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The “Total Score”, composed of the quantitative and verbal sections, is exclusive of the analytical writing assessment (AWA), and ranges from 200 to 800. About two-thirds of test takers score between 400 and 600. The score distribution resembles a bell curve with a standard deviation of approximately 100 points, meaning that the test is designed for 68% of examinees to score between 400 and 600, while the median score was originally designed to be near 500.

The quantitative and verbal sections comprise a computer-adaptive test. The first question may be difficult. The next few questions in each section may be around the 500 level. If the examinee answers correctly, the next questions are harder. If the examinee answers incorrectly, the next questions are easier. The questions are pulled from a large pool of questions and delivered depending on the student’s running score. These questions are regularly updated to prevent them from being compromised by students recording questions.

The final score is not based solely on the last question the examinee answers (i.e. – the level of difficulty of questions reached through the computer-adaptive presentation of questions). The algorithm used to build a score is more complicated than that. The examinee can make a silly mistake and answer incorrectly and the computer will recognize that item as an anomaly. If the examinee misses the first question his score will not necessarily fall in the bottom half of the range.
Also, questions left blank (that is, those not reached) hurt the examinee more than questions answered incorrectly. This is a major contrast to the SAT, which has a wrong-answer penalty. Each test section also includes several experimental questions, which do not count toward the examinee’s score, but are included to judge the appropriateness of the item for future administrations.

Based on the level of difficulty of questions that you generally get correct, you will be given raw scores (on a scale of 51) in QA as well as VA section. These raw scores will translate into your GMAT score. For example, Q51 and V45 converts to a GMAT score of 770. You will get this score immediately after the test. However, the score in AWA is sent in 4-7 business days through e-mail. In AWA, you are scored on a scale of 6.0 and this score is separate from your ‘GMAT’ score. All scores and cancellations in the past 5 years will be on a student’s score report, a change from the previous policy of the last three scores and cancellations being kept on the score report.

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