View Full Version : Important e-mail I sent to GMAT

10-27-2001, 11:14 PM
Hello everybody!!

A few days ago, I sent a very important e-mail to GMAT. Here is the e-mail:


I have been coaching non-native speakers for the GMAT for several years now and in the last year I've noticed a definite downward trend in the verbal scores of my students.

This trend is so pronounced that I feel compelled to write to you in the hopes that I may be able to learn something that may be
of help to my students and other MBA candidates all over the world.

I don't mean to imply that the GMAT has ever been easy, but in 1998 I remember that all of my students who applied themselves diligently to improving their scores would be able to do so. The range of verbal scores of my students was something like 20%ile on the low end to about 50% on the upper end. Most of my students with at least average aptitude for English who had scored around the 5%ile were able to reach the 20%ile within a few months of hard study.

Generally, students who scored above 600 on the TOEFL could receive above the 20%ile on the GMAT Verbal section, with my top students scoring about 640 on the TOEFL and about 50%ile on the GMAT Verbal

In the last year, however, I have had very, very few students score well on the verbal section of the test. I have had very, very bright non-native speakers who received their university educations in the United States not score anywhere near what their goals were. Several of my current students
have scored around 640 on the TOEFL, but cannot score over 20% on the Verbal section.

Granted all this evidence is anecdotal, but I strongly feel that something has changed in the GMAT. As you know, most of the 'big' test prep schools were advising test takers to focus all their time on the first few
questions. If this were indeed a weakness in the test design, it seems logical that you would change the design so that test scores could not be manipulated in this way.

I realize that much of this information is proprietary, but I also believe that people who are learning English and preparing for the test would be better served if they knew a bit more of the construct of the test.

I would therefore respectfully ask the following questions:

1. Has the scoring algorithm changed?
2. Does the current PowerPrep represent the same algorithm as the real GMAT?
3. Are students penalized if they spend too much time on a question? In other words, does your score go down as you spend more time on a question?
4. Conversely, do students receive higher scores if they answer questions
more quickly?

I greatly appreciate your attention to these questions as I hope to be able to help to create equal access to higher education for all of my students, native speakers of English or non.


Erin Billy

Erin Billy
San Francisco, CA USA

06-24-2004, 07:44 PM
Did they ever respond back?

06-24-2004, 08:34 PM
Actually, they did, but I'm not sure I can find the email.

The gist of the response was that the GMAT scores of the past were comparable to those today and that test takers were not penalized for spending too much time on a question.