ETS' response in regard to scoring
I know that most of you have read threads regarding odd overall scores. I decided to write an e-mail to ETS to see what they had to say and see if they would explain a bit more. o here is their response.
Regarding your inquiry:
Scores on the multiple-choice sections of the GMAT CAT are computed using the statistical characteristics of the questions you receive, including difficulty level, your responses to these questions, and the total number of questions answered. After you have completed the test, the computer calculates formula scores for the Quantitative and Verbal sections. These formula scores are added together to create a Total formula score, and the three formula scores are then converted to scaled scores, using three separate conversion formulas.
Verbal and Quantitative scores are reported on a scale ranging from 0 to 60, although scores below 9 and above 44 on the verbal measure or below 7 and above 50 on the quantitative measure are rare. The Total score is reported on a scale ranging from 200 to 800, with about two-thirds falling between 400 and 600.
It is not the case that the questions at the beginning of a section are weighted more heavily than questions toward the end of a section. In general, it is true that the computer's estimate of your ability changes more in response to a question early in a section than to questions later in the section; however, this is due not to the computer's giving greater weight to the earlier questions but rather to the fact that early on the computer's estimate of your ability is based on very few questions, while near the end of the section this estimate is based on a greater number of questions and is therefore a more reliable estimate. For example, if you answer question 1 correctly, the computer can infer only that the your ability is probably at or above the mean for the population taking the GMAT, but it cannot tell how far from the mean, and it will then deliver a more difficult question, corresponding to a higher ability level, in order to begin the process of narrowing in on your true ability. If near the end of the section the computer delivers a question that is comparable in difficulty to question 1, it does so with the benefit of a considerable amount of information about your ability level, information based on responses to all of the questions you have received. A correct response in this instance would not cause the computer to make as large an adjustment to its estimate of your ability, precisely because it is taking into account more than this single question in computing its estimate. However, questions late in the test count just as much as early questions in determining your final score.
I plan on resending with other questions, so if any of you would like to ask a question, post it here. I will galdly add it to my response. Thanks again!
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