• 5 Day FREE Trial
Study Smarter, Not Harder

Available with Beat the GMAT members only code

• Free Trial & Practice Exam
BEAT THE GMAT EXCLUSIVE

Available with Beat the GMAT members only code

• Free Veritas GMAT Class
Experience Lesson 1 Live Free

Available with Beat the GMAT members only code

• Reach higher with Artificial Intelligence. Guaranteed
Now free for 30 days

Available with Beat the GMAT members only code

• Award-winning private GMAT tutoring
Register now and save up to \$200

Available with Beat the GMAT members only code

• 1 Hour Free
BEAT THE GMAT EXCLUSIVE

Available with Beat the GMAT members only code

• Free Practice Test & Review
How would you score if you took the GMAT

Available with Beat the GMAT members only code

• Get 300+ Practice Questions

Available with Beat the GMAT members only code

• Magoosh
Study with Magoosh GMAT prep

Available with Beat the GMAT members only code

• 5-Day Free Trial
5-day free, full-access trial TTP Quant

Available with Beat the GMAT members only code

## How The GMAT Finds Your Score

This topic has 0 member replies
Kevin Community Manager
Joined
05 Jun 2006
Posted:
47 messages
7

#### How The GMAT Finds Your Score

Wed Jul 05, 2006 6:30 am
In this month's series, we will discuss the GMAT scoring mechanism and how the CAT decides what your next question should be.

As you probably know by now, the GMAT is a Computer Adaptive Test ("CAT"). This means that the questions that you see on the exam are selected by the computer based on your performance on earlier questions. For example, if you answer a question correctly, your next question will be harder. If you answer a question incorrectly, your next question will be easier. The exam is trying to gauge your ability level by seeing how well you do with questions (known as "items" in testing parlance) of varying degrees of difficulty. Generally speaking, the harder the questions you answer correctly, the better your score will be.

There are other factors besides difficulty level that influence the selection of items on a particular exam (e.g., question type (data sufficiency vs. problem solving, for example), content (e.g., algebra, ratios, assumptions, etc.), and exposure (i.e., how many times has the question been seen by other test takers already that month?)). But difficulty level is arguably the most important.

The CAT does not "bucket" items into "easy", "medium", and "hard" categories. Instead, each item can be considered easy, medium, or hard depending on the person to whom it is given. Each item is tested out for a period as an unscored "experimental" during the actual exams of people taking the GMAT. After a sufficient sampling of test-takers has answered the items, ETS compares the overall scores of the test-takers with their performance on the experimental items.

If, say, fifty percent of all test-takers scoring in the 600-620 range got a particular experimental item right, that item would be considered of medium difficulty for that ability level. If ninety percent of those scoring in the 700-720 range got the item right, it would be considered easy for that ability level. When the item is then presented as a real scored question on subsequent exams, the computer uses the experimental data to determine whether the item is appropriately difficult for someone performing at a given level thus far in the exam. The computer tries to give you questions that you have a 50/50 shot at, based on your performance up to that point. The better you do, the harder your 50/50 items will be.

Each item has an "item characteristic curve" that graphs the likelihood of answering that item correctly, based on the experimental data. The curve looks like this:

Over the next few weeks, we will discuss in detail the various aspects of the curve, to give you a better sense of how your GMAT exam adapts to your performance level.

_________________
Kevin Fitzgerald
Director of Marketing and Student Relations
Manhattan GMAT
800-576-4626

Contributor to Beat The GMAT!

### Best Conversation Starters

1 lheiannie07 80 topics
2 LUANDATO 59 topics
3 ardz24 52 topics
4 AAPL 45 topics
5 Roland2rule 43 topics
See More Top Beat The GMAT Members...

### Most Active Experts

1 Rich.C@EMPOWERgma...

EMPOWERgmat

133 posts
2 Brent@GMATPrepNow

GMAT Prep Now Teacher

131 posts
3 GMATGuruNY

The Princeton Review Teacher

130 posts
4 Scott@TargetTestPrep

Target Test Prep

118 posts
5 Jeff@TargetTestPrep

Target Test Prep

114 posts
See More Top Beat The GMAT Experts