How is the GMAT Scored?

Score reports
The GMAT consists of four unique sections: Verbal Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning, Analytical Writing, and Integrated Reasoning, each of which is graded separately. The score report also includes a total scaled score from 200-800. For the multiple-choice quantitative and verbal portions, the GMAT creates a scaled score, instead of a raw result, as the test is a computer analytical experience. If you answer a question correctly, the next problem will be more difficult, but if you are incorrect, the next one will be simpler. Therefore, each scaled score includes the number of problems answered correctly and their statistical numerical value due to the point system allocated to each question. Answering a challenging question correctly will earn you a higher mark than an easy problem.

What is most important about a GMAT score?
GMAT results are often confusing due to their scaling algorithm, but what is truly important is the scaled score percentile for quantitative and verbal. The higher the percentile, the more competitive your score will be. The ideal mark differs depending on your testing cohort (typically the testing year). This is some great information on how to improve your GMAT score that could help you.

The Integrated Reasoning section
This portion of the GMAT is scored 1-8 in one-point increments. It is not computer adaptive, and thus does not depend on question difficulty, and it will not be available for scoring on test day. Your result will be communicated via the official score report roughly two to three weeks later.

The Analytical Writing section
The analytical essay is graded on two scales, both from 0-6. One scale is a human reader, while the other is a computerized scoring system. If the marks received are different, they are then averaged. There are two items to consider about this essay: 1. Over 90% of test-takers, according to the GMAT website, score a 3 or higher on this portion. 2. Human grading is a time-consuming process, hence the delay in receiving your results. Here is some great information on how to improve your GMAT analytical writing score that you may find helpful.

Cancelling scores
While you’re in the testing center, immediately after you complete the assessment, you will be prompted to retain or cancel your scores. There are two schools of thought in regard to this matter, but the GMAT fee is never refundable. If you studied (even if you didn’t feel entirely prepared) and finished a reasonable percentage of the examination, it is wise to accept your scores. If you know unequivocally that you did not do very well (i.e. completed less than half, didn’t write an essay, fell asleep during the test), then cancelling your scores may be a better idea.

What now?
If you received percentiles below the mark you were hoping for, keep in mind that scores and their relationships to percentiles fluctuate based on timing and your testing cohort. After additional preparation and sitting for another GMAT session, you should feel comfortable understanding that many students take the GMAT multiple times. You may also want to consider these daily activities that can improve your GMAT skills.

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