Learnist: How to Interpret your GMAT Score

Your GMAT score is calculated using a complex algorithm — here’s what you need to know about the scores you’ll receive before and after the exam.

This video above from GMAT PrepNow gives you a basic idea how the GMAT scoring works. Notice the point it makes about CATs: an adaptive test changes based on your response. If the question is answered correctly, the next question will be harder and the score will adjust upwards. If the question is answered incorrectly, the next question will be easier and the score will adjust downwards.

The GMAT is constantly recalculating the scaled score as the student progresses through the section to determine the precise ability of the test-taker.

It’s not the number of correct questions that matters most, but how hard the questions you answer correctly are! This is why you must challenge yourself with harder questions in your practice!

An official GMAT score report consists of four sections. There is a Verbal Scaled Score (on a scale from 0 to 60), a Quantitative Scaled Score (on a scale from 0 to 60), a Total Scaled Score (on a scale from 200 to 800) and an Analytical Writing Assessment Score (on a scale from 0 to 6).

Keep in mind: the GMAT scores the multiple choice and the writing sections differently. There are a total of 78 multiple choice questions: 41 in the verbal section and 37 in the quantitative section. To compute the scaled score for each section, the GMAT uses an algorithm that takes into account the total number of questions answered, the number of questions answered correctly, and the level of difficulty of the questions answered.

The standard error for the GMAT is +/- 30 points, meaning you have a significant advantage if you score 30 points higher than the average score of your dream school.

In this Kaplan video, you’ll see how the average GMAT score of all the top programs listed here is around 718. In order to be above par, a 750 score is required. This guarantees you a helpful push in your application (though GPA matters significantly as well).

That’s how you can evaluate your competitiveness for each school: look up the average GMAT score of accepted students, then add 30 points to it.

Get more tips for interpreting your GMAT score on Learnist!

Learnist: 8 Ways to Beef Up your GMAT Vocabulary

A strong vocabulary will help your Analytical Writing, Verbal, Integrated Reasoning, and even Quantitative accuracy! Here’s how to build yours from the ground up, and use it to break down the toughest GMAT questions.

You can ignore most of the challenging vocabulary on sentence corrections as long as you identify what part of speech each word is, and how it functions within the sentence.

To do this, you’ll need to spend some time with a solid English grammar review book. I recommend pairing a heavy-duty review book, like the Oxford Guide or those published by McGraw-Hill or Longman, with a “fun” book like Writer’s Express or English Grammar for Dummies. If you don’t have time to go through an entire book, this “English Grammar for Dummies Cheat Sheet” is a great overview!

It is much, MUCH easier to memorize synonyms for words than their full definitions. Start grouping words together mentally (and on paper) according to their meaning. For example, words like “pusillanimous,” “poltroonish,” and “timorous” might go on the “shy” list.

According to this “Word Group” blog from Kaplan, an easy way to learn these word groups is the “reverse flash card” method:

  1. Read the word group
  2. Write the heading on one side of the card
  3. Write only the words you recognize from the list on the back.

Learn more ways to beef Up your GMAT vocabulary on this Learnboard!