 2002.

  1. chandler742

    chandler742 Senior Member

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    The answer is NO if you need 100% confidence, but YES with qualifiers(look at the bibliography on last page of VERBAL EXAM on the REAL MCAT, the newest sources i.e 1999, 2000 is likely the experimental section IF IT HAS 10 QUESTIONS WITH THE PASSAGE).

    Furthermore, I believe one can predict which passages are NOT experimental.

    For example, as many of you guys know, the MCAT prides itself as an equal opportunity exam. ADCOM's believe that the MCAT is a level playing field for any student from any University in america. On the other hand, GPA is variable according to the instituion that you attend.

    With that said, how can a test that prides itself as being equal for everyone allow one student to have 7 Biology Passages and 4 Organic Passages. While allowing another student in the same test room 5 Biology and 6 Organic Passages.

    Is it truly fair to "randomly" decide whether a student receives a form with a strong Biology component, while another student receives a 50/50 Bio/Organic Split. Of course not. Than, how can the MCAT be justified to say it is a level playing field?


    Here is the rationale behind this paradox.

    1. Only 9 passages on the Biological Science is graded. 2 Passages are experimental. I believe all Biological Science Sections have 5 graded biology sections, and 4 graded Organic sections.

    2. Here is the key. Some forms have 2 organic experimental sections. In this case you would have 5 Bio and 6 Organic.

    3. Or two biological experimental sections. i.e 7 Bio and 4 Organic. Even 1 Bio experimental, and 1 organic experimental.
    This would give you 6 Bio and 5 Organic.

    Thus, using my rationale. The MCAT is a level playing field for all testtakers. It achieves "fairness". Because ALL forms have 5 GRADED biology and 4 graded Organic.

    4. Notice, that if you have 4 organic on your form. You can guess
    that all of the organic will count, however 2 of the 7 bio are experimental. Furthermore, if you have 2 passages that are graph or table based, I believe one of them is the experimental.

    5. One can also use symmetry for the physical sciences. The only difference is that 5 General Chem is graded, and 4 Physics is graded.
     
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  3. chandler742

    chandler742 Senior Member

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    Fellas, I think it is my duty to clarify some views that I hold about the MCAT.

    First of all, I have no vested interest whether you believe my theory or not. You are entitled to your opinion. I would just like a logical forum to discuss some of my premises. Your feedback is welcome. However, I will not respond to you, IF YOU EXPRESS an EMOTIONAL argument. MUDD KNOWS WHAT I AM TALKING ABOUT.

    As many of you know, I am a very analytical person that loves to solve puzzles. I have taken the MCAT. 27 on BS and PS. I have also taught an MCAT class.

    With that said, here we go.

    I believe that the MCAT has an experimental section. This is how I have come to this conclusion.

    1. I snooped the MCAT website to find information about the
    MCAT. I found this link.
    http://www.aamc.org/students/mcat/r...srp/kmmono2.pdf
    This link is a promotion for new students to join a gsrp research program. If you open up the sample GSRP(you need adobe acrobat). YOu will find the goal of one of the projects is to compare MCAT scores from 2 different years(i.e. to test long term reliability). If you look at the number of questions on the 1997 and 1993. IT SPECIFIES THE NUMBER OF GRADED QUESTIONS as 55 FOR VERBAL AND 63 FROM PS AND BS.

    2. I called up the MCAT office. I asked them whether the experimental section was graded (kudos if you see the INTENDED assumption). The gatekeeper asked the supervisor. And, then told me NO. The experimental section was not graded. I asked him than you are saying that there is INDEED an experimental section. He said he was not at liberty to talk about the MCAT.

    3. 65-10=55, Thus it would fit perfectly if a 10 question experimental section was NOT GRADED. This would fit the GSRP research quota of ONLY 55 Graded questions on verbal.

    4. I took the Aug 2002 MCAT. AAMC practice test 6 is the exact exam that I took. Although, I can't verify all 65 questions since it was two years ago, however, all of the passages are in the same order, and some of the questions, I do remember. One of the reasons I remember is the frankenstein and the invisible hand passages handcuffed me. Also, the ps and bs were the same.
    This is where I got the theory that old AAMC exams are actual exams. I have also heard that AAMC 5 was given in 1998.
     
  4. chandler742

    chandler742 Senior Member

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    5. Simple logic. 65 questions divided by 9 passages. That is about 7 questions/passage. If the questions are selected randomly at best you would get 6, 7, or 8 questions per passage. This is exactly how many questions you get for ALL KAPLAN AND TPR practice tests. However, AAMC has couple 10 question passages on the real mcat and the practice exams. BUT NO PASSAGES HAVE 9 QUESTIONS. Furthermore, NO TPR OR KAPLAN TEST HAS 10 QUESTIONS PER PASSAGE. NONE!!! This implies that the 10 question passage was a goal of the test writer.

    6. Reliablity. I agree with SHAM, that all questions are written to be tested. However, all test writers KNOW that they have an inherent bias on whether a test question is easy or hard. The only way to be fair is to FIELD TEST potential questions. This will allow a test writer to receive a feedback on questions ideal for the MCAT. For example, an ideal "hard" question on the MCAT is a question only the students that scored 12, 13, 14, or 15 got correctly. If a student with a 12, 13, 14, or 15 got this question wrong too, than it is not a good question to ask. All multiple choice exams give out a stastical feedback to the instructor. Hard questions are judged as fair or unfair. Fair hard questions are answered correctly by the students with the highest scores. Unfair hard questions have a random correct distribution.

    7. The 10 question MCAT passages on the practice tests have the highest variability. The Confucious passage on 3, the brand awareness on 5, the picasso passage on 6. The experimental passages are NOT HARD PER SE. But have a nice easy to hard spectrum. Notice on AAMC 6, the last verbal passage about icebergs is actually the HARDEST PASSAGE. However, it doesn't have a good distribution(i.e. variability).

    8. Actual MCAT on test day seems more difficult. Some of it is psychological. However, another part of it is that some of the difficult experiemental questions are not graded. It is human nature to focus on one's mistakes. Thus, when we walk out of the test room. We focus on the hard questions we missed. This snowballs into thinking the exam was hard.

    9. Although I didn't recheck. I do believe by extrapolation that 2 BS and PS sections are experimental. I believe that 2 experimental science passages have 6 questions. 77-12= 65. And I think 2 free response questions are experimental 65-2=63.

    10. Lastly, as some of you guys know. Some of the forms are very close to one another. For example EK and EG, from aug 2002. Check out www.examkrackers.com. I believe the only difference between these two forms are the experimental sections. Thus, students with different forms feel like they had the same form. This would also apply to the other forms.

    This is all i can think for now, but I will add some more later.

    One more thing. If you are looking for indisputable confirmation about the experimental section on the MCAT from the MCAT people, you will not get it. It is in the best interest of an experimental test to NOT be thought of as one with an experimental section.
     
  5. chandler742

    chandler742 Senior Member

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    I have another comment. If you look at the last page of the AAMC practice test VI (paper form) you will notice that the passages are fairly recent. Some are as recent as 1999. This PROVES that new passages are ADDED. How often? Who knows? Also, on the REAL MCAT, the bibliography of the sources are on the last page of the verbal exam. You can see what books or journals are used to make the MCAT.

    For example, when I took the verbal exam. I looked at the last page to get the title of each passage. The title is helpful if you are trying to deduce the main idea.

    One last thing. If there is indeed an experimental section, it wouldn't make sense to put a 10 question passage on slot 8 or 9. Believe or not test takers know that most students will run out of time. It would be fruitless to put an experimental section for the end. Remember to maximize an experimental section, it is ideal if all test takers TRY to take that passage. Therefore, I propose that all experimental sections are in slot 4, 5, or 6. This means that ONE COULD logicaly PREDICT the experimental section. Also, you wouldn't want to put a 10 question passage on slot 1,2, or 3 because these passages are too soon to MAXIMIZE a student's concentration. Here is an exercise. Go over AAMC 3,4,5, and 6. Try to spot where the 10 question passage is located. TRY THIS ON THE REAL MCAT!!

    FOR NEXT YEAR'S STUDENTS, look at the last page on the REAL MCAT. You will see the bibliography of the sources for the 9 VERBAL passages. If the 10 question passage is from a recent year i.e. 1999, 2000, or 2001. THIS IS THE EXPERIMENTAL SECTION. The copyright date tells you that this material is relatively new, thus it must be FIELD tested.


    __________________
     
  6. chandler742

    chandler742 Senior Member

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    Franklin,

    you are entitled to your opinion. However, I MUST REMIND YOU that my argument is that the experimental passage has the largest cross section of easy to hard(largest variability). I DID NOT SAY THE EXPERIMENTAL SECTION IS THE HARDEST!!! In fact, easy questions have to be field tested as well!!

    As for the 10 question experimental passage. Have you ever seen a 4 question passage? Or a 5 question passage? NO!!

    The only way to go from 65 to 55 is a 10 question passage.
    Also, explain to me why NO KAPLAN OR TPR EXAMS HAVE A 10 QUESTION PASSAGE?

    For the record, YOU HAD TWO 10 QUESTION PASSAGE ON THE MCAT!!

    NO ONE IS DUMB ENOUGH TO SKIP TWO 1O QUESTION PASSAGES.

    One more thing, if you don't believe there is an experimental section(i.e 99% of the MCATers). You would make sure you answer the 10 question passage(rather than a 6 question passage). Because this is the passage with the most number of questions. Also, if one is running out of time on the verbal section, and has two passages to choose from. It would be MORE LOGICAL to read the passage with the more # of questions.

    Therefore, a 6 question passage is less likely to be a experimental passage.

    One more point, if you had a 6 passage experimental section. You would not be able to throw out any "unfair" questions. On the other hand, if you field tested 10 questions. One can select the best 8, 7, or 6(of the ten) questions for the following year's MCAT administration.
     
  7. Kovox

    Kovox Going Places

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    Are you a Stats major?

    Wow, and I thought I was freaky

    :clap: :clap: :clap:

    Nonetheless, I like your theory.
     
  8. limit

    limit Molesting my inner-child

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    Bro, I know this good Psychologist in the New York area.
    Email me for details.
     
  9. Wardens

    Wardens Long arm of the law

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    Impressive work. I like those theories. All signs seem to point toward the presence of an experimental passage, but with the weight of the test, it would be difficult to put this knowledge to use during the real deal. Great logic though.
     
  10. chandler742

    chandler742 Senior Member

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    Pretty funny, Limit.

    :laugh:
     
  11. limit

    limit Molesting my inner-child

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    Ok, seriously. Chandler has a chock-full of theories here, so here are my thoughts.

    Chandler and I exchanged several Emails prior to the August MCAT (which I took). He gave me the preliminary draft of his theory, and from there I tried to logically and collectively deduce its value as the test was coming near. I verified the info from the AAMC, and at the moment I couldn't refute the theory with any kind of substantiation, so I just let it sit in by subconscious, on alert for test day.

    Influence on your VR score. Okay, so I'm able to formulate a very good guess as to which passage is experimental. How does that help me? Well, as soon as I have a rough idea as to which it is, I can save it for the end. Psychologically, I enter a comfort zone free of time restrictions, for if I run out of time on the last passage, there is a good chance that it is experimental and I will not be penalized. In addition, my most valiant efforts will have went to the ones that are most certainly graded. Luckily, I didn't need to resort to such tactics, and was able to finish just in time. The 10q passages were in slots 3 and 8. I don't know what this means, but I did them last and they turned out to be rather straightforward (I think both were science).

    Influence on your BS/PS score. Jon Orsay of EK has posted on his forum that atleast one passage in each is experimental. This may mean that there are as many as 2 or 3. But does this mean that they are testing full passages or just select question types? How many stand-alone questions are experimental, and from which of the 3 stand-alone sections (or maybe one from each)? Mathmatically, there are too many variables to consider. It is virtually impossible to know which passages are experimental. As always, the hardest passages in each MCAT administration will be talked about extensively after the exam is over, and for comfort we will often think of these as experimental. I'm not quite sure what to make of that though.

    Realistic expectations. Any and all possible theories that we can sit here and postulate still don't change the fact that 85% of the test is graded, and even despite the awareness of experimental sections, our outcomes are not affected. In essence, our scores will not benefit significantly. On top of that, who is to say that the 1997 AAMC data has been implemented during 1998-2002? They may have changed their methods, as would any researcher in search of more efficient techniques to yield improved results. One may argue that the extra time from the experimental passages can be used to further our scores on the other passages, but with such high stakes, who will actually be willing to ignore an entire passage on a hunch?

    Future. The MCAT is changing next April; many of these changes are as-of-yet unknown to us. So as it stands, all of these theories are invalid because they cannot yet be applied to the new exam. Realistically, to test such a student-based hypothesis/conspiracy theory can take not only immense time (years), but statistical techniques and access to score data that is not available to us. We will never know for sure. Our efforts are better spent studying and teaching MCAT, as such are priviledges in their own right to be a part of such a difficult exam.

    limit
     
  12. DW

    DW Fix me some sandwiches
    Moderator Emeritus

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    this thread is making my head hurt :)
     
  13. Tweetie_bird

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    you're not the only one. :confused:
     
  14. limit

    limit Molesting my inner-child

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    mental masturbation
     
  15. tBw

    tBw totally deluded

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    :) I think that's why it's so great - there are actually reasoned posts, with factual basis, sources (albeit loosely) cited, and logical discussion. Much better than the nonsense emotive, baseless discussions that compose some threads (and which drive me nuts). *This* is the kind of discussion we should be having (however, I've already said my piece on this elsewhere, and at the end of the day, expt passage, graded or not, it makes no difference to me now - my MCAT is over and in a week and a bit I will know how it went...)
     
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  17. OneStrongBro

    OneStrongBro Senior Member

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    Anyone have a Pabst Blue Ribbon?
     
  18. chandler742

    chandler742 Senior Member

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    Let's MAKE THIS CLEAR.

    My theory is not for everyone. From experience, I have found that many students cannot finish the VERBAL or Physical Science section on time. For example, students always tell me that they have 2 passages remaining with 8-10 minutes left. Granted, one should try one's best, however time is of the essence.

    My theory is to help out students in the Verbal and Physical Science section, that may not finish on time.

    The assumption is obvious. That if you INDEED finish the exam early than my techniques are futile.
     
  19. chandler742

    chandler742 Senior Member

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    WHAT ABOUT 2003 MCAT(I.E with revisions), chandler?

    It has not escaped my attention that the VERBAL exam will have 60 questions next year. I have received emails that congratulate my theory, however they are critical on how my theory will help the students of 2003 and beyond.

    So, I will cast aside deductive logic, for inductive logic.

    I propose that next year, the MCAT will STILL HAVE EXPERIMENTAL sections. MCAT will not try to "reinvent" the wheel. Only small changes will be made so scores from 2002 MCAT can be compared to 2003 MCAT Scores(Don't forget there will be students that took the MCAT in 2002 competing with students that took the MCAT 2003 for a 2004 med school slot. Furthermore, MCAT scores are good for 2 years. Thus, ADCOM's need reassurance that 2002 and 2003 scores are comparable EVEN with small changes). Here is what I forecast.

    1. THERE WILL BE NO 10 QUESTION PASSAGES. Next year's verbal exam will have 9 passages with 60 questions. Thus, if 2 passages had 10 passages than 7 passages will have to have 40. That is less than 6 questions per passage. THERE HAS NEVER BEEN a VERBAL passage with less than 6 questions thus this is unlikely(2002 MCAT must be close as possible to 2003 MCAT for score comparison). Believe it or not, I believe OLD passages are recirculated with new ones added yearly(with the same# of passages that are retired), this is a steady state.

    One example is this past year on the EK form students have told me about a passage on Kangaroos, and polywater. These two topics were on the MCAT flash feedback on the KAPLAN website in 1999. This in my mind proves that topics are recirculated.

    Take home message, If you a student that will take the 2003 MCAT, do study the feedback of actual MCATs on Kaplan and princeton review websites.


    2. THE EXPERIMENTAL PASSAGES WILL HAVE 8 QUESTIONS. By using my past theory as a base, I believe the MCAT will be scaled down to fit 60 questions. TWO POSSIBLITIES STAND OUT.

    #1 This means 2 passages of 8 questions. And 7 remaining passages for 44 total questions. This means 5 passages of 6, 2 passages of 7, and 2 passages of 8(one is experimental). i.e 60 total VERBAL Q's

    #2 4 passages of 6, 4 passages of 7, 1 passage of 8(obvious experimental). i.e. 60 total VERBAL Q's

    There is only a finite number of 6, 7, and 8 question passage combinations that can fit into THE TWO CRITERIA : a) 60 total questions and B) 9 TOTAL PASSAGES.

    3 Also, couple organic questions will be removed for GENETICS. I take this to mean that rather than a 8 to 7 free response in favor of Biology. I see a 10 to 5 split(i.e. 10 free response questions will be biology, and 5 will be organic). Or of the 25-30 organic chemistry questions from the 4 ORGANIC passages, a couple will be removed.

    Organic chemistry is TOO IMPORTANT to remove as a whole passage. ADCOM's still love to gauge a student by his organic chemistry proficiency. Thus, the number of ORGANIC passages will not change.

    This means there will STILL be 5 GRADED Biology and 4 Graded Organic passages(2 experimental sections). The addition of couple genetics questions should reflect the free response section.

    The Physical Science will still be 5 Graded GEN Chem, and 4 Graded Physics.

    I hope that helps for 2003 MCATers. If you have any questions feel free to email me.
     
  20. OneStrongBro

    OneStrongBro Senior Member

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    Hey Chandler, using INDUCTIVE logic.

    When will the MCAT scores be up tomorrow?

    :laugh:
     
  21. OneStrongBro

    OneStrongBro Senior Member

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    BUMP FOR THE 2003 MCATers. Good Luck!!!
     
  22. loomis

    loomis Lifetime Student

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    bump for those of us hoping that crazy passage on geometry was all for naught!
    :)
     
  23. basupran

    basupran ortho, study, cars, lift

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    Of course, I completed the experimental VR candidate first...memes...wasted a lot of time on it also.
     
  24. envelope

    envelope Senior Member

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    but according to chandler's theory, the experimental section shouldn't be the second passage....the memes passage for me was the second passage....
     
  25. drbevo

    drbevo Member

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    bump (in response to experimental question thread)
     
  26. drguy22

    drguy22 1K Member

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    this is interesting.......may make us feel better b4 the scores come out.
     
  27. 45408

    45408 aw buddy

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    Interesting. I had a ten question MOTHER of all passages in my VR. If that didn't count, that'd be awesome.
     
  28. drguy22

    drguy22 1K Member

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    see now doesnt that make u feel a weee bit better for now at leat :)
     
  29. thinkpositive

    thinkpositive futureMD

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    yeah I was thinking the same thing...hmmm....yeah it does make me feel better :)
     
  30. Twitch

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    FWIW, AAMC8 - the most recent released test does have a passage with 5 questions (passage IV) in VR. Clearly there are other options possible than the 6,7,8 postulated.

    In light of this fact (despite it?), it remains highly likely for AAMC to continue to use the 10 item (question) per testlet (passage & question set) of experimental stimulus [http://www.aamc.org/students/mcat/research/monograph9.pdf] The source is pre-2003 unfortunately but the extrapolation still holds, IMHO. As a test writer, since they have the flexibility to use 5 questions, it's in their best interest to field test the full scale 10 questions and weed out those deemed unfit (as needed). It is likely that all 10 questions pass muster - hence the fact that in 2005 Aug administration there were 2 10q passages in VR section.

    But, it is critical to be able to field all the 10 items per testlet. If I field 8 items and if more than 3 don't pass muster then I waste 8 items and a whole testlet - not impossible however improbable. The second key helping us out is the existince of the (c) date as you pointed and sounds like a few people used to their advantage in the most recent administration.
     

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