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# GMAT Scoring Algorithm - My observations

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18 Oct 2007, 10:15
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solidcolor wrote:
Thanks. Interesting post.

However, for the sake of PRACTICING, I would really want to know, ow many WRONG ANSWERS are allowed if I am targeting 700, for example?

I wonder how people could tell they scored V43 Q47, blah blah...

What I knew from trial tests (paper based) was, for example, I got 31/37 right answers for Quant, 31/41 right answers for Verbal.

How should I estimate my "level"?

I know that everyone claims "there is no answer" for "how many" you should get right when practicing. I've been struggling with the same issue and have, in fact, posted a very similar question earlier on this forum to no avail. Through the study/practice process and scouring this forum once in a while, I did come up with a "methodology" of sorts that should help you target and tune your practice sessions to your target score. In retrospect, the approach is reminiscent of how the software attempts to zoom in on your score.

The key here is question difficulty. On the GMAT, not all questions are created equal, and so, your practice of "typical % correct" must also include a dimension of difficulty. The OG makes this possible since the questions in those books are sorted, roughly, by difficulty (from easiest to hardest).

Here's a method I used to target 700 in practice...

Divie up the questions in PS and DS into quartiles (1/4ths). The first quartile is rated "upto 500", the second "upto 600", the third "upto 700", and the last "upto 800". When practicing, you should be able to get over 90-95% correct consistently on the first 3 quartiles to get close to or break a 700. That's it. More specifically, I'd say 100% on the first, 95% on the second, and 90% on the third. If you can do this, you can be assured that the CAT will tempt you with 800 level questions and, by virtue of probability alone, you will get one of them right... that should counteract the one or two you get wrong on the 700 or 600 level. A higher percentage of correct on the highest quartile, assuming a stellar performance on the lower questions, should bump your score above 700.

This is in line with the standard GMAT study approach of:

I. Fundamentals. [up to 600]
II. Consistency. [up to 700]
III. Challenging math. [700+]

In other words, if you know the stuff but are as careless as a, to quote from above, a retarded monkey, you should hit ~600. If you know your stuff and know the difference between + and - (unlike yours truly, for instance), you should be able to rub elbows with 700. If you can do all this and carry a big heavy math whooping stick for those tough 800-level quants, you will likely join the ranks of the fine 700 club members. (oh wait... there's verbal too?! )

In summation...
1. consistent 10/10 on the first 50% of OG
2. consistent 9/10 on the 50-75% of OG
3. and *some* number of the last 25% of OG
...is a recipe for GMAT [quant] success.

Hope this helps.
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23 Oct 2008, 02:42
Thank you rhyme(again!!) and thank you Kry for posting this .....
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28 Oct 2008, 12:49
This is a very contraversial issue, I believe first 10 questions bear more importance tho...

maybe they throw more experimental questions later on to throw u off or something but if u dont do well in the beginning u will have fewer chances to answer harder questions

also, who decides which questions are harder? stats?

for example, someone could struggle with divison or some simple computing crap like that and be very good in geometry and probability but end up never seeing those questions because of getting several wrong answer in the beginning of the test.
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28 Oct 2008, 12:58
spiridon wrote:
This is a very contraversial issue, I believe first 10 questions bear more importance tho...

maybe they throw more experimental questions later on to throw u off or something but if u dont do well in the beginning u will have fewer chances to answer harder questions

also, who decides which questions are harder? stats?

for example, someone could struggle with divison or some simple computing crap like that and be very good in geometry and probability but end up never seeing those questions because of getting several wrong answer in the beginning of the test.

GMAC says that GMAT tries to give the test-taker a wide spread of questions (spread in terms of different topics; geometry,arithmetic etc...) I agree what might be tough for one, might be easy for other.

I have noticed on GMATPrep, I get good scores when I have minimum number of questions wrong in first 15.
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Re: GMAT Algorithm -- Myths and Facts [#permalink]

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17 Feb 2009, 15:40
Expert's post
Threads are a bit old but still very good - merged
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Re: GMAT Scoring Algorithm - My observations [#permalink]

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24 Feb 2009, 12:51
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I believe you will get the worst score when you do consecutive mistakes(it could be anywhere in 1-37 or in 1-41)
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Re: GMAT Scoring Algorithm - My observations [#permalink]

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24 Feb 2009, 13:05
Expert's post
nitya34 wrote:
I believe you will get the worst score when you do consecutive mistakes(it could be anywhere in 1-37 or in 1-41)

That's what GMAC seems to say - if 3 questions are missed in a row - the test things that the level was too high and needs to be adjusted down, so the score goes down.

If every other question is missed, that means the test evaluated your performance with maximum precision.
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Re: GMAT Scoring Algorithm - My observations [#permalink]

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25 Feb 2009, 08:02
Yes and I experienced the same when i was running short of time in verbal(mid range) during real exam(I got 590-48,24,4.5) and did consecuting mistakes in CR and almost answered one easy RC at the end in 3-4 mins.
More practice is the only way we can tackle the GMAT monster
practice means we can be familiar with the pattern of Qs(be it DS or CR)

bb wrote:
nitya34 wrote:
I believe you will get the worst score when you do consecutive mistakes(it could be anywhere in 1-37 or in 1-41)

That's what GMAC seems to say - if 3 questions are missed in a row - the test things that the level was too high and needs to be adjusted down, so the score goes down.

If every other question is missed, that means the test evaluated your performance with maximum precision.

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Re: GMAT Scoring Algorithm - My observations [#permalink]

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10 Mar 2009, 02:53
There's still something I don't understand about the GMAT. Does your final score refect your absolute performance, or does it reflect your performance relative to other candidates who took the same test? In other words, can 2 people with the same quant and verbal score have a different score at the end?

As a non American, I really have difficulty in understanding why the rating and the structure of this test has been made so sophisticated. I simply don't see the point in using an adaptive test since the only way to provide an absolutely impartial and fair test is to propose the same questions to all candidates. From the moment when questions are different for each candidate (because they are statistically inferred), there is systematically a bias...

Mark
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Re: GMAT Scoring Algorithm - My observations [#permalink]

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10 Mar 2009, 16:32
Expert's post
Mark53 wrote:
There's still something I don't understand about the GMAT. Does your final score refect your absolute performance, or does it reflect your performance relative to other candidates who took the same test? In other words, can 2 people with the same quant and verbal score have a different score at the end?

As a non American, I really have difficulty in understanding why the rating and the structure of this test has been made so sophisticated. I simply don't see the point in using an adaptive test since the only way to provide an absolutely impartial and fair test is to propose the same questions to all candidates. From the moment when questions are different for each candidate (because they are statistically inferred), there is systematically a bias...

Mark

You get a final score and a percentile.
The score stays the same always and is directly related to your raw scores (math and verbal). There may be a few minor overlaps in scores since GMAT operates in multiples of 10, but generally a set of math and verbal raw scores will correspond only to one GMAT score.

However, what GMAT also does, it provides with a percentile score that actually changes very slowly year after year. When I got 750 in 2002, it was 99th percentile. Today it is 98th. Here is a link to the document that shows the relationship between raw scores and percentiles - http://gmatclub.com/forum/t75809-frequently-asked-questions-about-gmat. Look for the GMAT Score Guide.

Let me know if this does not do it for you.
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Re: GMAT Scoring Algorithm - My observations [#permalink]

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11 Mar 2009, 07:28
Ok, thank you very much bb.

According to you, percentiles are redefined year after year so when someone takes the test and gets a score, he/she won't be compared with the people who took the very same test but with all people who took the GMAT during the year. This looks surprising, because a session may be more difficult than others (for instance when experimental questions happen to be particularly difficult).
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Re: GMAT Scoring Algorithm - My observations [#permalink]

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11 Mar 2009, 10:45
Expert's post
Mark53 wrote:
Ok, thank you very much bb.

According to you, percentiles are redefined year after year so when someone takes the test and gets a score, he/she won't be compared with the people who took the very same test but with all people who took the GMAT during the year. This looks surprising, because a session may be more difficult than others (for instance when experimental questions happen to be particularly difficult).

Experimental questions do not count for your score, though you are correct in the sense that they may eat up more of your time than others, which reconfirms the strategy that one should not spend more than 2.5 mins on a question. At the same time, the questions you see, may be completely different from the questions presented to your neighbor, esp. if you have a different level of difficulty (or could be different questions for the sake of being different), so comparing people from the same session does not really help since the test is adaptive.

As to the tests, they are and have been consistent, despite a number of claims, and have provided a good level of measurement of one's skills.
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26 Apr 2009, 22:19
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Guys, in the GMAT, are the first 10 questions more important than the others? I remember taking a Princeton sessio last year where they said so but Manhattan GMAT says this is not the case. Any ideas?

I just took a practice GMAT from the practice tests mba.com sends out and I noticed that even though I got 15 wrong on the math section and only 5 wrong on the verbal section, my math overall score was higher. heres te breakdown of which questions I got wrong:

math:
9,14,18,20,22,26,28,29,30,31,33,34,35,36,37
overall math score: 46

verbal:
3,14,24,28,41
overall verbal score: 42

the only thing i can think of is that because i got an early questio wrong in verbal that really hurt me.

any thoughts? thanks!
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04 May 2009, 20:17
jimjohn wrote:
Guys, in the GMAT, are the first 10 questions more important than the others? I remember taking a Princeton sessio last year where they said so but Manhattan GMAT says this is not the case. Any ideas?

I just took a practice GMAT from the practice tests mba.com sends out and I noticed that even though I got 15 wrong on the math section and only 5 wrong on the verbal section, my math overall score was higher. heres te breakdown of which questions I got wrong:

math:
9,14,18,20,22,26,28,29,30,31,33,34,35,36,37
overall math score: 46

verbal:
3,14,24,28,41
overall verbal score: 42

the only thing i can think of is that because i got an early questio wrong in verbal that really hurt me.

any thoughts? thanks!

Whew!. You got only 1 correct in the last 10 Q questions and still got a 46 overall.

How ever, you got 5 incorrect all over the V section and they are spaced all over the place.. You still get 42. Lets say all the 5 Q's you got wrong are not experimental, You still should have answered 25 Q's correct out of 30 and you get a 42 in V. In V, the gains are more for every correct Q. I dont get it. Really crazy! Is this ETS PowerPrep or the latest GMATPrep?

Thanks
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Re: GMAT Scoring Algorithm - My observations [#permalink]

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06 May 2009, 17:54
k, I know that I am going to cause a stir for the nth time. But I will do so as I am starting to feel that GMAC has got me confused more than enough.

In page 17 of OG11 Myth vs Fact, GMAC goes on to say

It is true that the CAT algorithm uses the first 10 questions to obtain an initial estimate of your ability.

There is more but given that 1/4th of the questions do not count to the score and the first 10 are used to estimate the ability of the test taker, can we safely infer that the first 10 does not contain any questions that are not counted towards the test. IIRC, Stacey Koprince of MGMAT interviewed some one from GMAC and the gist of the story was that Not all questions in the final 5 are dummy questions. In a quant section this essentially boils down to 8-9 non counted questions from 22 questions. That is one Q out of every 3 does not count?

It is obvious that many test takers do run out of time in the end and GMAC's purpose of gauging the difficulty of a Question will not be served if the last few Q's are randomly answered. It is in the interest of GMAC to put as many Questions as possible into the middle 20 to get a gauge.

How ever, I might be wrong here as GMAC might take into consideration the time taken to answer a Question & location of the Question in the test (ie 35th out of 37) to count that particular test taker's answer in calculating the difficulty of the question. What might be a last Q for one test taker might be a middle Q for another test taker?

Has any one ran GMATprep a few number of times to see how things work out? Does the idea/rumor that the first and last quarter of the test contain almost no non counted questions and most of the non counted questions are in the second and third quarter of Questions has some legs?

All said, I am not saying that take 30 min for first 10 questions as many test prep companies say. I would still go with the 20 min for the first 10. How ever, I would prefer shrinking the time for 2nd and 3rd quarters to make sure that I have 2 min per Q on the last 10. Most of the times, it is the final Quarter of Q;s that most test takers, including myself, fall short on time.

On a side note, I am doing the GMATClub challenges and I am able to complete 32-33 Q's of Quant. Given that these are tough Questions, Do you guys think I will have time issues with Quant section? I am getting to the 38 range on verbal tests (MGMAT/GC). What kind of time strategies are you guys using? I have learnt to shed my ego on Quant. I broke my Quant into 10 min intervals 5 Q each and the last 2 get 5 min (ideally). The reason I chose smaller intervals is because it is very easy to loose time on a single Q in Quant. I am trying to do some thing on scratch paper unlike thinking on a V question during which sense of time can be easily lost. I broke my Quant into 4 pieces (11 + 10 + 10 +10 ) with almost equal times give or take a min or two around 19 minutes. What I have noted is I am getting to the last set of 10 Questions any where between 14-16 min and that is killing 3 Questions. I also noted that some times, I waste time on a V question making sure that I did not screw up with a silly mistake. Thoughts fellas?
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Re: GMAT Scoring Algorithm - My observations [#permalink]

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06 May 2009, 22:50
Expert's post
You are bringing up good points and of course stirring the pot.

I do think you are after something here though as I always thought the middle portion of the gmat (questions 15 - 30) are filler questions that seem to be average difficulty even for higher scoring test takers. I got 49 on my math and I thought the questions that were in the middle of the test were fairly straightforward. Their level actually scored me and made me paranoid as I thought I was failing. I do have to say that through the entire exam I felt as though I was failing and for about half a second considered canceling my score (very briefly) but curiosity got the best of me.
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Re: GMAT Scoring Algorithm - My observations [#permalink]

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26 Nov 2009, 15:15
I am going to have to say I am very relieved to see a set of GMATPrep scores where the number of questions answered incorrectly on Quant were significantly higher than Verbal but the raw score on Quant was higher than the rawscore on Verbal.

My own experience with GMAT Prep 1 is that - I got 12 out of 37 questions incorrect on Quant and got a raw score of 48 and 8 of these 12 questions were on the second half of the test!

I got 7 of the 41 questions on Verbal wrong and the raw score was 40 with 4 out of first 15 being incorrect.

My mind was reeling with the mind-boggling scores until I saw a post on similar experience on this thread.

Thanks for sharing the Prep1 score breakdown.
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Re: GMAT Scoring Algorithm - My observations [#permalink]

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04 Dec 2009, 12:40
Great posts. Thanks a lot Hjorn.
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Re: GMAT Scoring Algorithm - My observations [#permalink]

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23 May 2010, 05:09
In my experience, there are THREE KEY guidelines to follow:
- First 8-12 questions REALLY set the tone
- For the remainder, try to get on AUTOPILOT mode (right/wrong/right/wrong is MUCH MORE PREFERABLE than wrong/wrong/right/right/right)
- FINISH THE TEST.

This for quant.

For verbal, you just have to get as many right as possible, period. I remember in a practice test I didn't make my first mistake until question 18, made only two more mistakes, and I got a 45.
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Re: GMAT Scoring Algorithm - My observations [#permalink]

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15 May 2011, 03:32
Hi hijort,
I got a clear idea abt the scoring mechanism in GMAt:).
Thanks so much
Re: GMAT Scoring Algorithm - My observations   [#permalink] 15 May 2011, 03:32

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# GMAT Scoring Algorithm - My observations

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