Last month, GMAC hosted a seminar to brief us on facts, data, and trends from the test-takers out there. Here (somewhat belatedly), are some of the key points that they presented:
1. Scores are creeping upwards – the average in 2007 was 537, 12 points higher than in 2005.
2. The Number of Hours spent studying correlates to Higher GMAT Scores – people that achieved a score of 700 or higher reported studying an average of 114 hours for the test. In contrast, people that scored between 500 – 540 reported studying for 84 hours.
3. The Number of Weeks spent studying correlates to Higher GMAT Scores – 50+% of the people that studied for 7 weeks or more received a 600 or higher. This number dropped to 43% for those who studied between 4 and 6 weeks, and 37% for those who studied between 1 and 3 weeks.
4. Taking the Test more than once Tends to Result in a Higher Score – the mean score increase for someone who takes the test a 2nd time is 31 points. It should be noted though that this tends to be inflated by a couple of self-selection factors (i.e. the numbers tend to reflect people who underachieved on the 1st test relative to their college ranking, didn’t finish the quantitative section, etc.). 30% of re-testers saw no increase (or even a decrease). 40% of test-takers had their score increase 50 points or more, and 10% had results increase 100 points or more. I think ManhattanGMAT is responsible for some of that 10%. 🙂
From the above, it’s clear that even the administrators of the GMAT realize that this a test that you can prepare for in order to improve your performance. So your scores are certainly not fixed!
GMAC also reaffirmed once again that spending extra time on the first 10 questions does not help your score, and tends to hurt your score by ruining your time management throughout the section. There is enough variability in the algorithm such that some early mistakes are not necessarily critical to your score – you can quickly push yourself up to higher levels by getting later questions right.
These were the main points. They’re working on a new diagnostic test that can be downloaded, and the next edition of the Official Guide is targeted for late ’08. Still, this would not affect the average student substantially.
Last, they also indicated that most people rely upon word-of-mouth for choosing a test prep firm. That was possibly the best news of the event for us here at ManhattanGMAT!