How Many Questions Can I Get Wrong on the GMAT and Get 700?

by Target Test Prep, Nov 18, 2022

Many people planning to apply to MBA programs consider scoring 700 or higher on the GMAT integral to building a strong application. Accordingly, one question many business school aspirants have is, “How many questions can I get wrong on the GMAT and get 700?” So, in this article, I’m going to discuss the answer to that question. I’ll also provide some other key information on GMAT scoring that will help you to achieve a 700+ GMAT score.

Let’s begin by discussing how the GMAT is scored.

How the GMAT Is Scored

To understand how many questions you can get wrong and score 700 on the GMAT, it helps to understand how the GMAT is scored.

The GMAT has four sections: the Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA), Integrated Reasoning section (IR), Quantitative Reasoning section (Quant), and Verbal Reasoning section (Verbal). The AWA and IR sections each have their own scores. The AWA score ranges from 1 to 6, and the IR score ranges from 1 to 8. The Quant and Verbal sections also have their own scores, each of which ranges from 6 to 51.

Then, the GMAT total score, which ranges from 200 to 800 in 10-point increments, is based on the test-taker’s performance on the Quant and Verbal sections. The GMAT total score is the one we’re concerned with here, since it’s this score that test-takers want to be 700 or higher. So, in this article, we’re going to focus on the Quant and Verbal sections, since your performance on the AWA and IR doesn’t affect your GMAT total score.

Let’s now discuss the numbers of questions in the Quant and Verbal sections of the GMAT.

The Number of Questions in the Quant and Verbal Sections of the GMAT

The Quant section has 31 questions, and the Verbal section has 36 questions. However, there’s more to the story because only some of those questions count. In fact, of the 31 Quant questions, only 28 count, and of the 36 Verbal questions, only 30 count. The other Quant and Verbal questions are “experimental questions”that the makers of the GMAT include for the purpose of testing the questions. So, your Quant and Verbal scores and GMAT total score are based on your performance on only the 28 and 30 counted questions.

Accordingly, for the most part, when we discuss how many questions you can get wrong on the GMAT and get 700, we’ll focus on the counted questions. However, we’ll also discuss a way to think about the uncounted, experimental questions.

Another key characteristic of the GMAT that we need to understand to get the complete picture with regard to how many questions you can miss and score 700 is that the GMAT is a computer-adaptive test. Let’s discuss that now.

The GMAT Is a Computer-Adaptive Test

As we just discussed, your GMAT total score is based on your performance on the Quant and Verbal sections. However, the GMAT doesn’t calculate your score by simply counting your correct answers. Rather, the scoring process is more complex, since the GMAT is a computer-adaptive standardized test.

A computer-adaptive test adapts in accordance with the performance of the test-taker. In the context of the GMAT, computer-adaptive means that the GMAT chooses the difficulty of the questions you see on the basis of your performance on previous questions. If you get questions correct, you see harder questions. If you get questions incorrect, you see easier questions.

So, why does this information matter? It matters because, on the GMAT test, harder questions are worth more than easier questions. Accordingly, a test-taker who gets more hard questions correct than another test-taker will get a higher score, even if both test-takers get the same total number of questions correct. Thus, the same number of correct answers on different GMATs can produce different scores.

As a result, our discussion of how many questions you can miss and get 700 on the GMAT is going to have to be a little loose. After all, if the same number of correct answers can produce different GMAT scores, then there is not a specific number of correct answers that always produces a score of 700. Still, we can get a pretty clear idea of how many questions you can miss and get 700.

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