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Let’s Understand GMAT Scoring

Let’s Understand GMAT Scoring

Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) is designed to measure the verbal, mathematical, analytical writing skills and integrated reasoning skills of the aspirants for reputed business & management schools across the globe for more than 60 years. Around 20000 students take the GMAT exam every year. The GMAT score is accepted by 7000 MBA and Masters programmes in more than 110 countries including India.

Formulation of the test is in such a manner that it manages to churn out the best talent by the arduous testing procedure which is quite unconventional in nature. It tests the aspirants primarily on reasoning and comprehension skills. It does not focus on subject-specific testing methodologies.

Lets Understand GMAT Scoring Pattern

Sections

Format

 

Time

What it Measures

 

Score Range

 

Analytical Writing Assessment

 

1 written essay

30 minutes

The capacity to formulate an appropriate and constructive criticism on the given essay. 

Average scores range from 0 to 6 in half point intervals.

Integrated Reasoning

12 Questions on Multi-Source Reasoning, Graphics Interpretation, Two-Part Analysis, and Table Analysis

30 minutes

The capacity to understand and analyse data in different formats.

Scores range from 1-8 in single-digit intervals.

Verbal

36 questions comprised of reading comprehension, critical reasoning, and sentence correction

65 minutes

Ability to read and comprehend written materials, reason and evaluate arguments, and correct written material to confirm to standard written English.

score range from 6 to 51

Quantitative

 31 questions on Data Sufficiency and Problem Solving

62 minutes

The ability to evaluate the amount of information needed to solve quantitative problems.

score range from 6 to 51

Analytical Writing Assessment

Score

Mean
Score

Percentile
Ranking

6

 

 

 

 

4.45

88%

5

56%

4

18%

3

4%

2

1%

1

1%

0

0%

Sample Size: 453,930

Standard Deviation: 1.02

Integrated Reasoning

Score

Mean
Score

Percentile
Ranking

8

 

 

 

 

4.51

91%

7

81%

6

66%

5

50%

4

33%

3

19%

2

9%

1

0%

Sample Size: 695,794

Standard Deviation: 2.05

Verbal

Score

Mean
Score

Percentile
Ranking

51

 

 

 

 

 

27.11

99%

46

99%

40

90%

35

76%

30

58%

25

38%

20

22%

15

10%

10

2%

Sample Size: 695,794

Standard Deviation: 9.14

Quantitative

Score

Mean
Score

Percentile
Ranking

51

 

 

 

 

40.38

97%

46

57%

41

38%

36

26%

31

17%

26

10%

21

6%

16

3%

10

1%

Sample Size: 695,794

Standard Deviation: 10.22

Total

Score

Mean
Score

Percentile
Ranking

800

 

 

 

 

 

564.84

99%

750

98%

700

88%

650

73%

600

54%

550

38%

500

25%

450

15%

400

9%

350

5%

300

3%

250

1%

200

0%

Sample Size: 695,794

Standard Deviation: 116.34

Data Period: 2017-2019

Understanding Percentile Rankings

You will also be given a percentile ranking in both the Verbal and Quant sections. This percentile corresponds to the percentage of people whose score is lower than yours. If you are at the 90th percentile, this means you scored better than 90% of the population taking the exam. This percentile is based on the last three years of GMAT scoring.

And while both your Verbal and Quant scores are combined to produce an overall score, the average for each section is different. Have a look at the chart below: the mean for Quant is 40.38 and the mean is 27.11 for the Verbal section. Why? Because GMAT takers tend to get a higher score in the Quant section, so the average is higher.

The role of answering pattern in your GMAT score

The Verbal and Quant sections are the two portions of the GMAT that are adaptive. This means that the difficulty of each question you encounter is determined by how you answered the previous question of the same type. You will start off answering questions at an average difficulty level in each type—your first Sentence Correction question will be of average difficulty, your first Critical Reasoning question will be of average difficulty, and so forth and so on.

If you answer these early questions correctly, your ensuing questions in that same topic will jump up a level of difficulty; and if you answer them incorrectly, your next questions in that topic will drop in difficulty. Eventually the algorithm determines your academic competency by presenting you with questions that correspond to your highest level of proficiency.

Number of questions correct x difficulty = GMAT score

Because of the adaptive nature of the exam, your GMAT score will be derived not just from how many questions you answer correctly (and incorrectly) but also the difficulty level of the questions themselves.

 In other words, answering higher-level questions correctly will yield a higher score than answering the same number of easy questions correctly (which is why the test's determination of your competence and the consequent questions it delivers to you matters).

Other factors in your GMAT score

Now that you know how your correct answers are weighted, here are two other score factors to keep in mind:

  • You will be penalized if you leave out any answers at the end, so brush up on your time management skills
  • You will also be penalized if you guess the last bunch of questions (i.e. you ran out of time and figure it's better to add random answers than leave them blank).
  • By blindly guessing questions in a row you risk getting a series of multiple answers wrong, which is also a no-no in the GMAT.

Tips to avoid these score traps

  • Answer all the questions, but also avoid going too slow in the beginning.
  • By developing an efficient pace, you won't run out of time and resort to guessing at the end and/or making a string of errors.
  • Avoid going too fast. Going too fast through your early questions has the same effect of running out of time at the end (i.e. careless errors and sloppy guessing)

GMAT is conducted by the US-based Pearson VUE under the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC). The body is responsible for conducting tests at its various testing centers globally & dispatching of the results to the examinees. 

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