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How to get 23 questions wrong on the GMAT and still get a Perfect 800

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How to get 23 questions wrong on the GMAT and still get a Perfect 800 [#permalink]

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New post 20 Apr 2017, 07:38
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Did you know that 23 out the 90 questions on the GMAT (25.6% of the test) are experimental (a.k.a. pretest/research) questions that don't count toward your score?

IR section: 3 experimental questions
Quant: 9 experimental questions
Verbal: 11 experimental questions

Let's say that you get all 23 of those questions right. Doesn't matter.
Let's say that you get all 23 of those questions wrong. Doesn't matter either.

Think about this crazy fact: you could get all 23 of those experimental questions wrong, and all the other questions right, and still earn a perfect score with only 74% correct (67/90 = 74% correct), if you happen to have incredible luck. Conversely, if you have terrible luck, then you could get 23 questions wrong, all of which are counted questions, and this might earn you an GMAT score of about 550-600, even though you got the exact same percent of questions correct!

As you can see, the GMAT is a test of skill and preparation, yes, but it is also a test of luck and perseverance.

Keep trying.

-Brian

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Harvard grad and 770 GMAT scorer, offering high-quality private GMAT tutoring, both in-person and online via Skype, since 2002.

You can download my official test-taker score report directly from the Pearson Vue website: https://tinyurl.com/y8zh6qby Date of Birth: 09 December 1979.

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Last edited by mcelroytutoring on 27 May 2017, 10:02, edited 6 times in total.
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Re: How to get 23 questions wrong on the GMAT and still get a Perfect 800 [#permalink]

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New post 24 Apr 2017, 13:37
Good info, thanks! Although the title is a bit misleading.
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Re: How to get 23 questions wrong on the GMAT and still get a Perfect 800 [#permalink]

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New post 04 May 2017, 00:26
Hi Brian,

I just wonder where you got that information?
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Re: How to get 23 questions wrong on the GMAT and still get a Perfect 800 [#permalink]

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New post 04 May 2017, 06:33
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Hi livelyangel, we were able to conclude the exact number of "pretest" / experimental questions on each section by using the ESR (Enhanced Score Report) "percent correct by quartile" information, derived from analyzing the reports of hundreds of GMAT club members, to determine the correct denominator (actual number of counted questions) for each quarter of the test.

https://gmatclub.com/forum/couple-quest ... l#p1767360
_________________

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You can download my official test-taker score report directly from the Pearson Vue website: https://tinyurl.com/y8zh6qby Date of Birth: 09 December 1979.

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Re: How to get 23 questions wrong on the GMAT and still get a Perfect 800 [#permalink]

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New post 06 May 2017, 22:35
Don't want to sound rude but in my opinion this information isn't too useful to a test-taker. There's no way to identify which is an experimental question and which isn't. Hence as test-takers, we need to approach all questions with the same type of focus.
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How to get 23 questions wrong on the GMAT and still get a Perfect 800 [#permalink]

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New post 07 May 2017, 08:19
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nishantd88 wrote:
Don't want to sound rude but in my opinion this information isn't too useful to a test-taker. There's no way to identify which is an experimental question and which isn't. Hence as test-takers, we need to approach all questions with the same type of focus.

It's OK--I don't take it personally. Obviously, the title is meant to be somewhat tongue-in-cheek: I agree that there is little *strategic* benefit to knowing this information when you are taking the GMAT: you have to assume that every question counts, and try to get every question right. Yet I would argue that it should somewhat affect your pacing / guessing strategy / overall aggressiveness level to know that there is a >25% chance that any question you are stuck on doesn't count--it helps you realize that no one question should make or break your score, unless you allow this to happen by spending too much time (>2 or 3 min), or way too much time (>4 min), on a single question.

From a psychological perspective, though, knowing the high number of pretest / experimental questions helps you better understand why GMAT scores can vary so much on test day. This data also helps explain why it makes sense to be persistent, and to give yourself time for a couple of extra attempts if you have a lofty score goal.

In other words, if official GMAT scores were a poll, then the "margin of error" would be higher than normal because of all the experimental questions. If I contact 90 people to ask for their opinions, but only record the opinions of 67 of them (the real GMAT), then of course the results of the poll will be less accurate than had I counted all 90 opinions (GMATPrep).

-Brian
_________________

Harvard grad and 770 GMAT scorer, offering high-quality private GMAT tutoring, both in-person and online via Skype, since 2002.

You can download my official test-taker score report directly from the Pearson Vue website: https://tinyurl.com/y8zh6qby Date of Birth: 09 December 1979.

GMAT Action Plan - McElroy Tutoring

Top Contributor
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Director
User avatar
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Status: Professional GMAT Tutor
Affiliations: AB, cum laude, Harvard University (Class of '02)
Joined: 10 Jul 2015
Posts: 515
Location: United States (CA)
Age: 38
GMAT 1: 770 Q47 V48
GMAT 2: 730 Q44 V47
GMAT 3: 750 Q50 V42
GRE 1: 337 Q168 V169
WE: Education (Education)
How to get 23 questions wrong on the GMAT and still get a Perfect 800 [#permalink]

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New post 16 Jan 2018, 14:26
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Update, 1/16/18: Recent ESR information that has come to light has suggested that the GMAC is not being fully transparent about the experimental questions, and that while they are technically "unscored," they might still affect the overall difficulty of the test and the section scoring algorithm. You will see in the example linked above, for example, that some students who answer 100% of Verbal questions correctly still only earn a V50 score instead of a perfect score of V51. If so, then what other explanation can there be, than the fact that the experimentals do matter?

This news helps explain why, with the hundreds of thousands of GMATs taken each year, why no one has managed to luck his/her way into a perfect 800 score. And in a weird way, it seems fair. When taking the GMAT, we have to assume that all the questions count, and still try our best on them, so shouldn't they at least count in some minor way?

My only real concern is that the GMAC has not been fully honest about these "pretest" questions and their role in the test: for decades, they have assured test-takers that the experimental questions are "unscored." However, that's not exactly surprising news.
_________________

Harvard grad and 770 GMAT scorer, offering high-quality private GMAT tutoring, both in-person and online via Skype, since 2002.

You can download my official test-taker score report directly from the Pearson Vue website: https://tinyurl.com/y8zh6qby Date of Birth: 09 December 1979.

GMAT Action Plan - McElroy Tutoring

How to get 23 questions wrong on the GMAT and still get a Perfect 800   [#permalink] 16 Jan 2018, 14:26
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