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Newbie Question (Arleady read FAQs) about scoring

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Newbie Question (Arleady read FAQs) about scoring [#permalink] New post 20 Mar 2009, 13:24
Please excuse this newbie question, but I'm having a hard time with studying for the GMAT because I'm used to the LSAT, where there is a specific table for converting raw score to scaled score. When I studied for it, I had a specific goal in mind, i.e. "I know I can only get X number of questions wrong and still get the score I need."

I know that the GMAT is adaptive and that it uses a complicated algorithm based on various factors to calculate a scaled score for each section.

However, just so I can have something to shoot for in terms of # of questions I get right during my practicing, how many questions approximately for each section can I get wrong to get above a 730 on the GMAT?

I'm aware that there is no way to precisely answer this question, but please let me know a ballpark estimate.

For example, can I get 5 quant questions wrong and 5 verbal questions wrong and still break 730?

Maybe I should ask instead, how many questions in the first 15 questions of each section can I get wrong and still reasonably expect a 730+?

Thanks for your indulgence.
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Re: Newbie Question (Arleady read FAQs) about scoring [#permalink] New post 20 Mar 2009, 13:41
Expert's post
thistime wrote:
Please excuse this newbie question, but I'm having a hard time with studying for the GMAT because I'm used to the LSAT, where there is a specific table for converting raw score to scaled score. When I studied for it, I had a specific goal in mind, i.e. "I know I can only get X number of questions wrong and still get the score I need."

I know that the GMAT is adaptive and that it uses a complicated algorithm based on various factors to calculate a scaled score for each section.

However, just so I can have something to shoot for in terms of # of questions I get right during my practicing, how many questions approximately for each section can I get wrong to get above a 730 on the GMAT?

I'm aware that there is no way to precisely answer this question, but please let me know a ballpark estimate.

For example, can I get 5 quant questions wrong and 5 verbal questions wrong and still break 730?

Maybe I should ask instead, how many questions in the first 15 questions of each section can I get wrong and still reasonably expect a 730+?

Thanks for your indulgence.


What most people don't take into consideration is the experimental questions that are not scored - so if you make 5 mistakes in 5 experimental questions, then you technically did not make any mistakes. About 15-30% of questions are experimental at any test.

As a huge generalization, I will throw this out - with 5 and 5 you should be able to get 730 easily since some of the 5+5 will be experimental questions (chances are)

Have you taken any of the practice tests yet or just The Official Guide?
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Re: Newbie Question (Arleady read FAQs) about scoring [#permalink] New post 20 Mar 2009, 13:47
Thanks a lot for the quick response.

I haven't taken the full tests yet because I hear they are in limited supply and I want to sharpen my skills first, especially on math, before I take on the full tests, so that they are better indicators of how I'll do on game day.

I did buy the official guide and just finished the "Diagnostic Verbal" sections. I got 17/17 right on Reading Comp, 14/17 right on Critical Reasoning, and 15/18 right on Sentence Completion. This is my first crack at the test. Is that near 730 potential, do you think? This was my first time ever seeing sentence completion questions too. I'm not too worried about Reading Comp and Critical Reasoning because they are easier versions of their LSAT counterparts to me.

I haven't done math since high school, so I'm still reviewing the quant basics before I attack the questions.

When would you suggest taking the first simulated test?
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Re: Newbie Question (Arleady read FAQs) about scoring [#permalink] New post 20 Mar 2009, 14:04
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There are a number of opinions on when to take your first simulated test.
here is what I did and it seemed to work, but this is definitely not the only way:

I took a practice test (PowerPrep or GMATPrep) - yes I "wasted" it but I was able to get my position at the beginning of the prep. Having a starting point, and a goal, I was able to put together a strategy/study plan to achieve my goal. Keep in mind that i scored 540 on my powerprep, so I definitely needed a lot of help. I thought that was a better strategy than assume I was good in something, which I was not and then I used my weaknesses to improve. It gave me a realistic picture and a necessary motivation to kick my behind. On the other hand, you could also take any similar CAT test and get a clear picture and save your GMAT Prep for the last month to hone your strategy and evaluate final result with close accuracy - any GMAT book you buy these days has a test in it.

Another strategy is to take a GMAT Prep test in the middle of your prep - take the verbal portion only for example after you are done with verbal to get an understanding of your position - I think that's also extremely helpful too but any practice test from Kaplan, PR, or MGMAT could do that for you. Of course GMAT Prep would give the most accurate results.

P.S. Official Guide is not very hard by the way, so don't be fooled.
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Re: Newbie Question (Arleady read FAQs) about scoring   [#permalink] 20 Mar 2009, 14:04
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