Lancaster GMA tests 2016

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Strelitzia
Posts: 68
Joined: Sat Jun 09, 2012 6:19 pm

Lancaster GMA tests 2016

Post by Strelitzia » Mon Feb 01, 2016 3:27 pm

I told myself I would use the time between submitting the application and the release to course centres practising the GMA tests, which unfortunately, I didn't because, well, life and poor health got in the way and lo and behold it is now test month... So while I am off work, I have tried the practice tests from the SHL link on the Lancaster website for the first time and I have been hit with the realisation that I am really going to struggle. I regret not doing a practice test prior to applying to see what I was getting into (yet another lesson learnt for future), as I feel like I have thrown away one course selection already.

I found Verbal Reasoning was tough but doable and I got a respectable score after the first attempt which I may have hope of improving but for the Numerical Reasoning I just didn't know how to answer any of the questions and after attempting several questions, I had to just exit before I became really despondent about the whole process. Maths, mental arithmetic, numeracy, etc was never my strongest subject at school and it took me a while before I could grasp things but once it clicked, it clicked, and I still managed to come out with a decent grade that I didn't think I would ever hit. The Numerical Reasoning is kind of reminding me how I felt totally lost in my maths lessons at school, all the way from primary to secondary school :( Also, I must be a really slow reader, as I cannot read the question and work out the answer in less than a minute each!

I am trying to remain practical and focus on solutions and not totally give up yet, so has anyone come across some good quality free resources they could recommend to help prepare? Maybe with worked examples or guidance on how to approach questions rather than just going in cold like I did? Or got tips from experience how they dealt with it or overcame this for encouragement that all is not lost?!

I know it's meant to be challenging and they say practice helps but I don't think it can be learnt in less than a month!

Thanks.

[Edited to correct some typos]

RJParker
Posts: 249
Joined: Thu Feb 13, 2014 3:44 pm

Re: Lancaster GMA tests 2016

Post by RJParker » Mon Feb 01, 2016 4:33 pm

Hi Strelitzia

First of all - don't be despondent. Our typical applicant finds the numerical reasoning significantly harder than the verbal reasoning component so you are in the vast majority there.

As I noted on our website, the questions on the SHL site are not indicative of the difficulty of the questions you will get on the actual test. The practice questions are 'fixed' - you always see the same ones. In the actual test, the system uses adaptive testing and so will give you questions based on your responses to the previous questions. The better you do, the harder things get. As such, everyone finds the tests a challenge because it pushes you till you are struggling - that's how it finds out which percentile you're in. Getting questions wrong or struggling to get the answer on the actual test is not an indication that you've done badly as you don't know what level that question was.

We encourage people to practice as understanding the way in which the questions are posed and phrased will make things less stressful and save you some time. Assessment Day provide some general advice too.

There are other GMA providers who give practice / example tests, all of which are worth looking at to give you more exposure. Just Google for providers - you know the kind of questions you're going to get now so you will see the similarities.

I can also tell you that none of our current first years have a PhD in Mathematics so remember to think about yourself in the context of your peers who are applying.

Rob

Nelly
Posts: 18
Joined: Mon Feb 24, 2014 5:18 pm

Re: Lancaster GMA tests 2016

Post by Nelly » Mon Feb 01, 2016 7:28 pm

RJParker wrote:Hi Strelitzia

First of all - don't be despondent. Our typical applicant finds the numerical reasoning significantly harder than the verbal reasoning component so you are in the vast majority there.

As I noted on our website, the questions on the SHL site are not indicative of the difficulty of the questions you will get on the actual test. The practice questions are 'fixed' - you always see the same ones. In the actual test, the system uses adaptive testing and so will give you questions based on your responses to the previous questions. The better you do, the harder things get. As such, everyone finds the tests a challenge because it pushes you till you are struggling - that's how it finds out which percentile you're in. Getting questions wrong or struggling to get the answer on the actual test is not an indication that you've done badly as you don't know what level that question was.

We encourage people to practice as understanding the way in which the questions are posed and phrased will make things less stressful and save you some time. Assessment Day provide some general advice too.

There are other GMA providers who give practice / example tests, all of which are worth looking at to give you more exposure. Just Google for providers - you know the kind of questions you're going to get now so you will see the similarities.

I can also tell you that none of our current first years have a PhD in Mathematics so remember to think about yourself in the context of your peers who are applying.

Rob
RJParker. The Assessment day guide that you have posted says that the SHL website contains "SHLVerify Ability Tests" .... But I thought the Lancaster use Graduate Management Assessment (GMA)? Are they the same type of test?

Nelly
Posts: 18
Joined: Mon Feb 24, 2014 5:18 pm

Re: Lancaster GMA tests 2016

Post by Nelly » Mon Feb 01, 2016 7:40 pm

Or by GMA do you just mean General Mental Ability?

RJParker
Posts: 249
Joined: Thu Feb 13, 2014 3:44 pm

Re: Lancaster GMA tests 2016

Post by RJParker » Tue Feb 02, 2016 9:07 am

Nelly wrote:Or by GMA do you just mean General Mental Ability?
Yes, I do. SHL call their particular test suite as "Verify Ability Tests" - it's a brand name.

Strelitzia
Posts: 68
Joined: Sat Jun 09, 2012 6:19 pm

Re: Lancaster GMA tests 2016

Post by Strelitzia » Tue Feb 02, 2016 8:15 pm

RJParker wrote:Hi Strelitzia

First of all - don't be despondent. Our typical applicant finds the numerical reasoning significantly harder than the verbal reasoning component so you are in the vast majority there.

As I noted on our website, the questions on the SHL site are not indicative of the difficulty of the questions you will get on the actual test. The practice questions are 'fixed' - you always see the same ones. In the actual test, the system uses adaptive testing and so will give you questions based on your responses to the previous questions. The better you do, the harder things get. As such, everyone finds the tests a challenge because it pushes you till you are struggling - that's how it finds out which percentile you're in. Getting questions wrong or struggling to get the answer on the actual test is not an indication that you've done badly as you don't know what level that question was.

We encourage people to practice as understanding the way in which the questions are posed and phrased will make things less stressful and save you some time. Assessment Day provide some general advice too.

There are other GMA providers who give practice / example tests, all of which are worth looking at to give you more exposure. Just Google for providers - you know the kind of questions you're going to get now so you will see the similarities.

I can also tell you that none of our current first years have a PhD in Mathematics so remember to think about yourself in the context of your peers who are applying.

Rob
Thank you for your quick reply, RJParker.

I am trying to stay positive! I did the practice tests without any preparation to get an idea of my baseline performance. I have never done a test like that before so I had no idea what to expect or what was involved. So even though it was disastrous, it has highlighted some things I need to work on before I would be ready to sit such a test properly.

I plan to keep practicing and looking at examples to familiarise myself with the format and what may be expected, as well as back to basics with general tips and advice about sitting these types of tests. It’s just more work than I anticipated and hoped… I have not done a lot yet, as yesterday I was not in the right frame of mind, but from what I have looked at so far I have found the ones in the SHL practice test the most difficult. I think I am struggling with identifying what it is I need to work out from how the questions are presented or phrased than doing the actual calculations, if that makes sense; I just look and see numbers and don't know what I need to do to them to answer the question whereas if it was explicitly stated, "work this out", then I could probably do that. That said, I am going to review some mathematical concepts to make sure I know them inside out!

By the way, are you able to give a rough estimate of when candidates will be informed if they have been invited to take the tests? I have been reluctant to begin preparation for written tests that I do not know whether I have been invited to as I would be disappointed if I had studied and then I was not shortlisted (even though I feel I meet the eligibility criteria otherwise I would not have applied - there is always an element of doubt until it has been confirmed). However, due to the tight time frames of the process by the time we are informed it does not give a lot of time to prepare around work and if we have multiple tests to sit in a window of a few weeks. Also, I have a few questions about the specifics of the test that I presume we would find out if shortlisted, which hopefully would resolve some uncertainty and anxiety about the process.

Thanks again.

RJParker
Posts: 249
Joined: Thu Feb 13, 2014 3:44 pm

Re: Lancaster GMA tests 2016

Post by RJParker » Tue Feb 02, 2016 10:24 pm

Strelitzia wrote:I just look and see numbers and don't know what I need to do to them to answer the question
That's exactly what it is designed to test - how well you can interpret numerical data and figure out how to get what you need out of it.

With regards to being invited to the test, I'm hoping to email all eligible applicants by the end of the week. I have a couple of applications with outstanding queries which I need to resolve first. However, if you meet our residence and GBC requirements as specified on our website then there isn't an issue.

Strelitzia
Posts: 68
Joined: Sat Jun 09, 2012 6:19 pm

Re: Lancaster GMA tests 2016

Post by Strelitzia » Wed Feb 03, 2016 3:51 pm

RJParker wrote: That's exactly what it is designed to test - how well you can interpret numerical data and figure out how to get what you need out of it.
I know - that is why I am so worried as I cannot seem to do that at the moment and I'm not convinced it can be learnt but I'll try.

Thanks. I definitely have GBC and confirmation of it on my application so for Lancaster I was 99% certain I'd get through to the test stage but will still feel it's more real once it becomes official from the course centre!

RhubarbCrumble
Posts: 94
Joined: Wed Feb 03, 2016 6:56 pm

Re: Lancaster GMA tests 2016

Post by RhubarbCrumble » Mon Feb 22, 2016 12:18 pm

Hi,

I was just wondering, for these tests how many questions are there? Or is there no limit, you just have to keep going till the time runs out?

Strelitzia
Posts: 68
Joined: Sat Jun 09, 2012 6:19 pm

Re: Lancaster GMA tests 2016

Post by Strelitzia » Mon Feb 22, 2016 12:54 pm

Eek! The test window is officially open.

Lancaster's webpages for the course have full information but here's an extract to your query:
"Each test (numerical and verbal reasoning) will take approximately 30 minutes to complete (including time to read instructions etc). Exact time limits for each test are detailed within the system (these will vary if you have declared a disability).
The verbal reasoning test has 30 items.
The numerical reasoning test has 18 items."

I'm still no further forward with prep...

RJParker
Posts: 249
Joined: Thu Feb 13, 2014 3:44 pm

Re: Lancaster GMA tests 2016

Post by RJParker » Mon Feb 22, 2016 1:04 pm

Recently updated to include: -

The standard time limits for the tests are 19 minutes for the verbal test and 25 minutes for the numerical test. These will vary if you have declared a disability.

RhubarbCrumble
Posts: 94
Joined: Wed Feb 03, 2016 6:56 pm

Re: Lancaster GMA tests 2016

Post by RhubarbCrumble » Mon Feb 22, 2016 1:05 pm

Ah, thanks, I'm actually doing the Plymouth one but it's the same test, and they have no info on their webpage. That's more time for the NR than I was expecting, the practice ones are 18 questions in 25 mins and I never make it to the end in time!

Strelitzia
Posts: 68
Joined: Sat Jun 09, 2012 6:19 pm

Re: Lancaster GMA tests 2016

Post by Strelitzia » Mon Feb 22, 2016 1:22 pm

The real one will be 18 items in 25 mins for Numerical Reasoning, isn't it? Based on the info added to the website about 5 mins ago :lol:

Do we get any sort of generic feedback on our performance after shortlisting given the tests will be scored automatically? Just curious, as it would be helpful for future in deciding whether to go down the shortlisting test route again for certain types of tests if I totally bombed it. Sorry for so many questions! Thanks.

RJParker
Posts: 249
Joined: Thu Feb 13, 2014 3:44 pm

Re: Lancaster GMA tests 2016

Post by RJParker » Mon Feb 22, 2016 1:29 pm

I'd have thought you'd want non-generic feedback :D

Last year we provided rankings for those not invited to interview so you knew how close you were to an invite. We will be doing that again.

Strelitzia
Posts: 68
Joined: Sat Jun 09, 2012 6:19 pm

Re: Lancaster GMA tests 2016

Post by Strelitzia » Mon Feb 22, 2016 1:38 pm

RJParker, I just assumed non-generic feedback was unheard of during this process and would be grateful for anything even a computer could provide, ha.

I guess what I would find helpful along with a ranking to see how far off you are is your performance level on the two test components and if one really let the side down (I'm looking at you, numerical reasoning!) or if you were about equal.

Thank you for being so quick and available to answer queries and provide support by the way. I very much appreciate the communication as not all places are so forthcoming.

Now time to practice!

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