1. How Accurately Can You Estimate Your GMAT Score Before The Test?

    Have you taken practice GMAT tests but still don’t know how your scores compare to the real GMAT results? You may have different scores on different practice tests and are wondering which GMAT Score is accurate.

    This statistical variations among scores is common and happens for the following reasons:

    • Different Testing Environment
      • Our surroundings have a strong influence on us. There is a dramatic difference between sitting in your room or going to the local library to take a practice test. It is important to emulate the testing environment that you will see on test day.
    • Different Sleep Patterns
      • Erratic or irregular sleep patterns are detrimental to learning and performance. Consistent eight hours of sleep is an important part of learning.
    • Different Diet
      • To optimize your score, you need to eat well and give your brain the food it requires.
    • Different GMAT Practice Tests
      • This is the most obvious reason for inconsistency in practice GMAT scores. Each test prep company creates questions of different levels of quality. Poorly created questions will not give you an accurate prediction of your score.
      • No company knows exactly what the GMAC– the official maker of the GMAT– does to convert a raw score into a scaled score. So each company approximates this conversion differently. Since this is not standardized across practice tests, there are variations in the scaled score from test to test.


    What’s a good GMAT score?

    We covered this topic thoroughly here. To make a long story short – it depends on the school you’re hoping to get in to. A score in the mid-600’s would be enough for most schools, but the elite business schools require at least 700. With that said, there are many exceptions and your admission success relies on many factors not related to your GMAT score.

    The Manhattan GMAT Practice Test

    This has well-designed questions with fewer mistakes, and provides a more accurate assessment but not an exact one.

    GMAT Club’s GMAT Score Predictor (Estimator)

    This gives an approximate final GMAT score based on the student’s GMATPrep, Kaplan, Princeton Review, or Manhattan GMAT scores. You simply input your score into their tool.

    The GMATPrep tests are very reliable at predicting official GMAT scores – plus or minus 20 points. GMATPrep argue that there is a 90% chance that your final score will fall within the confidence interval.

    The GMAT Score Calculator can also factor in your “Performance Under Pressure”. This tool can estimate GMAT scores in consideration of factors such as stress and physical discomfort. It aims to give a more accurate projection of what your score will be when the actual test comes along. The main difference between home and test center environment is the stress level. Knowing how scores correlate and are distributed on a bell-shaped curve, they can build a distribution and get a performance under pressure percentile. However, the score is quite inaccurate as it ignores one’s unique physical discomforts, repeat test takers that skew the curve, and historic test variations.


    Kaplan also offers a Score Predictor, which is a brief quiz that provides a rough estimate of the score you might receive on the official test day. As the official test is much longer and covers many more topics and question types, Kaplan make no claims as to the accuracy or predictive value of the results.

    In fact, any CAT is not as predictable as most people assume. The standard deviation on the official test is about 30. This means that your score is not considered statistically different than others in that range of scores. For example, for a 680, your “true ability” is considered to be in the range 650 to 710. The SD on Manhattan Prep is about 50 points. GMATPrep’s SD hasn’t been published.

    The Best Way To Estimate Your GMAT Score

    The best GMAT score prediction is to take the test you can get for free from GMAC itself. If you want the best estimation of your score on the test, use this exam and other practice testing materials from the people who make the real GMAT. Only official GMAT materials are guaranteed to completely capture the true nature of the exam. That’s why examPAL uses them.

    Variation in practice test scores is normal and expected. Many factors affect the predicted score so it is not worth investing too much in the estimated scores, as it is only a prediction and not necessarily accurate. The practice tests should be used as a way to simulate the test, not as a completely accurate measure of your GMAT score.


    Bottom Line – There’s No Way To Accurately Predict Your GMAT Score

    No matter what test-prep companies might advertise, and as much as we all want to have that GMAT crystal ball that’s going to tell us how much we’re going to score on the GMAT, no such thing exists. Too bad though, because it would probably save many people a lot of time and money, avoiding taking the test while knowing for sure they’re not ready for it.

    But, like we mentioned before – the GMAC practice tests are the best GMAT score predictors and you should consider the score you got on those tests before actually taking the GMAT. If you scored 620 on the official practice tests, do not expect to get 700 on the real test. Unfortunately the other way around is much more likely. If you keep scoring 700 on the GMAC practice tests, it doesn’t guarantee you’ll get a score that is close to 700 on the real test since there are many more factors that can influence your score like your mood, your focus and your energy levels (things we learn how to deal with in our GMAT course).

    Jack Oren Jackman
    CEO & Founder of examPAL. 21 years' experience in the field of test prep. Has written dozens of books and courseware, and personally taught over 4,000 students.

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