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# Less correct answers but higher score on practice tests?

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Intern
Joined: 27 Mar 2013
Posts: 2

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01 Apr 2013, 08:10
Hey all,

So I'm new to GMAT prep and focusing on quant right now. Just had a quick question, I've taken 3 practice exams and have noticed that, although I've answered less questions correctly, my score has increased? How can that be exactly? I'm taking the test in two weeks and just want to know I'm going in the right direction but the scoring is throwing me off, lol Sorry if it's a silly question, I'm a GMAT noob.
Founder
Joined: 04 Dec 2002
Posts: 17516
Location: United States (WA)
GMAT 1: 750 Q49 V42
GPA: 3.5

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01 Apr 2013, 09:33
Welcome to GMAT Club!

You are correct in your suspicion - the number of correct/mistake answers does not have a direct correlation to the GMAT Score. What matters, is how many hard questions you have answered correctly. Also, the experimental questions, throw a wrench into the whole thing too and there are about 30% of them on any given official GMAT test.

So, don't worry about the inconsistency. Instead focus on your score and then do a mistake analysis to make sure you can solve all of those questions next time you see something similar.
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Joined: 11 Dec 2012
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01 Apr 2013, 09:35
shiftyeyes67k wrote:
Hey all,

So I'm new to GMAT prep and focusing on quant right now. Just had a quick question, I've taken 3 practice exams and have noticed that, although I've answered less questions correctly, my score has increased? How can that be exactly? I'm taking the test in two weeks and just want to know I'm going in the right direction but the scoring is throwing me off, lol Sorry if it's a silly question, I'm a GMAT noob.

Hi Shiftyeyes67k, this answer can get pretty elaborate, but let me highlight the important aspects for the scoring algorithm

1) The subject matter of the question is very important. If it's a complicated question about cubic roots and you get it wrong, your score might drop 10 points. If it's 2+2 and you write 6, your score might drop 40 points because the exam assumes you don't know anything about basic math. (the point drops are for illustrative purposes only)
2) Long strings of right/wrong affect your score much more than oscillating between right and wrong. If you get question 1 right then 2 wrong then 3 right then 4 wrong etc, your score won't really move at all. You're somewhere between 500 and 520. If you get 10 right in a row, your score will go up a fair bit, if you then get a few wrong then a few right it won't move much afterwards. Long strings of correct answers boost your grade much more than two in a row right then one wrong.
3) Some questions are experimental, which means they don't actually count towards your score. On the real GMAT 7-8 questions per section fall into this category, so many practice tests mimic this scoring guide, so luck plays a bit of a factor in your grade (from 550 to 570, not from 550 to 750).
4) Some people postulate that the first 10 or last 10 are more impactful than the middle 20, but this is very hard to corroborate so take it with a grain of salt. I personally am not a big believer in this strategy of focusing on the first and last 10 and jogging through the middle, but it's a strategy like any other.

In conclusion, if your score is going up, it's very likely you're better covering your bases and missing less "easy" questions. This is a good sign for your prep and eventual exam.

Hope this helps!
-Ron
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Joined: 27 Mar 2013
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01 Apr 2013, 10:15
Thanks guys! the explanations definitely put me a bit more at ease, lol.
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Joined: 12 Dec 2016
Posts: 1530
Location: United States
GMAT 1: 700 Q49 V33
GPA: 3.64

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11 Jul 2017, 01:11
just one quick question, "Less correct answers but higher score on practice tests?" -< can I say less of correct answers... instead?
GMAT Tutor
Joined: 24 Jun 2008
Posts: 1518

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11 Jul 2017, 10:10
Grammatically, you'd need to say "fewer correct answers". Fewer things, less of a single thing, is the rule - fewer apples, less milk.
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Joined: 24 Jun 2008
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11 Jul 2017, 10:14
VeritasPrepRon wrote:
1) The subject matter of the question is very important. If it's a complicated question about cubic roots and you get it wrong, your score might drop 10 points. If it's 2+2 and you write 6, your score might drop 40 points because the exam assumes you don't know anything about basic math. (the point drops are for illustrative purposes only)

In case this is misleading to some, it's not true that the 'subject matter' of a question is important. It's the difficulty level of the problem that matters - if a problem is 300-level, it doesn't matter if it's a Geometry problem or a Probability problem, getting it wrong will hurt you equally much.

But as Ron correctly points out, it gets a bit complicated to explain the algorithm without oversimplifying things a lot.
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Re: Less correct answers but higher score on practice tests?   [#permalink] 11 Jul 2017, 10:14
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# Less correct answers but higher score on practice tests?

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