failing like never before


How To Cheat At Stocksquest

Not too long ago, I wrote an article about why I thought is lame. It would appear that a lot of people want to cheat at stocksquest's market simulation, so I'm going to describe in depth, a very simple way to make tons of money at stocksquest.

(Note, just reading the indented sections will give you the bare minimum you need to know to beat stocksquest.)

Stocksquest doesn't update their stock prices in real time. That is, there is a noticeable lag between the real stock prices and prices displayed on the stocksquest website. If you're using stocksquest then you're probably using Yahoo Finance to track prices, and like most stock price trackers, Yahoo Finance is behind the real time stock prices by about fifteen minutes. But stocksquest is at least thirty minutes behind the real time stock prices. Which means that you can buy stocks in stocksquest and know that they'll go up in price in a very short amount of time, because you've already seen them go up in Yahoo Finance (or whatever site you use for tracking prices).

Now, most teachers already know of this flaw in stocksquest and so they'll require that you hold a stock for a certain amount of time before selling it. The idea is, is that a volatile stock that jumps in price in the space of ten minutes probably isn't going to stay high till the next day. Thus, by enforcing a minimum holding period, the ability to "know the future" becomes useless.

But there is another way to predict the future.

There is something called after market and premarket trading, which is essentially a short period of time before and after the market closes when people can trade (duh). Prices during after hours trading can jump substantially, making it very dangerous, which is why most people don't engage in it. The funny thing is, is that stocksquest doesn't update their prices to the after hours prices. Which means, that whatever happens during the after and premarket, is completely invisible to stocksquest. Right now, you may be noticing a way to exploit this flaw, but allow me to elaborate on my thoughts.

It is not uncommon for companies to reveal some very important information after the market closes, thus causing the stock price in the after hours trading to jump. Things like news of an acquisition, amazing test results on a cancer drug, or a great new product that is going to change the industry can cause a company's stock to skyrocket and will also ensure that the stock will stay high for a decent amount of time. Some stocks may just tend to be very voltaile and will jump in price and fall back down immediately after. But as I said, if the company releases this news after the market closes, the change in stock prices remains invisible to stocksquest. So here comes the cheat:

Use a stock screener (like, the NASDAQ website will also work) that shows which stocks had the highest percent gains in the after market. Don't get greedy and automatically buy the stock on the top of the list, because that stock may very well drop in price as soon as the market opens. Check to see if there was a good reason that the stock jumped in price. What did the company say or do that made their stock jump? Again, things like company buyouts or a great new product release will ensure the stock stays high for a decent amount of time. Now, just check your stock screener right before the market opens, find a couple of good stocks (make sure to check the news behind these companies) and buy them before the market opens. (premarket hours are 8:00-9:30AM EST, after market hours are 4:00-6:30PM EST)

Here's a picture from (I think) Yahoo Finance, showing the after market price for Citigroup.

stock after market price

Obviously, this won't work at all in real life, but it works amazingly well in the stocksquest simulator. Check out these rankings from my class in high school, and you will notice that I am by far the top of my class (note that we all started with $10,000).

There is however, one thing that I cannot emphasize enough,


Yes, this strategy works quite well. But it is reliant on you checking the news. and being smart. This is not like a cheat code you punch in; it requires a little more work then that. So don't just pick the top gainer off the top of the list, be smart!

If, you're reading this article and something doesn't make sense, feel free to leave a comment and I'll try to clarify (EDIT: This article is now quite old and its years since I've even looked at Stocksquest, comments are perfectly acceptable and welcome but I cannot guarantee any useful help).

Comments (77) Trackbacks (0)
  1. so all I have to do is buy stocks during premarket hours which is 5 am – 5:30 am PCT cuz i’m in west coast. And buy good stocks. then sell them the next day. thats it? I want to be #1 in my econ class cuz i need the extra credit

  2. @joe

    pretty much! although technically, you can buy the stocks after the aftermarket closes, but i think you have a better chance of making more money if you do the premarket (assuming you’re willing to wake up that early…).

  3. @chi
    cool i actually meant 5 am – 6:30 am PCT. And I get up at 6 am for school so it could work out. But on the weekends i wont wake up that early. Thanks for the help.

  4. It’s interesting. I’m gonna try it. First of all: Our school has a 1 day limit, so how long do you think i should actually keep the stock? Second, would a stronger than expected earnings release be a legitimate reason to buy it?

    Personally, i don’t like StocksQuest either, and i told my Econ teacher about, which is better and eliminates those cheating possiblities. He said he’ll think about it

  5. Ok. i guess i’ll have to leave it again.

    We’re using stocksquest in my Econ class, and we have a one day limit. I just wanna know, what if your stock already went up slightly in the real market, then continued in after hours? is that ok?

  6. btw, what simulator do you recommend? My friends and i are kinda nerds, and we started a game together on, but it has a slow verification time, so it’s really hard to do day trading. Do recommend another one?

  7. what stock simulator do you recommend? I’ve used, but do you know a better one?

  8. which stock simulator do you reccomend?

  9. wow, lots of comments…

    @bob. If you’re stock continues to go up, then you’re fine… It just means you you’re making more more money. Although, with stocksquest, you’re going to have to wait until the market opens again to sell that stock and gain the benefits of the increase in price.

    I can’t say I have much experience with different stock simulators, so I don’t want to give you any bad advice.

  10. @bob, seems my spam filter is a little overaggressive and put half your comments in the spam folder. sorry ’bout that man.

  11. I don’t understand what you are saying. Please explain? How can we tell which stocks are the best to buy>?

  12. so would after market or premarket be more reliable?

  13. I don’t want to say that either one is “better.” Personally, I preferred the premarket since I could then reap the benefits of both the aftermarket and premarket.

  14. does this method still work now? coz i don’t see a time difference in the yahoo website and the stocksquest website.
    plz reply asap, kinda urgent. thanks

  15. hi kim,

    I don’t use stocksquest anymore (haven’t in a few years now) but I would assume that it still works. Maybe you can try checking a few different stock prices to make sure?

    Best of luck!

  16. Are there any websites that will tell me news for corporations and stocks so I will know what to buy and when instead of having to look all over the internet? Just like a website that tells me any recent ups and downs of various companies? :)

  17. So what would be ur strategy on seeling these stocks? im at school and can’t check often so i never kno if to sell at med range or wait till i get lucky and it goes higher wen im online wat do u think?

  18. @Omar,

    sell high, buy low… there is unfortunately no magic strategy to know when is the exact right time to sell a stock

  19. Did you by any chance go to Oak Ridge? i looked at that list you posted of people in your class and the names sound really familiar… I am doing to stock project right now in my econ class at ORHS, Mr. Wright, my econ teacher, told us there was a way to cheat the system and if he caught us doing it then we would automatically fail… do you think that the premarket/after hours is what he means? or just the holding a stock for 3 days thing?

  20. @Brian

    Wow, so weird to hear from someone that went to the same high school… Yeah, I think I had Mr. Wright too! It was ages ago though. I’m in my last year of undergrad now.

    Most likely, the after hours trading is probably what he is referring to. I think my final score by the end of the semester tipped him off that I was doing something weird. Also, one of my friends in a different class went overboard and ended up with a few million dollars.

    You should show this page to him and see what he has to say…

  21. Now do i sell during pre market or once the market opens?

  22. just to clarify, its good to buy during pre market, then sell the day after? the day after meaning a full 24 hours?


  24. In the rules it states that there is a 15 min lag in pices. I personal ajust accord to the rules. Personal if you think that they are cheating you can always short sale the stocks in your portfolio.
    Seth_17 ID. 1610717

  25. ohh so buy stocks right b4 school? this is really kool….i want to win tht extra credit!

  26. know what’s funny I’m being deny acess to my stocks and all the work I have done for years. Also I know that they are making money off my work and I’m living homeless with no money. Tell me that stocks quest is cheating, well I’ll be the first one to tell you that their program sucks!

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