Accuracy vs Ability: Their Importance on the GMAT
The GMAT is not just a ticket to get into your dream B-school! It is a channel that opens a world of opportunities for you, shows how motivated you are to get a business degree, and tests your problem-solving abilities! Thus, in order to prepare effectively for the GMAT, most students tend to set a target score for themselves and strive for accuracy in their answers to reach the desired score! In this article, we will address the roles that accuracy and ability play on the GMAT and their differences. In short, it’s Accuracy vs Ability!
However, if you are just beginning with your prep, it is important to identify what you are striving to achieve – accuracy in your answers or a GMAT score that gets you into the B-school you desire! Now, it is natural for you to wonder why you must make a choice between the two – mostly because a good score eventually depends upon accuracy. But, if you are one of those students who believe accuracy is synonymous with a good score, it is important to remember that while accuracy definitely makes a difference in your overall GMAT score, it is not the only metric that matters in getting you a good GMAT score! Let’s understand how–
Understanding How the GMAT Algorithm Works
The GMAT is an adaptive test. Which means, the difficulty level modifies after every 2 or 3 questions, depending upon the accuracy of your answers. Let’s understand this with an example –
We have above two side-by-side snapshots of the performance of two students in GMAT Verbal. We can see here that Student 1 got 8 questions wrong and scored a V30 (58 percentile), whereas the student 2 made 7 mistakes and scored a V41 (93 percentile).
So, not only is there a difference of 11 points in their verbal scores, there is also a massive difference of 35 in their percentiles.
What do you think must have happened here?
Do you think GMAT is being partial towards the 2nd student or just being unfair in plain sight? Well, this is how the GMAT algorithm works. Let me explain it in depth:
If you study the snapshot closely, you will see that in the 1st quarter, the 1st student has made a total of 4 mistakes, whereas the 2nd student has made only 2 mistakes.
This difference in the 1st quarter is what caused an impact on the number of difficult questions the two students received going forward. Student 2 naturally was served harder and obviously high value questions compared to the 1st student. Now, let’s check out the difficulty level chart to confirm our understanding of the scenario.
How Student 1 performed
The chart shows that even though the 1st student was able to answer most questions correctly in the 2nd and 3rd quarter, he didn’t score well as the difficulty level in these quarters stayed between easy and medium level. And, we all know the reason for it, that is, he did poorly in the 1st quarter.
How Student 2 performed
The 2nd student was almost as accurate as the 1st one, yet he managed to score higher than Student 1. This is because, he not only got more hard questions, he also got them right. Clearly, student 2 was more skilled than student 1 and was able to apply his concepts correctly.
So, do you understand how, despite having similar level of accuracy, the two students got scored differently? GMAT is clearly not being unfair here. It is just that the students had varying levels of skills.
How Your Skill Impacts Your GMAT Score?
Skill impacts your GMAT score more than you think. This can be understood with your GMAT score. Here’s what different GMAT scores say about a student’s skill-
1. Scores less than 550
This score signifies that you can get most of the easy questions right and your real struggle is with getting the medium ones correct. Therefore, the GMAT algorithm only serves you with the easy questions and you end up with a poor score. The core reason you struggle is because of gaps in your conceptual understanding.
2. Scores Between 550 to 650
This range signifies that you are getting most of the easy and medium questions correct, but you struggle with getting the hard questions right. This is because you are not using the correct approach.
What most students do?
Some students believe that practising more questions will help them score higher. Now, the problem with only practising questions is that you are repeating the same mistakes again and again, which makes learning slow and inefficient.
What should students actually do?
To score more, you must get a greater number of hard questions right. For this, you first need to get the algorithm to serve you the hard questions and then get those hard questions right to improve your score. Here’s how it can be done:
- Follow a methodological approach
This means using the correct method to approach the different modules in GMAT. For your better understanding, we have listed down the correct methods module-wise below –
SC- Meaning driven Approach
RC- Involved & Evolved Reading
DS- Drawing Inference
PS– 3-Step process
- Stick to this approach for every question
When you solve every question following the correct approach, not only will you answer the questions correctly, the algorithm will be compelled to serve you questions of higher difficulty level, and you will end up with a higher score.
Remember: Unless you get the hard questions right consistently, GMAT won’t increase the difficulty level of questions.
How Platforms Like GMATWhiz Help?
When you prepare from technology-driven, intelligent platforms like GMATWhiz, learning is a lot more effective. GMATWhiz is an AI-powered platform that-
1) Comes with interactive video lessons so that you understand concepts better,
2) Serves you with hand-picked GMAT-styled questions to solidify your understanding of the concepts learnt, and then
3) Puts your learning to test by giving you practice quizzes.
In case you have gaps in your learning, you are automatically served with improvement modules based on the questions you get wrong in the practice quizzes. Click here to take a free trial.
Suggested Read: What is GMAT? Everything You Need to Know