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# Understanding GMAT scoring algorithm (41 w/ 6 questions wrong)

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Intern
Joined: 09 Mar 2017
Posts: 36
Understanding GMAT scoring algorithm (41 w/ 6 questions wrong)  [#permalink]

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14 Aug 2017, 06:47
Hey guys,

I just took exams #5 and #6 from the GMAC software and scored a 42 and 41 respectively. However, I only got 6 questions wrong on the latter exam vs 8 on the former and am trying to understand how I did worse. For some background the week before that I got a 40, where I got 11 questions wrong (on Exam #1), so getting only 6 wrong feels like I should have done much better than a 41. I understand that the test is computer adaptive and thus there isn't a 100% linear correlation between # of questions answered correctly and score (since difficulty of questions plays a bigger part), but the logic just seems to be a little inconsistent here. Did getting question 41 wrong on exam #6 drop my score by like 4 points?

On the test where I got a 41, I got the first 13 correct, and 24 of the first 25. I did relatively poorly on the back 10, but still I only got two questions wrong in a row at any point. On the exam where I got 8 wrong, I got 3 of the first 10 wrong, and twice got 2 questions wrong in a row. Does anyone else think that this makes sense? I've listed the questions I got wrong on both exams below. Trying to improve my Verbal score to a mid to high 40s...

Thanks,
Brandon

GMAC Exam #6 (Gmat Exam Pack #2)
#14) https://gmatclub.com/forum/background-i ... 80866.html

#26) https://gmatclub.com/forum/lyme-disease-215972.html

#27) https://gmatclub.com/forum/unlike-mains ... 80789.html

#31) https://gmatclub.com/forum/historically ... 23001.html (Question 3 wrong only, all others correct)

#38) https://gmatclub.com/forum/though-the-l ... 54763.html

#41) https://gmatclub.com/forum/as-charles-d ... 81321.html

GMAC Exam #5 (Exam Pack #2) 8 wrong

#5) https://gmatclub.com/forum/in-the-wealt ... 22662.html (Question 2)

#6) https://gmatclub.com/forum/in-the-wealt ... 22662.html (Question 1)

#8) https://gmatclub.com/forum/ultimate-pen ... 22910.html (Question 4)

#19) https://gmatclub.com/forum/over-the-cou ... 34885.html

#20) https://gmatclub.com/forum/recent-findi ... 80587.html

#29) https://gmatclub.com/forum/biologists-w ... 44731.html

#31) https://gmatclub.com/forum/like-the-dre ... 16997.html

#36) https://gmatclub.com/forum/during-the-e ... 04670.html
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Re: Understanding GMAT scoring algorithm (41 w/ 6 questions wrong)  [#permalink]

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15 Aug 2017, 13:54
1
The algorithm doesn't take into account how many questions you got wrong.

It doesn't even look at your 'percentage correct' in any way. That information might as well just be thrown out at the end.

Check this out for more details - it refers to Quant, but the basic ideas apply about scoring also apply to Verbal. https://www.manhattanprep.com/gmat/blog ... mat-quant/
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Intern
Joined: 09 Mar 2017
Posts: 36
Re: Understanding GMAT scoring algorithm (41 w/ 6 questions wrong)  [#permalink]

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15 Aug 2017, 14:06
ccooley wrote:
The algorithm doesn't take into account how many questions you got wrong.

It doesn't even look at your 'percentage correct' in any way. That information might as well just be thrown out at the end.

Check this out for more details - it refers to Quant, but the basic ideas apply about scoring also apply to Verbal. https://www.manhattanprep.com/gmat/blog ... mat-quant/

Thanks for the reply. I do understand that there isn't a 100% linear correlation to # of questions right and score. However, it obviously is correlated to some percentage less than 100%, and especially when very few questions overall are incorrectly answered. To take an extreme, for instance, if I got the first 40 questions right and then one question wrong, I'd obviously do worse than if I got all 41 questions right unless there were certain tests you would automatically do worse on even if you got all 41 questions correct (which isn't true.. we think). But yes I understand that the degree of difficulty has a much bigger impact.

I am trying to figure out how to improve my verbal score from a low 40s score to a high 40s/50s. For the most part, the questions I got wrong were all high difficulty, and I also got several (much more) high difficulty questions correct (based on the %s given on gmatclub). In addition, I started on very strong too and had several long stretches of getting questions correct. So I am trying to figure out what question destroyed my score.
GMAT Tutor
Joined: 24 Jun 2008
Posts: 1418
Re: Understanding GMAT scoring algorithm (41 w/ 6 questions wrong)  [#permalink]

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15 Aug 2017, 16:30
1
It's more unusual to get a V40 with 11 wrong answers than it is to get a V41 with six wrong answers. But the number of wrong answers isn't very strongly correlated with your score, except when that number is extremely low or extremely high. One of your tests was harder, overall, then the other, and that meant the wrong answers didn't hurt you as much. Notice that the scoring 'works' - even though one test was harder, your scores were essentially the same, because the algorithm accounts for the fact that hard questions will be answered incorrectly more often.

Question difficulty isn't completely predictable on the GMAT. That's especially true on the Exam Pack tests, which are built from a small question database. My impression is that some of those tests just don't have many very hard questions to deliver to the high-level test taker. So you can't afford many mistakes on some of those tests if you want a top score. But you won't make as many, because the questions are easier than normal, so you'll still get roughly the same score.

If you're aiming for a 99th percentile Verbal score, you'll probably need to get down to four or fewer wrong answers. At that level, there is a clear correlation between wrong answers and scores (on most tests, with one wrong answer, the score is V49 or V50, and with two wrong answers it's V47 or V48). I think it's hard to improve on very high Verbal scores, and your current score is outstanding, but maybe by analyzing your errors you can make some further progress. Good luck!
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Intern
Joined: 09 Mar 2017
Posts: 36
Re: Understanding GMAT scoring algorithm (41 w/ 6 questions wrong)  [#permalink]

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16 Aug 2017, 06:37
IanStewart wrote:
It's more unusual to get a V40 with 11 wrong answers than it is to get a V41 with six wrong answers. But the number of wrong answers isn't very strongly correlated with your score, except when that number is extremely low or extremely high. One of your tests was harder, overall, then the other, and that meant the wrong answers didn't hurt you as much. Notice that the scoring 'works' - even though one test was harder, your scores were essentially the same, because the algorithm accounts for the fact that hard questions will be answered incorrectly more often.

Question difficulty isn't completely predictable on the GMAT. That's especially true on the Exam Pack tests, which are built from a small question database. My impression is that some of those tests just don't have many very hard questions to deliver to the high-level test taker. So you can't afford many mistakes on some of those tests if you want a top score. But you won't make as many, because the questions are easier than normal, so you'll still get roughly the same score.

If you're aiming for a 99th percentile Verbal score, you'll probably need to get down to four or fewer wrong answers. At that level, there is a clear correlation between wrong answers and scores (on most tests, with one wrong answer, the score is V49 or V50, and with two wrong answers it's V47 or V48). I think it's hard to improve on very high Verbal scores, and your current score is outstanding, but maybe by analyzing your errors you can make some further progress. Good luck!

Ian, thanks. This was the type of post I was looking for, this is really insightful. Do you know how big (roughly) the questions banks are for the practice test on the GMAC software?

Any ideas what % of the hard questions you have to be getting right in order to get certain scores?

thanks.
GMAT Tutor
Joined: 24 Jun 2008
Posts: 1418
Re: Understanding GMAT scoring algorithm (41 w/ 6 questions wrong)  [#permalink]

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16 Aug 2017, 11:48
brandon7 wrote:

Any ideas what % of the hard questions you have to be getting right in order to get certain scores?

Questions like this don't have an exact answer. The difficulty level of questions is measured on a continuum, so no two questions are the same. It also will matter a lot how you perform on easier questions - it becomes very hard to get high scores if you get some easier questions wrong.

I don't know exactly how many questions are in the current GMATPrep tests - I've seen some numbers reported on this forum, but I don't know how reliable they are (or even where they came from). But if you take the tests several times, you at least get an impression of the size of the question bank, just by how quickly you start seeing repeat questions.
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Re: Understanding GMAT scoring algorithm (41 w/ 6 questions wrong)   [#permalink] 16 Aug 2017, 11:48
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