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. Nice writing style. I will come back to read more posts from you.

    Susan Kishner

  2. So is this what you’re saying…

    -Check the stocks that went the highest in after/premarket trading.
    -Buy the stock before the market opens.
    -When the market opens, the stock price (on Stocksquest) should jump up to the after/premarket price.
    -Sell stock and make money…?

    Lather, rinse, repeat?

  3. Pretty much, yup. The only thing is, to make sure you buy a pretty stable looking stock, one that won’t drop in price in the next five minutes.

  4. How do you check for the reason why the company’s stock changed? I mean, I tried to search for news about the company but it is all outdated. Am I missing something?

  5. @Willy,

    from what you’ve said, I presume you’re just Googling for news on the company. Try this instead:

    If you use, once you’re viewing the stock’s page (like for Dynergy), just scroll down the page and right below the stock’s stats and there will be a bunch of headlines pertaining to that stock.

    Or if you’re using (which I prefer), the news pertaining to the stock is just on the right of the stock price’s graph (like so:

    If you’ve already been doing this, and you’re still only getting old news, then you may want to try a different, more active stock.

    Best of luck to you! Feel free to ask if you have any other problems.

  6. Hey chi,

    Thank you so much! I am doing much better now thanks to you. Now, I have one more question that will probably seem stupid to you but why would this not work in real life? Is it because in real life they keep the thing ticking for after hour trading?

    Once again, Thanks


  7. You’re welcome!

    Yup, real stock brokers get instant up-to-date stock prices, instead of the delayed prices that stocksquest gets. Also, in real life, if you suddenly became amazingly successful at trading, (i.e. every transaction netting you +10% gains) the SEC would start asking questions.

  8. So i get this method, but since stocksquest seems to be about an hour behind, wouldn’t i have to wait till it updates to gain the advantage?

  9. @Dan,

    yah, thats how it works. You buy the stock before stocksquest updates its prices, so that when stocksquest does update its prices, you make lots of money. THe whole waiting 30-60 minutes really isn’t a big deal, unless you’re in a major rush before a class dead line. Its not as though you have to sit in front of the computer and check it after an hour.

  10. Ok so i have a question. If i try to sell stocks the same day i buy them it says

    “Sorry, you must hold your stocks for one day since we do not encourage day trading in our game. Also, this will take away the advantage of those who may obtain live stock quotes and use them for short term gain.”

    So if I buy a stock in the aftermarket or premarket will it prevent me from selling it once the market opens?

  11. @Macman,

    the reason why my method invovles researching a little bit of the stocks before buying them, is because my method is more focused on the long term. My teacher required the class to hold all stocks we purchased for at least three days.

    And under no circumstances, will Stocksquest allow you to sell a stock the same day you bought it.

  12. do you know exactly how long you have to wait to sell stock after you buy? it says a day, but I bought some stock at about 6-8pm and I could sell them the next morning when the market opened up

  13. @kenny,

    I believe when Stocksquest says “one day” they really mean that you just have to wait till the next day, and not literally 24 hours.

  14. So how much gain do you get because over three days my friend got 4.4% gain lol, But yeah this is great now I can get praise from my maths teacher, which i never get Lmao :~)

  15. It really depends on the stock. Sometimes I got 25% gains off one stock, and sometimes I get 5%. But 4.4% is nothing to scoff at. If you can get that every few days, you’re still doing pretty good.

  16. lol I already got 22.01% gain thanks soo much man but I gotta work my way up cos i bought like 1000 shares in Coke and lost all my money as a dare -_-* already at 99,461 again though thanks, excellent job, and when you get into it its kinda, just, a bit, less lame. lmao

  17. I figured out this the flaw in the system; if you buy the stocks one day, you cannot sell them until the next, but if you buy the stock at 10pm u can sell it at 9pm the next morning. If you buy a stock at 12 01am u cannot sell the stock until the next day.

  18. Nice job Jacob! Although its not really a flaw, more of a poorly thought out feature.

  19. My class started the StocksQuest project about 2 months ago. To get an A, you had to walk away from the 2 months with at least a 25% gain, for a B you needed 10%, for a C you needed to break even, and D’s and F’s were given to people who lost alot of money.

    A few days into the project, my teacher admitted that he underestimated how much the market was actually going to flux, he apologized for the number of low grades that he might be forced to give out because of it, but swore he wouldn’t be changing the scale.

    So instead of working a few weeks on solid research, like the teacher advised, and then hoping that my stocks didnt crumble- I came up with the same conclusion and strategy that you did.

    My account was simply collecting interest until the last week when I decided to kick it into full gear.

    Ended up using after hours prices to launch me to 230% in less than 7 days by picking out stocks with after hours of +20% or more and buying, or short selling stocks with -20% after hours rates. As soon as the market opened and registered with StocksQuest, I sold the shares in that company and ended up being first in the class (by about 150%) and getting an A+ while over half the class failed.

    I didn’t research at all, but then again my teacher didnt instate the same 3 day rule, so I could easily mess with StocksQuest and walk away with profit. As long as you buy or short sell before midnight (according to StockQuest’s clock, be careful!) and sell when the market opens (is considered “the next day” in StockQuest rules) you’ll get a profit.

    2 full months of careful planning, research, and prayer
    1 week of solid weakness abuse and ridiculous profit

    I think its obvious which one is easier.

  20. Hey man, thats pretty nice! Thats kinda lame how yyour teacher graded you on how much money you managed to make. My teacher just graded us on effort, and then we got extra credit if we made more money then the teacher.

  21. Well, its Advanced Econ II, and the section we’re on is about how to make money with the stock market, so naturally our aim and goal would be to actually make money. If he was to grade on us effort, he’d be handing out a ton of A’s. So instead, he gave like 25 F’s, 15 D’s, 20 C’s, and like 5 A’s and B’s.

    I’m not complaining, but yeah, it is pretty lame.

  22. Hey, this sounds like it’d work perfect but for some reason it’s just not working for me. I tried this first few weeks and lost like 80/100k that we started with. Through some copycatting and stuff i got myself back up to 100k and second place in the class, but I don’t want to copycat any more i wanna figure out how to do this. What I don’t understand is how the aftermarket trading works. I understand the whole stocksquest system, don’t get me wrong. Im just wondering how people (like this guy my teacher added to the class as a challenge because he maxed the system the year before) find the stocks that jump like 5$ instantly. I do my research for literally hours, and never come away w/ results like that. For example, last night i was browsing through marketwatches screener and Scheering and Plough caught my eye as a potential winner so i looked up the news for it. As it turned out the company just released news about a new drug showing results that cut hepatitus C treatment time in HALF! I would’ve thought this to be AWESOME news so i put all my cash into it. Today, the company closed w/ a $0.01 gain. A whole 100 bucks for me. What am i doing wrong?

  23. Hey anonymous comment 23! Sorry its taking so long for me to reply, I just finished pulling an almost-all-nighter. Sometimes you just get unlucky with picking a stock that seems like a sure-fire win. I’m hoping that you didn’t sell Scheering and Plough yet though, seeing as they just went up about 5% today, which isn’t great but still pretty decent. It can happen though, where the market doesn’t respond instantly to amazing news, maybe people are just feeling a little cautious.

    Also, though it may feel like a great idea, since you have a good strategy for winning, you don’t want to sink all your cash into a seemingly good stock. Try to spread it around two maybe three stocks.

    Sorry, I can’t be more help, I’m not much into the stockmarket these days, especially since I now have to trade with my own real money. If you’re still not having any luck in a couple days, let me know! I’d be happy to see if I can help with more specifics.

  24. yesterday I put all my cash into a stock that said it went up 30% in after hours. but when I got up early this mornin and looked at google finance and stocksquest, it only went up 5%, so I got profit, but not as much as I was expecting. Why is it that the after hours was different then the actual price? I caught it right as the market opened, I made sure of that.

  25. Hey Dickle,

    I think its because in addition to after-hours trading, theres also the pre-market. The pre-market is like the after-market only that its an hour or two in the morning right before the market opens.

  26. Haha, Quick’n’Profitable I loved your post. Only problem is it’s now fridy so I have to wait to try it : )

    It’s not a genious thing, but one thing I would quite useful is that you can buy and short an equal amount of something, wait your day limit, and then abuse the delayed update to see if that stock is going up or down (with the Real-time update on Yahoo), sell the opposite, wait for it to update, and then make your profit. Of course you can wait until it starts to change too, but as soon as it does, you are able to sell, rather than wait till the next day.

  27. Will this work after 42 hours?
    MY teacher disqualifies if you sell before you’ve had it for 24 hours

  28. Joe,

    really the reason why I made up this more complicated technique was because my teacher required that we hold all stocks for at least three days, so yes, it will work fine after 42 hours.

  29. I am a middle school teacher and I love your cheat suggestions. We are using Stocksquest in our 8th grade classes and some students are reading about your cheats. Anything that makes the students more interested in economics works for me!

  30. Hahaha. I didn’t realize teachers were going to enjoy my writeup, but its good to hear that students are learning something!

  31. is the game down now? I’m trying to log in and it states as of 1/1/09 it’s no longer working

  32. jerseygirl,

    I just took a look at stocksquest, and it looks like the owners are taking it down! Guess everyone will have to find a new stockmarket simulator to use.

  33. How about the Investopedia Stock Simulator….heard it’s on a 15 minutes delay too. Does this strategy work there too?

  34. Hey Dave, I’ve never tried Investopedia, but if they too have a delay, then you might stand a chance. The big trick will really only work though if Investopedia doesn’t update their prices to the aftermarket though.

    If you do try it out on Investopedia, please let me know how it goes!

    Best of luck!

  35. StocksQuest is back up since months just so everyone knows. (PS.) my teacher got 65% on one stock -.-‘ I was so mad at him, he got 80k from it in 2 hours :(
    It went from $11 a share to almost $40 a share 😛

    I got about 20k in one stock, that’s my highest record so far… I’m in rank four. (teacher, other kid, someone who doesn’t count, then me)

  36. I say that this is a lot of help for my class i’m in a thing called space and we are doing stocks quest so now I can be the leader {I’m already the leader}

  37. is truly a real-time stock game if you want the real thing. They fill all trades at real-time bid/ask prices so there is no cheating this game. They also pay our prizes of $50 to the top student

  38. For my class we have to turn 100,000 into 500,000 in 3 months but whenever i purchase a stock thats ranked about 5 or 6 in aftermarket sale it usually goes down the next day since we have to keep are stocks for a day. How can I make some serious profits in this short amount of time?

  39. hey man,

    the only advice that i can give you, is that you should try to verify that the stock you’re buying has a good and solid reason for rising in price. if the news behind the company’s stock looks to be valid, then you should go ahead and buy it.

  40. need help. I bought stocks this mouring in the pre-market time slot(8-930) from looking at the aftermarket stocks of yesterday and stocksquest has`nt updated when i click on update to the after market price on the stocks. ANd when i try to sell i can`t anyway because u can`t buy and sell as u need to hold onto the stocks for a day. does that mean i should sell the stocks tommorow?

  41. hey alan, the market is closed on weekends, so you won’t see any price changes till monday.

  42. Whats the best website to use for afterhours…?

  43. i baught a stock mw said was goin up 4000% it didnt work i bought it at market close

  44. Does stockquest keep track of pre-market trading?

  45. @ChrisLinz

    stocksquest isn’t really aware of pre-market trading. In fact, it doesn’t even seem to be aware that the market closes, since it lets you purchase stock immediately at closing market prices when the market is closed.

  46. @Kevin

    not quite sure i follow you there…

  47. @Kevin

    yeah, ya dumb skankie.

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