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# Question about the actual GMAT score percentile and accuracy

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Manager
Joined: 08 Jan 2019
Posts: 56

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06 Feb 2019, 23:00
Hi

I have a quick question about the accuracy, score and percentile.
My assumption currently is that in order to get a 700+ there are a few factors

1. Q 45+ V 38+ -
I have achieved the above in the practice tests from Kaplan and Veritas but with a variable score - i.e the score can range anywhere from 650+.
In the actual GMAT Prep practice test a Q 42 is however giving a much less percentile than other practice exams.

a) Should I be concerned about the percentile or schools accept the score? And if so what is a good score for Quants for the top tier and 2nd tier schools.
b) For Verbal the variation in percentile is even greater in practice tests like Kaplan and Veritas than the actual GMAT prep exam. What should I look as a score and as a percentile and when the score flashes.

2. Next comes accuracy of actually answering questions correctly.

From Kaplan and Veritas, which is what I have been basing my abilities on till date an assumption of 50 questions answered correctly in total in both the Verbal and Quants section would take me upwards of 630-650. This could be broken into various accuracies in the different section depending on what mental set up I was going in - to crack the maths or crack the verbal - given it is a practice.

In the GMAT prep test that I have given so far - looks like the stress on verbal accuracy to score ratio is too high. In the sense from the score, if I make certain calculations it looks like getting only 20 correct in Quants would suffice - and I would have to aim extremely high - as high as 31-32 accurate in Verbal. If I am in the 27 correct zone in verbal and 25-27 correct zone in Quants - I am almost thinking - that though that puts me in a 54 question correct accuracy - I still might be lingering in the 600 zone - max upper 600 zone?
Am I correct in my assumptions here? That all focus for a higher score in GMAT is based on Verbal abilities mostly in the recent format?

3. I have heard this from quite a few test takers that luck on the day of the GMAT plays a big factor in crossing the 700 barrier i.e they might never have crossed the 650 + in practice tests but do get 700+ in the actual test - my experience looks the opposite though. I guess the luck is a combination of getting known questions, how focused and tuned I am myself. However, from posts, it looks like some of the questions are actually not scored at all. That is also supposedly not based on the known assumptions of first 10-15 question accuracy is extremely important. Given many people in this forum have been a part of GMAT for a long time - any light shed on this would be great.
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08 Feb 2019, 08:07
DebbieChats wrote:
Hi

I have a quick question about the accuracy, score and percentile.
My assumption currently is that in order to get a 700+ there are a few factors

1. Q 45+ V 38+ -
I have achieved the above in the practice tests from Kaplan and Veritas but with a variable score - i.e the score can range anywhere from 650+.
In the actual GMAT Prep practice test a Q 42 is however giving a much less percentile than other practice exams.

The reason for this discrepancy is the following. The percentiles for each quant score on the actual GMAT have been decreasing, and the updated percentiles are used by GMAT Prep. Meanwhile, test prep companies do not necessarily update the percentiles displayed by their tests. So, the test prep company tests may use higher percentiles that applied in past years.

Quote:
a) Should I be concerned about the percentile or schools accept the score? And if so what is a good score for Quants for the top tier and 2nd tier schools.

I am not an admissions expert, but I'll do my best to answer this question as this post has been up for a few days without a response.

Quant scores on the GMAT are so high on average now that the percentiles are rather low for even rather high scores. As a result, from what I understand, schools are looking at scores more than at percentiles, and basically the same scores that were sufficient when percentiles were higher are sufficient today.

Specifically, for top tier schools, scores of Q47 and above are optimal, scores of Q45 and above may be sufficient, and scores between 40 and 45 may do in some cases.

For second tier schools, I would say that the same numbers apply, with a little more flexibility to the downside.

Quote:
b) For Verbal the variation in percentile is even greater in practice tests like Kaplan and Veritas than the actual GMAT prep exam. What should I look as a score and as a percentile and when the score flashes.

V36 is 80th percentile. So, V36+ seems to be a reasonable verbal score. Upper 30's would be a little more solid, and 40+ would be ideal for a top tier school.

Since schools are a little more focused on your quant score than your verbal score, one way to determine what verbal score you need is to set a quant score goal and then set a verbal score goal that gets you to your total score goal. For instance, if your total score goal were 720, and your quant score goal were Q46, then to get to your total score goal, you would have to hit your quant score goal and score at least 42 in verbal.

Quote:
2. Next comes accuracy of actually answering questions correctly.

From Kaplan and Veritas, which is what I have been basing my abilities on till date an assumption of 50 questions answered correctly in total in both the Verbal and Quants section would take me upwards of 630-650. This could be broken into various accuracies in the different section depending on what mental set up I was going in - to crack the maths or crack the verbal - given it is a practice.

In the GMAT prep test that I have given so far - looks like the stress on verbal accuracy to score ratio is too high. In the sense from the score, if I make certain calculations it looks like getting only 20 correct in Quants would suffice - and I would have to aim extremely high - as high as 31-32 accurate in Verbal. If I am in the 27 correct zone in verbal and 25-27 correct zone in Quants - I am almost thinking - that though that puts me in a 54 question correct accuracy - I still might be lingering in the 600 zone - max upper 600 zone?
Am I correct in my assumptions here? That all focus for a higher score in GMAT is based on Verbal abilities mostly in the recent format?

It has been the case for some time that missing a few questions in verbal tends to result in a lower section score than does missing the same number in quant. So, yes, in order to score above 700 on the GMAT, you have to have a high hit rate in verbal.

Quote:
3. I have heard this from quite a few test takers that luck on the day of the GMAT plays a big factor in crossing the 700 barrier i.e they might never have crossed the 650 + in practice tests but do get 700+ in the actual test - my experience looks the opposite though. I guess the luck is a combination of getting known questions, how focused and tuned I am myself. However, from posts, it looks like some of the questions are actually not scored at all. That is also supposedly not based on the known assumptions of first 10-15 question accuracy is extremely important. Given many people in this forum have been a part of GMAT for a long time - any light shed on this would be great.

While, clearly, a test-taker's score can be affected by whether the questions that the test-taker sees are suited to that test-taker's particular strengths, from what I have seen, random chance generally does not play much of a part in GMAT scoring. In fact, the test seems to be remarkably good at identifying the level of sophistication of the thinking that a test-taker brings to bear when answering the questions. From what I have seen, people who go in hoping to "get lucky" and score higher than they have on their practice tests generally don't.

In fact, because of the trickiness of the test, people often score lower on the real thing than they have on practice tests, often because they had picked up on some patterns that they could use to answer practice test questions, which patterns did not work on the questions that they saw on the actual GMAT. To score high on the actual GMAT, you have to rely on logic and execution. Pattern matching types of approaches won't suffice.

So, the bottom line is that, to gain acceptance at a school, you have to get an appropriate score on the GMAT, and to hit a GMAT score goal, you have to learn the necessary concepts and develop the necessary skills.

For some insights into how to score 700+ on the GMAT, you could read the following post. How to Score a 700+ on the GMAT — A Mini Guide for Success
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09 Feb 2019, 01:46
DebbieChats wrote:
Hi

I have a quick question about the accuracy, score and percentile.
My assumption currently is that in order to get a 700+ there are a few factors

1. Q 45+ V 38+ -
I have achieved the above in the practice tests from Kaplan and Veritas but with a variable score - i.e the score can range anywhere from 650+.
In the actual GMAT Prep practice test a Q 42 is however giving a much less percentile than other practice exams.

a) Should I be concerned about the percentile or schools accept the score? And if so what is a good score for Quants for the top tier and 2nd tier schools.
b) For Verbal the variation in percentile is even greater in practice tests like Kaplan and Veritas than the actual GMAT prep exam. What should I look as a score and as a percentile and when the score flashes.

a) Percentile is what matters unfortunately and as mentioned, the percentiles have been dropping dramatically relative to the actual score. People are getting tutoring and retaking the test multiple times. Without knowing your profile it would be hard to give you a specific recommendation for the score you would want to achieve but if you want to email me: scott@personalmbacoach.com I can give more specific advice. When we tutor for the test (have multiple 790+ tutors on our team), we advise people to get 49+ in the quant for M7 schools. Then depending on background and demographic that recommendation is adjusted
b) You will see a variation across test platforms. The official will have the most accurate one

DebbieChats wrote:
2. Next comes accuracy of actually answering questions correctly.

From Kaplan and Veritas, which is what I have been basing my abilities on till date an assumption of 50 questions answered correctly in total in both the Verbal and Quants section would take me upwards of 630-650. This could be broken into various accuracies in the different section depending on what mental set up I was going in - to crack the maths or crack the verbal - given it is a practice.

In the GMAT prep test that I have given so far - looks like the stress on verbal accuracy to score ratio is too high. In the sense from the score, if I make certain calculations it looks like getting only 20 correct in Quants would suffice - and I would have to aim extremely high - as high as 31-32 accurate in Verbal. If I am in the 27 correct zone in verbal and 25-27 correct zone in Quants - I am almost thinking - that though that puts me in a 54 question correct accuracy - I still might be lingering in the 600 zone - max upper 600 zone?
Am I correct in my assumptions here? That all focus for a higher score in GMAT is based on Verbal abilities mostly in the recent format?

Because the test is adaptive, it really depends on how early you answer questions correctly. If you get a lot or all of them right at the beginning then you will get harder questions. Without going into details, you are on the right track.

DebbieChats wrote:
3. I have heard this from quite a few test takers that luck on the day of the GMAT plays a big factor in crossing the 700 barrier i.e they might never have crossed the 650 + in practice tests but do get 700+ in the actual test - my experience looks the opposite though. I guess the luck is a combination of getting known questions, how focused and tuned I am myself. However, from posts, it looks like some of the questions are actually not scored at all. That is also supposedly not based on the known assumptions of first 10-15 question accuracy is extremely important. Given many people in this forum have been a part of GMAT for a long time - any light shed on this would be great.

All of the answers factor into your overall score. The test tries to figure out your true ability range. Once they see you answering some questions right and some wrong, that is defined as your ability range and hence your final score. It is not as easy as saying getting X question will get you Y score, hence the adaptive nature.

See our tutoring offering here and reach out to find out more about our unique and boutique tutoring services: https://www.personalmbacoach.com/gmat
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Joined: 08 Jan 2019
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12 Feb 2019, 05:41
Thanks for the answers - they are quite insightful. Just a quick question reverting back to the point of guessing, how you are doing at the real test.

What I have heard that generally speaking the question difficulty level as measured by illegibility increase [according to GMAT standards i.e]. - If one is doing well, one should not be surprised seeing extremely tough RC or CR or SC. Now based on that assumption I felt that I did quite well on my actual test - the last RC was business related and on a decently difficult topic of interest rates related to overall economy and tied back to individual company performance labor efficiency etc. That's Verbal - which made me think I was at the upper 650 level.

Now onto Quant - the middle section threw me whoppers - palindromes, hard statistics and Geometry - meaning that I did good in the first 10. The middle section I kept on thinking that I did 1 correct 1 wrong or a chain of 3-4 wrong and then recuperated. The last 10 questions were medium level questions thereafter.

Somehow I felt I was in the 650 - 680 zone after the first 2 sections. Generally after all the practice my intuitions work in the +30-50 zone, so even if I ball parked on the upper limit, I still thought I would see a low medium 600. This however was not true.

My question is :

1. Can the number of students taking the exam the skew scores so much that even +50-50 range is out of bounds when estimating scores - vs practice test scenarios?

2. Preparation always precedes luck, especially in exam situations (unlike life) - yet there is no way to prepare for everything - and to be honest I am not a genius and neither are many people who have cracked GMAT, whom I know of. So, the actual question really becomes - when do you know enough now, time to score!

3. One of the coaches above have said - Mindset is key - any last minute mindset tips would be awesome.
Taking into account things such as nagging people, unwanted advice, life strategies to follow which has nothing to do with me whatsoever, unwanted computer glitches, timer malfunctions - you ask me I have it - its like I need to be some sort of GMAT Ninja now!
Target Test Prep Representative
Status: Chief Curriculum and Content Architect
Affiliations: Target Test Prep
Joined: 24 Nov 2014
Posts: 619
GMAT 1: 800 Q51 V51

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12 Feb 2019, 10:09
DebbieChats wrote:
Thanks for the answers - they are quite insightful. Just a quick question reverting back to the point of guessing, how you are doing at the real test.

What I have heard that generally speaking the question difficulty level as measured by illegibility increase [according to GMAT standards i.e]. - If one is doing well, one should not be surprised seeing extremely tough RC or CR or SC. Now based on that assumption I felt that I did quite well on my actual test - the last RC was business related and on a decently difficult topic of interest rates related to overall economy and tied back to individual company performance labor efficiency etc. That's Verbal - which made me think I was at the upper 650 level.

Now onto Quant - the middle section threw me whoppers - palindromes, hard statistics and Geometry - meaning that I did good in the first 10. The middle section I kept on thinking that I did 1 correct 1 wrong or a chain of 3-4 wrong and then recuperated. The last 10 questions were medium level questions thereafter.

Somehow I felt I was in the 650 - 680 zone after the first 2 sections. Generally after all the practice my intuitions work in the +30-50 zone, so even if I ball parked on the upper limit, I still thought I would see a low medium 600. This however was not true.

My question is :

1. Can the number of students taking the exam the skew scores so much that even +50-50 range is out of bounds when estimating scores - vs practice test scenarios?

First off, judging how you are doing by considering the difficulty of the questions that you are seeing doesn't work that well. What seems easy for you may be difficult for most people and vice versa. Also, the real GMAT includes experimental questions the difficulty of which is unrelated to the difficulty of the scored questions that you are seeing. Further, even when a test-taker is scoring at a high level, that test-taker may be served relatively easy questions.

Regarding your specific question regarding the number of students taking the test. The GMAT is created to be consistent over time in terms of difficulty. So, the number of students taking and the scores that they are getting has no bearing on how the test is scored. Theoretically at least, the GMAT is scored today the same way in which it was scored a few years ago.

Quote:
2. Preparation always precedes luck, especially in exam situations (unlike life) - yet there is no way to prepare for everything - and to be honest I am not a genius and neither are many people who have cracked GMAT, whom I know of. So, the actual question really becomes - when do you know enough now, time to score!

When you feel strong in most areas of the GMAT and have at least some sense of how to answer questions in areas in which you are less strong, you may be ready to score rather high.

Also, overall approach and things like accuracy affect your score level. So, if your accuracy is good and your overall approach to executing and figuring out how to arrive at correct answers is strong, you may be better positioned to score high that would be someone who knows more about GMAT related concepts and strategies but is not strong in execution.

Quote:
3. One of the coaches above have said - Mindset is key - any last minute mindset tips would be awesome.
Taking into account things such as nagging people, unwanted advice, life strategies to follow which has nothing to do with me whatsoever, unwanted computer glitches, timer malfunctions - you ask me I have it - its like I need to be some sort of GMAT Ninja now!

Yes, having both being something along the lines of a GMAT Ninja and having a Zen attitude toward everything associated with the GMAT can be super helpful. For more on mindset, you could read the following post. Developing the Proper Mindset For GMAT Success
_________________

# Marty Murray

Chief Curriculum and Content Architect

Marty@targettestprep.com
122 Reviews

5-star rated online GMAT quant
self study course

See why Target Test Prep is the top rated GMAT quant course on GMAT Club. Read Our Reviews

If you find one of my posts helpful, please take a moment to click on the "Kudos" button.

Question about the actual GMAT score percentile and accuracy   [#permalink] 12 Feb 2019, 10:09
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# Question about the actual GMAT score percentile and accuracy

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