Question about how they score the GMAT : General GMAT Questions and Strategies
Check GMAT Club Decision Tracker for the Latest School Decision Releases

It is currently 21 Jan 2017, 12:47
GMAT Club Tests


GMAT Club Daily Prep

Thank you for using the timer - this advanced tool can estimate your performance and suggest more practice questions. We have subscribed you to Daily Prep Questions via email.

for You

we will pick new questions that match your level based on your Timer History

Your Progress

every week, we’ll send you an estimated GMAT score based on your performance


we will pick new questions that match your level based on your Timer History

Not interested in getting valuable practice questions and articles delivered to your email? No problem, unsubscribe here.


Request Expert Reply

Confirm Cancel

Events & Promotions

Events & Promotions in June
Open Detailed Calendar

Question about how they score the GMAT

  new topic post reply Question banks Downloads My Bookmarks Reviews Important topics  
Author Message
User avatar
Joined: 04 Aug 2005
Posts: 202
Followers: 1

Kudos [?]: 7 [0], given: 0

Question about how they score the GMAT [#permalink]

Show Tags

New post 04 Apr 2007, 11:00
OK, so this may sound like a silly question, but I'm a bit confused. I just took my first GMATprep and scored a 600. Now, don't get me wrong, I am thrilled with this score after a month of studying and my first time taking a timed CAT version. My question is, how is this possible when I got 18 questions wrong in the Q section and 10 wrong in the V section?

Yes, I understand that they take off fewer points if you get a hard question wrong than if you get an easy one wrong, so does this mean that (especially in the Q section), I was just getting all the super hard ones wrong? I guess I'm just questioning this because 600 seems to be a high score considering I got almost 1/2 of all the Q questions wrong!
Senior Manager
Senior Manager
User avatar
Joined: 30 Aug 2006
Posts: 374
Followers: 3

Kudos [?]: 65 [0], given: 0


Show Tags

New post 05 Apr 2007, 11:00
I wouldn't worry about the number of questions you get wrong. No one knows how the algorithm works (outside of Pearson / ETS etc), but its definitely possible to get high scores with multiple mistakes. 49Q is still possible with over 10 wrong questions. You also have to bear in mind some of the questions are experimental.....
User avatar
Joined: 31 Jul 2006
Posts: 2304
Schools: Darden
Followers: 43

Kudos [?]: 475 [0], given: 0


Show Tags

New post 13 Apr 2007, 23:52
As I understand it, the CAT doesn't assign points based on the difficulty of a question. Instead, the CAT will select questions as you go along, based on how you are doing so far. The traditional view is that the first question in a section will be a medium difficulty question (call it 500 level). If you get that right, you might get a really tough question (call it 700+ level). If you get that wrong, you might get something in between, say a 600 level.

By midway through the test, the theory is that the CAT will have ascertained the general level that you are testing at, and will then just ask question to fine tune the final score. Say you do well early in the test and are at a 700-750 range. It will then throw a series of questions in this range at you. If you get 1/2 right and 1/2 wrong, it will know that you should be scored in that range. If you get a bunch right or wrong, your score could get shifted to a higher or lower range. Conceivably, if you do well early on, you could miss 1/2 the questions in the last 2/3 of each section and still get into the 600 range.

I think this is why many people have the believe that the final few questions can't really do that much to swing your score. Even if you get the last 3 right or wrong, your score will probably only move 10-20 points because your score range has already been identified. This is just a theory so I wouldn't advise any strategies that ignore the last part of each section.
Senior Manager
Senior Manager
Joined: 23 Jun 2006
Posts: 387
Followers: 1

Kudos [?]: 322 [0], given: 0


Show Tags

New post 14 Apr 2007, 01:14
the algorithms for scoring GMAT are relying on a statistical theory called "item response theory".

every question in the GMAT database is associated with few parameters the describes its level of difficulty and other statistical characteristics.

throughout the test the computer evaluate (and re-evalute) your score based on your answers. it is easiest to think of it as if the computer calculate a "confidence interval" for your score. so at the beginning the onfidence interval might be 200-800 (or slightly less on each side).
each answer provide's the computer data (based on the answer and the questions' statistical parameters) to adjust this confidence interval, and the computer tries to choose questions that will gve it maxinmum information possible. so if your cuurent scre interval is 500-600 the computer will not give you a question targeted at 700 scorers...

each question, beside moving this confidence interval up or down, will also make the range itself smaller, until at certain point it will get to a single number.

the number of question required to achieve that may be different between people, and depends on their answering patterns.

for example, suppose you got two questions, one at a level of 600 and one at a level of 700. if you got the first right and the second wrong then the computer, with more "confidence" assign you a score in the range 600-700. but if it was vice versa (you got the 700 question right and the other wrong) - then the computer might give you a higher/lower score (dependig on other parameters) but with less confidence, and require more questions to get the required level of confidence.

this also explains why you can get some wrong questions without you score being penalized - those question were used mainly to enhance the level of confidence (sometimes measured by confidence intervals or standard deviation or other statistics), rather than affecting directly on your score.

the problem with all the details of the theory is that they DONT HELP YOU PREPARE for the test, or make a better strategy.

the guidelines that you should try harder to get the first questions correct are true: any "learning theory" will say that most learning and adjustments are made based on the initial information, while later information is used mainly for reinforcement. this is true for item-response-theory and GMAT as well.

but beyond that, i find that there are almost no "tricks" to fool the algorithms...
  [#permalink] 14 Apr 2007, 01:14
    Similar topics Author Replies Last post
3 Experts publish their posts in the topic Question about GMAT score JessT477 8 16 Jul 2015, 16:12
Experts publish their posts in the topic Question about the GMAT score Jeli13 8 06 Apr 2015, 04:04
Question about GMAT Score surfer123 7 26 Dec 2010, 17:59
Experts publish their posts in the topic A question about the scoring of the GMAT Calabash 3 14 Jul 2010, 02:38
Experts publish their posts in the topic Question about the GMAT scoring algorithm ThomasD 2 09 Jan 2010, 17:46
Display posts from previous: Sort by

Question about how they score the GMAT

  new topic post reply Question banks Downloads My Bookmarks Reviews Important topics  

Moderators: WaterFlowsUp, HiLine

GMAT Club MBA Forum Home| About| Terms and Conditions| GMAT Club Rules| Contact| Sitemap

Powered by phpBB © phpBB Group and phpBB SEO

Kindly note that the GMAT® test is a registered trademark of the Graduate Management Admission Council®, and this site has neither been reviewed nor endorsed by GMAC®.