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How Many Questions Can You Get Wrong on GMAT Quant?

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How Many Questions Can You Get Wrong on GMAT Quant?  [#permalink]

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New post 08 Oct 2017, 01:50
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A great article by Chelsey Cooley - Manhattan Prep

Some excerpts:

"That’s what makes the difference between someone who misses 18 Quant questions and scores a 500, and someone who misses 18 Quant questions and scores a 700. The 500 scorer might miss most of the 18 questions in a row at the end, due to poor time management. The 700 scorer misses those 18 questions throughout the section—she misses roughly every other question. The 500 scorer regularly misses easy questions, whether that’s because she’s weak on the math basics, or because she makes careless errors. The 700 scorer misses hard questions, and she does so deliberately: if she’s probably going to get a question wrong, she chooses to get it wrong quickly and spend her resources elsewhere."

"In short, you can miss 16-22 questions on the GMAT Quant section and still get a good score. But it’s just as easy to miss 16-22 questions on the Quant section and get a bad score."

The article:

How Many Questions Can You Get Wrong on GMAT Quant?



When you took tests in high school or college, your grade was based on the number of questions you got right. The only way to earn an A was by answering almost every question correctly. If you’ve been studying for a while, you’ve probably heard that the GMAT is different—but how different is it, really? You know that you’re supposed to miss questions on the test, but how many can you actually miss on the GMAT Quant section and still get a good score?

I recently reviewed 15 randomly-selected practice tests from a GMAT class I taught. These tests represent a wide range of ability levels. The GMAT Quant section is scored on a scale from 0 to 51, and the Quant scores I looked at ranged from 23 to 45. What I wanted to know was how many Quant questions students were actually missing.

Here are the results:

- Every single student missed between 16 and 22 GMAT Quant questions. That means that every student, regardless of Quant score, got between 41% and 57% of the Quant questions right. There wasn’t a single student who would’ve gotten a “passing” grade on a college grading scale, much less an A.

-10 of the 15 students missed 17, 18, or 19 Quant questions. That’s two thirds of the tests I checked. What’s more, one student scored a 37 on GMAT Quant with 18 missed questions, and another student scored a 45 with the exact same number of misses.

-The students with the lowest scores were fewer than four missed questions away from the students with the highest scores. The five students with the lowest Quant scores missed 21 questions, on average. The five students with the highest Quant scores missed 17.2 questions, on average.

That’s crazy, right? The GMAT Quant section has 37 questions. If it were anything like a normal math test, the weakest test-takers would miss almost every question, and the strongest test-takers would get almost every question correct. But for some reason, everyone is missing almost the same number of questions.

Here’s why that happens. MBA admissions committees aren’t actually interested in whether you’re great at factoring quadratics, or whether you can recognize a misplaced modifier. They care much more about whether you can:

-Make tough decisions under pressure
-Set appropriate priorities
-Learn new ways of thinking, and go outside of your comfort zone to put them into action

Because those are the skills that MBA programs care about, those are the skills the GMAT is designed to test. On this test, the number of questions you get right or wrong doesn’t matter. In fact, the number of questions you get wrong on the GMAT Quant section has already been decided, before you take the test: it’s somewhere between 16 and 22 (most likely 18 or 19). What actually matters is which questions you get wrong, and when you get them wrong.

That’s what makes the difference between someone who misses 18 Quant questions and scores a 500, and someone who misses 18 Quant questions and scores a 700. The 500 scorer might miss most of the 18 questions in a row at the end, due to poor time management. The 700 scorer misses those 18 questions throughout the section—she misses roughly every other question. The 500 scorer regularly misses easy questions, whether that’s because she’s weak on the math basics, or because she makes careless errors. The 700 scorer misses hard questions, and she does so deliberately: if she’s probably going to get a question wrong, she chooses to get it wrong quickly and spend her resources elsewhere.

In short, you can miss 16-22 questions on the GMAT Quant section and still get a good score. But it’s just as easy to miss 16-22 questions on the Quant section and get a bad score. You aren’t going to miss just 5 or 10 questions, unless you’re hoping for a 99th-percentile score—and possibly not even then! So, don’t worry about the number of questions you’re getting wrong, whether you’re studying or taking a practice test. Focus on increasing the difficulty of questions you can consistently get right, and on perfecting your test-taking strategy, and your score will improve even as your “grade” stays the same.

https://www.manhattanprep.com/gmat/blog/2016/05/09/how-many-questions-can-you-get-wrong-on-gmat-quant/
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How Many Questions Can You Get Wrong on GMAT Quant?  [#permalink]

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New post 16 Sep 2019, 13:14
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This article raises some good points about the adaptive scoring algorithm, but if you answer 18 questions wrong on the GMAT, then you're not going to score a 700, no matter where those questions are located.
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How Many Questions Can You Get Wrong on GMAT Quant?   [#permalink] 16 Sep 2019, 13:14
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